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About the Writer

Hello Startup Community! My name is Alex Suhr. I am the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Marketing Associate for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. As a 20-year-old still in college, I don’t know much about startup life. My goal with this series is to educate myself, and others on what a startup is and what it takes to run one.

 

Join me as I interview CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders and so many more! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss the next post. Also, sign up for our newsletter to see bloopers and behind-the-scenes content!

 

I can’t wait to share this series with the community. If you have any further questions, concerns, or would just like to reach out, you can email me at asuhr@selectlincoln.org.

Definition of a Startup

I am so excited to post the first blog post for my new series, “What is a startup?”. Throughout this series, I aim to uncover the true meaning of running a startup. However, before I get too far in, I need to have a baseline understanding of what the definition of a startup is.

 

The definition of the word “startup” can have many different variations. Investopedia defines it as “a company in the first stages of operations. Startups are founded by one or more entrepreneurs who want to develop a product or service for which they believe there is a demand.” – Mitchell Grant, Investopedia. Yet Forbes defines it as “young companies founded to develop a unique product or service, bring it to market and make it irresistible and irreplaceable for customers.” -Rebecca Baldridge, Benjamin Curry, Forbes. In order to have one solid definition to go off of, I have created my own using these two sources. “A startup is a newly founded company that develops a product or service that they believe there is a demand for. This product or service is often aimed at addressing an unsolved issue.” -Alex Suhr, LPED.

 

In the following weeks, I will build off my definition and create a better understanding of what a startup is. I cannot wait to take you all on the journey! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see every post that comes out on Fridays. Also, make sure to sign up for our newsletter to see bloopers and behind-the-scenes content! I love hearing from you, so if you have any questions, concerns or would just like to chat, feel free to email me at asuhr@selectlincoln.org!

 

Thank you all,

Alex

The Difference Between a Startup and a Small Business?

Hello everyone! Welcome back! This week we will be looking at the difference between a small business and a startup. Although both are considered young companies, it is important to understand and know the differences. 

 

“Startups are typically online or technology-oriented businesses that can easily reach a large market. To operate a small business, on the other hand, you don’t need a big market to grow into. You just need a market, and you need to be able to reach and serve all those within your market in an efficient way,” Jared Hecht, Forbes contributor.

 

Here is a made-up example for reference. We have two companies. First is Starlight, an online company that created a program to help astrologists and astrology enthusiasts better track and record their findings, while also being able to connect with other people in that niche to converse about their findings. Second is a local boutique named Red Rivers, a Nebraska-based boutique that sells Husker-themed women’s clothing and accessories. According to Forbes, Starlight is considered a startup because they are an online tech-oriented business that reaches a large market, astrologists and astrology enthusiasts across the world. Red Rivers would be the small business. Although they may sell their clothing online, they only cater to one specific market, which is the women in Nebraska or those who are fans of the Huskers. They wouldn’t sell Hawkeye gear because their market wouldn’t buy it. 

 

Knowing the difference between a small business and a startup helps us better understand the startup community because they are going to have different struggles and goals than a small business would. Thank you so much for reading!

 

Until Next Week,

Alex

Why Are Startups Important?

This series is broken up into three parts- – the background, the process and the result. This week’s post will conclude the first part, the background. It is crucial to understand what a startup is defined as before seeking the answer to what a startup really is. Our last steppingstone is answering the questions, why are startups important? Why should we care? 

 

“While startups may lack the political or financial power of Wall Street firms, rarely make the Fortune 500 or Fortune 100 lists, and receive far less press than big companies, their collective contribution to the economy is essential. Startups, particularly high-potential ones, are responsible for nearly all net job growth, experience growth rates substantially higher than other firms, and have a fundamental impact on overall economic productivity in our economy. In other words, startups’ contribution to our economy is the big small,” says Bryan Ritchie, Nick Swisher, Idea Center contributors. 

 

To give another perspective, “startups are the future of business. They’re small companies that have big ideas, and they’re often more innovative than large corporations. Startups provide a lot of jobs as well as new products and services to help grow our economy,” according to Wasim Jabbar, Business Data List contributor.

 

To really hit the nail on the head, Jabbar couldn’t have said it better. “Startups are essential because they break molds, fix problems and empower individuals to build the future. They provide us with fresh innovations and services, which may be more relevant to the world’s needs. Without cutting-edge startups, we would be stuck using typewriters at photocopying machines.” In order for society to advance, we need startups, plain and simple. 

 

I cannot wait for the next part of this series. I am so excited to share with you the experiences of the people I have had the pleasure of interviewing. If you want a sneak peek into next week’s post, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and scroll to the bottom. 

 

Until Next Week, 

Alex

The Idea

Hello everyone, welcome back to our Startup Series! Now that we have defined what a startup is, we can start the next phase, the process. The process can look different depending on the product or service you are attempting to market, but most of the time, the process starts with a simple idea. This idea is the foundation for the problem you are trying to solve or the issue you are looking to address. Without a strong starting point, without a solid idea, your startup is likely destined to fail.

 

I had the pleasure of speaking to Christie Stukenholtz and hearing how her simple idea lead to the creation of Senior Care Finder.

 

Stukenholtz’s husband had been working in the senior living industry for about a decade, and they always had lively dinner conversations about what could be done better or differently. “This search and struggle that care, seekers, when they are looking for care, usually for a loved one, was a big hot button for him,” Stukenholtz said. The discussion didn’t really become personal until Stukenholtz’s grandmother in Washington state needed additional care. Trying to answer the questions, “where could she go”, “what are our options”, and “how do we compare these options and make the right decision”, became overwhelming for them, even with having someone who has worked in the senior living industry for so long. It was an extremely stressful experience for them and took them flying to Washington, renting a car and searching for all the best care options. “After going through it myself, with my own family, on the flight home I just kept thinking, there has to be a better way,” Stukenholtz said. 

 

Right before the pandemic hit, Stukenholtz sat down with her husband and said, “either we are going to do something about this or stop talking about it”. They did an abundance of research and discussed their idea with countless contacts they had. Finally, they decided to apply for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development Prototype Grant to help them validate and get their idea off the ground, which they were awarded. “It was really the trigger to say, okay this idea has legs, let’s go do it,” Stukenholtz said. They knew this would be an industry-disrupting moment and decided all of the risks and challenges were worth it. 

 

The idea behind a startup is the solution to a problem that you believe needs to be solved. “We had spent years leading up to deciding to go for it talking to people and having conversations,” Stukenholtz said. “We were confident by the time that we decided to go for it that the problem existed and that there was a real need for an industry-disrupting solution that approached it in a different way,” Stukenholtz said. After speaking to people, they were consistently hearing that this was a problem senior care providers were facing as well as the individuals looking for care. When you have a possible solution to a problem, it is important to talk to other people and truly listen to what they have to say about your idea. They may change the way you think about the problem or solidify the need for a solution. 

 

With the help of Christie and her husband Heath, we now have an easier way to find quality senior care for our loved ones, and it all started with a simple idea. 

 

Senior Care Finder is the only complete nationwide directory of independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term care, skilled nursing, home health care, hospice providers, and more. Search by location or provider name to find the most comprehensive list available. Compare quality ratings, amenities, and services offered to help you narrow your list. Share your favorites with loved ones and contact providers directly. Search, compare, and find the best senior care. Be sure to check them out at Seniorcarefinder.com.

 

I want to say a special thank you to Christie for taking the time to speak to me! I am always appreciative of the people taking time out of their day to let me ask them my questions. I would also like to say thank you to Jacob who sits next to me for helping me proofread this. 

 

Until Next Time,

Alex