On Wednesday, 4/18, a few local tech entrepreneurs spoke at the 6Degrees Breakfast Speakers series on digital startups and innovation here in San Diego. In this segment, the panelists talk about making connections and improving the small business community in San Diego.
Moderator: These guys are fantastic. Let me throw it open for you all. If you have any questions you want to bounce off these guys, they're very candid, very open. So feel free to do it. Just raise your hand, or shout out. Nobody? Okay.
From the crowd: (barely audible)Do you think the small business community in San Diego…
Moderator: Question is, what can the small business community in San Diego do to help other small businesses? Any response?
Lars Helgeson: I think events like this. Encouraging people that are starting up, to learn from other people's stories to know that their ideas can turn into something of value; that their idea can go from just an idea to fruition. I think that so much of when you first start off is inspiration, you know, feeling like, okay, there's someone else that was able to do this.
We all took different paths, but we all made it to where we are through a lot of hard work work and made some good connections and everything but none of us are so extraordinary that anyone else in this room couldn't do the exact same thing. And I think that that's an important message that can be conveyed people that are starting businesses.
And whether that's done in an environment like this where you can meet other people that are in business or you know, other types of networking type of organizations. I think 6 Degrees is a great forum to do that kind of sharing of ideas. I think that's really the most important sense of that connection, that bond, that community, that, you know, we've been talking about, and just knowing that you can do it.
And it's gonna be a lot of hard work but we can do it.
Jimmy Hendricks: I was going to say just work the green room. I don't know, I think it depends on the business. I think there's different ones that are national, like Steven works with a lot of independent musicians, or Stay Classy works with a lot more non-profits that could really be tight and local.
I think it will be helpful. A lot of us all know each other, but it's funny, when we get out into the other networking world we really don't, sometimes we don't know who all the small business leaders are, who's running the Chamber, who's running like the Gaslamp organization for restaurants, and we'd love to connect with those guys.
For example, like we think Groupon, even though we're in the daily deal space, we think Groupon takes a lot more money from small business than we think. So, we're actually launching the thing called Take Back Local, it's an anti-Groupon campaign. So, you may see some of this in June; it may get us in a lot of trouble. But we want to help those businesses control their own marketing and make more money, because we think selling gift certificates is a good business, but they need to make it profitable.
They can't just be taken advantage of by these big national companies. And so we're trying to get empowered. I think mobile's really a good model for businesses. The businesses care about actually building something of value like Lars says, I think we can add a lot of value through small businesses helping bring new customers.
And really all of us can do that in some way. So we'd love to connect with those peers if you have some ideas for us.
Steven Cox: Small business community in San Diego. So I know that the bay area seems to be a little more aggressive when it comes to that, with specifically law firms, insurance, as well as capital, including non-profits and of course more that they engender this ecosystem the more it helps their own business.
So I think that's something that can be done. So any of you folks who are out there, we'd love to attend your events when you put them on. But what it does is it helps build not only just the entire belief system around what we're doing, but there are people in this room that I specifically can talk to, where they're like, 'Wow, I don't know if I'm doing it the right way, or sometimes I feel like I'm alone, out here by myself," and events like this help people feel like you are not the only one going through this.
In fact there's a bunch of other people, and that helps build the camaraderie among them. Definitely groups and some of those professional services, I think I'd love to see even more of that. We're doing a pretty good job and pumping up even more.
Scot Chisholm: Yeah, I would just add maybe get involved with the local incubators.
So one thing for us was going through Connect. We got a lot of great advice but the advisers that we were placed with weren't the most relevant for what we were doing, and it would have been great if maybe we could've tapped into a more relevant network right away instead of the process of learning about the non-profit community, etc., in town and other areas.
So maybe just getting involved with Connect or several of the other incubators that have started, becoming a mentor, intrepreneur in residence or something like that.
Yeah, and there's a lot of good ones out there. I mentioned Connex, Sebo, Nexus, those are great programs we should explore. Next?