Louisiana Technology Park


Tech Park Blog



It’s nearly every college kid’s plan--get the degree from your hometown college, then get the hell of out of Dodge. This is a perfectly normal mindset. The grass is always greener and the unknown is exciting and got to be better than what’s been the norm all these years.

I’m not belittling this; I went 900 miles away for college to see if the grass was greener; it wasn’t. And when it comes to growing a startup and being an entrepreneur, your own backyard is often best—even though it’s not Silicon Valley.

There are many challenges when starting a business, but location, even if it’s a small town or your hometown, isn’t as large of an issue as you may think. Here are four reasons why Anywhere, USA might be a good place to grow your company:

Reason #1: Big Fish, Small Pond

Starting your company in a smaller community means that you can make a larger impact. This has many advantages, one being that you can become a thought leader in the community and an expert that the media looks to when discussing innovation and entrepreneurship. This exposure can quickly parlay into the national picture as well. Communities are proud of their success stories; they will lift you up in ways that an adopted city just can’t or won’t.

Reason #2: Good Ideas Get Funded Anywhere

You don’t have to be on one of the coasts to get your business funded. As author Rob Fitzpatrick (follow: @robfitz) points out, “Good companies get funded. Everywhere. Bad companies usually don’t.”

In fact, there is often a sense of trust that comes between entrepreneur and funder having common interests, including geography. Having a shared history can provide an intangible quality that you just can’t get from someone who lives 2,000 miles away.

Reason #3: Networking is Easier at Home

Whether you are new to a community or have lived there all your life, it’s still necessary to network. Having the home field advantage will work in your favor.

Not only can you use your direct connections, but those of your extended family. For example, odds are that your parent’s friends have more money than your own friends, so you can use that to your advantage. Additionally, your aunts, uncles or cousins know people that know people…

Make sure all of your family knows what you are doing because you never know when an opportunity will pop up at a baseball game or cocktail party and you want these indirect connections to become direct connections.

Reason #4:  Hiring is Easier

Workforce seems to be a constant problem in a lot of communities, so use your prime advantage—a smaller, more tightly knit community. Chances are that you can become the employer-of-choice if you are different than the typical workplace that your community sees (see #1).

There is often a sense of wonderment working for smaller companies, especially technology businesses. For many, the dream is to work for a company like Google, and your position can fulfill that dream. Use this to your advantage and become the employer-of-choice. 

Entrepreneurs have created an economy that grows on the East Coast, West Coast or Anywhere USA. That is the best part of the digital economy: location doesn’t matter for many businesses. So grow where you are planted, and don’t use your geographical location as an excuse not to succeed.

Stephen Loy