Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Do you have an idea that could add to the commerce and personality of the greater Omaha community? Do you feel empowered to take things into your own hands and seek out new opportunities? If so, you’ve probably dreamed of owning your own business and putting your spirit to the test. Is it a little intimidating? Sure it is, but if you have the dream and the spirit to follow through, why not test your ideas and give it a try? Just be certain that you are truly dedicated before taking the plunge, because starting a business can be a bit of an arduous and highly detailed process, but the rewards can cover the price of entry.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a ten-step plan for starting a business, which includes: conducting market research; writing a business plan; funding your business; selecting your business location; choosing a legal structure for your business; choosing your business name; registering your business; getting federal and state tax IDs; applying for licenses and permits; and opening a business bank account. As part of this entire process, we suggest working with a business coach who is a good match for you, hammer out some details and test your grit. We talked to some savvy business experts in the Omaha area to get some tips for walking the path to business ownership and outfitting your business and employees for success.
Starting your own business takes a lot of courage, and with adequate knowledge, preparation and the right group of supporters standing behind you, it can be the best decision of your life. American businessman and entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell once said, “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”
Are you ready to be a doer and take the plunge with your next great idea? Several local businesses shared their advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and how they can help you make your vision a reality. Read on to learn about their amazing services!
Content is King
At Hunter Web Group (hunterwebgroup.com), they are committed to providing exceptional web design and development services to businesses of all sizes. With years of experience and a deep understanding of the latest trends and technologies in web design, they are your go-to partner for all of your web design needs.
Hunter Web Group offers a wide range of web design services to help businesses create a strong online presence. From custom web design and development to e-commerce solutions and content management systems, they have the expertise and experience to create a website that meets your unique needs. Their team of web design professionals is committed to creating websites that not only look great but also perform well. They focus on creating websites that are user-friendly, easy to navigate and optimized for search engines. They also offer ongoing support and maintenance to ensure your website is always up-to-date and running smoothly.
“When it comes to web design, there’s a common saying that ‘content is king.’ This is because the content of your website is what ultimately drives engagement and conversions,” said Tim Hunter from Hunter Web Group. “I want to help business owners learn why content is so important in web design, and how you can ensure that your website has high-quality, engaging content.
Tim shared a few tips on creating quality content online.
- Know Your Audience: The first step in creating quality content is to know your audience. Who are they? What are their interests and pain points? What questions do they have? By understanding your audience, you can create content that’s relevant and valuable to them.
- Create Original Content: While it’s okay to draw inspiration from other sources, it’s important to create original content that’s unique to your website. This can help to improve your search engine rankings, and also helps to build trust and authority with your audience.
- Use a Variety of Content Formats: Don’t just rely on written content – use a variety of content formats to engage your audience. This can include images, videos, infographics, podcasts and more.
- Optimize Your Content for Search Engines: To improve your search engine rankings, it’s important to optimize your content for your target keywords. This involves using your keywords in your headlines, subheadings and throughout your content in a natural way.
“In conclusion, content is king in web design. By creating high-quality, engaging content that’s optimized for your audience and search engines, you can drive more engagement, build trust and authority and improve your search engine rankings,” said Tim. “So if you’re not already prioritizing content in your web design efforts, it’s time to start.”
Your Built Environment
So you’ve made it through all the brainstorming, paperwork, strategizing, funding, locating, building and minutia to start your business. Now it’s time to make it a place that people want to work safely and happily and customers or clients want to frequent. We know the next step: Contact AOI Corporation (aoicorp.com) to ace the built environment! They offer comprehensive services for new construction, renovations and expansion, provide furniture options that leverage environments to create greater value for businesses and offer an entire line of sustainable prefabricated modular interior construction.
“AOI focuses on the built environment, whether that be in your private office, small business, or a corporate tower,” said Director of Marketing Penny Johnston. “We have everything from MillerKnoll highly ergonomic task chairs to DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) modularly constructed walls, and everything in between.”
Integrating technology needs for growth is crucial to starting a business. You’ll save a lot of time and effort down the road if you plan for long-term technology needs in spaces like huddle rooms or meeting spaces. AOI can help you strategize your built environment for now—and when you grow, considering your specific needs.
