The following are important guidelines for better managing your business. Please contact Alexandria SBDC staff if you’d like further guidance or referral to professional resources.
Review Your Business Plan
Once your business is up and running it is important to periodically step back and take an overall look at your business, and how you are fulfilling your business plan. At least once each year review your written business plan and update it to reflect the current state of your business and your plan for the future. The SBDC’s Business Planning Guide is a useful tool for this exercise.
Maintain Good Records
You have taken the steps necessary to start your business in the proper manner. Be sure to maintain required records throughout the life of your business. This checklist includes some of the important records to be maintained for LLCs and Corporations. Recordkeeping Checklist
Retail and Restaurant Businesses
Retail and Restaurant businesses offer unique challenges to business owners. These types of businesses are very important to the economy in the City of Alexandria, and the Alexandria SBDC encourages City of Alexandria retailers and restaurateurs to take advantage of our services. A particular service that is offered through the Virginia SBDC Small Town & Merchant Program is a Retail Business Checkup and a Restaurant Checkup. Click on the links below to take the self-checkup, and contact the Alexandria SBDC to be included in the next round of free on-site visits with the State’s Retail /Restaurant Consultant.
Be sure that your business is adequately insured. There are many resources available regarding business insurance, including:
It is crucial that small business owners take all of the proper steps when hiring employees. There are many factors to take into consideration. The following resources should be of assistance:
Depending on your business structure and type of business, you will owe various Federal State and Local taxes. It is the business owners responsibility to know what taxes must be paid and to pay them on time. Some general information about the types of taxes that must be paid by small business, see:
Business Plan Research
Through its access to IBISWorld research data, the Alexandria SBDC can provide information to its clients. The SBDC has access to U.S. industry reports that cover 700 different market segments. This report information covers industries as classified by NAICS codes. These reports cover information on the following areas:
About this industry - its main activities, similar industries and additional resources.
Industry at a glance - key statistics, and industry structure and executive summary.
Industry performance - an executive summary, key external drivers, current performance and industry outlook and life cycle.
Industry Outlook - also includes life cycle information.
Products & Markets - the supply chain, including key buying and selling industries, products and services, demand determinants, major markets, international trade and business locations.
Competitive Landscape - reviews market share concentration, key success factors, cost structure benchmarks, basis of competition, barriers to entry and industry globalization.
Major Companies in the industry are highlighted.
Operating Conditions - capital intensity, technology and systems, revenue volatility, regulation and policy and industry assistance.
Key Statistics show industry data; annual change and key ratios.
Businesses interested in accessing reports for their industry should contact Patricia Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide the appropriate NAICS code(s). Once the reports are completed, Pat will contact you to schedule a meeting where the results will be presented.
If you are not a client currently and your business is in, or will be in, the City of Alexandria, and you would like to work with us, we can arrange to create a client relationship.
Periodically, you will want to update cash flow projections comparing the actual results from the latest month (and later, quarter to quarter) to test the validity of your assumptions and manage your cash flow. This important function can provide a path to growing your business, expanding, answer other “what if” questions and point to possible solutions for working capital needs.
Rather than prepare one forecast, some businesses prepare several: best-case and worst-case scenarios, along with the most likely outcome. This range of possible outcomes will assist with decision making by highlighting the risks and rewards of following certain financial strategies.
An interactive sample format can be found at the following site: http://www.score.org/resources/business-plans-financial-statements-template-gallery
Use Social Networking
Many small business owners find that Social Networking is a useful marketing tool, particularly if your target market includes the younger generations. Some tips for using Social networking for your business are included in this document, "W3 Consulting's Top 10 Tips Social Media Success" (updated March 2013): https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7CpTWSLcXKCSFI4ZkFxa0NKTzA/edit?usp=sharing
Prepare for Emergencies
All businesses, regardless of size, need to be prepared in case of disaster. The ability of a business to get back up and running after disaster strikes is much easier if steps were taken before the disaster to prepare for such a possibility. The Alexandria Small Business Development Center and Dominion are making the publication Open for Business available for download on this website. This publication was written by the Institute for Business & Home Safety and is especially geared to the needs of small businesses.
View Open for Business