Volume 4 Issue 1
Home to over 90,000 small businesses, Rhode Island’s future depends on small businesses to keep its economy moving forward. Nationally, small businesses account for over 65% of net new jobs since 1995. The future of Rhode Island also depends on leadership, innovation and fresh, new ideas. We see fast growing companies like Swipely, Nu Label and GForm as innovators and disruptors, but like the 90,000 plus other businesses in the state, they all started with a concept.
Before you begin
It’s important to understand what starting a new business will really be like. Are you prepared for long hours, very few days off and very little pay? The average business takes 3 years to show a profit, and most entrepreneurs are working well beyond 9-5, Monday through Friday. You need to be fully prepared to make this commitment.
Find your big idea
Ideas are like seeds. We plant them, and hope that with the proper environment and care, they grow. When you finally decide what type of business you are going to start, be sure there is a need. Is your product or service solving a problem or improving upon something that already exists in the marketplace? If so, you’re off to a good start! Before you start selling your products or services, be sure to get feedback from potential customers (and not just friends and family).
Build your support system
As an entrepreneur, it’s imperative to build a strong network. Rhode Island has a great startup culture and ecosystem, but you need to commit time to making the right connections. There is tremendous value in meeting entrepreneurs you can learn from and bounce ideas off of. Be sure to check out networking events at your local Chamber of Commerce or other statewide networking groups. Events like these will help you to expand your network rapidly.
Also look into some of the great co-working spaces that have opened up over the past few years. Co-working spaces provide a better alternative to working from home or from your local coffee shop, and they are usually filled with great startup energy. Depending on your location and industry, you’ll find great value in spaces like Founders League, Hatch Entrepreneurial Center, The Hive and Hope & Main, amongst others.
Try, try again
Even the best ideas don’t always work out. Be patient, be persistent and know that only 18% of entrepreneurs are successful on their first attempt. If your first startup merely turns into a learning experience, move on to the next big idea, taking what you’ve learned from the past.
And always keep in mind that true entrepreneurs never give up!