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Have you thought about launching a local business? Starting a local business is a great way to get involved in your community, meet your neighbors, and earn an income doing something you love. Of course, launching a business requires a lot of planning. You will need to conduct market research, make a series of important financial decisions, and tackle a number of legal tasks. Here’s a quick guide to walk you through the process!
Why Launch a Local Business?
Small businesses benefit local communities in countless ways. Most of the money spent at local businesses stays in the community, fueling the local economy and supporting the people who live there. Local businesses create new jobs. They utilize other local businesses when they need professional services or products. They pay taxes that go towards local amenities like parks, schools, and emergency services. They make donations and sponsor local charities, events, and sports teams. They drive innovation through healthy competition. They offer shoppers access to unique and diverse products unavailable through big-box retailers. The list goes on! By launching a local business, you’re helping your community thrive.
Start with Market Research
Market research may sound complicated, but the premise is relatively simple. Conducting market research will ensure that your target customers are willing to pay for your product or service. After researching your market, you’ll have a much better picture of your ideal customers, what they like and dislike, the best ways to reach them, and how you can steer them away from your competitors. There are many different ways to do market research, including online surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews with members or your target audience.
Name and Register Your Business
Once you’ve verified your business idea through market research, it’s time to name and register your new company. You will also have to choose a structure for your business. Most small businesses start out as sole proprietorships or LLCs to minimize paperwork and ensure flexibility. If you decide to launch your business as a sole proprietorship and you want to operate under a name other than your own, consider creating a DBA (Doing Business As). Through companies like ZenBusiness, you can register a business name online in a couple of minutes!
Choose a Business Location
Your business location can make or break your business. When choosing a business location, it’s important to think beyond the cost of rent! Score.org stresses the importance of considering other location factors like accessibility, growth potential, and cargo needs. Do you need space to store inventory or manufacture products? What about office space for employees? Do you have to meet with clients in person or can you conduct all business remotely? Your local Chamber of Commerce is an excellent resource for information about business locations and incentives for opening in certain areas.
Engage with the Community
Getting involved in your community serves many purposes. By getting out there and connecting with members of your community, you’ll establish a strong reputation for your business and drum up a group of loyal followers who support your brand. One great way to engage with your community is to sponsor a local charity event, sports team, or festival. Look out for local sponsorship opportunities that align with your business mission and values. Event sponsorships are also a great opportunity to network with other business owners and leaders in your community.
Speaking of networking, teaming up with other local businesses is another fantastic community engagement approach. Partnerships build brand awareness, serve as free marketing, and help others keep their businesses up and running. Choose a business that compliments rather than competes with yours. For example, if you’re an event planner, look for partners in other event vendors, such as photo studios, catering businesses, and entertainment companies.
Few things are as rewarding as running a local business. Unlike running a business remotely, operating locally makes it possible to connect with community members on a deeper level. You’ll build strong connections with loyal shoppers, form partnerships with local brands, and contribute to the culture and economy of your immediate area. Get started today!