Struggling to feel confident as a business owner? Complaining that your dining table doubles as your desk? Wanting to learn more about trending business ideas? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to check-out your local Launch Site.
The first time I ever walked into Launch Fishers was to give a workshop on entrepreneurship. As I walked through the doorway and past the coffee bar, I realized that there really was something “new” going on. The Launch Site had an upbeat energy and a genuine sense of community all its own.
Indiana’s Launch Sites originated as part of Launch Indiana – a joint initiative of the ISBDC and Launch Fishers. While their stated goal is to increase the number of successful Indiana-based, innovation-driven enterprises through mentorship and education, what has flourished throughout Indiana are incubators often focused on communal economic development or identified with specific types of industries. Sites are commonly membership driven and provide 24×7 secure access, kitchen facilities, work and study rooms, mail services, optional private offices, members’ networking opportunities, etc.
If you own a small business, here are three great reasons to join:
Successful builders surround themselves with inspiration. What better way to be get inspired but by working alongside like business owners. Just like the Google lunch room, you may be inspired to create the next, great innovative idea over a casual cup of coffee. There are always times set aside to network among members.
Real work requires an occasional change of scenery. If you have a home based business, you can appreciate having a space other than your home to work – maybe you occasionally, simply need to work in a professional atmosphere. Sites offer casual seating areas, meeting rooms, work rooms, phone rooms, work stations, group think spaces, private offices…you name it.
Education and networking offered continuously makes a difference. The larger Launch Sites schedule monthly education on entrepreneurship, business fundamentals and best practices. Often free and open to the public, these educational opportunities afford a great chance learn trending business information, visit a Site and meet its members. Check specific Site’s website for workshop information. Sites also often host speakers to share innovative ideas and communal concerns.
Now, that first workshop I presented, is a series of core business fundamental workshops that are presented regularly at Launch Sites around the state and I get to be part of that upbeat energy and sense of community. If you are in the Carmel area, you can visit Launch Fishers to the east and zWORKS in Zionsville to the west. There are now 28 Launch Sites/incubators and another 20 co-working spaces throughout Indiana – though there are, disappointingly, no incubators in Carmel which is a subject for another blog. I urge all small business owners to check out a Launch Site and consider membership – it might just offer the inspiration, change of scenery, education and networking that you have been seeking to grow your business.
Mark A. Roger is a business expert with FranNet MidAmerica and a business consultant since 1993. He speaks regularly as the Indiana education partner on behalf of the OSBE, ISBDC and SCORE and founder of the E Round Table. Mark’s expertise is working with individuals seeking to own local, small businesses in Indiana.