Small businesses play a key role in the economic development of local communities. According to research, for every dollar spent at a local business, 67 cents remain in the community, while spending at shops run by major corporations has the opposite effect. Additionally, local businesses create job opportunities and invest in the development of the community. In this article, we explore the steps aspiring entrepreneurs should follow to start a business in the Bryan-College Station community.
Identify a Business Opportunity
Whether you’re planning to sell a product or a service, the first step is to validate whether there is a demand. For instance, if locals currently need to drive 15 minutes outside the community to visit the closest grocery store, this presents a great business idea to pursue. By opening a store within the community, not only will you automatically garner a strong customer base, but locals will directly benefit from the convenience.
Additionally, you’ll need to educate yourself on customer behaviors in your niche. Here are some important questions to answer:
How much are customers willing to spend?
How often do customers make purchases?
What is the market share currently held by competitors?
What are the main risks to your business?
Once you are confident about the idea, you can move on to the next steps.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan will serve as a guiding document for making business decisions in the short and long term. Here are important aspects it should include:
Competitive Analysis: This includes understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, and using these insights to improve your product offerings and business model.
Market Analysis: This will include insights you find during research conducted in the first step. Your focus should be on finding emerging trends, customer segments to target, and buying behaviors.
SWOT Analysis: As reported by Smart Capital Mind, SWOT analysis focuses on finding the strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the business. A SWOT analysis will provide a clear idea of where your business stands in the market and how to move forward.
As you can see, a business plan is a complex tool, and not every aspiring entrepreneur will feel comfortable creating a truly effective one on their own. If that sounds like you, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional business plan writer. You can use a hiring site to compare different professionals’ resumes, project portfolios, and prices so you can contact a few for a consultation and determine who to hire based on your conversations.
Manage Business Finances
A prominent issue faced by businesses is bad cash flow management. As a new business, maintaining healthy finances is integral for survival and garnering interest from potential investors.
Financial management can be made easy by using an online bookkeeping tool. Whether it be creating financial projects, managing inventory, making payments to vendors, or designing invoices, you can complete these functions in just a few clicks. Additionally, the centralized dashboard provided by the software makes it easy to review business performance and make informed decisions. Check out some of the top-rated options available, including FreshBooks and AccountEdge Pro, and consider utilizing one for your small business.
Complete Business Legalities
Depending on the nature of your business and the neighborhood it’s located in, you may need to obtain certain permits and licenses. It’s also wise to refrain from starting the business as a sole proprietor, as it leaves you open to the risk of being held personally accountable for liabilities and debt. As a small business owner in our great state, consider establishing a limited liability company (LLC). In addition to protection from business liabilities, if you start an LLC in Texas, you’ll be able to use expenses as tax write-offs, potentially saving hundreds to thousands of dollars a year. Since filing your LLC on your own can be a daunting task, consider using an online formation company to take care of this must-do. Use an objective review site that features different companies’ TrustPilot and customer service scores to find the best LLC services company to serve you.
Collaborate with the Local Community
Creating partnerships with existing local businesses will prove to be financially advantageous to both parties. For instance, leading up to your business launch, product samples can be distributed through fellow local businesses. In turn, post-launch you can provide referrals and host their products in your store as well.
For home-based businesses, consider creating special offers, such as providing customers discounts at your business for shopping at partnered stores and vice versa. Not only will this help your business develop credibility, but customers will benefit from offers and spend more at local businesses. Whichever route you choose, joining the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce is a great way to connect with area businesses and find mutually beneficial ways to collaborate.
By starting a business in your community, you’ll receive strong support from locals from the get-go. In turn, the community will benefit from easier access to services, job opportunities, and re-investments from your business.Image Source: Pexels