As someone who started a business right here in Boston, Massachusetts, I know how hard (and rewarding) it can be to make that first sale, get that first customer, and launch the product or service that you just know is going to change the world.
I won’t lie– running a startup or starting a new business in Boston is hard. There are so many challenges to overcome and so many hours and so much effort that you have to invest before you start to see real results. But the good news is that as Boston-based entrepreneurs we’re very lucky. There are a huge number of resources for startups and small businesses in Boston.
Today we’ll look at a few of my favorites.
If you attended a local college or university, your best resource might just be your school’s alumni resource center. They might be able to point you towards another local alumni-owned business who might become your first customer, invite you to networking events, or provide other valuable insights and resources to help you on your journey.
When starting a business. a little bit of extra capital can make a big difference, allowing you to invest in technology, hire or train a new employee, or provide another month of runway to help you find the product-market fit you need. Believe it or not, there are plenty of grant opportunities for business owners in Boston.
Grants, while they may be earmarked for certain purposes, are often essentially free money available to you– as long as you know where to look and which hoops you might have to jump through to get them.
One of the keys to being a successful business owner and founder is to know what you don’t know and when to ask for help. The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center is an incredibly valuable resource. They can answer questions about financing, taxes, growing your business, marketing, and much more. Best of all, many of their services are available either for free or at a very low cost.
Being a business owner, especially a sole proprietor, can get a little lonely. It’s good to meet with other business owners and entrepreneurs to share advice, talk about the challenges you’re facing, or just share a drink! Luckily there are plenty of great meetups for small businesses and startups in Boston.
If you’re running a tech startup, you’ve probably heard of famous accelerators like Y Combinator in California. But you don’t have to uproot yourself and travel across the country! There are some amazing startup accelerators, right here in Boston!
If you’re not familiar with the concept of an accelerator, think of it like a jumpstart for your startup. You’ll get resources like access to business advice, tools, technology, promotion and media exposure, an office to work in, and dedicated time to work on growing your business. In exchange, you’ll usually give up a bit of equity to the accelerator. It can be a great exchange where everyone benefits.
Staying lean and getting the most out of your available capital is a top priority for any business. When it comes to tech startups, that means paying for only the services you truly need. Online cloud infrastructure has been a godsend!
Instead of overpaying for huge computing power and web hosting packages, startups can access the servers and technology they need on-demand. As your business or demand grows, just spin up a new server when you need it! It’s awesome.
Google and Amazon, two of the biggest cloud service providers offer free services to new businesses. Why not take them up on it?
OK, this one is a bit different. It’s easy when you’re focused on running your business to let everything else fade away and spend every waking hour working. This just isn’t healthy!
So I’d encourage every Boston startup or business owner to make sure they’re caring for themselves, as well as their business. Get outside, eat healthy food, and force yourself to find some way to unwind. You’ll be more productive, healthier, and happier, if you do!
When you’re working on your business, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I have to do everything.” It’s counterproductive, stealing time that could be better spent on what you’re best at. I mean isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
So outsource what you can and spend the rest of your time doing what you love!
I’m Slava Heretz and I’m the founder of Intelli Bookkeeping , a Boston-based business focused on providing, on-demand, cloud-based accounting services that scale to fit the needs of your business. If you’d like to talk about the challenges you’re facing running your business or want to share your favorite resources for businesses in Boston, I’d love to hear from you .