There was a recent post which talked about how startup companies sometimes make a conscious choice to help other startup companies. Businesses helping each other is not a new concept, it happens more often than most of us would think. I have been in business for a long time, I am not telling how long, and when I come across a young company that looks like it has promising future, it has always been a pleasure to offer advice and encouragement to help them on their way.
These companies went further than that. The co-founders of Context Media, Shradha Agarwal and Rishi Shah, were originally helped by their Professors at Northwestern, and once they became successful, they banded together with others to support anangel fund for new companies called Jumpstart Ventures. This particular fund has provided capital for over 40 businesses to date, since 2011. Jumpstart Ventures is not unique, there are estimates that in and around almost every major city in the United States there are such Angel Funds standing ready to help out other startup companies.
Beyond startup money, another thing startups can do is form unofficial partnerships. Companies can benefit from working with a group of other small companies which support each other’s services. For Example, a Graphic Artist, who works with a printer, and a web designer who all come together to help a new company build their brand. The Graphic Artist to design their logo and get a feel for the style of a new customer’s firm, print media to design and print business cards, post cards, brochures and letterhead, and the Website designer who will incorporate off of these ideas into a customer’s online presence.
Ir you are a company which has grown enough to offer some special incentives perhaps you could begin working with local artisans for items to decorate your walls and lobby. If you offer health options like yoga and massage, working with local on call therapists and instructors would be giving another type of startup a leg up.
It is an idea which has been around for a while. Mentoring, whether in the form of business knowledge, financial assistance, or even an ear to listen, is always a good way to give back in this world.
There was a saying I hear somewhere, long time ago, that went something like this, when you help enough other people get what they want,then you will get what you want. In BNI it’s called giver’s gain. No matter what you call it, Angel Investing, Mentoring, Advising, Partner Ships…it’s good to help others along the way.