“Every buyer’s situation is so different, which is why our furniture consultants are trained on things like ergonomics and warranty, to help you make the best product decisions,” Penny said. “Our design professionals are trained on local codes and life-safety issues within the built environment, as well. To that end, we also have online planning guides available through our various manufacturers, so if you do not need personal help just yet, we have other avenues for you. We help you make the most informed decision possible, whatever your situation.”
Among AOI’s newest products are Framery Pods, which are soundproof pods that make a perfect place to have meetings, brainstorming sessions and important one-on-one conversations in private without disturbing the entire office—or the office disturbing them. This is just one example of what they deliver as Nebraska’s authorized dealer for Framery, a globally-recognized brand known for offering innovative workplace solutions to many of the world’s leading companies, including Microsoft, Puma, LinkedIn and Tesla. AOI is also a certified dealer for MillerKnoll furniture, which transforms ordinary spaces into collaborative, innovative environments for the 21st century.
“AOI is the only full-service MillerKnoll dealer in the state of Nebraska,” Penny said. “As a company, AOI’s unique products and services will effectively achieve your future goals, creating an environment that fosters innovation and collaboration, while showcasing beautiful, design-driven furniture that will grow and change with your business!”
Branding Done Right
Little Guy Branding (lgxbranding.com) is a full-service branding and digital marketing company. For those starting a new business, they can help from the very beginning. They will help you pick out a name and design a logo. From there, they help their clients examine their target audiences, outline marketing needs and design marketing collateral from business cards and email signatures to brochures and signage – and anything in between. They also offer website design and development services, photography, video production, social media management and consultations, search engine optimization and content creation.
The team at Little Guy Branding wants to make sure you are presenting your products or services in the best way possible, and sometimes that means taking a look at things from a different perspective.
“As important as it is for them to love their logo, colors, website and other things, the more important thing is that it resonates clearly with their target audiences. We want all of our clients to love the things we create and build for them, but more importantly, we want their clients and prospective customers to understand and easily interact and engage with them intuitively,” said Matt Stewart, founder and creator of Little Guy Branding. “New owners can get very wrapped up with the service or product personally and forget it should be mostly about their customers. For example, the new owner’s favorite color might be blue, but their product is a fire extinguisher, you will probably want to use reds so your audience can easily identify the product.”
In addition to the added creativity and ideas, working with a professional can ensure that everything you use to market your company looks clean, professional and eye-catching.
“We say that if you wouldn’t try to DIY yourself out of a legal, medical or financial challenge, why try to DIY your marketing efforts? Sometimes folks think of marketing as something unserious, undisciplined or unnecessary,” explained Matt. “This lack of awareness of the many marketing disciplines can hinder business owners from deploying the right tactics or result in them spending too much of their valuable time on marketing instead of the day-to-day work of their business.”
The world of marketing includes highly-creative fields along with deep data analytics expertise. Partnering with a branding and marketing firm like Little Guy Branding allows you to tap into all the various disciplines without needing to hire for every single one.
Work with Experts Who Care
Getting advice from your peers can be a great tool, but finding an expert that can see your goals and help you realize them takes things to another level.
Fiserv (fiserv.com) enables money movement for thousands of financial institutions and millions of people and businesses. They help you make smart decisions and set realistic goals financially. We spoke to National Senior Sales Advisor Dan Rau, who everyone knows as Rowdy, to learn more about the services Fiserv has to offer, and the bits of advice you need to take your business to new heights.
“My greatest value add to a business is my vast network and expertise and experience in Financial Technology (FinTech) solutions,” explained Rowdy. “My income and success is directly connected to the growth and success of my clients and portfolio. My network allows businesses easier opportunities to build long lasting partnership and vendor relationships.”
Finding the small ways that could be saving your business money is one of the things Rowdy knows best. He shared a tip with us for new businesses that are trying to save an extra buck.
“Businesses now more than ever can gain back all, some, or none of their fees with merchant processing,” Rowdy said. “Merchant processing fees are tax deductible operating costs, so passing the 3-4% fee to customers when inflation is set this time at 7.7% allows the business to increase deductions while paying less or zero in merchant processing fees.”
One thing Rowdy expressed is something that everyone can take with them, no matter what their next venture is.
“I will end with a quote from Muhammad Ali, ‘Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth,’” shared Rowdy. Remember to take care of the people around you!
