Defined as a business with less than 100 employees, small businesses make up 99.7% of businesses in the United States. While it’s common to see small businesses pop up in your city from time to time, they often disappear just as quickly as they appear. In fact, about 50% of startup businesses fail within the first five years and no one desires to see this sign.
It’s no secret that small businesses play a significant role in the economic growth and development of local communities. But the percentage of small business failures can be discouraging to anyone seeking out a small business venture.
While there are several reasons small businesses fail, a few factors include being out-competed, not having the right team, running out of cash, and not having a market for products or services. Keep in mind – paying close attention to these same factors (and more) can be the same reasons that businesses thrive! Everything from employee hiring to use of technology can mean the difference in a successful or unsuccessful small business startup.
Whether you’re looking to revamp and rethink (or even start) your small business, it’s important to be knowledgeable of the common small business failures so you know where to put a little extra thought.
Here are a just a few tips to keep in mind when considering starting a small business:
Do Your Research
When deciding on your small business startup, it’s important to invest in the right idea. Research what kind of businesses work, or don’t work, in certain areas. While most profitable small businesses are a good place to start, always keep your area and, ultimately your customers, in mind. What product or service does your community need? Just because it’s profitable elsewhere does not necessarily mean there is a high demand for it in your community.
Communicate with Customers
Ensure you are targeting customers specific to your business. Utilize market research to figure out potential customers’ ages, genders, and income levels. Collect data using focus groups, online surveys through sites such as Facebook, or handout surveys. Use social networking to create an online community where you can personally engage in conversation as well as promote your business by sharing news or special offers. Here's a fantastic video from Kent Beuscher, founder of U.S. Press, a commercial printing company in Valdosta, on getting to know your customers.
Build the Right Team
Not only is it important to find the right members for your team, but it is just as important to consider how you plan to retain good employees. Learn more on how to keep your best employees here. You may also consider incorporating team building by partnering with a John Maxwell Executive Director to help your build your team by providing personal development and training to boost moral.
Invest in your team. Employees need to feel valued as well as considered members of a team. This can be achieved through benefits and team-building activities. When people feel a part of a team, studies show they have better sense of security and self esteem.
These tips are just a starting point, as there are several ins and outs to starting a small business. Through additional ample research and effort, however, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful small business idea and startup in your community.
Additional blog post can be found here.
With 3.6 million Georgians residing in rental housing, the Georgia apartment industry is an important one. As the voice of the multi-family housing industry, the Georgia Apartment Association (GAA) and their affiliates are committed to providing its members top notch education, networking, and overall involvement.
The GAA consists of apartment communities, owners, managers, and suppliers dedicated to promoting and advancing the needs of the apartment industry. The GAA is comprised of seven affiliate associations from within the state of Georgia, including the South Georgia Apartment Association (SGAA).
As an affiliate of the GAA, the SGAA is a member driven, non-profit association dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests and professional advancement of the multi-family housing industry.
SGAA, along with other associations, work together toward a common goal of joining the multi-family housing industry. SGAA focuses on the following three key areas to achieve their purpose:
Becoming a part of the growing SGAA organization will greatly benefit you and your company. A few of those benefits include GAA and NAA membership, involvement in community events, networking through monthly meetings, and access to legislation changes that affect the housing industry.
So, how exactly do you become a member of the GAA? Simply join the affiliated apartment association in the location where you currently do business. For example, if you are a part of Lowndes county, you would join the SGAA. By joining a local affiliate, you automatically become a member of the GAA.
With the GAA’s Annual meeting approaching in September, now is the perfect time to become a member. This year’s annual meeting will be held September 5-7 in Savannah, Georgia at the Grand Hyatt. The meeting is focused on networking and educational opportunities. For more information on this year's conference, including daily timeline details and registration, visit the Annual Meeting website page.
Additionally, the SGAA is hosting a Vendor Trade Show at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta on October 18 from 5-8 pm.
Additional blog post can be found here.
Turns out peaches aren’t the only thing worth making a stop for in South Georgia. It’s safe to say that Georgia grown grapes make for some great tasting wine and, even better, you don’t have to travel very far to sample some of the best.
