Long Island has a strong history of local small business and community consumerism. Naturally though, times have been difficult of late. The 2020 pandemic has severely damaged small businesses all around the country, and the difficulties aren’t going away even if long-term public health management is beginning to look promising. As of this writing, recent Long Island business restrictions have sparked fresh waves of concern over the durability of the local economy.
Despite all of this though, the strong hope among many keeping a close eye on the situation is that there will be a swift and impactful revival once the pandemic does begin to clear (which should happen in the first half of 2021 as more people are vaccinated). And while this will hopefully mean that a lot of established businesses ultimately make it through, part of the forecasted revival is expected to be due to new businesses. An unexpected boom in startups has actually already begun in parts of America, suggesting that entrepreneurs aren’t discouraged by the pandemic. Rather, they’re seizing the opportunity to catch on in an economy in upswing in 2021.
Because of this, we wanted to devote some attention to the idea of starting a new business in Long Island. And specifically, because we still don’t know exactly when restrictions will be lifted and consumer activity will return to normal, we’re going to focus on starting a business from home. For anyone who might be considering such a project, here are a few things to keep in mind.
The Need for a Home Office
Tips for productive home offices are everywhere these days, thanks to the new work-from-home phenomenon. They involve making the space comfortable, facilitating strategic breaks, organizing things for productivity, and so on. And here’s the thing: You should take these tips to heart. Starting a home business on Long Island or anywhere else means relying heavily on home workspace. And while there might be a certain lazy appeal to doing professional work on your laptop on the couch or on your front deck, you simply won’t be as productive without a designated space. Treating a home business as a real job is essential.
Consultation with an Advisor
Before you go much further than setting up a home office space, it is worthwhile to seek out assistance and resources that can help you to really get things started. Long Island is actually home to some New York Small Business Development Center locations, which are perfect for this early part of the process. At such a location (or perhaps virtually if you have the option) you can work with experienced professionals who will help you with everything from your core business plan to various growth strategies. This kind of help can be invaluable as you begin to piece your new company together.
Making Your Business Official
When you’re actually ready to get started, you’ll want to go about the formal process of making your home business official with the state of New York. You’ll have a few different options in this regard, including starting a Sole Proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company, or a Corporation — though most smaller new businesses end up as one of the first two. A Sole Proprietorship is the simplest and most flexible setup for a new business, but a New York LLC has more specific benefits to offer you as an owner. Namely, you will have your personal assets separated and thus protected from business assets, and you will avoid being subjected to both personal and corporate taxes. Either way though, getting your business registered with the state is a necessary early step – even if it feels like a casual home project at first.
When the business is set up, official, and ready to roll, the next step should be to market locally. While an at-home business will often have an online component — and thus the potential to generate activity anywhere — establishing a foothold on Long Island is a nice way to make the company sustainable. We’ve advised Long Island companies on how to promote themselves locally (really, with tips that can apply to businesses in any specific area), and the good news is that the steps are fairly straightforward! As recommended, SMS marketing, local SEO, an engaging blog with a local touch, and reviews in area publications or on Long Island websites can do the trick. If all of this is done well, you can establish a local following as a base upon which to grow your business over time.
Keeping it Personal
To expand on what you might accomplish with local marketing, we’ll add that you should try to establish a personal connection with your Long Island market as well. If you live and work in the area, we don’t need to tell you that connections run deep, and there’s a lot of pride in local neighborhoods, communities, and, ultimately, businesses. Working your way into that fabric isn’t something that will happen overnight, but it can ultimately be one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you accomplish with a new business.