Planning for the Future
Running a business is no small task, and keeping it positioned for growth is even more difficult. As you go, you’ll need strategies to make more time, build better teams and increase money to your bottom line. It can be daunting, but ActionCOACH ExcelEdge (exceledge.actioncoach.com) is ready to help. ActionCOACH ExcelEdge is an award-winning business and executive coaching firm. As coaches, they partner with leaders to inspire innovative processes that continuously motivate them to reach their top leadership and professional potential. They work with businesses and individuals from start-ups to executives. Their coaching programs are designed to identify your challenges and to apply practical and results-driven solutions.
Linda Krei, the senior partner and CEO of ActionCOACH, heads up a team of certified business and executive coaches to help driven and energetic business owners and leaders increase their profits and their operating efficiencies. As your team of coaches and advisors, they will help you achieve more through the use of proven tools, methodologies and systems tested and perfected over tens of thousands of businesses worldwide over the past three decades.
“We begin our relationship with new clients with understanding their vision and what it is they are building,” said Linda. “We guide them through a process to “Start with the End in Mind” and help them to take that DREAM and develop the GOALS that define what they will need to LEARN to become the person to achieve their goals to then PLANNING and identify ACTION items to grow their business.”
It can never hurt to have a fresh set of eyes take a look over how you are running your business, and Linda and the ActionCOACH team can help you eliminate the extra steps you may be taking to reach success.
“We do see a tendency for business owners to work too many long hours for too long, before hinging a team of professionals to assist. The important step before that is to the get the systems and processes identified by the business owner, and often they just have things in their heads,” Linda explained. “By developing checklists and processes, the business owner is better positioned to train the team they hire, preparing them to resist the temptation to ‘just do it myself.’”
ActionCOACH has a proven systems and methodologies that guide business owners to develop a commercial profitable enterprise system that can work without them if they so choose. The coaches guide business owners to learn how to work “on” their business instead of “in” their business which consumes and exhausts many business owners, not just those starting a business. Linda and her team help them develop a different mindset to approach their business, to help them see that it shouldn’t be a job; they will likely need to learn different skill sets and ActionCOACH offers business education to do so.
As a print, mail and marketing provider, Aradius Group (aradiusgroup.com) can deliver your message to future customers, nationwide! After operating for more than 160 years, they continue to adapt and grow with the latest technology to provide their clients with the best solutions available in the industry today. Aradius Group’s award-winning team combines your marketing goals with their printing and mailing expertise so that you can expect a seamless customer experience from strategy and design to the final product. One of their most popular marketing solutions, ATTRACT, is a cost-effective way to promote your brand to your audience – no mailing list required. Just provide your artwork, pick your targeted locations on a map and they’ll do the rest!
Rachel Wallace, the marketing manager at Aradius Group, shared with us some crucial advice for those beginning their entrepreneurial journey.
“Start by identifying the best target audience for your product or service, then create a marketing piece with copy and images that will resonate with your ideal customer group,” advised Rachel. “Sometimes choosing the right way to distribute your marketing message can seem overwhelming, like there are too many options to choose from. By talking through your business goals, our team will recommend the best plan for you to simply promote your brand and keep it top of mind.”
Whether you’re trying to grow in local areas or catch the attention of potential customers nationwide, Aradius Group has a marketing solution that will align with your business strategy and make your brand come to life! Their services include prepress, digital printing, offset printing, envelope printing and bindery and finishing. For direct mail services, they offer mailing lists, campaign consulting, personalization, fulfillment and postage audit.
Aradius Group wants to partner with your team to become a cornerstone in your marketing strategy. Once they get to understand your business and your company goals, they will propose the marketing strategy that they believe is the best fit for you and tailor it to suit your specific needs. Reach out to Aradius Group today to see how they can make your marketing dreams become reality.
Stick to the Plan
MAPS Business Coaching (mymapscoach.com) offers training to thousands of people every month and coaches business owners and entrepreneurs in weekly one-on-one sessions.
“If you don’t have a relationship with your goals, they mean nothing,” shared local franchise Owner Donald Kracke. “As a business coach, I hold clients accountable to what they want and what they say they’re going to do.”
Donald helps his clients by using models and systems such as the economic model, the budget model, organizational model and the lead generation model. These help him show the client what should be important to them to be able to reach their goals in a smart way.
