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One of the best ways to get ahead as a small business is to join an ecosystem or group of businesses with a common goal. Doing so will allow you to work with other innovative companies in a variety of industries to share advice, feedback, and growing pains. Being part of an ecosystem with big companies can also help elevate your status just by association. Here are some points to consider when getting involved in an ecosystem:
1. Go broad. To ensure you aren’t tied to one industry or a narrow focus, broaden your approach. Look at bigger trends you can tie into—including technology—and hang your hat outside your current market.
2. Go big. Once you join an ecosystem, don’t just sit around. Go to the meetings, hold webinars, and talk to the press, your customers, and your partners about your involvement in it so as to make it worth your while.
Look at areas that are driving innovation in your industry and explore ecosystems or consortiums in that area, rather than just stick to your field. While ecosystems in your industry may be helpful, they won’t allow you to accelerate growth as fast as ones that address the factors causing change in your field. For example, our company focuses on transport metering services. To better understand and expand the opportunities available to our company in the area of 4G/LTE networks, we joined the ng Connect Program. Founded by Alcatel-Lucent, it’s an ecosystem focused on next-generation high-bandwidth services. While not a typical industry for us, networks are playing an even larger role in our business and the opportunity to be associated with Alcatel-Lucent has helped us in our day-to-day work.
To find these kinds of ecosystems, talk to business leaders and see what consortiums they know about or participate in, and then get involved.
Chief Commercial Officer
(Corrects JD Hassan’s title.)
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