All great businesses begin the same way: as an idea. Today more than ever, our communities need innovation, and your small business can offer it here in Hickory Nut Gorge. What starts as just a fleeting thought can have far-reaching benefits that go beyond profits.
Why Small Businesses Are Important
Small businesses matter to communities more than you might think. Not only will you be in a position to get to know the members of your own community, but the University of Minnesota also explains that small businesses create local jobs and are in a unique position to offer opportunities to minorities and other generally under-employed demographics.
It does not matter what business you plan to start — your first step is always market research. You can achieve this in many ways, from looking at the social media sites of the competition to starting with a small product launch to gauge consumer interest. Once you know there is a market, you can move forward with the business formation process. This should include:
Creating a business structure. One of the simplest business structures for small operations is an LLC. This allows you to have one or more owners, and you can pay yourself through the LLC at a potentially lower tax rate than as a self-employed individual. There are other benefits of forming an LLC, and the key to these is that it looks more professional. To make sure you form yours properly, consider working with an online formation agency to file your paperwork. You can check out ratings of some of the top-ranked services to find the company you trust the most. For example, these ZenBusiness reviews by BestLLCServices.com provide insight into ZenBusiness’s history, TrustPilot score, and client reviews. It also offers a discount code that allows you to get your LLC up and running for free.
Drafting a business plan. A business plan gives you direction. This document outlines what you do, how much it costs to do it, how you plan to grow, and where the money will come from to expand your reach. According to SmartSheet, your business plan also serves to keep you accountable and make you a more attractive option for investors. As this is such an important step in launching your local business, it’s wise to hire a professional business plan writer if drafting this document isn’t something you’re comfortable with. There are a variety of hiring websites you can use to compare candidate profiles, experience levels, and client ratings.
Getting your licenses and state and federal IDs. Business licensing requirements are different from business to business. Some businesses may be required to have a statewide license while others may also have to have a special license if a business will be operated from home.
Start marketing. It is not enough to simply have an idea, business structure, plan, and license. You also have to have a marketing strategy. There are many inexpensive and relatively attainable marketing platforms, such as social media, your family, and local influencers. Another smart idea to help you kickstart your business is to get your logo out into the public. Hats, T-shirts, flyers, business cards, and branded keychains are all great examples of promotional materials that people will wear and share. Here’s a great logo maker you can try out so you have great branding for your marketing materials, and it’s free to use.
Types of Small Businesses Your Hometown Needs
If you don’t already have a business idea, take a walk through your hometown to see what’s missing. Is there a coffee shop? Clothing boutique? Bakery? If not, these and other service-based businesses are ideal for towns of all sizes. Even if your business operates online, you can promote within your own ZIP code to help spread the word that you are ready to serve.
Running a small business has always been considered the American dream. In living your own dreams, you’ll have a far-reaching impact on the Hickory Nut Gorge community, from offering jobs to those that need them most to keeping money in your hometown. Getting started doesn’t have to be a challenge, and forming your LLC, marketing, getting your licenses, and joining the Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge are simple things you can do to launch your business on the right foot.Image via Pexels