“Business owners need to focus on the top 20% of what makes them money. By doing so, everything else becomes irrelevant. 20% of your activities generate 80% of income,” said Donald. “Don’t get caught up in the weeds. You can only do so many things well. Multi-tasking is a myth!”
MAPS Business Coaching helps businesses bring clarity to the different facets of business they have to deal with. The benefits are endless, and there are no limits to what you can accomplish with this kind of support!
Keep Track of What’s Important
Forgetfulness is a trait we all can relate to at one point or another. Forgetting your keys before heading out the door, missing a dentist appointment or leaving an important item for the day at home are all things that can mess up your day, but overall don’t cause much harm. Forgetting to keep track of your business’s financials, on the other hand, will create a world of hassle for your business and a huge headache for you.
Omaha Bookkeeping (omaha-bookkeeping.com) is ready to help your new business succeed by keeping your business organized throughout each month with the financial transactions that occur. With their help, your business will be able to see a good financial picture and performance of the company at any given time throughout the year. Outsourcing bookkeeping duties may also save money in the long run by finding the partner that fits your business culture. Bookkeepers may also find ways to improve your process and identify areas where you may be overspending. They may also help to take advantage of bookkeeping software to help automate tasks, again saving time and money.
“I would make sure your business communicates with a tax professional and their accounting/bookkeeping department to make sure all of your tax-related expenses are accounted for,” said Jeff Doering, owner of Omaha Bookkeeping. “It is important to stay on top of account reconciliations and recording and classifying every financial transaction of the business. That’s where my services come in. Keeping and logging the proper backup documents of each financial transaction will make tax process go a lot smoother.”
You want to be ready for next year’s tax season when it rolls around again, and there is no better way to ensure your business is prepared than with the help of Omaha Bookkeeping. They are dedicated to keeping you on track financially, so that you can reach your goals with ease.
Over 200 online records are compromised every second, and 60% of small businesses don’t have a plan in the event of a cyberattack. This is a risk you cannot afford to take. Trumbo Corporation’s (trumbocorp.com) service includes a comprehensive consult to help identify gaps and opportunities within your IT Department. Then, they put a custom solution together to help meet those goals and take the stress off your IT department. They also offer a suite of quality products that will help keep your network safe and secure. Cybersecurity is incredibly important in our current society, and Trumbo wants to make sure your company is as safe and secure as possible.
Trumbo’s services include managed IT solutions, cybersecurity, website hosting, business phone services, disaster recovery and professional services. Whether you need PC or server maintenance, VPS hosting, onsite phone systems, graphic design, project planning or if you don’t understand what any of that means, Trumbo will be there to help.
Save your business a big headache and feel cyber-secured with Trumbo!
Start with a Foundation
If you are looking into building or renovating a new space for your new business, consider starting from the ground up – literally. RSW Floors & More (rswfloors.com) is your local resource for all things flooring.
RSW Floors & More usually come into a building before all of the furniture, decorations and people move in, and they coat the concrete flooring with epoxy and flakes and can create decorative patterns if you choose. Commercially, they work with schools, locker rooms, bar backs, kitchen areas, industrial warehouses, restaurants, vet offices and more. Their floors are tough, long-lasting and built for heavy-duty use. They also come with a five-year warranty on commercial flooring.
The installation takes about 48 hours, but RSW Floors & More suggest that business owners prep the space before hand to ensure that the process goes smoothly, and that no one has to move furniture or other things back and forth during the installation.
When starting a new business, it may seem like a good idea to find any way to save money by trying to do everything yourself. Leave flooring to the professionals as you take on a lot of risk by doing it yourself without proper knowledge. If you want your floors to last in the long run, talk to a professional about what they can do for you. Remember, you get what you pay for!
RSW Floors & More is committed to making sure you have the best possible experience with their services. They are all about details and will make sure your project is done exactly how you want it. They will come do a courtesy check on the new flooring about a week to ten days after the job is complete. You can be sure you are getting the best possible work done on your flooring because there will be a manufacturer representative available to give a second opinion on any job that requests it. Owner and Operator Raimond Wojtalewicz schedules the job and comes to do it himself, so you know that no details will be forgotten.
It’s an exciting time when your entrepreneurial spirit gives you that push to go forward with your dream of opening your own business. From flooring to coaching and tech needs and accounting, the Omaha community has your back. We encourage you to reach out to these local businesses and professionals to ensure your vision can be made a reality.