By Linda Chase.
How to start a local small business
Are you scouring JobbingHood for the perfect job but not finding your calling?
Maybe job descriptions feel too limiting or you cringe at the thought of a 9-to-5. Or perhaps you want a career that makes a difference in your community – something that brings home more than a paycheck.
When you’re hungry for opportunity and eager to make an impact, start a local business.
Local businesses aren’t just a way for a handful of people to earn a living. Small businesses return three times more money to local economies compared to larger chains and 50 times more than online stores. This money flows back into the local economy through employee wages, local purchasing, and tax revenue.
Local businesses give back in direct ways too. They support local charities, sponsor local events, and contribute to the character of local communities. As a local business owner, you have an opportunity to shape the identity, health, and well-being of your community.
That’s a lot of responsibility, but as scary as starting a small business can be, it’s also really exciting! Plus, there are tons of resources to help new business owners along the way.
- Learn the basic steps to start a brick-and-mortar business, including creating a business plan, securing financing, and finding a location for your business.
- Familiarize yourself with small business tax structures and how your choice impacts taxes, liability, and administrative complexity. Talk to a CPA before making your final decision.
- Understand your responsibilities as an employer and the necessary steps to register as an employer with the government.
- Find online resources and local assistance for small businesses through organizations like the SBA, SCORE, and your local chamber of commerce.
Those are the basic steps to start a small business, but what does it take to succeed in the local business economy?
Local businesses thrive on local marketing. That includes:
Your brand identity should resonate with local customers. Consider your customer base to craft a brand personality that’s both authentic and appealing. Then, choose a name, logo, and signage that pulls it all together into an instantly recognizable brand. If you have a general idea of your brand style but can’t afford a graphic designer, Adobe Spark has a free logo design tool to create a high-quality logo file yourself.
Not every local business is located on Main Street. When you can’t rely on foot traffic, local SEO is a must. Local SEO, or search engine optimization, helps you rank in local search results like “near me” searches. Every local business needs a Google My Business profile at minimum. Reviews can also help your business gain visibility, but it’s important to proactively manage online reviews.
You can target local audiences on social media too. Location tagging, local hashtags, and user-generated content help you reach local customers on Facebook and Instagram. Social media ads also let businesses reach users in their area using geo-targeting tools.
Sponsoring or volunteering at local events is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the community. Local events are also excellent advertising and networking opportunities for small business owners. Some business owners go the extra mile and host community events. Events may include workshops, hobby events, philanthropic events, street fairs, and giveaways and contests.
Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and starting one is more doable than you might think. When you want to start a business that makes an impact beyond your own bottom line, keep it local and use these tips to launch and grow your small business.
Image via Unsplash