I’ve lived in Charlotte for over 8 years and as a business owner myself; the entrepreneurial spirit of this city consistently amazes me.
When I first moved here I could tell that Charlotte was different than anywhere else I had lived before. Younger people were coming here in droves to begin careers in a rapidly growing city with an excellent cost of living and ample amount of opportunity. Even though Charlotte suffered its fair share of setbacks during the recession, it’s now evident that the city is growing and building once again at an impressive rate.
It seems like with every networking or media event that I attend, I meet someone who is doing something incredible to contribute to our city. Startup companies, new restaurants, and businesses with disruptive models are popping up faster than I can keep up.
I thought it would be interesting to get some insight into the mentality of those who are shaping our city into something great and to learn what it takes to create a successful business here in Charlotte. Check out the list below for 10 business tips from Charlotte entrepreneurs.
(1) “Start a business for the right reasons. Make it something you are extremely passionate about. This will keep you motivated to succeed and reach your goals. Find your target customer and focus on getting to know them. Be visible in the community and put yourself in front of these audiences as much as possible. By focusing on the correct target audience you can drive sales and keep your marketing costs lower.” – Heather Barbour Wyatt, Co-Owner at Wine and Design Charlotte
(2) “Expect to fail before you succeed. I’m not saying that your business will necessarily fail, but it’s more than likely you will have a “losing moment” somewhere in the beginning. Don’t get discouraged. Almost every entrepreneur has been there. Take at least one valuable lesson from that loss, learn from it, and begin your path to success from there.” – Rich Saner, Founder of Rockhouse Events and Co-Owner/Founder of Rich and Bennett, LLC
(3) “Learn to trust yourself entirely. You will come to know adversity well, but it’s these fires that forge you. The trick is to find comfort in uncertainty — a calm in the chaos. So much more is happening than you realize, and it won’t always make sense, but greatness is reached by those who find a way to endure.” – Joshua Lineberger, Creator and Founder of Socialtopias.com
(4) “Find a niche that isn’t being filled in Charlotte and find a unique and fresh way to fill it. Also, don’t just look at your competitors in Charlotte to see how you compare. Look at what people and companies are doing in big cities like New York, Miami, L.A., Vegas, etc. and get progressive ideas from them that are not yet being practiced here.” – Shane McDevitt, Founder of The McDevitt Agency
(5) “Stay driven. When you think you have nothing else left to do at that point in time, sit down and think. There is always something to be done, big or small, that will move you and your business in a forward direction. I have found that the Charlotte business community is exceptionally welcoming and encouraging. This city is very open to new ideas and concepts. If you have an idea that you believe in, others will too. Just get the ball rolling!” – Brandon DeCurtins, Owner of King of Pops – Charlotte
(6) “A good idea and a good product can get you a long way, but the people of Charlotte want their local entrepreneurs to succeed. From loyal customers and retailers to all the people that support small businesses in the area (accountants, PR reps, attorneys), starting and growing a business is a reality here. The Charlotte market is strong, growing and generous.” – Helen Burns, Creator of Helen’s Kitchen
(7) “Engage with your fans and customers. Set up a mailing list or newsletter and ask your customers what they want to see you doing, respond to people on social media, and answer emails promptly. People want to know there’s a real person behind the business. We find that people buy into people more than the actual product, especially in the beginning.” – Scott Wooten, Co-Owner of 704 Shop
(8) “Keep your overhead low. Fewer expenses will cause you to be profitable quicker. Develop a business plan and be sure that each daily activity you engage upon relates to the goals of your business plan. Be mindful with your schedule by setting goals every day, month and year. You can spend 20 hours a day being active and not accomplishing much or spend three dedicated hours achieving a goal that advances your business plan.” – Laurie Eberhart, Attorney at Moretz & Skufca, PLLC
(9) “Make sure the business you are starting is your passion and meet as many people as you can. Networking is the key.” – Quinn Reynolds, Owner at Arrichion Hot Yoga – Charlotte, Durham and Raleigh
(10) “Network as much as possible with other entrepreneurs. There are some great resources to help you build your new business. Everyone you talk to will have different opinions which may sound overwhelming but can actually be a blessing. This will give you a chance to explore and figure out what will work best for you.” – Carly Gardner, Chief Strategy Officer of Gardner Brand Services
April Smith runs Social Ape Marketing a a Charlotte-based marketing company that focuses on the power of social media, word of mouth, and promotional marketing.