Continuing our series on Leaders & Influencers, we talk with Nick Lombardino, co-founder of the recently launched Atlas Providers, a free digital marketplace that connects emerging companies with area service providers.
Tell us about Atlas Providers and how it’s changed since its inception.
Atlas Providers is a network of local service providers, across a variety of industries, that focus on servicing emerging companies. Through our website we’ve created a free, one-stop shop for entrepreneurs to easily search, review, and connect with area service providers in a quick and transparent manner.
The first iteration of Atlas Providers was much different than it is today. Originally, we were trying to find a way for service providers to collaboratively work together for the benefit of an emerging company. Over time, we were able to zero in on a major issue that startups face: selecting the right service provider. Reason being, when entrepreneurs identify that they need to engage a service provider, they usually need that service yesterday. Moreover, they don’t have the time and energy to properly research, qualify, and shop service providers. We take that burden away.
What role has Madison played in Atlas Providers’ development?
Since the beginning, we have tried to follow the “build, measure, learn” Lean Startup Methodology. Over the past year, we have relied heavily on feedback from Madison’s startup community. Through focus groups, interviews and brain-storming sessions, we’ve been able to make continuous adjustments. We owe a great deal to entrepreneurial leaders like Forrest Woolworth, Tom Still, Zach Brandon, Brian Jensen, and Rachel Neill for their feedback and support.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
I am a fairly risk-averse person. What I’ve found, and what I’m hoping others will realize, is that entrepreneurship doesn’t always mean “jump off a cliff and build the plane on the way down.” If you have a business concept, or even just an idea, test it and engage the community. There’s very low risk in testing an idea. Through that process, you’ll learn more about its viability, and whether or not you’re passionate about scaling.
Dr. Amy Gannon recently wrote a great article called, “Hello Aspiring Entrepreneurs…Stop talking about it and just take the first step!” She does a fantastic job laying out the first steps an aspiring entrepreneur can take to mitigate risk while progressing an idea forward.
What book, blog, or podcast do you think every aspiring entrepreneur should read/listen to?
In addition to Dr. Gannon’s article, I would encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to check out two podcasts with a local flare: “Driven to Better” by Justin Sisley and “Growth Bomb” by Jenna Atkinson. The content is relatable, easy to digest and helps promote the “givers gain” mentality.
Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help businesses like Atlas Providers succeed.