Arizona is one of the best states for business
THIS ARTICLE APPEARS IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
August 11, 2023
According to Sandra Watson, president and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority, “Arizona is widely recognized as a top place in the country for business and innovation. With our world-class universities and community colleges, modern infrastructure, low cost of doing business and vibrant innovation ecosystem, Arizona is where good ideas and dynamic entrepreneurs can thrive.”
Several business news outlets have reported that Americans have filed over five million new business applications in 2022 — the second most on record — attributing the pandemic as the cause that supercharged America’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Locally, approximately 50% of Sedona’s population is in the labor force and there are close to 1,434 businesses. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) says that it has recorded 96 business starts for Yavapai County ending FY22 on September 30, 2022, and 75 business starts to date since October 1. The SBDC serves all of the Verde Valley.
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is well connected. Leveraging our industry relationships and connections is a benefit of membership. These connections also help us to stay informed so that we can provide the best information for area businesses.
We reached out to a few of our colleagues to assess the landscape of entrepreneurship and asked Scott Hathcock, president and CEO of Moonshot, a 23-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit (formerly known as NACET, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology) and wanted to know what are some of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face?
According to Scott, businesses are faced with limited funding resources. However, he is seeing organizations like Growth Partners AZ and Community Investment Corporation (CIC) have compelling nontraditional lending programs that are changing the scope in Arizona.
With a particular focus on rural Arizona, the mission of Moonshot is to assist entrepreneurs in building and scaling start-ups as well as developing entrepreneurial ecosystems and workforce development programs that support sector growth.
Hathcock offers these suggestions to entrepreneurs who are planning to start a business:
- Identify a Clear Business Idea: Research the market, assess potential competition and ensure there is a demand for your product or service.
- Develop a Solid Business Plan: It outlines your business’s mission, target market, marketing strategy, financial projections and operational plans. It will also be essential if you need to seek funding or support from investors.
- Know Your Target Audience: Understand your target audience’s needs and preferences. Tailor your product or service to meet those specific needs and solve their problems effectively.
- Build a Team that believes in your vision.
- Manage Cash Flow: Keep a close eye on cash flow from day one. Create a budget, monitor expenses and establish financial controls.
- Stay flexible and be prepared to adapt: Fail quickly and move on. Resilience and perseverance are key traits for an entrepreneur.
- Embrace Innovation and Technology: Embrace technological advancements like AI.
- Network and Collaborate: Entrepreneurship can be isolating. Networking with other entrepreneurs and businesspeople can lead to valuable partnerships and opportunities for growth.
- Be coachable: If you are asking for help, listen. You don’t have to take ALL the advice, but you do need to be open to the possibility that someone may have a better way of doing things.
Moonshot also offers incubator programs that include free meetups and workshops at moonshotaz.com
The Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau is a great place to begin your journey. Our myriad of connections to groups like Moonshot directly benefit our members. Our team is on hand to recommend a variety of resources, including the SBDC, Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) and other organizations that will point you in the right direction. The SCC&TB also offers numerous workshops and networking opportunities to assist your business growth. Our members regularly benefit from programs such as social media strategy workshops, setting up QuickBooks, “Equality in the Workplace,” and learning about financial support for businesses, among others.
Learn more about these and other programs at SedonaChamberEvents.com.
–Michelle Conway, President/CEO
Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau