Recently I have been involved with a number of events whose purpose was to gather data about entrepreneurial support in our region. Questions and discussions were among leaders from across a variety of organizations from formal to informal, and from the business community itself. These were not gripe sessions…although I have heard from enough people like that who complain how our region is not Silicon Valley or not New York or not “wherever.” That is very true and will not change. However, since we are not any of those other areas, isn’t possible that we could be “someplace” entirely new? Could we be the best Sarasota/Bradenton/SWFL/state of  FL/Southeastern US that we could possible be?

stack of booksOver the next weeks and months I will be sharing with you findings from these meetings and the additional information gathering practices. The initial focus of these has been first to look at the natural resources of where we live, the challenges we face, and to discuss optimal outcomes. Next there has been a process of drilling down in some of those areas to more clearly identify “market/community” needs and the challenges to going forward. For those of us involved to date who focus on getting things done, not just talking about it; I believe this has been an incredibly exciting adventure.

In the process of gathering data, we are building relationships across like-minded organizations who purpose to collaborate for the good of our community. It does not mean that we do not compete in any way with any of the services/products that we provide. However, we choose to work together from the point of our unique value propositions. Our differences, united, are when we will be strongest and how we can most effectively affect change.

What can you take away from our process for your business? In today’s world it is crucial to have an understanding of what you are actually dealing with. Research! Know your market and the context into which it fits. Look at the good and the bad and what you might like “it” (your business, your life, your organization) to look like. Look for feedback outside your own little circle. Objectivity and perspective can radically reframe opportunities and challenges. Look for ways to leverage your efforts through collaboration and strategic relationships. And know, “If you want better answers, ask better questions.”

Originally posted by Sara Hand on Apr 6, 2011