5 Fundamentals for Entrepreneurs
More than 90% of Garland’s economy is composed of small businesses. Does that surprise you? According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Texas ranks as the second-best policy climate for entrepreneurship and small business growth in the United States.
Maybe you own a small business in Garland – or maybe you want to. Maybe you have small business clients or customers. Chances are, with such a large group of entrepreneurs in town, you probably know at least one, and if you do – we think there are a few basics to know.
All small businesses start with a passion. Whether it’s a passion to fix bicycles, a passion about coffee, or a passion for fashion, passions can turn into a business if the market is right. Now, finding the right market can be tricky. Check out the table below. The first column, the broad view, gets you started, but it’s the second column, the segmented target that can help you make some of the critical decisions you’ll need to make as a start-up.
|A Broad View||A Segmented Target|
|Ages 18-50||Ages 22-26|
|Medium to low income||Medium to low income|
|Live on their own or have a roommate|
|Regularly watch Netflix between 8 and 10 p.m.|
|Own at least one pet, ideally a dog or cat|
This more detailed segment tells you the business wouldn’t likely be successful in the industrial part of Garland. You would want to go to South Garland and be close to apartment complexes or first-time-home-buyer-friendly neighborhoods. It also gives you some clues about effective partnerships or advertising strategies.
Established businesses may benefit from this exercise too. It can be easy to drift into a one-size-fits all mentality when you don’t stay connected with the basics. You want to look at four different categories when choosing your segment: geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral.
Once you have your audience defined, your next step is to write your business plan. You can easily search for a general business plan outline online, but you’ll likely find it too generic to be helpful. Try starting with a search for one that is specific for your industry. Then, come by and see me. We can talk through the basic outline to find out what is needed in your plan and what is not.
Business plans take work. It is not something you write one night and turn in the next morning. Yes, coming up with a creative name and logo are important, but your vision, mission, growth projections, goals and objectives should take priority. If you need funding, bankers and investors want to see numbers, projections, anything that will let them know you will be able to pay them back. As a startup, you don’t have numbers, so projections are what you need to show. How much are you planning to grow in the first three years, realistically? At what time will you hire employees, or will you remain a sole proprietor? Many variables must be considered to find the right direction for your business. Putting these things on paper gives you some extra accountability and helps you stay on track.
At this point, you have a passion you want to turn into a business, a segment of a market that you want to reach, and a business plan that defines the direction of your business. Now we recommend you make an appointment and talk to Judith Collins. Judith is a counselor from the Dallas Metropolitan Small Business Development Center and is an advocate for small business interests. She has been a Garland Chamber partner for six years and has worked with many entrepreneurs Garland locals would recognize, including Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery, Morning Dew Massage & Wellness, and Micropac Industries. She’s here to help startups as well as existing, growing businesses that just need an advisor to push them in the right direction. You can have as many meetings with Judith as you need – and it’s totally free. She will help you look for funding opportunities, obtain the right location for your business, make financial projections, set goals, and assist with pretty much anything that has to do with starting or growing a business. Her services are free, and she’s a very well-connected, knowledgeable resource that is available to any business owner.
After you have all the ground work for your business, you need to fill out a Certificate of Occupancy with the City of Garland at Garland Building Inspection (located at 800 Main St. Garland, TX 75040). They will also do inspections for your location, tell you which forms to fill out for permits and licenses, and get you all in order with the city. From here it is a matter of time until you open the doors of your business. For other start-up specifics, check out this article.
A mistake I see many business owners make is that they stop looking for help once they’ve opened their doors. The Garland Chamber of Commerce is your Connecting Source to a range of resources. Please reach out to us as often as we can be of assistance! Find a SCORE mentor, visit the SBA website, or reach out to someone with expertise in areas that aren’t your strengths. We’re here to connect you to the right resources that will put you on a path to sustainable business growth – and we look forward to watching your business grow here in Garland, Texas.