Starting a new business can be challenging, but it can be even more difficult if you are new to the community. In large cities with transient populations being the “new business (or business owner) on the block” is a designation that doesn’t last long but in a smaller, tighter-knit community it can feel like it takes forever to become part of the “in-crowd.”
While our community is very welcoming, it takes some time to feel like you know your way around the business scene in Alameda. Here are a few tips that can make you feel at home sooner.
How to Ensure You and Your Business Fit In
These days there’s a lot of talk about accepting everyone for who they are. But when it feels like most of the people in your new area have spent their lives together, starting a new business can feel like you’re the new kid at the lunch table in middle school. It’s not that the Alameda business community isn’t welcoming and friendly, they just need to get to know you. That takes time. But here are a few tips to help you speed up the process.
Host an Event
People are interested in getting out these days. Host an open house or a class. Demonstrate your products or services. Invite people to attend for free to get to know you. If your business is virtual, find somewhere you can host in person. You want people to get to know you and that’s much easier when no one has to worry about buffering.
In the future, there may be a revenue stream for classes or other events for your business. Start building your email list with this event.
Check Out the Farmer’s Market
If your business is a good fit for a farmer’s market, ours runs year-round on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Learn more here.
These types of events bring browsers out. You may or may not make large sales but what you will have the opportunity to do is make conversation with attendees. Come out from behind your booth. Give away samples. Talk to everyone and give something away so they have your contact information in the future.
Join your Facebook Group
Do a quick search in Facebook and you’ll find several groups in our area. Find one that looks interesting and apply to join. Get to know the administrators of the group and ask when (or if) businesses are allowed to post.
Post when you are allowed to but make sure you also take the time to “share the sunshine.” Answer questions people are asking. Provide reviews of businesses you’ve patronized and loved. Become part of the community. The more people see you, the more often they will think about you.
There are many sponsorship opportunities available in Alameda. From Little League to the PTA, band boosters to pet rehoming events, get out there and support the community. People notice. Stay in front of them. Be visible. Give back.
If you don’t have the funds to sponsor right now, volunteer some of your time with a non-profit and wear a branded t-shirt for your business when you do.
Join the Chamber
Joining the Alameda Chamber is always a solid move because unlike other membership organizations, the chamber is business focused. Members will naturally take an interest in the new business in town.
Even if you’re a virtual business, we can help introduce you to your neighbors, community leaders, and a network of people you might not meet as quickly from behind your computer screen.
If you’re new to Alameda, it’s only a matter of time before people realize how wonderful you and your business are. However, most businesses don’t have time to spend waiting on people to realize these things. You need the revenue now, so get out there. Introduce yourself and give back. People will take notice and they’ll be happy to have you.
If you are the owner of a new business, we’d love to show you around. Give us a call and we can help match your interests to resources out there, even if you’re not a chamber member…yet.