Tips for Starting a Community-Based Business

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly eager to support smaller local businesses. If you’re interested in starting a small business in your community, now is a great time to pursue your dream. If you’re new to entrepreneurship, you want to plan carefully. The right strategy will help inform your success. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help get your community-based business off the ground.

 

Determine your community’s needs

 When starting a local business, you want to make sure that you will be contributing positively to the community. Do your research to see what goods and services your neighborhood could use. Active Campaign provides tips for conducting market research. Popular techniques include conducting surveys, providing questionnaires, running focus groups, and participating in structured interviews.

 

Draft a business plan

 Once you have an idea of how your business can benefit your community, put it in writing. Create a business plan that outlines exactly what goods and services you’ll offer, your target audience, and how you’ll market to them. A comprehensive business plan should also cover administrative details, like who will own the company, the structure type, and financial projections. You can use a free template to help you draft the document.

 

Register your business with your state

Registering your business with your state establishes it as a legal entity, which can help protect your personal liability and provide tax advantages. You can also register a “doing business as” or DBA name for your company. This will make it easier to expand your product and service offering, allowing you to sell goods under an alternate name. Make sure there is a website domain available for your chosen DBA.

 

Determine your startup costs

Unless you have a lot of money saved, you’ll probably want some extra financial support to get your business off the ground. Startup funding can cover costs of technology, staffing, commercial rent, inventory, and more. There are many ways you can fund your business, from government-run small business loans to angel investors, crowdfunding, and peer-to-peer lending. First, calculate your startup costs to figure out how much you need.

 

Get the tools and technology you need

 Once you have your startup money, you can get the supplies you need. In addition to inventory and tools, consider technology that can help streamline your business operations. Business software tools can help with accounting, payroll, time tracking, collaboration, and more. Act offers a roundup of useful tools worth considering. While you may be hesitant to pay for these products, they can actually save you time and money in the big picture.

 

Keep your team organized and on track with a monthly planner template. This tool allows you to add your own videos, graphics, and sticky notes to keep team members in the loop about all your projects. Here’s a monthly planner template to help you stay organized.

 

Build your team

 Your employees are a valuable part of your business success. Since you’re starting a community-based business, focus on hiring local candidates. Localwise is a platform dedicated specifically to local hiring. You can post jobs here, review resumes, and then invite your top applicants in for a face-to-face interview. You can also find viable candidates through your personal network of friends, family, and colleagues.

 

Connect with your community

 Once your business is up and running, it’s time to start marketing. As a local business, you want to reach out to your community. Locals will be your primary target audience. Focus on local marketing techniques, like running geo-targeted Google and Facebook ads. You can also use “old school” techniques like posting flyers around town. Ask your customers to post reviews, which is a great way to leverage word-of-mouth marketing. When it comes to building a digital marketing strategy, the pros at Moon Design can handle all your web and SEO needs.

 

A local business is a great way to earn money while supporting your community. If you’re new to entrepreneurship, the above guide can help you get off on the right foot.