Starting Your Own Business? Peter Russo Has Some Tips

WalletHub interviews the Questrom lecturer in a new entrepreneurship study

What are the best cities to start your own business? WalletHub did some digging. The personal finance social network released a study this week that analyzed start-up opportunities in the 150 most populated cities in the US. “We analyzed each city across two key dimensions, namely ‘Access to Resources’ and ‘Business Environment,’” the report explains. “We then identified 13 metrics that are relevant to both dimensions.” Metrics ranged from 5-year survival rate and the affordability of office space to the educational attainment of the local labor force.

Here are the cities that made the top 10:

  1. Shreveport, La.
  2. Tulsa, Okla.
  3. Springfield, Mo.
  4. Chattanooga, Tenn.
  5. Jackson, Miss.
  6. Sioux Falls, S.D.
  7. Memphis, Tenn.
  8. Augusta, Ga.
  9. Greensboro, N.C.
  10. Columbus, Ga.

Regardless of location, WalletHub notes that self-employment figures are on the rise in the US, and turned to Peter Russo, executive-in-residence and senior lecturer at Boston University Questrom School of Business, for some advice on entrepreneurship. WalletHub interviewed Russo for the study’s “Ask the Experts” section:

What tips would you offer an aspiring entrepreneur?

Executive-in-Residence and Senior Lecturer Peter Russo
  1. Build your network. To succeed, you will need the help of others.
  2. Get out and talk with people. Be sure that you understand how your product or service solves a problem someone cares about and that the customer agrees.
  3. Be willing to commit. It is OK to do some initial research and product validation as a part time pursuit, but you need to be prepared to go “all in” at some point.

How important is the city an entrepreneur picks to start a new company?

Depending upon the type of business, it certainly can be easier to start a business in some cities than others. Access to funding, proximity to customers and potential partners and availability of helpful resources are all important factors. That said, I believe an entrepreneur can find a way to succeed wherever they are. Technology has made location less critical and there are resources available almost everywhere these days.

Which are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make?

This is a difficult question to answer, because the list is a very long one! Some that I see more frequently than others:

  • Over emphasis on secrecy, to the point where the entrepreneur fails to get market validation and sound advice.
  • Being overly focused on maintaining control or retaining equity. Remember, the size of the pie is more important than your share.
  • Believing that they can build a venture on their own schedule, without regard to the “window of opportunity” that may be closing.
  • Failure to attract the very best team.

Besides technology, what other sector is ripe for disruption by entrepreneurs? What is the next big thing?

Rather than try to guess, I’d rather point out that opportunities are everywhere, and that it is not necessary to “catch the next wave” in order to find success. Where can we find customers who are not well served by the products or services currently available to them? What unsolved problems might we help them with? How might emerging technologies allow us to do things in a new and better way?

Check out the full interview, list, and methodology here.

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