Read any headline about the fastest growing cities in America, and Austin is among the top of the list. After all, it unseated Silicon Valley, and hit #1 in the U.S. as a city for start ups (Kauffman Index Report 2015). The surrounding hill country with magnificent Texas wildflowers in spring is simply breathtaking. But, Austin’s true uniqueness is its culture. When I arrived almost three years ago, I had a few phone numbers from friends and former colleagues. I half-expected one call but instead received invitations to luncheons, happy hours and a “how can I help you?” from senior level entrepreneurs, inventors, technologists, marketers and other professionals. I gained mentors, colleagues, peers and friends at Austin Tech Breakfasts, the Capital Factory, meetups and the Austin Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Recently, my firm was proud to co-sponsor a women’s entrepreneurial panel as part of our “Women in Leadership Group.” I realized that Austin’s ‘je ne sais quoi’ is its welcoming nature that draws you in with a warm embrace – whether you interface with lifelong Austinites, the college students who never leave or newbies from around the globe like me.
Each Austin-based panelist including moderator, Melinda Garvey, an entrepreneur herself, co-founder and publisher of Austin Women Magazine and On the Dot, provided mantras on what has helped to define their entrepreneurial successes. Their three primary tips of creativity, authenticity and knowing oneself might be a roadmap to put your own entrepreneurial aspirations into action.
Be Creative: “It’s fine to be bored. Boredom Begets Creativity.” Yvonne Tocquigny, Founder and CEO of Tocquigny , an internationally recognized digital marketing agency. The ability to generate ideas and be creative is one that requires time without distractions. Not having anything to do usually means time to self-motivate and taking time out to think. For example, in creating brands for companies, one needs to spend time with a blank canvas as the essence and success of a brand permeates to end-users in a personal way.
Be Authentic: “Be Confident in Your Authenticity.” Blake Shanley, Founder of Noun Connectors and Tiny Taiga Not only does it take being authentic to inspire oneself but to inspire others, too. The learning process is a continuum – a building block for not morphing into something else for the sake of business. Entrepreneurship is a learning process both from others and their experiences and in taking time to reflect on your own.
Know Yourself. Know Your Client: “Get to Know Yourselves and Your Clients in Order to Get Things Done.” Lisa Henken Ramirez, Vice President for Customer Experience at NetSpend Sometimes, you have to build new programs in order to achieve maximum results. In the case of increasing the lifetime value (LTV) of a client, and promoting loyalty, retention and referrals, this often entails in person discussions with your clients to understand their business needs. At the same time, being able to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone can be highly impactful.
But, that’s not all. Each of these panelists and the moderator stated that their successes can be attributed to giving back in their community, Austin. Today’s intern is tomorrow’s client. Or someone more junior asking for advice is a future partner. Or not. That the Austin culture of a “how can I help you,” is done simply to give back to the community in full measure.
While this native New York/New Jersey lady may still sing Bruce Springsteen’s “Jersey Girl,” with a little more conviction than “Amarillo by Morning,” Austin is a very special place to call home.
Note: McGinnis Lochridge was proud to co-sponsor the Second Women in Leadership Luncheon with Holtzman Partners and Texas Capital Bank.