“I want to go into business.”
At the Alameda Chamber of Commerce, we love hearing this phrase. There is no better feeling than when someone wants to invest in our community. While the barrier to entry has been reduced significantly in so many industries, there are still some things you should know about starting a business. Here’s some advice on things you should know.
Starting a Business in Alameda
Location, Location, Location
First, you need to consider the location. The three most important things in opening a business are location, location, and location.
Unless your business is all online, where you do business is almost as important as what kind of business you’re doing. Even if there’s a great need for your goods and services, if they can’t find you, you’ll struggle for customers.
Do your homework and pick the best spot. Look for strong foot traffic, high visibility, and ideally in the center of it all. “Center of it all” may depend on your industry. A good spot for a restaurant is different than a great spot for a bait store.
Know Your Business (Plan)
Next, you need a business plan. This is a very important component of your success. With all the information available on the internet, it’s not hard to find what you need to put together a plan. Check out this great page from the City of Alameda. It’s a one-stop-shop for your new business needs.
You can also contact the Small Business Development Center at a local college or university. Most are happy to assist you in putting together a business plan.
Next, hire the right people and teach them great customer service. Pick people with a positive attitude, and they will make you successful.
A Story of Outstanding Customer Service
Think customer service is just about doing the job? Or think it takes a lot of expensive training. Not necessarily. Here’s a good story:
A businesswoman went into a restaurant and a young waiter waited on her. When he asked what she would like to drink, she said, “I know you don’t have RC Cola, so I will just have a Pepsi or Coke.”
The young man waiter went back to the kitchen and gave the order to the cook. Then he said he needed a moment but would be right back. He ducked out the back door and went to the small convenience store beside the restaurant.
He returned with an RC Cola and served it proudly on the tray with a glass of ice. The customer was very surprised. She asked him where he had gotten it, and he told her the story.
Every time she came back to the city, she went to that restaurant and requested to be seated in the young waiter’s area.
A few months later, she was in New York again but her favorite waiter was gone – he had opened his own restaurant! And you can be sure she became a patron of that one too.
Good customer service makes you stand out. People want to do business with you and you can parlay that customer loyalty into a million different opportunities.
Isn’t that a great story? Those are the kind of things you should be doing for your customers.
Check-in with the Chamber
If you want to start a business in Alameda, your next step should be the chamber. Not only can we help introduce you to people who can be important to your business and may buy from you, we can assist you with low-cost learning and resources.
Chamber membership also casts a positive light on your new business. People will see you as a trustworthy part of the community.