Cleveland, Ohio is home to a massive corporate headquarters, a world-class sports team, and a very active art scene. It also hosts the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Art. These are all institutions that fuel Cleveland’s cultural scene and economic prosperity. The fact that so many famous and interesting places of culture sit in one city is a testament to Cleveland’s rich legacy of art and music, as well as sports and business. In 2018, Forbes ranked Cleveland as the 4th most valuable city in America, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $22.9 billion.
The Case For Entrepreneurship
The city of Cleveland is known for its entrepreneurship. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of business establishments in Cleveland nearly doubled, increasing by 29.9%. Today, there are more than 300,000 businesses in Cleveland, and over 100,000 new businesses are founded each year. In fact, the city is home to the Young Entrepreneurs’ Incubator (Y.E.I.), a program that provides business students with the education and resources they need to build their enterprises.
These numbers make Cleveland a breeding ground for new businesses and entrepreneurs. Indeed, one of the city’s most exciting annual events is the Great Lakes Entrepreneurship Seminar (GLEPS). The seminar is a collaborative effort between Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron, and it brings together hundreds of business students and entrepreneurs from around the region. The goal of GLEPS is to provide participants with the practical knowledge and network they need to succeed in the real world. Since its inception, GLEPS has sponsored more than 500 students who have gone on to found 65 new businesses and lead new projects, including:
- Ava, which provides virtual assistant services for attorneys
- BizEaze, an online marketplace for buying and selling used and vintage books, maps, and records
- BizEaze2, an online marketplace for buying and selling used and vintage books, maps, and records
- CloudCracker, an online resource for finding the perfect gifts for your friends and relatives
- Cornerstone Design, a luxury gift-wrap company that started as a side project while the owners were working on their M.B.A.
- CrowdRiff, which connects customers with independent contractors who can do any kind of work for them
- Drybar, an online marketplace that connects people with stylists and makes them earn by collaborating
- Elago, which creates educational videos for children
- Futurpreneur, a social investment platform that lets people donate money for a chance to invest in startups
- iRobot, which makes automated retail assistants that help in shopping centers
- iSolar, which provides renewable energy for homeowners
- Komori, which creates innovative storage solutions for businesses and homeowners
- Little Darlings, which creates designer baby clothes
- Makala, which offers special sales for families
- Mediakix, which provides medical device marketers with effective B2B marketing solutions
- Miele, which provides high-end consumer appliances manufactured in Europe
- Oberlo, which offers over 100,000 different items from brands such as Marc Jacobs, Steve Madden, and many more
- Pollen, which helps businesses become more eco-friendly
- Precision Appliances, which creates water efficient appliances for homeowners
- Prism Digital, an eCommerce platform that connects stylists with brides to be and grooms looking for a wedding gift
- RecycleIT, which provides businesses with a green supply chain solution
- Sage BizEaze, an eCommerce platform that connects small businesses with customers
- Sage BizEaze2, an eCommerce platform that connects small businesses with customers
- Shade Spot, which creates designer sunglasses for men and women
- Sustainability Direct, provides businesses with a one-stop-shop for sustainable product sourcing, marketing, and procurement
- Vesta, which makes high-end specialty coffee for home use and cafés
From Idea To Execution
In the words of John Doherty, cofounder and president of the Young Entrepreneurs’ Incubator (Y.E.I.), “If you’re in Cleveland, you’re going to be in business.” This is because the city encourages entrepreneurship and provides business students and young professionals with the education and support they need to start and grow their businesses. The Y.E.I. is just one of the many business organizations that serve the greater Cleveland community. It was started in 1994 and is one of the largest and most successful incubators in the United States.
The Y.E.I. provides business students and young professionals with the education and support they need to start and grow their businesses. One of the incubator’s most prominent programs is the Young Entrepreneurs’ Club (Y.E.C.), which brings together students from the Case Western Reserve University School of Business and the University of Akron’s Weatherhead School of Business to work on real-world business projects and to establish professional networks.
The programs at the Y.E.I. are not limited to teaching students how to be successful entrepreneurs, however. The incubator also provides executives with the tools they need to be more efficient and productive. One program, the Executive MBA, which is offered in partnership with Case Western Reserve University, brings together senior executives from around the world for two-week business trips to Cleveland each year. The participants get a taste of what it is like to be an entrepreneur in practice and build real-world business plans that they can take back to their companies.
Another great institution that serves the Cleveland community is the Greater Cleveland Business Association (GCBA). The association provides a voice for business owners and professionals, encourages business growth and development, and promotes the cultural diversity of the greater Cleveland area.
Why Should You Launch A Product Or Service To Generate Leads In Cleveland, Ohio?
The best place to find customers is where they are. People want what they want, and they are more likely to be exposed to your product or service if you show up where they already are. If you are looking to generate leads in Cleveland, Ohio, there are several options open to you. You can launch a product or service to serve the city’s large population of affluent, technologically savvy consumers. Or, you can found a business in an underserved market and offer products or services that people want but cannot easily find.
A product or service that is available in the city’s bustling marketplaces will likely generate more leads than one that does not exist yet in a city where everyone and their grandmother needs something. In today’s hyper-connected world, where information is just a few taps away, nobody is immune to hearing about your product or service. You just have to make sure that when they do, you are the first person they will think of when the question “What should I buy?” comes up.
Let’s say you’re the founder of a clothing brand that caters to professional women and you want to expand your reach to include the city’s large college population. Perhaps you have noticed that a lot of the women students you see at the various universities in Cleveland are often dressed in very professional attire. This is likely because these are the women that you will find working at the city’s biggest companies, which often have formal dress codes. This is also the population that is frequenting bars and restaurants dressed in their best clothes, looking for something exciting to happen.
If this sounds like a market you want to be in, take a look at the demand for your product or service in the city. You can use platforms like SurveyMonkey to quickly get a sense of what your potential customers think about your brand and what would entice them to buy your product. Or, you can head to your local library and see what books are being checked out about your niche. Use this information to find your audience and establish your brand’s credibility before diving into the nitty gritty of actually creating the product.
There are many benefits to generating leads in Cleveland, Ohio. To begin with, you will have a ready-made audience of interested parties. Secondly, you will have the opportunity to build customer trust and loyalty, which are crucial to the long-term success of your business. Third, you can use these contacts to begin your marketing and sales process, which will not be as stressful as starting from scratch. Finally, you will have the skills and networks you need to take your business to the next level.