Each year the SEEDS Business Resource Center, located in the Chamber's office in Valdosta, provides free assistance to startup businesses, existing and expanding companies in Lowndes County.
Morgan explains that the SEEDS Center's mission is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and help foster and sustain entrepreneurial development.
During COVID, the Chamber became an information conduit as they passed along vital information from local, state, and federal agencies to its members.
As the pandemic lockdown continued, Morgan says businesses had various questions, from human resource issues to safety precautions.
"I am so amazed at how our businesses pivoted and turned around and started looking at things in a different way," she says. "Out of this, they started curbside pickup, limiting hours when customers could come in by themselves and shop. Everyone was in survival mode.”
While starting a business can be challenging, Morgan provides clients with the resources they need to navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
Morgan outlined seven steps to business ownership:
1. Validate the business idea to see if it's feasible;
2. Write a business plan;
3. Decide how you are going to finance your business;
4. Determine the legal structure of your business;
5. Register the business with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies and purchase appropriate insurance coverage;
6. Market your business (establish a brand, create a logo, build a website, establish social media, etc.); and
7. Launch your business
In addition to the SEEDS Business Resource Center, Morgan says there are other valuable resources available in the region, including the UGA Small Development Center (SBDC) at Valdosta State University and the South Georgia SCORE office located in Moultrie.
Through the SEEDS Center, new and existing businesses can receive a variety of reports, including demographics, competitor information, sales lists, and traffic counts. The center also sponsors professional classes from human resources to marketing.
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