I thought an indoor wine tasting would be the perfect way to beat the heat this past weekend. A short 20-minute drive led me right off Union Road in Hahira, Georgia to the Frogtown South Winery. Although far from it, I instantly felt off-the-beaten-path when pulling up to the winery. The location is charming, making it a great daytime getaway destination while staying within the local area.
Frogtown proudly produces 100% pure Muscadine wine, with no flavor additions, from their South Georgia vineyard grown Muscadine vines, and they house several award-winning wines produced by Frogtown Cellars in Dahlonega, Georgia.
Whether you prefer sweet, dry, or off-dry wines, Frogtown is sure to offer a tasting to please your palate. Customers can enjoy a delicious panini sandwich or even a fruit and cheese platter along with their tasting.
The large, open tasting room offers an aesthetically pleasing area to wine and dine. Also, there is a covered patio furnished with large rocking chairs as well as high-top tables and seating for those who wish to enjoy the scenery of the nearby vineyard and olive grove.
Tastings are a great way to sample different wines, and customers can purchase their favorite Georgia grown, produced, and bottled wine to take home.
In addition to offering locally made and great tasting wine, Frogtown is open daily – yes, every day of the week! Their hours are 12 – 6 pm on weekdays, 12 – 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 12:30 – 5 pm on Sunday.
If you’re looking to sample delicious wine and grab a bite to eat all while enjoying a scenic view, then I highly recommend a trip to Frogtown. Make a day of it and bring some friends! Frogtown South offers military discount, friendly wait staff, and a welcoming environment that provides a great experience overall.
Frogtown South Winery is located at 7495 Union Rd in Hahira, Georgia and can be reached at 229-794-1600.
Additional blog post can be found here.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, LLC as Leading Business of the Week for June 18, 2018
A locally owned and operated company, Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, LLC can be found serving communities in 39 different counties across South Georgia. They have successfully developed and implemented a palliative care program to help meet the needs of patients in their service area. This valuable service offers expert symptom management, ensures the patients’ wishes for their medical care are both known and honored, as well as helping patients and their caregivers cope with serious illness.
Ava Best, President of Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, LLC states, “Here at Bethany Hospice, we always strive for excellent, individualized care for patients and families in need.”
When asked how the Chamber has supported their business, Bests says “We appreciate the Drugs Don’t Work program. It provides great education and offers discounted drug screens. Our business receives a discount on group medical insurance through our membership with the Chamber. They also promote a very positive reinforcement to the community’s organizations and serves as an excellent networking source.”
Bethany Hospice and Palliative Care, LLC is located at 2700 N Oak St Building A and B in Valdosta, and can be contacted by calling 229-249-8687. You can also visit them online at www.bethany-hospice.com.
Hi, I’m Hannah! I am an upcoming senior at Valdosta State University. As a Journalism major, I was offered the opportunity to join the Valdosta Chamber media team as an intern. That means you’ll be hearing from me more often! I am looking forward to sharing blog posts about the most remarkable people and places that make this community so great, and I welcome all your questions and commentary.
Having been a member of the Valdosta Community for the past 8 years, I have seen the Valdosta and Lowndes County area grow and thrive over time. As a veteran, I greatly desire to give back to the community that was so supportive of Moody AFB, where I served 6 years as a prior member of the United States Air Force. I have a great love and knowledge for this wonderful area, and I am excited to be a part of such a qualified team. I look forward to serving you as a part-time member of your Chamber.
You can reach me at email@example.com
Renasant Bank and the Chamber presented Northside Animal Hospital as Small Business of the Month for June.
“Treating every client as though they were family and every pet as if they were our own” is more than a motto; it is the passion that Northside Animal Hospital has shared with the Valdosta Community for the past 48 years.
Founded in 1970, Northside Animal Hospital has dedicated their lives to providing pets with compassionate, high quality veterinary care. Northside Animal Hospital’s clientele has doubled since 2013; however, they are still able to offer 20 minute appointments to ensure each patient is given the time needed to evaluate, diagnose and answer any questions the pet owner may have. The doctors, team of technicians and support staff are extremely knowledgeable and caring. Northside Animal Hospital is a full-service clinic providing numerous veterinary services, including general animal health care, vaccinations, micro-chipping, dental care, surgical care, diagnostic testing, emergency care, grooming and boarding services.
