Over 6 months in the making (no make that 25 years!)
What is Local Leader? The short story is that it’s website devoted to helping local businesses and the communities they serve.
The long story is that it’s the culmination of something I’ve been trying to get off the ground in one form or another for over 25 years — embarrassing, but true.
Back in 1997, while I was running the Akron-Canton Connection (some of you old-timers might remember our long-distance phone service), I had the idea of creating a website called AkronCanton.com. The Internet was still quite new back then and I wanted to be part of it.
AkronCanton.com was to essentially be a combination business directory and online newspaper – featuring a “yellow pages” section with information about local businesses. Plus we had news, weather, sports, entertainment, and even classified ads.
I’d like to say it was just way ahead of it’s time. The reality is that I simply had no idea how to get project of that magnitude off the ground. Neverless, the site as built — and it worked, after a fashion, but I was not able to get the traction needed.
I didn’t give up. A year later I offered a paired-down version that focused only on my local community of Lake Township, but sadly, that was met with little interest as well. A couple years later, I tried once again with a with a website called LakeToday.com, but again the same fate.
After that, I veered off into other projects. Like many others, I was caught up with “shiny object syndrome” — a psychologcal disorder that’s become partitularly prevalent in the Internet Age. It’s the result of “information overwhelm” and the inability to focus on one goal long enough to acheive success.
Having owned a couple of small businesses, most notably a HouseMaster of America home inspection franchise from 1985 to 1991, and later the Akron-Canton Connection telephone service from 1993 to 2005, I felt a kinship with other small business owners. I understood many of their struggles.
For that reason, I continued, over the years, to come back to the idea of finding “a better way” to connect local businesses with the people in their community — what could be considered the “shop local” initiative.
Of course, it’s not easy to invent something new and better, especially with very limited time, talent, and resources. Neverthess (and despite continually being distracted by other opportunities), I find myself coming back this same goal over and over again.
To make a long story short, it’s now 2022 and I’m no longer a young man. Neverthesless, my dream has not faded. In fact, in some ways it’s intensified. I’ve become keenly aware that I’m running out of time to accomplish something of significance. I don’t want to say that creating this business is my sole mission and purpose for being put on the earth, but sometimes it feels that way.
Allow me to briefly explain my vision for Local Leader.
- To provide an easy, effective, and affordable way for businesses to connect with consumers
- To become a trusted resource for people in the communities we serve
- To provide an opportunities for entreprepreneurs like me across the country to serve their local communities