At a conference celebrating the creation and growth of new businesses, you expect to hear a lot about profits and building the bottom line. But money only motivates us so far.
Twice already at Maine Startup and Create Week, I heard this sentiment:
Make it about more than just money.
This week is Maine Startup and Create Week. Whenever you gather together business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, you hear a lot “why I started my business” stories.
But often missing from these tales is why anyone else should care.
I just got back from the UXPA conference in Boston. I had heard about the conference because I read Jared Spool’s blog and e-newsletter over at User Interface Engineering.
UX, or User Experience, is a term that covers many different job titles, disciplines and industries. It was interesting to see all the different aspects of UX conference attendees were involved with: design of icons, typography, measuring the effectiveness (speed) of user experience, content strategy and more. There were many UI designers involved with software teams, but not many from the branding and marketing side of web development.
In Portland, Maine I am involved with several groups that help businesses grow.
One that runs a bit under the radar is House of Genius. These monthly sessions are closed to the public to protect the confidentiality of the entrepreneurs, but as part of the organizing team, I get to see all the business owners present themselves. Each entrepreneur has 5 minutes to give background information about their company and ask for help with a specific issue they are having.
It has been eye-opening for me to see how many entrepreneurs struggle to distill makes their product or service unique. Many have trouble quickly tell the story of why their business is important in the marketplace.
Maine has a reputation as a terrible place to do business (at least according to Forbes magazine, which places us at #49 out of 50 on the best places to do business).
But since I love Maine, I put a lot of my time into groups such as Maine Startup & Create Week, Envision Maine and House of Genius who are working to improve the business climate of Maine especially for smaller, entrepreneurial businesses that are growing in Maine.
The exciting thing about getting to know the startup and business community in Maine is unearthing all the hidden gems. The businesses that are already successful and the ones that have great ideas for the next best thing.
This video by Kerem Durdag may inspire you to see the possibility of rebranding Maine.