Northside Animal Hospital is well known throughout the Valdosta and Lowndes County community. They sponsor and participate for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Humane Society, BARC Humane Society and Pruitt Health “Senior Paws for Senior Cause”. The doctors generously donate their time doing low cost sprays and neuters. Northside Animal Hospital proudly sponsored “Bark at the Park” for Valdosta State University’s Baseball program. Fans had the opportunity to bring the pets to the game where they received souvenir items and educational information. Several lucky people won a free yearly for their pet!
During a time of need, Northside Animal Hospital welcomed and boarded many pets from Florida during Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma evacuations. Each animal was boarded at no cost to the owner. The staff made care packages for the pets and owners as they traveled back their destinations in Florida.
The compassion from Northside Animal Hospital does not stop with the pets they love and adore, but carries over to the staff that helps make their care for pets possible each day. The staff takes time away from the office to enjoy bowling, going to restaurants for lunch, fish fries, which are always a favorite and much more. Northside Animal Hospital hosts an annual Christmas Party to give thanks and show their appreciation to each employee.
Northside Animal Hospital is eager to welcome you and your pet into their family. For more information contact them at 229-244-2983 or visit www.northsideanimal.com .
The Chamber Ambassadors honored SGMC Urology with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
SGMC Urology is a full service medical practice dedicated to urological and men’s reproductive health. The practice was originally founded by Dr. Jacek “Jack” Sosnowski, and was purchased earlier this year by South Georgia Medical Center. SGMC is bringing on Dr. Louis Remynse, III to join Dr. Sosnowski in practice.
Although they have been a part of the Valdosta-Lowndes community for over 10 years, SGMC Urology is bringing new and improved practices with this partnership, as Dr. Remynse is able to perform robotic assisted urological procedures with SGMC’s da Vinci Robot.
SGMC Urology is pleased to announce that they accept Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance plans.
When asked about SGMC’s relationship with the Chamber, Laura Love, Community Relations Director for SGMC states “The Chamber helps us build awareness and promote our services. SGMC is proud to be a Chamber supporter.”
SGMC Urology is located 2922 North Oak Street in Valdosta, and can be contacted by calling 229-316-2990. You can also visit them online at www.sgmc.org/services/urology
The Chamber Ambassadors honored the partnership of Miss Kate’s Deep South Tours and Tipsy Transit with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Miss Kate’s Deep South Tours is a culinary tour and event company. They offer food tours, culinary events such as cooking classes, and wine tours. Miss Kate’s loves sharing the history and amazing food of South Georgia with their guests.
To date, Miss Kate’s has successfully hosted two walking tours of Downtown Valdosta. These tours showcase the talented chefs and owners that are helping to build Valdosta into a major “foodie destination” in South Georgia. Our events and tours give” foodies” another reason to flock to Valdosta and Lowndes County.
When asked about their relationship with the Chamber, Kathryn Valler, Owner of Miss Kate’s Deep South Tours states “Our Chamber membership affords us an opportunity to build relationships with our fellow business owners. We try to take advantage of the many opportunities our membership affords us. The local events and many networking opportunities allow us to meet and form relationships with fellow business owners. We have attended training workshops to gain new skills and we have extended our wen presence by taking advantage of the website they offer us.”
Tipsy Transit is a transportation company that services Valdosta and surrounding cities. They have been providing a quality alternative to assist in keeping people safe from drinking and driving since 2010. Tipsy Transit also travels outside of the city for concerts, events, and retreats.
In addition to celebrating 8 years in business this year, Tipsy Transit is proud of what they are able to bring to the Valdosta-Lowndes community.
Felix Vayner, President of Tipsy Transit states “We provide affordable rides. And unlike any competition we may have, no one else in or around town can transport groups of 10- 15 people to and from a location. But the safe ride is just one factor of our business; we provide an atmosphere of lights, music, and good energy. The party starts when you step onto the bus, not when you arrive at your destination. We are also lucky enough to service Moody Air Force Base, and provide safe transportation for our armed service men and women. We are also revealing a new bus to our fleet, which will be leaps and bounds beyond anything Valdosta has ever seen. It’s on schedule to make its unveiling on July 4.”
A member of the Chamber for over 5 years, Tipsy Transit is very proud of their relationship. “We have been a member of the Chamber for over 5 years, and through this Chamber, we have made many networking connections. The wonderful events and gatherings they host allow local business owners to come together,” says Vayner.
