There are numerous small businesses in Lilburn, and when starting one or expanding it can be a rather daunting process.
Small business owner Linda Fuller is no stranger to starting a business from the ground up. In her recent interview with Patch Partners, a website connecting business owners to Patch in local communities, she offers insight into how she expanded her business’s services from just flowers to wine, beer and gourmet gift baskets at Lake Anne Florist in .
Homework must be done first, she said.
“Research what’s compatible with your own products and services, what the current trends are and what your competition is doing.”
-- What tips do you have? What do you find challengingm in Lilburn? --
Melissa Baxter, owner of Back By Popular Demand in Lilburn, has expanded her business several times.
"The biggest change I have made since owning the store would be truly separating departments and giving those departments their own feel," she said in an earlier Patch article. "Our Lilburn location has three very distinct departments: Ladies, Plus and Juniors."
Now, not only has she increased the space in Lilburn, but also she opened a store in Marietta in 2011. Just a year later, that location had doubled in size to deal with increased interest.
We asked her for a few general tips for small business owners in the area. Here they are, top 7:
1. Have a focus and a plan for your business and long term business ideas.
2. Dream big and go for it.
3. Be willing to change and try new things if something isn't working.
4. Employees are the backbone of your business, take good care of them.
5. Always been re-inventing and keeping it fresh, fun and different to keep people excited about your business
6. Expand your network and build local relationships.
7. Being in small business you understand it, practice what you preach, make a habit of shopping small businesses around you!
Fuller also notes, “Have three times the money you think you need and access to more. Make a business plan for one, three and five years, with goals. Most businesses fail because they’re undercapitalized. Prepare for three years of working like a dog.”
She said it's also important to use your resources and spread the word about your business.
For Gerald McDowell, executive director of the Lilburn Community Improvement District, helping businesses stay put and, expand, if possible, is critical. But, like other leaders in the city, he knows it's a task that takes much effort.
"The primary focus of the CID is infrastructure which creates an environment whereby businesses can thrive," he said. "Shopping locally allows dollars to circulate within the community which makes the merchants stronger to compete."
Another way to support locally owned small businesses is to participate in Amex’s Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. Last year, more than 100 million people participated in this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.
There are more articles and interviews about small businesses on the Patch Partners website, where you can also sign up for the Patch Partners newsletter and Patch Partners Twitter feed to stay better informed, grow your small business and strengthen your community.
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