Guest Author: Amy Collett
Starting your own small business is a great way to pursue your goals on your own terms while also offering something worthwhile to your community. In fact, many small businesses get their start when a perceptive entrepreneur sees a local need and decides to fill it. This is a win-win situation. You have an opportunity to make a living as a business owner, while the community has access to a new product or service that enhances quality of life and the common good.
How small businesses serve their communities
Small businesses are good for their communities in other ways as well. It’s not just that a new clothing store or ice cream shop provides locals with something that benefits them or gives them pleasure; it also provides new job opportunities for citizens. Small businesses tend to reduce environmental impact because, typically, they use existing buildings and don’t destroy green spaces.
Further, when a successful business forms in a community, people no longer have to travel out of their area to find what they’re looking for. This means a reduction in carbon emissions, as well as money saved. It also means more customers will be attracted to that area, benefiting other small businesses. The taxes from a small business then circulate back to the community, supporting other improvements.
Should you start your own business?
Taking the leap into entrepreneurship is a big decision. It can be fun, rewarding, and lucrative – but it is also a lot of work, and there will be some stress along the way. Before you make this move, you should check a few boxes. Ask yourself if this is the right moment if you need to raise more funds, or deal with other business or personal challenges first. Do some research on the local market and its demographics to be sure there is a need for what you have to offer and not too much competition. Once you have decided that this is the right time for your business idea, take some time for planning so the process of creating your company goes smoothly.
Administrative tasks for new business owners
If you’re new to entrepreneurship, it’s useful to know the basic tasks you’ll have to complete to launch your business. First, you need to decide which business entity is right for you. Many small business owners opt to form their business as a limited liability company. Other common entities are partnership and sole proprietorship.
Then, you need to come up with a business name. This is a bigger deal than you may realize. Your name is part of your branding, which is important for market success. You will also have to register your business name when you form your company. Your company’s legal name may not necessarily be the name you want to do business under. For instance, you may form your LLC in your name, but want to do business under a name that better reflects your brand or is more memorable or appealing. In this case, you will also need to file a DBA or “doing business as” name.
What makes a small business successful?
When starting a small business intended to serve a specific community, it’s important to engage in local networking and advertising. You can use social media for this: Join local Facebook groups dedicated to business and the community. Get in touch with area business and civic leaders, and find out how you can collaborate moving forward. Be physically present, too. Show up at local government meetings and serve on committees, if possible. Take advantage of local advertising opportunities such as your community news sources and even flyers posted in public places, as well as free social media marketing optimized with local SEO.
When you start your small, local business, it’s important to keep in mind the way it can enhance your community. This needs to remain a focal point when you consider your goals and objectives, from the beginning through the planning stages and as you pursue business growth down the road.