A First-Time Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Community Business
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Entrepreneurship is a wonderful way to take control of your professional life, allowing you to become your own boss. If you're thinking of going this route and starting a business, consider starting something local. As a community-based business, you'll enjoy support from those around you and be able to give back to your area. However, setting up a business is a complex process that requires careful consideration and preparation. Discover what it takes to set up a thriving community-based business below.
Recognize the advantages of community-based businesses
Harnessing the power of community can help your business succeed in many ways. First, you have a built-in customer base, as locals will likely want to support your new endeavor. Second, you'll have people cheering you on, which can be a big moral boost when you face the inevitable entrepreneurial hurdles. Finally, you can use your community to learn, as those around you can provide unique insights into your business model. Your community is also a valuable professional network and source of potential employees and partners.
Do your research to determine a viable business model for your area
If you have a business idea, you want to do your due diligence and assess how practical it is. For example, it's important to determine the demand for the service or product you plan to sell. If not enough people want it, you don't have a strong potential customer base. You can conduct market research to figure out if your business model is viable, using techniques like surveying your community, assessing the competition, and looking up publicly accessible data about sales trends and other facts related to your business model.
Take care of the administrative side of setting up your business
There are a few basic admin steps that every entrepreneur has to tackle before they can open their doors for business. First, you want to register your business with your state, establishing it as a formal legal entity like a limited liability company or corporation. Second, you want to set up a business bank account for your company. You also need to calculate startup costs and acquire external funding, if needed. Finally, you have to take care of practicalities like buying business tools and hiring employees.
Get additional education to boost your entrepreneurial confidence
Depending on the type of business you start, you may need additional education. For example, if you want to start a plumbing business, you'll need to go to trade school to get licensed as a plumber. More generally, a business degree like an MBA can help teach you skills applicable to all entrepreneurs, like business strategy, management, leadership, and communication. By earning an MBA online, you'll enjoy maximum flexibility. You'll be able to study when and where you want while starting your company.
Promote your business by connecting with and giving back to the community
Once your business is up and running, you have to promote it to attract customers. Connecting with your community by giving back is a great first step. For example, you might support a local sports team or donate to a charity like Relief Networks. Note that giving to charity actually benefits your business, because you can often write off charitable giving. Plus, participating in charitable endeavors is a great way to raise your profile and network with others. Here are more ways to promote your business, from blogging to social media.
Starting a business with community roots can be both fulfilling and financially rewarding. You can enjoy the support of your local community while also giving back. Trust the tips above to help you get your community-based entrepreneurship off on the right foot.
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