By Gloria Martinez
The backbone of any community lies in its local businesses. Not only do small businesses help regional economies thrive and provide job opportunities for residents, but they also help build the character of their local areas, bring people in the community together, and much more.
If you’re considering starting a local business, there are fundamental steps you’ll need to take to lay a solid foundation for long-term success. East Coast Current has some practical information and advice for how you can build a flourishing business that contributes to your community:
Essential Steps to Starting Your Business
Before you get to a place where your business can make a lasting impact on your community, you have to establish the business itself! Here are some key steps to prepare for:
Confirm your idea.
Before proceeding with your business idea, make sure it stands a chance of succeeding. Conduct market research in your area to confirm that there is a need for the products or services you want to provide. Determine what problem your business will solve for your target customers and establish what makes your business idea stand apart from the competition.
Make an operating agreement.
If your business will be a limited liability company (LLC), then you will need to create an operating agreement. This agreement lays out the details of how your business will be structured and managed, and it presents the responsibilities, rights, and authority of each individual involved. Some states require an operating agreement, while others don’t. Regardless, it’s something you’ll want to do to put your business in a position to succeed. You can simplify the process by working with a formation service like ZenBusiness to file your LLC.
Create a budget and business plan.
You’ll also need to develop a company budget and a business plan. Consider all the costs of starting and running a business to ensure you establish a firm financial footing. These costs include but are not limited to local licenses, equipment, brand development, market research, marketing, trademarking, travel expenses, and production.
Once your business idea is well-researched and confirmed, put all of the details in a business plan. This document should include a summary of any information related to the first few years of your business, and you’ll use it to secure funding and navigate challenges that come your way.
Brand and promote.
Before you even finalize your product or service, develop your branding and begin promoting it online. Create a unique and attractive logo, and build a top-notch website that will serve as the central marketing hub of your business. Use any and all methods of marketing that can benefit your business, such as social media, email, pay-per-click advertising, and local advertising.
How Your Local Business Can Affect Change
You have no shortage of options when it comes to contributing to your community as a business. Naturally, the further along you get into success, the more resources you’ll have to make an impact, but you don’t have to wait until you hit a major milestone to start helping others!
Create a free workshop or online course where you share your expertise with other entrepreneurs and small businesses in the area. Encourage and incentivize your employees to volunteer at local charities and nonprofits in the neighborhood. Look for opportunities to sponsor recreational sports teams and community activities, and remain open to how you can partner with other businesses to champion causes that coincide with your core values.
Starting a business in your community can go a long way in improving the lives of its citizens. Remember to consider the tips above for starting your business off strong, and keep researching other steps necessary to position yourself for long-term success. Lastly, constantly look for ways that you and your employees can make real, impactful changes in your neighborhoods – that is what will bring fulfillment to your career more than anything!
Based in Volusia County? Learn How to Do Business with the County:
Would you like to do business with Volusia County Government, but don’t know where to begin?
Get some tips from Volusia County’s Purchasing and Contracts Division during two upcoming webinars. The webinars will be presented on GoToWebinar from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15; and from 9 to 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16.
County employees will demonstrate how to register as a vendor; explain how to submit bids, proposals and quotes; and discuss state and local ordinances relevant to working with the county. They also will explain the information channels available to vendors and answer questions.
To register for the Sept. 15 session, visit https://tinyurl.com/az4er62z.
To register for the Sept. 16 session, visit https://tinyurl.com/w27ep79u.
Registrants will receive a confirmation email explaining how to join the webinar.For more information, call 386-736-5935, ext. 12490.
Gloria Martinez loves sharing her business expertise and hopes to inspire other women to start their own businesses and seek promotions in the workplace. She created WomenLed.org to spotlight and celebrate women’s achievements.