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By Guest Writer: Meredith Jones
Don’t be fooled: You don’t have to be in a big city to experience big business. By doing research and preparing the right way, you can start a small business in your local community that thrives. What’s more, your business could also contribute to the enrichment and flourishing of the community itself. In that sense, it’s a win-win!
At Mid-Plains United Way, the focus is to help build stronger communities in any way that we can. That’s why we’ve provided a few practical tips for entrepreneurs who are thinking about opening a business amongst their neighbors:
Choose a Path
When starting a business that is focused on local residents, it’s essential to understand two things:
The concentrated market can work to your advantage.
The limited population can present challenges.
In order to build a local business that succeeds long-term, you’ll have to provide a high-quality product or service that consistently meets the demand of your market. This requires extensive research of your local market and geographic location, among other things. In other words, what do people in your town need?
After laying the groundwork, you need to brainstorm and sift through business ideas until you find the right one. Here are some small business ideas to kick off your brainstorming and research:
● Food truck
● Coffee shop
● Pet grooming and boarding
● Salon or barbershop
● Grocery store
● Bed and breakfast
● Event venue and planning
● Clothing store
● Real estate agency
Handle Legal Matters
Once you have a solid business idea in place, you want to start getting the legal matters in order. While there are several tasks required to make your business legal, one of the most essential tasks will be to determine which structure is best for your business.
Overall, a lot of business owners choose to form an LLC because of the limited liability, tax benefits, and minimal paperwork involved, among other advantages. Do your homework to learn about state regulations for forming an LLC, and think about working with a formation service to make the process easier on yourself.
Start Building Your Team
Unless you plan on operating as a solopreneur, you want to start recruiting team members early on in your business’ development. In fact, even if you want to be the only employee, you’ll want to consider what types of freelancers can help put your company in a position for success.
Remember that the “people” element of your company is at least as important as the product or service you sell. So choose qualified, reliable workers. Once you figure out your team, you can start fine-tuning your product/service and developing your brand.
Benefit Your Community
Running your own business can provide you with a thoroughly rewarding career. But if you get involved in your community, it can take the fulfillment to a whole new level. See how you can contribute to the lives of your neighbors — even if it seems like a small effort on your part, it can make a big difference to other people. Here are a few ideas to consider:
● Donate to a homeless shelter and/or other local charity.
● Participate in local charity events.
● Join the local chamber of commerce.
● Sponsor children’s sports teams and/or art initiatives in your area.
Starting a local business can be both fulfilling and profitable. Research your local market and settle on a business idea that will meet the needs of local residents. Make sure you take care of all your legal matters and start building your team early on. Lastly, think of ways that your company can contribute to the betterment of your community. Then, you’ll put yourself in a position for long-term flourishing.