A leg up on getting started: Raising visibility for a business startup

New start-ups face a multitude of daunting tasks, including the question of how to gain exposure. Photo: NVTC

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2013 - Starting a business or working in the technology startup world is a daunting challenge and gut wrenching exercise. With a 90 percent failure rate, it is no wonder launching a successful, sustainable and profitable business is such a nerve inducing endeavor.

It is reasonable to say that small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs are gluttons for punishment. They the very lifeblood of America’s economy and must possess a near endless reserve of determination and dedication to an extremely difficult task. 

There are a multitude of factors that contribute to the failure of a business, including a lack of necessary capital, poor market timing, inability to properly understand end-user and customer needs, failure to execute, loss of specific vision, poor allocation of resources, and the list goes on.

Even so, there are a multitude of opportunities out there with fast approaching deadlines aimed at addressing at least one potential pitfall that startups face, which is exposure.

The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), the largest technology trade association for the technology community in the country with roughly 200,000 employees in the area, is keen on facilitating opportunities to highlight great businesses regionally.

“The majority of NVTC’s technology member companies are small, with fewer than 10 employees,” notes Bobbie Kilberg, NVTC President and CEO. “And membership in our startup technology member category has doubled in the last two years. We believe that growth in the entrepreneur community is critical to driving innovation and the future development and sustainability of our regional and national economy.”

In turn, NVTC hosts the ‘Hot Ticket Awards’ annually to highlight entrepreneurial efforts by technology firms. One of these awards, ‘The Hottest Bootstrap Award,’ seeks to recognize companies that demonstrate the ability to achieve the ‘most’ with the ‘least,’ as the award nomination descriptor explains.

“The NVTC Hot Ticket Awards are unique because they celebrate the efforts of the rising stars that are shaking things up in the region’s technology community,” explains Kilberg.

“The nominees benefit not only from great networking at the event, but also from being recognized among an elite group of truly dynamic, ground-breaking companies. In recent years, being named a finalist for the Hot Tickets has been a stepping stone to wider recognition and growth.”  

NVTC is not alone in its effort to provide the necessary exposure to propel emerging businesses with a brilliant idea but finite resources out of obscurity. In fact, Gregory FCA, a full-service integrated public relations firm that lists SAP, Sprint, FedEx, Nike, and various venture capital firms (to name only a few amongst an impressive list of top tier clients), is also jumping into the game of assisting emergent, disadvantaged and disruptive startup firms.

The firm has created and unveiled what it calls the ‘Best Unknown Business in America’ contest. Its stated purpose is to identify and recognize the country’s best-unknown business, granting the winner $10,000 in cash and an in-kind services contribution of $40,000 for a public relations campaign.

Greg Matusky, President of Gregory FCA sums up the intent of the contest explaining, “We developed the contest after realizing there are thousands of companies out there with great stories to tell but no one to tell them to. So we decided to find the best unknown business and give them cash, as well as a mouthpiece for telling their story. We think it’s a fun way to celebrate American business while helping an unknown company catapult their visibility.”

For its finishing touch Gregory FCA added some star power and always appreciated entrepreneurial know-how to the equation by enlisting the support of Miles Spencer, a serial angel investor who also co-created the MoneyHunt, a reality based television show that funded aspiring entrepreneurs.

As Spencer explains, “My life’s passion has been about building businesses and helping them grow, so I understand intimately the role that visibility plays in transforming companies and ramping up their growth. When Gregory FCA came to me with this idea, I thought it was an excellent way to find the next breakout American company that could benefit from the exposure that a professional public relations firm can provide.”

While publicity and public recognition are not the only defining elements to the recipe for startup triumph, it sure does not hurt to have it in a new business’ bag of tricks. As every entrepreneur knows, it takes more than a dollar and a dream to achieve success.

The deadline to nominate a hot entrepreneurial technology company for NVTCs 2013 Hottest Bootstrap award is May 3.

The deadline to submit a nomination for the ‘Best Unknown Business in America’ sponsored by Safeguard Scientifics and Gregory FCA is June 18.

 


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Timothy W. Coleman

Timothy W. Coleman is a writer, analyst, and a technophile. He primarily focuses on international affairs, security, and technology matters, but Tim has a keen interest in history, politics and archeology, having visited more than 20 Mayan ruins in Central America alone.

Tim started off on Capitol Hill, worked on a successful US Senate campaign, and subsequently joined a full-­‐service, technology marketing communications firm. He has co-­‐founded two technology startup firms, is a contributing editor at intelNews.org and he is an intelligence analyst at the Langley Intelligence Group Network (LIGNET.com) where he specializes in aerospace, naval, and cyber security analysis.

Coleman completed his BA from Georgetown University, an MBA in Finance from Barry University, a Graduate Studies Program at Singularity University at NASA Ames, and a Master’s of Public and International Affairs with a major in Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Coleman volunteers and serves as a member of the board of directors at the Lint Center for National Security Studies. 

 

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