Miss Kate’s Deep South Tours and Tipsy Transit recently partnered together to bring a new and exciting service to the Valdosta-Lowndes County community. Miss Kate’s will now be able to offer mobile tours with the help of Tipsy Transit.
These two businesses chose to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to announce their exciting new partnership to the community.
Miss Kate’s Deep South Tours is located at 4265 Knight Academy Road in Valdosta, and can be contacted by calling 229-415-8962. You can also visit them online at www.misskatestours.com. Tipsy Transit can be contacted by calling 229-234-1448, and can be found online at www.tipsytransit.com
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Valdosta-Lowndes Co. Conference Center & Tourism Authority as Leading Business of the Week for June 11, 2018.
Valdosta-Lowndes Co. Conference Center and Tourism Authority recently developed a new structure to place sales and marketing professionals in strategic positions to heavily promote and significantly build not only convention business to this destination but also general travel and tourism traffic.
Throughout the next several months, they have many new projects scheduled to take place. On the marketing side, they are going to heavily populate the Georgia Visitor Information Center just off I-75 in Lake Park with Valdosta and Lowndes County images and information. They are increasing their I-75 billboard presence noticeably, and will be launching a brand new website along with other marketing campaigns designed to tell the destination’s story and entice people to want to visit the area for extended stays and vacations.
They are also creating a group sales department to grow sports, tour and meeting business in hopes to help increase Valdosta’s leisure business as well. The James H. Rainwater Conference Center is also going to start major improvements and additions to their facility that will not only improve existing space, but also create new and unique space for new business and repeat customers.
Essentially, they hope to evolve quite a bit over the next few years into a well-rounded destination marketing machine and local economic growth driver.
When asked why she loves working for the Conference Center and Tourism Authority, Sandra Roose, Vice President and Director of Conference Center Sales states “Every day is different. Each day brings new visitors to engage with, new challenges and new opportunities for fruitful relationships. We never lift a finger here to do anything but good for our organization, our customers and our community. It’s not hard to go to work each day when you know you positively influence the well-being of so many people and businesses.”
The Valdosta-Lowndes Co. Conference Center and Tourism Authority is a proud member of the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber does a great job of bringing business professionals and the community together for networking opportunities and helps improve the business climate in the area. The Chamber is a critical component of the educational process of a community. The Chamber creates opportunities to learn about important and diverse topics that are current and relevant to all citizens, not just business people,” says Roose.
Valdosta-Lowndes Co. Conference Center & Tourism Authority is located at 1 Meeting Place in Valdosta, and can be contacted by calling 229.219.4405. You can also visit them online at www.rainwaterconferencecenter.com
The Leading Business of the Week program is designed to recognize members who have partnered with the Chamber for at least five years.
The Chamber Ambassadors honored Fairway Outdoor Advertising as Leading Business of the Week for the week of May 14, 2018.
Fairway Outdoor Advertising was originally founded in 1935 in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Robert O. Naegele. Since then, Fairway has seen tremendous growth – merging with and purchasing other outdoor companies. Today, Fairway Outdoor Advertising has approximately 20,000 bulletin and poster displays in 15 states spanning across the Southeast, Southwest, and Midwest United States. This makes Fairway Media the 4th largest traditional outdoor advertising company in the country.
The Valdosta branch allows the perfect central location for advertising in the Southeast region. High visibility coverage is offered along local roads, major highways, and interstates across Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.
Fairway Outdoor Advertising supports many different organizations in our local area. These organizations include: The Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross, Relay for Life, and the Salvation Army.
“It is such an honor to be able to work with Fairway, a company that always works to support its local community and citizens,” said Deborah Enfinger, General Manager for Fairway in Valdosta.
A member since 2007, Fairway Outdoor Advertising has built a strong relationship with the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce. “We are so proud of our media partnership. It is a great example of collaboration in our community,” said Enfinger.
Fairway Outdoor Advertising is located at 369 Enterprise Drive in Valdosta, and can be contacted by calling229-219-4489. You can also visit them online at www.fairwayoutdoor.com
The Leading Business of the Week program is designed to recognize members who have partnered with the Chamber for at least five years.