To build a dream, an entrepreneur needs resilience. Part of the entrepreneurial journey may include setbacks and short-term failures. But, entrepreneurs are not alone. A strong and supportive community surrounds them.
Much of Virginia’s economy is built on the success of small businesses.
Approximately 1.6 million Virginians are working for a small business. That represents 46.6% of all Virginia employees—Virginia Business Statistics.
Our Northern Virginia community remains dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs as we strive for a strong economy. Keeping the entrepreneurial spirit helps the entrepreneur and all that live in the region.
When you see a new business open in your neighborhood, you may wonder how to support them best. In this blog, we discuss five ways to support a new entrepreneur.
Support Local Entrepreneurs
There are many ways to support a new, local, small business. Here’s a snapshot of five ways that you can offer support today:
- Be A Mentor
- Support Their Business
- Provide Training & Share Your Knowledge
- Volunteer at Organizations such as Northern Virginia Family Service
At NVFS, we work hand-in-hand with aspiring entrepreneurs to meet their needs and the needs of their burgeoning business. Key program components include unlimited, one-on-one consultations that cover a variety of topics, including business registration, marketing, business plan development, access to capital. To find out how you can be part of the mission to assist entrepreneurs through NVFS, keep reading.
When you think of volunteerism and support as a few easy-to-follow bullet points, the five ways to support a new entrepreneur become easy to implement. This support and recognition from the community ensure that a new business is thriving. Let’s look at each way that you can offer help.
Be A Mentor
One of the most valuable resources for a new entrepreneur is guidance from someone who has already gone through the journey. A mentor can provide practical advice, connections, and insights based on real-world experience.
A mentor can help entrepreneurs avoid common mistakes and offer solutions to unique problems. Can you be a mentor even if you have yet to work in the exact business of an entrepreneur? Sure! Many business cornerstones are similar, regardless of the industry or market segment. As an outsider looking in, you can offer a fresh perspective on ideas or business plans. Whether it’s their business plan, their product, or their marketing strategy, giving honest feedback can help an entrepreneur improve their plan.
Support a New Business
One of the simplest ways to help an entrepreneur is by being a customer. Buy their product or service and recommend it to others. If it’s a physical location, visit regularly.
If they have an online presence, follow their social media accounts and interact with their posts. Social media provides a significant marketing platform—not just for the entrepreneur. If you enjoy their product, post about it.
In your community, word-of-mouth can be a powerful tool to boost business. Tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers if you have found a new product, service, or entrepreneur you would like to support.
Share The Business with Your Network
Networking is vital in the business world. Many in Northern Virginia belong to business networking groups. If you know anyone interested in the entrepreneur’s product or service, make an introduction. Introduce the entrepreneur to potential customers, other entrepreneurs, or even potential mentors or advisors. Your connections in the community are invaluable.
If you belong to a networking group, consider inviting a new entrepreneur to be your guest at the next event. Since networking is one of the five ways to help a new entrepreneur, an invitation to network will surely be helpful.
And if your organization is hosting an event in Northern Virginia, consider working with one of the NVFS Escala Program graduates to provide services and food for the event. It’s a win-win as you introduce a new entrepreneur to your network and enjoy their services.
Share Your Knowledge
If you have skills that can benefit the entrepreneur’s business, offer them. Assistance might be as simple as offering to proofread their business plan or marketing materials or providing advice. If you know their industry, consider offering to help with website development or social media management if you have experience in those areas.
Often, new entrepreneurs need help with managing their finances. They need to understand how to track expenses, create and manage budgets, understand financial reports, and make informed financial decisions. Resources or training in this area can be beneficial. If this is your expertise, offer to volunteer your guidance.
Volunteer at Northern Virginia Family Service
While reviewing the five ways to help a new entrepreneur, volunteerism is often overlooked when striving to help new, local businesses grow. There is a way to support a wide range of entrepreneurs: volunteering at organizations such as NVFS.
NVFS offers job and business seminars while mentoring entrepreneurs at no charge. This opportunity allows mentors and sponsors to help entrepreneurs throughout the community as they plan and open new businesses. Volunteer options are available to individuals and corporate sponsors. Your skills and life and work history can provide helpful guidance.
If you would like additional information about volunteering at NVFS and working with new entrepreneurs, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org