Growing a brand with a worldwide presence is a monumental challenge. In fact, building a small business in your local community is no mean feat either!
Even before you reach the global stage, a smaller local business has the challenge of winning over an audience that likely already has strong loyalties to existing businesses within the community. Because that’s the thing about community, people like to go with who they know.
If you’re in the process of starting a business, or you’re looking to grow, our article takes you through essential points to tick-off.
Find out what local start-up funding is available to you
What is the one thing a new business owner simply can’t get enough of? Well, ok, arguably it’s sleep – but the other answer is money. You’re not alone. All budding entrepreneurs feel like they’re constantly in need of more cash to fund growth and big ideas. Fortunately, there is support in place to help you out with that.
There are myriad government initiatives designed to help start-up ventures. These might be national schemes, but it’s also worth looking a little closer to home.
Far too many new business owners leave local money pots as untapped sources of financial support. Do a little digging around, and you’ll likely find multiple grants or methods of funding right there for the taking.
Local organisations, such as your nearest Chamber of Commerce, will be able to point you in the right direction of start-up funding. You might also want to chat to an accountant, local or otherwise, to find out about starting off as cheaply as possible and to learn more about any grants or funding.
Get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce
Continuing on from the point above, your local Chamber of Commerce is an invaluable resource. They’ll be aware of financial opportunities, such as grants and loans, but that’s not all they do.
Your local Chamber exists to help businesses grow and succeed, so they usually also provide:
- Support, networking, and mentorship from fellow business owners and entrepreneurs operating in the local area
- A chance to collaborate with people in the area that you might not otherwise think of or access
- Access to discounts and local initiatives that can help cut your spending and keep your costs down
- A boost to your visibility and credibility. It helps the community recognise your brand in a positive way.
- Additional marketing outlets you might not otherwise have access to quite so readily – this includes the Chamber’s own promotional platforms.
- Possible sponsorship opportunities.
- Education and training
- HR, financial and other legal or professional advice
Involve yourself with community events and initiatives
One of the most effective ways to earn the trust and respect of your local community is connect with it. As a business, it’s a great idea to involve yourself with local events and initiatives which support the community, its people, and the wider environment.
This could be as simple as making a donation to a community cause, or getting out there and showing your brand’s ‘face’, and rolling up your sleeves.
Don’t neglect your online presence
Even a local business can benefit from a strong online presence. This might be an online shop (in which case, look to the world, not just the local area!), but might also include community Facebook groups (of which there are many).
The benefits of maintaining a digital presence include:
- It exposes your product or offering to new audiences you might not otherwise reach geographically.
- It’s a great way to engage with a local audience, and lets them share you to those looking for recommendations.
- It caters to the online consumption that lots of modern audiences favour. Pique their interest with a social media post, showcase your work or services, and then hopefully continue their customer journey offline, in person – or vice versa.
Maintaining (and growing) a digital presence doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. You could even outsource it to a freelancer in the area – community style!
Starting a new business can seem extremely daunting – especially if your time and budget are limited. Learn more about Pandle’s time saving bookkeeping features, designed to help you reduce the risk of accounting errors. Create your free account.