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Collaboration: The Most Important Startup Tool For 2017

Why 2017 should be your year of collaboration

11Jan

Startups can sometimes be rather proprietary and private about their work, but is this really the path to success? In 2017, expect to see the startup world to push for deeper collaboration, beyond internal teamwork. By drawing on the knowledge of the larger community, businesses can reach their true potential.

Cut Through Customer Problems

One of the primary reasons that startups should participate in more collaborative activities in 2017 is that it will help them identify and resolve customer pain points faster. You’re likely already seeking feedback from your customers (or potential customers), but the more you know about the market you serve, the more successful you’ll be.

This kind of collaboration doesn’t necessarily demand to work directly with your competitors, but might engage corporate mentors, as well as others from the startup sector. Your company may be able to learn a lot from other startups that have successfully launched an app in a different sector, for example, and who know a lot about design but provide a fundamentally different service.

Learn Locally

In this digital era, many companies execute most of their collaborative work digitally, via online talks and forums, but it’s time to turn to local resources and collaborate with our neighbors. This is why many startups have been working together to develop neighborhood spaces, all intended to assist other area innovators.

Recognizing the complexity of building a business and harnessing venture capital, a group of startups in Denver have come together to form The Venture Zone. At The Venture Zone, entrepreneurs and young companies can access development materials, consult with other members and affiliated experts, and take part in a range of conferences and workshops as part of their membership fee. Though currently a single location, the core creators are hoping to expand to more locations in the beginning of this year.

On the other side of the country, Built In Boston brings together area startups for a variety of talks and events, ranging from highly specific discussions of HIPAA regulations and development to monthly Hackathons and general networking sessions. These events offer both established startups and interested individuals the opportunity to hone their skills, which can be as much of an advantage for expansion-oriented professionals as young job seekers.

Seek Space

One of the most valuable things about Built In Boston events and The Venture Zone is that they are physical spaces that startups can use not just to network with others, but to access resources they might not be able to use otherwise. This is especially true for brand new companies that are working out of a single rented office or those in industries that require a lot of equipment they can’t yet afford. In 2017, innovators should be on the lookout for co-working spaces that can help them make real strides towards growth.

Just how valuable is coworking space? RocketSpace, which a San Francisco-based group launched in 2011, has hosted over 1000 startups in its spaces to date, including big names like Uber and Spotify. They’re also currently partnered with an Australian group, with three new co-working spaces opening in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne in 2017. Co-working and incubator spaces have worked so well for traditional startups, that one Utah community is testing out the model in the food industry.

It’s very difficult for those interested in launching restaurants or catering businesses to get off the ground, simply in terms of space and equipment – the costs are astronomical. By offering up options like Spice Kitchen that are fully equipped with food service appliances and supplies, and that offer both space and supply rentals, Salt Lake City is not only fostering its food scene but offers unique opportunities to refugees who have found great employment success in the restaurant industry.

At a time when brick and mortar businesses seem to be in decline, community organizing is finally reaching the startup industry – and it’s spawning physical collaboration spaces. In 2017, innovators need to make use of these spaces to move their businesses forward, and successful companies should pay it forward by participating as mentors and advisors. Collaboration and co-working are old models made new again.

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