February 18, 2013
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As your small business grows you may find yourself branching out into new locations.
When you enter, establish and expand your business footprint and market presence in a new city, state or region you will inevitably need help.
It can be difficult to know exactly how new locations operate in regards to business and entrepreneurial culture. However, most prosperous cities will have multiple resources available to assist you in establishing your business.
Bringing your business to a new city provides benefits to your company and the local communities you call home. Cities depend on small businesses to bring in new jobs, income, and recognition. This mutually beneficial relationship can be greatly enhanced when you take the time to see what a community has to offer.
Discover Local Community Resources
A common and significant challenge for startups and small business owners alike, is finding a network of like-minded people. This is why gaining access to community resources is extremely important.
Look to local businesses for support and guidance when getting acquainted with anew city and its potential customers. Most communities will have organizations that focus on providing entrepreneurial support. Local chambers of commerce, city councils, and university-oriented business centers are great places to start in locating resources and connections.
Discovering these connections will bolster your chances for success and integration within your new market. These resources can help you determine the local regulations that will impact your business and possible financing options, and they can provide an introduction to service providers within the area. Face-to-face meetings with established businesses can lead to lifelong relationships.
Furthermore, these connections can help you determine a niche the community is currently missing and enable you to enrich already-established businesses with your service or insight. Of course, when setting up your business in a new locale, it’s vital that you respect established businesses in order to gain a network and, most importantly, not offend potential customers. Most communities will be incredibly welcoming to new businesses if your goals truly benefit the community.
For example, my local city, Columbia, Missouri offers a variety of resources to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our REDI (Regional Economic Development, Inc.) regularly interviews new startups to better understand their needs. In addition, the Missouri Innovation Center, Entrepreneurship Alliance, CLIMB, and League of Innovators are other readily accessible resources that can help connect entrepreneurs and help startups understand the local requirements of business.
These resources not only aid new businesses in writing business plans and attending professional conferences, but they also offer established businesses new avenues and opportunities to explore and expand. Nearly every community has a wealth of resources that can be found with a little time and effort on your part. Visit local businesses, attend organizational meetings, and seek out startup weekends and events hosted by your new community.
The Benefits of Business-Minded Communities
Communities are comprised of people who share a place to live, work and play.
For communities to be successful, they need jobs and resources for their citizens. The “quality of place” enjoyed by citizens depends on the opportunities, creativity, and innovation promoted by local businesses. In addition, entrepreneurship and local business combat the effects of “brain drain,” or the loss of local innovators and future leaders. The presence of strong local businesses has a positive effect on all facets of the community, including education and social services.
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