A guest article by Amy Collett of bizwell.org

Starting a business in your local community isn’t difficult as long as you use the right approach. If you aren’t sure how to start a business in your local community, here are some tips that can help you on your journey, presented to you below by XL Consulting Group.

3 Keys Steps on How to Start a Business

Forming Your Company

One of the most important steps that you’ll take is officially forming your new company. Along with deciding on the products or services you’ll offer, you need to select a name for your business and handle some paperwork.

When it comes to big decisions, choosing a business structure can feel like the toughest one. While starting as a sole proprietor is often the simplest approach, many small businesses could benefit from being a limited partnership. With an LP, you get more flexibility than a straight partnership. Plus, some members will be able to reduce their liability.  If your business has exposure to more extensive liabilities, such as a restaurant, then an LLC (Limited Liability Company) is the best option.

While you can use an attorney to form your LP, that can come with a big price tag. If you want to keep the cost down, you can either file yourself or use a formation service. Just make sure that you review local state regulations before you get started, ensuring you use the right approach.  If you are considering an LLC then a lawyer or an accountant can set that up properly for you.

An investment you’ll want to make almost immediately is software for your bookkeeping. This will not only help keep your business running smoothly, it will also help you comply with your legal obligations.

Marketing Your Small Business Online

After forming your company, it’s time to establish your digital presence so you can start marketing online. Usually, the best place to begin is with a website.

Once you select a domain name, you’ll need to create the site itself. While DIY website builders can make taking this one yourself less intimidating, that might not be ideal if you want the highest quality result. Instead, consider hiring a freelance web developer.  We provide website development, especially for startups and have different programs depending on whether you want to take care of your website once it is built or you would prefer XL Consulting to take care of it for you.  You can read reviews, check out portfolios, see estimated delivery times, and explore the cost by heading to online job boards, or getting referrals.

Another critical step is to create your company logo. Logos can boost brand awareness and help make your online advertising more cohesive at a glance, so they’re an essential part of the equation. While you could hire a professional designer for this task, you may be better off using a design logo online free app if your budget is tight. The process is very simple. You’ll start by selecting a style and icon. Next, add your text and review the results. When you find a sample you like, adjust the colours and fonts until it’s a match with your vision and you’re done.

Since social media is a potent but low-cost marketing tool, you’ll want to establish profiles on your preferred platforms. If possible, make sure that your social media handle on every site is the same. That way, customers will have an easier time finding you on every platform. If you need help with any of these areas with your new business, contact the XL Consulting Group today!

Of course, when you’re working online, it’s important to take measures to protect your and your customer’s data. Cyber criminals often target small businesses, which is why it’s important to shield your business against cyber threats. Among the threats you need to consider are phishing, ransomware, malware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Consider working with a team of IT professionals if this falls outside of your wheelhouse.

Connecting with Your Community

Small businesses benefit their communities in many ways. They can bring new jobs into the area. Plus, they might make products or services that weren’t easy to find locally accessible.

However, your company can only help your community if local residents know it’s there. Luckily, engaging with your community is incredibly simple. Once you have your company established, start attending local events. That way, you can connect with community members in person, allowing you to forge more meaningful connections.

If you work from home, you may want to consider setting up a designated meeting area, where you can discuss projects with like-minded entrepreneurs. This could include picking up some affordable office furniture that compliments your home. Or, you could reupholster and refurbish pieces you already own; hire a well-reviewed professional who specialises in deep cleaning furniture to reinvigorate any pieces you may have kept in storage.  If you don’t have a suitable place for a designated meeting area in your home look for a location that rents out workplace space for meetings.  And if you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce, boardroom space is available on a first come basis for members.

Additionally, join volunteer efforts and area business organizations. That helps others see that you care about your community, creating a new positive association with your business.

If you need strategic advice on how to start a business,  we are happy to have a 30 minute free consultation with you to guide you.  Book your free no obligation 30 minute call with us today!