Connecting the Dots of Entrepreneurship

We have been covering Kansas City small businesses and entrepreneurs for more than 20 years. We were the first to connect the dots on the resources available to aspiring and existing Kansas City business owners, and we publish hundreds of those local, state and national organizations each year in our annual Thinking Bigger Guide for Entrepreneurs and on our website.

We were doing this before anyone was really paying much attention to small businesses and their contributions to the economy.

My, how things have changed in two decades . . . the Kansas City entrepreneurial community has the attention of our corporate and civic leaders, an initiative to be America’s Most Entrepreneurial City, ongoing coverage from the national media, and increasingly the ear and the interest of high profile serial entrepreneurs and VCs like Brad Feld.

Yes, suddenly, being an entrepreneur in Kansas City, particularly a startup, is the “cool kid” thing to do. But as Maria Meyers points out in our August 2013 Open Mike column, a city that aspires to be America’s Most Entrepreneurial City needs an ecosystem comprised not just of the tech startups, but also the microenterprises, Main Street businesses and more mature businesses. Further, it needs the resource organizations that can assist the businesses at crucial stages of business development, and it needs the support of the corporate community as well.

Recently I’ve sensed that some traditional businesses wonder what all the fuss is about over the startup community, especially when it comes to resources and media coverage. Startups are a different kind of animal than traditional businesses, which means they also have some different needs. That’s why Kansas City’s business leaders and resource organizations are working hard to create support systems for these kinds of ventures.

On the flipside, some of the startups really aren’t familiar with many of the successful traditional business owners Kansas City has nurtured over the years. There are a lot of blocking and tackling skills these traditional entrepreneurs can share with startups. Some of the older successful business owners could be mentors, and even investors, in these businesses. And the startups are a source of customers for the traditional businesses—after all, they still eat at restaurants, meet at coffee houses, and eventually hire accountants and lawyers.

As a community, we just need to keep connecting the dots, keep fostering ties between the big guys, the new kids and everybody else who contributes to the business ecosystem here. Kansas City is lucky to have a lot of entrepreneurial stars. But with effort, we could build an entire constellation of success.

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About Smart Companies Thinking Bigger®

Kelly Scanlon is the owner and publisher of Thinking Bigger Business Media. She recently finished a term on the national board of directors of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and was the national chair from 2010-2011. An advocate for small business owners, Kelly sits on numerous boards and committees to advocate on behalf of small business owners. She has won several awards for her advocacy. Among them are the 2011 United Nations NGO Positive Peace Award on behalf of Kansas City area small business owners, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Region VII Women's Business Champion of the Year in 2009, and the Women in Business Advocate of the Year from the State of Kansas in 2006. In 2002, she won the SBA's Region VII Small Business Journalist of the Year Award (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas). Whatever your business stage—aspiring, startup, established, mature—Thinking Bigger Business Media has the resources you need to grow to the next level. We are a resource organization dedicated to providing the strategic, "how-to" information small business owners need to become more productive and more profitable. We also provide information that helps owners connect with resources within the business community that can help them grow. We deliver that information through a variety of media products and other channels easily accessible to business owners.
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