There’s no better place to start a business than somewhere you know and understand: your local neighborhood. But getting off the mark is not always as simple as it seems, and without the right support, for both your business and life as a whole, a startup can quickly become a false-start. Here’s some advice to help you get started:
The first and most important thing to consider before taking the plunge with any business venture is finance. According to the US Small Business Administration, most microbusinesses cost around $3,000 to start, but depending on the scope of your business, this number could fluctuate wildly. A good bet is to put aside six months’ worth of fixed costs to help cover all of your expenses. The importance of tracking costs and expenses cannot be overstated. To make life easier, consider opening separate personal and business savings and checking accounts.
If you want to run a profitable and financially secure business, it’s crucial that you have a system in place for accepting payments for products and services rendered. You can simplify the payment process and help ensure timely payments when you allow customers to pay you through your app or website. Using an API to retrieve bank account balance information can help you save on credit card fees, and your customers won’t have to worry about overdraft fees if they lack funds.
When it comes to local businesses, there are a few more important factors than location. Where you decide to set up your business affects employee quality, real estate costs, tax, regulation, and perhaps most importantly, accessibility — you want to be located somewhere inviting for customers and partners.
New business owners should also try to get to grips with zoning codes. These laws affect the ways in which land is used. They might, for example, prevent the construction of a landfill site in a residential area. For an overview of your rights and regulations, consult the EPA website or, for a more conclusive answer, contact your local government office.
It’s easier than ever to connect with your local community thanks to the use of social media. Whether you’re looking to network with fellow business owners or customers within the vicinity, an online presence has become unmistakably important. As of 2021, 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves. There are a number of ways a business can do this and the strength of each platform will depend on the nature of your service — Instagram, for example, is a proven marketing tool for restaurants. Your profile also doubles up as a customer service point, as 63% of customers actually expect companies to offer customer service through their social channels.
There can be huge benefits to joining groups on Facebook and Linkedin also. A good Facebook group for local businesses is the same as a town meeting, running 24/7. With online communities, you can easily reach out to peers, alert each other of opportunities, and keep an eye on crime in the area.
Successfully integrating into your local community is crucial to business success, and the quickest way to do this is by contributing. A charitable approach will allow you to build connections, improve brand reputation, and establish yourself as a valued neighbor.
Research shows that 91% of customers would be willing to switch brands if it meant supporting one associated with a charitable cause. This can take the form of supporting other businesses, schools, hospitals, or nursing homes with your own service. With the transparency of the digital world, no good deed goes unnoticed, and you may find that helping others is the fastest way to help yourself.
Remember, when starting out, you’re not alone: There are 30 million small businesses in the USA. Success is a matter of community, and the ones that thrive are often the ones that stick together.
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By: Patrick Young, AbleUSA.info
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