There’s a Pandemic Startup Surge

While some of us were learning to bake or binge-watching Netflix during quarantine, others, especially those who were away from their regular workplace, were doing something entirely different. The number of new businesses that opened during COVID-19 is, well, a start-up pandemic.

Here at the Petal Chamber, we are taking note of how new and existing businesses are taking advantage of the changing economic landscape to serve customers in new and unique ways.

Are you ready to go into business for yourself? If you are, you aren’t alone. The week of August 10th, over 111,000 applications to start a new business were filed, according to the US Census Bureau, with 113,000+ filed the week before. And while the economic climate now may not be a bad time to start your own business, there’s a big difference between vision and success.

We’ll give you some tips on how to start your new business off on the right foot – and we look forward to welcoming you into the Petal Chamber.

Vision Plus Experience Makes the Dream Work

Many small businesses start with a dream, a vision, and an understanding that there’s a niche to fill. Having a “big picture” concept of your business is essential to your purpose and helps shape your business plan (an essential document if you plan to apply for a Small Business Loan).

However, a successful start-up needs three kinds of personalities: Visionary, Expert, and Detail-Oriented.

Your vision for your company launches the blueprint for your purpose and goals. However, to get off the ground, you need the experience of someone who has actually done what you plan to do. They can give you practical advice on how to solve common problems as they come up and reference their own background in dealing with business growth and what their customer experience has been.

Finally, you need someone to mind the details. This is the person who may help balance your finances, spot little things that you miss, and make sure that your vision, plus the expert input, forms into a workable plan.

Watch Actions, Don’t Listen to Promises

When you hire someone for your start-up, it’s important they contribute to getting your business off the ground. You, as the founder and business owner, should be the visionary – and your team is there to help support the purpose of your business. When you set goals for your team, make sure that they follow through with what they say they’ll do, offering practical solutions for problems you encounter.

The advice from your expert should be practical and insightful. The assistance from your detail person should help you put it all together. A successful start-up doesn’t just start – it keeps going, and that’s why you need the expertise of someone who has managed or owned a business in the same field as yours. Your expert creates an action plan for you, and your detailed person puts it all together into a road map that you can all easily follow together.

Starting your own business is hard work, but for many, it’s also a labor of love. We’re all in this together, and at the Chamber, we understand the challenges and the triumphs of small businesses. Our mission is to support local businesses and our community economy whether you’re an online business, a brick-and-mortar, or a click-and-mortar hybrid.


Designing the first 15 feet of your store

They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is that more important than in the retail industry. You’ll need to draw customers into your store from the moment they step foot inside, and this requires care and attention to detail when planning the entrance to your shop. Here’s what you’ll need to consider.


Of course, you want to keep your entire store clean, but you should pay particular attention to the entrance. If prospective customers see dust and dirt when they first walk into your store, they’ll likely turn around and walk back out again. From their perspective, how can they expect you to offer quality wares when you can’t even care for your store? Dust the shelves and sweep or vacuum the floors daily, and clean any permanent fixtures, like lighting and ongoing displays, at least weekly. Depending on your location and the local weather conditions, you may need to clean more often.

Window Displays

Your store’s front windows are your most powerful tools for drawing in prospective customers. Aim to display your best offerings right at the front so that customers will want to come in to see more. When placing those products inside your store, though, you’ll want to place them near the back so that customers have to walk by all your other wares to find what they are looking for. This encourages impulse purchases, making it more likely that customers will buy more than just the single item they originally sought.

Product Placement

You’ll need to carefully consider the placement of the rest of your products as well. The front of your store should show off some of your most desirable items, but you don’t want the best things to be up front. Aim for a mix of popular items and those that don’t sell as frequently. By dispersing your best products throughout the store, you can guide customers through the aisles so that they’ll see as much as possible.

Be Prepared to Make Changes

Over time, you’ll likely discover that some products do better in particular areas of your store. Try to identify any patterns that emerge so that you can make adjustments to your displays as needed. Take note of customer feedback in this area as well. After all, it is your customers who matter most when it comes to making decisions about purchasing your products. Listen to what they are telling you.

Of course, none of this matters if you don’t offer the products your customers are looking to buy, so take care in choosing the products you offer. Look to strike a balance between quality and affordability. If you notice that the quality of the products from a particular supplier seems to be diminishing over time, it may be time to find a new supplier. Design your store to draw in customers in the first place, and keep up the quality of your products to keep those customers coming back again and again.