Entrepreneurs have a lot in common. You are passionate, visionary and dedicated. You also face many of the same challenges.
As an entrepreneur myself –I launched and operated a small business focused on meal packaging in a 10-state territory— I confronted my share of challenges, too.
So what’s most likely to be keeping Columbus’s entrepreneurs up at night?
At the Columbus Chamber, we frequently field calls from startups and small business owners looking for guidance and support. Four common challenges have risen to the top.
- • Access to capital
Ultimately, what most new business owners need is access to capital to get off and running. One mistake I made when starting my business was depending upon a single revenue stream. However, you can’t do this. You must diversify and think outside the box. Make sure that you have something in the reserves, whether that is financial, new products, or other services.
- • Relationship building and visibility
At the startup stage, it’s less about competition, and more about getting your business off the ground. That’s why it’s important to connect with your peers. You may feel like you’re all alone. But if you just talk to other successful business owners, you will gain direction and peace of mind that will help you overcome the challenges you are facing— as well as build strong future relationships for your business.
- • Local government issues
Permitting. Zoning. Taxes. These can be big stumbling blocks for small business. One of the best practices in is to stay informed, and be engaged with your local elected officials and their key staff members. Tell them about your business, invite them to your office, and have them meet your team and tour your workspace. Elected officials want to know what kind of impact their policy decisions make on their local area.
- • Business development
You’re the best at what you do. You’re a super chef or logistics expert. But entrepreneurs frequently need help with business basics. For example, we hear from small businesses owners who are unsure how to create a business plan, address legal issues, or market during these difficult economic times.
We can provide help
Are you facing these challenges, too? The Columbus Chamber can help. About 90 percent of our members are small businesses.
Our new Entrepreneur Program, which launched in January, provides a boost to startup businesses. The program was designed to answer the question: “Where do I go to access the resources, the connections and the funding that I need for my business?”
A lot of entrepreneurs were chasing multiple organizations and entities, trying to find answers. We created a one-stop shop.
Participants in the Entrepreneur Program can tap Somers Martin as their business consultant. I call Somers a “virtual business adviser.”
Depending on their unique needs, identified during a one-on-one consultation, Somers can connect these business owners to a variety of resources, including access to capital, business planning assistance, loan packaging, government relations assistance, marketing support and advisory boards, even a strategic session with the Chamber’s president and CEO, Michael Dalby.
How can we serve your small business? Let us design a specialized program for you. Contact me at [email protected], and I’ll help you get started.