Thinking about starting a business, you might be focusing on earning an income and taking care of your family. But, what you might not have seen just yet is the impact that small, local businesses can have on their communities. Keep reading for more information on how to get started and why it makes sense to keep it in your own hometown.
The Big Impact of Small Businesses
The word small is a bit of a misnomer, as there is nothing small about the impact that local businesses have on the economy. According to American National University, there are more than 56 million people employed by non-corporations, meaning the small businesses are collectively the number one employer in the US. Plus, these “mom-and-pop shops” take up nearly half of all commercial retail space and account for four dollars out of every $10 spent in retail.
As a small business owner, you also have an opportunity to support your local community in ways you may not be able to as an employee. You might, for example, sponsor a children’s softball team or take a day off once each month to deliver meals to the elderly and infirm. You also are in a position to get to know the people that buy from you through things like community events and open houses.
Launching Your Small Business
Like all businesses that have come before, your small business will start with an idea. You also need to identify the things you love and that you’re good at. In our post finding your niche asserts that finding your niche is a matter of knowing what you love, who would value it, and what problems it might solve.
Once you have your business idea in place, you can then work on writing a business plan. This is a crucial step in the formation process that allows you to create a roadmap of sorts that will outline your path toward success. Your business plan will include everything from your company name and marketing strategies to information on how you plan to pull a profit, which is especially important if you want investors down the road.
Something else to consider during the early formation process is establishing an LLC or other business structure. In Tennessee, your LLC can help you keep your personal finances away from your business since it allows you to open a bank account in your business’s name. To get started, register your official company name and appoint a registered agent. They will need to fill out an operating agreement and then file an official certificate of formation. You can use an online service to get this done. Finally, apply for a VIN with the IRS.
You also want to check if you’re required to have a business license or to register with any particular organization. If your business is located within the state, and you make more than $10,000 each year, you will need a license. According to the Tennessee Department of Revenue, this also means you’ll need to pay taxes, which are due within four months of the end of each fiscal year.
Marketing Like A Local
Marketing your business might sound like a huge chore, and it can be. But, once you get the momentum going, it’s much easier. A few things that can help you get your business off the ground in the early days include:
- A digital presence. Your online digital presence matters more than you might think. Having a website legitimizes your business. It’s also how most people will get in touch with you. Even a simple website can help you stand up against the competition by integrating mobile capabilities, which allow customers to contact or navigate to you with one click or to shop online.
- An open house. Hosting an open house is a fun and exciting way to engage with your customers and business neighbors. Plan to open after hours to showcase the best of what you have to offer. You might even provide refreshments and give away small tokens of appreciation, such as branded Chapstick, hand sanitizer, or embroidered hats.
While you may start your new business with the primary goal of supporting your family, don’t lose sight of the fact it will also support your community. Not only do you have a chance to create jobs, you can also support causes near and dear to your heart. Getting started takes work, but it’s worth it, and becoming an entrepreneur takes you one step closer to achieving the financial independence you desire.