Welcome back to our series on .
This week, we're offering tips and resources on how to choose the ideal for your business.
Last week’s experts, and Chris Coleman, are back with more tips for potential small business owners.
Why choose O’Fallon for your small business?
As O’Fallon Mayor said in a letter to potential owners, the city is full of dedicated businesses and enthusiastic residents.
“Our Economic Development team is available to both new and existing businesses in order to help identify opportunities for growth and development within our great city,” reads Hennessy’s letter. “Our focus on business retention allows us to maintain a long-term relationship with our businesses, which, in turn, develop a dedicated customer base among our residents.”
Hennessy went on to say that the city understands that businesses help to drive the local economy and to make O’Fallon a vibrant community. That’s why the economic development department created the Keep It In The “O” movement.
“As such, we are committed to supporting our local businesses and encouraging our residents to spend their hard-earned money within our city limits,” the mayor wrote. “Our strategic plan to promote shopping and dining within our city offers our businesses an opportunity to promote themselves to our residents and their fellow business leaders.”
The has a Business Watch Program that is free to join. The program is similar to a Neighborhood Watch program and , as well as their own, and to report suspicious activity. The program also offers free training to teach you how to protect your own business.
Finding your spot in O’Fallon
Finding your ideal location will depend on a number of factors; most importantly, the type of business you’re running.
“Any realtor will tell you location, location, location and this is very true,” Shoaf said. “Your location will become part of your brand and with some industries this can be critical.”
You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions before making a final decision, according to the Small Business Association (SBA).
- Do your customers come to you?
- Do you have to go to your customers?
- Do you have employees?
- Do you manufacture products for distribution?
The SBA points out that if your business depends on pedestrian or drive-by traffic, you will do well to find a location in a popular retail area, such as a mall or strip mall. This will allow you to place attention-grabbing signs that will draw your customers in.
If your customers are more likely to seek you out, the SBA notes, you don’t need a retail space, but you should find a space that’s easy to find and close to major roads and more populated areas.
If you’re running a business in which you go to your customers or you deal with them primarily online, you could save money and time by establishing a home-based business instead.
Tips from our experts
“You always need about 25 percent more space than you think you can do without,” Shoaf said. “And with the ability to do so much work vertically, you can even consider shared business spaces depending on your profession. “
He said he recommends Jason Jacobs, an agent with Schneider Real Estate, to his local clients.
“They have been a great help to us with our companies,” he added.
Coleman suggests that potential business owners first check out the area with the economic development department.
“Verify by demographics that your business can be supported,” he said.
Coleman also recommends getting involved with the Chamber of Commerce and connecting with other business owners outside the O’Fallon area.
“Talk to others that have gone before you and get their insights on their success and struggles,” he said. “You may have to get outside the O’Fallon area for competition reasons to get these answers in some cases.”
- O’Fallon Department of Economic Development
- Currently Available Buildings
- Currently Available Sites
- O’Fallon Demographics Packet
In Case You Missed It
In case you’ve missed previous editions of , we have shared ideas for choosing a business concept, including the and .
We’ve also discussed , given tips and ideas on ways to and offered expert advice on .
About the Experts
owns several locally-based businesses, including and .
Chris Coleman owns St. Louis-based FranNet, a company that helps would-be business owners choose and develop franchise businesses. FranNet's clients include several O’Fallon area business owners, Coleman said.
Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you won’t miss a single part of this ongoing series! Next week, we’ll offer tips and resources for getting your business name registered.
Do you own your own business in O’Fallon? We want to share your story with the community! Contact Patch reporter Angela Atkinson at email@example.com to arrange for an interview.