Home Means Nevada
The Importance of External Factors When Starting Your Business
In our first three articles we discussed “Teambuilding for Early Stage Startups,” by Juston Berg and “Leading a Team to Success,” by Vahe Sarkissian and “Five DNA Characteristics of the Successful Entrepreneur,” by Shaunt Sarkissian.
Today we explore the importance of external factors when developing your business, and why choosing your location matters. In my experience as an entrepreneur and educator, the business climate, or ecosystem, is a major influencer on the success of a company. A business can have a strong team, clear MVP and favorable marketplace, but if you lack the right support from your state, region and city, you can be held back from reaching your true potential. And if you have an overreaching or codependent teacher, boss or parent, you may lack the tough love needed to persevere in a competitive environment.
Once you’re out on your own, there are three critical factors you should expect when seeking a robust business environment: framework, education, and networking.
In order to thrive, companies need a pro-business climate. State, county and local law plays a big part in providing the right soil for your business to grow. The best approach? Offering you the sunshine, water and fertilizer you need to succeed, and get out of your way. If there are too many weeds, the seeds will struggle to grow, and the crop will be compromised.
Our home state of Nevada is committed to supporting businesses, and is championed by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Nevada was founded as a “boom or bust” state back in 1865 with the Comstock Lode in Virginia City, and it is still perceived by most of the world as an adult playground based on gaming. However, over the last several decades, Nevada has progressed into a pro-business state with a high quality of life and a chip on the shoulder — yes, Nevada has something to prove!
“The tech transformation in northern Nevada is for real.”
Tesla, Panasonic, Blockchains and Switch have moved here recently, Microsoft and Apple have been fixtures for years, and, even more importantly, smaller businesses, including ours, are being created here right now — even in the face of the pandemic. The result is that Reno has become more diversified, especially since the great recession (during COVID: the unemployment rate in northern Nevada has been 19% while the unemployment rate in Las Vegas is 30%).
And the business world is taking notice. Just last week Nevada climbed to the #3 ranking for pro-business states in the US:
Financial literacy is not valued as strongly as it should be in our country. As a former educator I am all too familiar with this pain point. While we offer our students a lot of value when it comes to critical thinking, we don’t give them a strong understanding of economics, or how to apply their amazing minds to the marketplace. We expect parents to do that. But most parents are products of the same system, so the cycle repeats itself: those in the know become even more well-informed, the middle class works harder only to pay more bills, and the poor struggle. Imagine what our world would look like if we spent more time creating pitch decks rather than social media posts?
This lack of business awareness is compounded by society’s tendency to coddle. A danger in our time is that we over-parent, over-teach and over-compensate for our young people. So they often grow up with an exaggerated sense of self-worth. We don’t want our kids to suffer, so we work extra hard to protect them from stress and strife. This does them a disservice and sets them up for failure. If and when they pursue business as a career, they often lack the mental fortitude to keep at it: #failforward.
This is why the healthy ecosystem needs strong education. If the public schools won’t do it, the colleges and universities need to step up and deliver. Talent needs to be cultivated with proper content, teaching, applied experience and accountability. In Reno, the College of Business and College of Engineering are doing just that. These programs are flourishing and developing opportunities for students to develop their marketable skill sets, add value to local companies and contribute to the health of the northern Nevada ecosystem. Career services internships, innovation festivals and collaborative opportunities also incentivize the students to stay in the region, enhancing the work force and making things better for you, their future employer.
And let’s not forget mentorship. Mentors are crucial for your training. No one climbs to the top alone. No one. The fastest path to success comes by learning from those who have already created the recipe: #dontreinventthewheel! Fortunately the Reno Tahoe region is filled with former and current execs who have achieved success. Many of them have relocated their businesses here from other states where the climate is not as favorable, and they are often happy to offer guidance. You just have to get the meeting, make the introduction and offer them value.
Creating and sustaining business relationships is an important player in the healthy business climate. As business leaders, we can easily get caught up in the grind of getting ahead and forget to look up, reach out and collaborate. We need an advocate to help connect us with each other as well as help attract future business talent to the region. In Reno these efforts are fostered by Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.
At RNOX we know the value of all three factors. We chose Nevada for a reason, and we work with our state, regional and local leaders to improve our ecosystem. Our Founders call Nevada home, and we are committed to both developing regional startups and attracting out of state companies to join us. Our signature program is R.E.A.L., which stands for Rapid Entrepreneurial Accelerated Launch. We are dedicated to training, mentoring and developing successful companies. Every startup that enters our accelerator program has an Executive In Residence to mentor them. And our marketing and investor relations efforts connect our companies with key stakeholders: venture capitalists, colleges, public servants and the media.
At X-Co, “Home Means Nevada.” Maybe it’s time for you to come home, too.