Moving your startup to a new city in 3 steps

Talendrr is in Portland, Maine!

Needless to say, Portland isn’t the most popular kid in the class, and somewhat come’s off as having an inferiority complex with the slogan ‘Life IS good here’. Aside from not being well known as a city (with many confusing it for the Trail Blazer’s home), it’s not particularly known for being a tech-harbor, entrepreneurship-fostering Pandora either. So how does that work for a small company trying to set base here?

What people don’t know, about this food and art oasis is that there doesn’t exist a better place to base your start-up. I can’t speak for everybody of course, as Talendrr hasn’t set foot in any other state. But as far as a close knit, well rounded and collaborative culture, it has been easier here than one would imagine it is in other places in the United States. But you didn’t come to read about the many wonders that is Portland (no, the other one). Let’s talk about HOW to make whichever city you move your start-up to one.

1. Code-word: NET-WORK

Look them all up. These event are a goldmine. Doesn’t matter whether it is the speaker-infested, must-attend hottest conference of the century, or the abandoned event you stumbled upon when trying to look for a speed-dating night. If it fits your startup’s industry, or points of interest, click ‘attend’. And if your pocket doesn’t allow for it, volunteer. Broadly speaking (and quite disappointingly cliche), there is ALWAYS a way and if you can’t find one, make one. Not only will these networking events open doors, but done right, could be your path to ultimate success. Don’t just take a card, reach out. Don’t just hand out yours, tell your story. These connections could be potential clients, partners or even mentors.

A rule of thumb, is the ‘at least 1:2:3’. For at least every drink, meet at least two people and get at least 3 contacts’.

Yes, this is very possible. Because if you’re having quality conversations, then somebody will know someone for you. Unless of course the event is absolutely useless, then reverse the order.

2. Winner takes all

Let’s face it. When you are new in a city, chances are that you don’t know very many people. Too many articles will dilute this fact by frowning upon the tendency to take without giving. But who are you honestly going to introduce that hotshot lawyer in your new city to? The kind barista at your neighborhood coffeeshop?

At this point, your main goal should be to soak up as much information as you possibly can. And yes, that may mean giving nothing but your keen attention and business card for a while.

Ask your new contacts to introduce you to people of interest, ask them to point you towards the right resources, ask them to tell a friend. There is absolutely no shame in asking. Unless of course you don’t know how to, at which point ‘should I start a business’ would be a better read. But until your network is big and good enough to endorse you as a facilitator, strip your pride down and ask.

3. Tell the right story, and tell the story right.

Remember when we talked about quality conversations? Let’s hope you do because good listeners sure will. There’s a place and time for every story. To potential clients, it will be how. To your suppliers, it will be when. To your grandmother, it will be what. To your employees, it’s probably how much! But to those that matter, (which is everyone) They want to know your why. Here’s a litmus test for you. Next time you are at an event, or just having a conversation with someone, see how many will ask for your why. Why you chose that idea to work on, or why you moved to the city, or why you wore that shirt. Let’s go out on a limb here and proclaim that you had a better conversation with those who asked for your why. Why?

Because this ‘why’ provokes thought. It puts the ‘what’, ‘when’, and the ‘how’ of your story into perspective.

But also, because it shows that your conversation partner is genuinely interested in what you are saying.

Let’s put this into practice:

Q: What is Talendrr?

A: It is a crowd-sourcing platform for virtual internships.

Q: How does Talendrr work?

A: It enables companies to post projects online,which individuals can tackle to gain work experience and skill endorsements.

Q: Why did you start Talendrr?

A: Because I was in university and could barely answer a statistics exam question. Let alone know how to apply it to my grand startup idea.