In the past, many entrepreneurs considered Boston, Las Vegas, California, and Seattle as the best places to start their business. While business owners moved their ventures to these entrepreneurial hubs, Chicago was slowly but surely increasing its prowess to also become a sought after business location.
Chicago has rapidly grown to become one of the best places in the country to set up a business venture. Entrepreneurs are now abandoning other towns and cities for the new hub. What makes Chicago a hotspot for entrepreneurs?
1. Co-working opportunities
Co-working enables entrepreneurs to save the cost of starting and running a business in a new location. Chicago offers multiple co-working opportunities for entrepreneurs. Some of these opportunities are available at CoLab Evanston, Catapult, and TechNexus among other locations. Entrepreneurs looking for affordable Office space in Chicago can explore the opportunities in these locations.
In addition to the lower costs for well-equipped office space, entrepreneurs access education and training on startups. Co-working is an excellent choice when you have a few employees and limited resources, which is a common trait for startups.
2. Support and advice from mentors
One of the best ways to grow a business is to employ the same strategies that other successful entrepreneurs used in their ventures. Business owners should not repeat the same mistakes that others did in the past. Chicago is one of the friendliest places for beginner entrepreneurs. The business professionals in this hotspot are willing to give free advice to new entrepreneurs to help them build successful ventures.
Chicago has a significant framework of mentors that new business owners can utilize to gain free information. Techstars is among the top mentorship programs that offer support to new business owners. The strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chicago makes it one of best places to build a new venture from scratch. Business owners can succeed in there desired field by studying previous case studies and adopting the same successful practices.
3. Prioritizing higher revenues over risk
The entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Chicago prefer strategies that increase revenue to taking higher risks. This does not mean that the investors do not take any risks. The investors take risks but prefer to implement and scale tested business models. Once a business owner in the area discovers what works in the target market, he or she will continue to implement that strategy to increase revenues.
The emphasis in this entrepreneurial hub is on the number of paying customers as opposed to the number of customers in the database. Business owners focus on turning their leads and prospects into paying customers. The entrepreneurs invest more resources in increasing revenues from a particular market than in expanding their market share. A large market share is not important if the revenues from that market are low.
4. New talents and ideas
One of the reasons why Chicago is overtaking other business hubs in the country is the growing trend of new ideas in different industries. Graduates from the Techstars programs have been introducing new ideas that have transformed various industries. Some of these ideas are as yet unheard of in other business circles. For instance, SocialCrunch is a creative platform for customers to ask interesting questions, which can prove addictive!
Other creative innovations in the city include Simple Relevance that helps business owners to send customized emails to their customers. Pathful helps website owners to track visitors to their website. The innovations are just a few of the creative ideas from Techstars graduates.
5. Marketing resources
Getting the word out about a new business venture is always a challenge for many entrepreneurs. Most of them spend their limited financial resources on operational costs and have little left for marketing campaigns. Chicago has multiple resources that business owners can utilize to market their businesses at a low cost. The strong online community is a great platform to market any product or service.
The “Built in Chicago” online community is one such platform that helps startups to improve their skills. Chicago has many tech-focused publications that share useful business news and information with their audience. Conferences in the city are great opportunities for entrepreneurs to network and meet new mentors. For instance, the annual Techweek conference offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to market their businesses and meet like-minded investors.
Chicago may not overtake the popular Silicon Valley but its growth as a business hub cannot be overlooked. New entrepreneurs continue to relocate to the hub every year to take advantage of the resources and innovations in the city. The entrepreneurial community continues to grow as more and more business owners realize the importance of networking. The city is certainly a force to be reckoned with and only time will tell if it overtakes it’s USA counterparts, watch this space!