Best Practices

Your Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

Published Jan 05, 2016 by Sarah Mote

We consider the U.S.SourceLink blog your blog, for the simple fact that we highlight the best practices and innovative entrepreneurial trends from your communities. Our blog features thoughts from the U.S.SourceLink team, our affiliate networks across the country and individuals who offer an interesting point of view on what it takes to make and measure an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Here are the 10 posts that resonated most with our readers in 2015.

10. Entrepreneurship Links to Like

We love an easy, breezy digest of what’s on practitioners’ reading list. Here, Anne Dewvall of NetWork Kansas gives us the quick download of the articles and entrepreneurial insights that have stood out. Want more? Check out our Research Digest for further articles on building and measuring entrepreneurial ecosystems.

9. Great Minds Think Alike: Dallas B.R.A.I.N. Launches an Innovative Partnership for Entrepreneurs

In 2015, our Dallas community launched in innovative partnership between its public library system and its office of economic development: the Dallas Business Resource and Information Network. Read about how they kickstarted Dallas B.R.A.I.N. and how it’s impacting Dallas entrepreneurs.

8. Running for President vs. Being President

A wise analogy for startups, offered up by Jeff Shackelford, director of Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept center created to help early-stage ideas move toward commercialization. He says, “What struck be about all this was it sounds eerily similar to being an entrepreneur and starting a new company.  . . [M]ost entrepreneurs are as passionate about their startup as any candidate running for the Oval Office.  If you rewrite the statement to read “Starting a business is different than running a business” you start to understand the similarities.” Dig deeper into Jeff’s president vs. entrepreneur analogy here.

7. What Funders Want

At last year’s conference, we asked the question every entrepreneurial community wants the answer to: what do foundations and grant agencies want to fund. We got answers. Read about what funders want to fund and what they look for in a grant application.

6. Four Indicators to Assess Local Ecosystem Vibrancy

Does this describe your approach to metrics? "Community leaders tend either to focus on a limited number of input metrics rather than quantifying outcomes, or to take a 'kitchen-sink approach.' The latter considers all aspects of an entrepreneurial ecosystem equally important and therefore attempts to track every result, failing to provide adequate focus for community leaders.” This report from the Kauffman Foundation offers a different approach to assessing ecosystem vibrancy.

5. Make Me Care: Telling Your Organizational Story

Laura Packer helped our affiliates craft their organization stories at last year’s conference. Her advice: “Think about the stories that have moved you. The ones that made you wipe away a tear or two. The ones that made you laugh until your sides ached. The ones that made you open your wallet. You are your customer. Find the stories in your business that will evoke a reaction. Dig deep. You have them.” Read her tips on sharing your organizational story.

4. Government Resources for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Many of our posts highlight resources and grant opportunities for entrepreneurial communities. This post falls into that category, featuring the resource BusinessUSA, a centralized, one-stop platform that makes it easier for business owners to find and access the services of federal government agencies. Read about BusinessUSA.

3. Caffeinate Your Startup Community with 1 Million Cups

The concept is simple. Every Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., in community centers, universities and coffee shops around the country, two entrepreneurs give six minute presentations about their startups to an audience of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs. Then, they participate in a 20 minute Q&A with real-time feedback. At the end of each presentation, organizers ask the final and classic 1 Million Cups question: ‘How can the community help you?’ That’s 1 Million Cups—and it’s creating a startup buzz in communities nationwide.

2. How to Have a Successful Grand Opening

How do you plan a successful grand opening? This is the REAL social media—and it was top-of-mind many of our readers. Lois Kirkpatrick of Loudoun SourceLink shared her tips for creating a successful grand opening. Read about how to get customers to come to your big event—and make it so unique that the press wants to cover it.

1. One Definition Does Not Fit All: The Four Types of Entrepreneurship

Maria Meyers, founder of U.S.SourceLink, takes the top spot on our Most Read in 2015 with her article on the four types of entrepreneurship. Just a snippet, in her words:

“Not all entrepreneurs want to create billion dollar businesses. Not all entrepreneurs want to scale to massive growth within the next three years. Not all entrepreneurs want to live their business, working a brutal schedule to leave a lasting legacy.

“Entrepreneurs and the companies they lead are different—and that’s exactly what makes working in this field, in matching entrepreneurs with the right resource at the right time, both exhilarating and challenging. 

“Which is a good thing, because our economy is based on many different kinds of businesses and each play a different role in defining an economy.”

Read the whole article.

What do you want to read about in 2016? Let us know your hot topics and we’ll reach out to our network to get insights into your challenges.