NOLABA Small Business Spotlight: Vizzit
NOLABA connects New Orleanians with the support and resources they need to achieve economic prosperity. This includes providing information for small businesses like local resource providers and certification opportunities. In a new series of small business spotlights, we’re highlighting New Orleans business owners who use these resources to grow their businesses in the city. Arthur Bart-Williams is the founder of Vizzit Places, a mobile storytelling and marketing platform for companies to promote their brands through self-guided experiences about interesting places and popular events.
Bart-Williams moved his company to New Orleans from the San Francisco Bay Area in October 2017 and utilizes The Shop, New Orleans’ newest co-working space. His only regret so far, he said, is not coming to New Orleans sooner:
1) What stands out to you most about New Orleans’ small business community?
The friendly and supportive atmosphere of the community and willingness to make introductions really stands out. I was part of last year’s IDEAtour during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and was impressed with what is happening in New Orleans in terms of the entrepreneurial and technology startup ecosystem and energy. New Orleans is a great place to launch a storytelling platform and has all the ingredients we need as an early stage company. I’m thrilled to be here and should have taken earlier advice to explore New Orleans.
2) Tell us more about the assistance you’ve gotten from our community’s resource providers that helped you get to where you are now as a business owner?
I’m in the Idea Village accelerator cohort, which is a great structure for orientation, mentorship, feedback and introductions to potential partners, customers and investors. It has been invaluable for making introductions and connections that have helped move things along. The conversations and feedback have been instrumental in shaping our approach and message at Vizzit.
3) Tell us about any struggles along your journey and how small business ecosystem partners have helped you overcome?
Getting people’s time and attention is a challenge, especially as a recent transplant. Attending the various social and networking events organized by the ecosystem partners has helped to quickly orient and educate me about living and doing business in New Orleans.
4) What future improvements in the local small business ecosystem would you like to see to help move your business forward?
It would be great to see more conferences or talks around opportunities for professional development on topics like entrepreneurship, technology, marketing and sales. I have to admit though that I was spoiled as a technology entrepreneur coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, where you could spend all your time at those kinds of events and get nothing done.
5) What are your goals for your business moving forward?
Establishing Vizzit in New Orleans as a reliable value-add for our customers, partners and users, and scaling to other cities to help companies promote their brands to consumers through self-guided audio stories about interesting places and events.
6) What advice do you have for other small business owners or aspiring business owners?
Attend as many events as you can, especially if you’re new to the area. Get out of your comfort zone to connect, be open, get to know people, form relationships and listen. There’s always something to learn and you never know where it will lead.