There comes a time for many startup companies where they either realize they need to do a nationwide rollout, or they need to actively target buyers in the middle of the country. If you are a startup on either the East or the West Coasts, it’s worth thinking about how this market might present its own set of unique challenges, and how you plan to overcome them.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what some people call “flyover country,” and as a San Francisco native who spent two decades in New York, Washington DC, and Boston before moving to Pittsburgh, I can assure you they are almost all wrong. Without getting into specifics, the reality of “middle America” is that it’s the same as anywhere else.
Income, education, world view, and waistlines are all varied. It’s pretty accurate that San Francisco possesses a culture obsessed with fitness and entrepreneurship, but California isn’t necessarily all like that, and if you think it is, I encourage you to go to Bakersfield, the Central Valley, or Eureka sometime.
In addition, just because the stereotypes are wrong doesn’t mean there’s nothing different about doing business here. As you think about how to conduct your rollout, here are some things you should consider:
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As with any market, research is key since it informs every other aspect of the rollout. Start by looking into who your competition is.
Since there are fewer VC-backed startups in middle America, and smaller companies tend to get less press, the research may be harder. However, there are some major universities that are actively putting money into their own Entrepreneurship programs and those spinoffs often do very well.