From Startup Week: 5 Tips for starting a business in San Diego

June 3, 2019

ISA panel

Once a year, Startup San Diego brings together local entrepreneurs to strengthen connections, share progress, exchange resources and celebrate the thriving innovation community at San Diego Startup Week. This year’s event went from May 28 to June 2.

This year’s theme was “We are San Diego” to highlight innovation happening all over the region. With sessions in Tijuana, Mexico, downtown San Diego, Carlsbad and Barrio Logan, our region’s robust and diverse tech scene was showcased on its home turf.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership led a panel discussion on the role that Income Share Agreements (ISAs) will play in San Diego’s tech sector over the next 2 decades. Speakers on the panel included career consultant Alistair Penny and research analyst Jamal Russell Black from the Workforce Partnership, Kurling Robinson, CEO of Fokcus and Josh Shapiro, Assistant Dean at UCSD Extension.

“One of the most exciting things that I took from our panel was how committed to diversity the San Diego Startup community is,” said Penny. “This mindset fits in perfectly with income share agreements, which if used properly, will allow us to invest in those who often get overlooked in higher education—keeping them from entering high-earning professions within the region’s tech sector.”

Throughout the day, conference attendees took a break from keynotes and sessions to wander the resource fair. There, we asked business owners and speakers for their top piece of advice for San Diego County entrepreneurs.

Here’s what they want you to know:

Utilize the resources in front of you

 “There are tons of free resources as far as education goes, such as free business counseling,” said Lizzie with Accion. “Attend as many mentorship events as you can to get a second pair of eyes on your project and then grow together.”

Accion is a nonprofit, mission-based microlender dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs with the accessible financing and resources it takes to create or grow healthy businesses. Learn more about their programs and mentorship opportunities.

“As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly learning to give it your all. In order to grow, it’s both crucial and beneficial to learn how to ask for help” said Lizzie.

Network, network, networkWeWork booth networking

“Our goal is to be a resource for entrepreneurs who can utilize our space and memberships to network with other business owners. We want to create a sense of community for all the people we serve,” said Katie with WeWork. “Our advice to young entrepreneurs is to step outside your comfort zone. You never know what resource is waiting for you by simply gathering with like-minded people.”

Diversity is key

“For orgs looking to grow, have diversity,” said Russell Black. “Through a diverse sector, you can innovate in ways you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Involve women and minorities, which can increase retention.”

Move now, not when your “ready”

“There’s a big issue with females where we never feel like we’re never ready or prepared [to start a business],” said Debbie Chen, founder of Hydrostasis. “The truth is…NO ONE is ready, you just have to go for it!”

Use the BOSS system

Greg Shepard is the founder of Pepperjam, the first fully-integrated affiliate marketing lifecycle platform purpose-built for the modern marketer. Greg recommends San Diego entrepreneurs use BOSS (Business Operating Support System), which is designed to help grow and scale businesses using the following 5-phase process:

  • North Star: Vision
  • Strategy: Plan
  • Execution: Doing
  • Standardization: Documentation
  • Kaizen Loop: Improvement

For more help with your business, check out the Startup San Diego resource page and contact business@workforce.org to chat about how we can work together to solve your businesses biggest pain points.