David R Kiger

The number of Silicon Valley start-ups seems to grow faster than Mark Zuckerberg’s bank account. There are studies that show some of the most successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have significant advantages over other business owners, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start a successful company in other areas of the country. You don’t need the location, you just need the mindset.

Relevancy Requires Reinvention

Having to constantly update your iPhone or adjust to a new Facebook design can be frustrating, but those changes are crucial to the companies putting them out. When there are a dozen other startups waiting to take your place, you must constantly think of the next new product or service you can offer.

That said, you must strike a balance between how often you put out updates. Changing your business might bring in new customers, but it might also alienate the old ones. The best solution is to implement new changes slowly at first and ask for lots of feedback. If your customers are happy with how you run things now and you’re getting a steady stream of new buyers, you might not need to make any changes.

Keep in mind, though, that technologies and consumer attitudes can change rapidly, so having a plan to announce a major change is always a good idea.

It’s All About Attitude

Perhaps one of the most common stereotypes of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur is a 20-something college dropout running a billion-dollar company in flip-flops. It’s been widely documented that investors in the Valley prefer entrepreneurs in their 20s, but don’t let that stop you from opening your own business. Some of the most revered inventors of all time – Ben Franklin, Henry Ford, even Apple’s own Steve Jobs – came up with their best ideas later in life.

There are, however, some qualities of young entrepreneurs that every business owner should adopt. The most important is to forget your limits. Giving yourself boundaries stifles creativity and puts you in a box. Some of the most successful ideas came about simply because someone refused to accept the idea that it wasn’t possible.

It’s also important to go with the flow. Despite the massive concentration of wealth and power, Silicon Valley has a very laid back attitude. Allowing yourself a little more freedom at the office can actually boost your creativity. Let’s say you’re having an off day. Rather than forcing yourself to sit at a desk for eight hours, take the day off. Sit at a coffee shop or go for a walk. Don’t follow a rigid schedule if it doesn’t work for you. Wait for inspiration and your creativity will come organically.

Innovation Trumps All

Finally, the most crucial aspect of Silicon Valley is its thirst for innovation. Hopeful business owners flock to the area, each with an idea more inventive than the last. You can adopt this idea by studying your competitors. Ask yourself two questions:

  • What do they offer that I don’t?
  • How can I bring something new to the table?

Looking at your business from this point of view will encourage you to think about your industry in a different way. Rather than focusing on the small picture, you can challenge yourself to create a product or business model that revolutionizes your industry. After all, that’s what Silicon Valley is really all about.