The Brainerd Lakes Area is filled with invaluable resources to help propel your business dreams to success. Here are a few New Business Resources in the Brainerd Lakes Area:
Small Business Development Center: The mission of the North Central Region Small Business Development Center is to improve economic growth in Minnesota by providing assistance to small businesses in order to increase the number of new business start-ups, expand existing small businesses, and reduce the number of small business failures.
This will, in turn, preserve and create new jobs and economic opportunities for many Minnesotans. All services are confidential and are low-cost or no cost. Information services and initial business counseling are free. Minimal fees are charged for seminars, workshops, cash flows, and market research. The team at SBDC is a wellspring of knowledge, assistance and resources and should be the FIRST stop for anyone considering starting a business.
Greg Bergman, Director
Mike Paulus is another great connect there. Free consults too.
Central Lakes College: CLC has a great Going Into Business for Yourself Course that is offered often.
3 hours, $49
Boatloads of information, click here to learn more.
BLADC: Anyone who’s thinking about starting a business in the Brainerd Lakes Area should contact the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation (BLAEDC), which can help you determine how to proceed and can share with you additional resources that will help you get started and give you a better chance of success. Click HERE to view a really good list of community resources and a ton of business planning tools that can help you get started.
Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce As the voice of business in the Brainerd Lakes Area, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber is the organization that connects businesses and leads the drive for responsible and profitable growth in the Brainerd Lakes region. The Chamber works to help businesses connect with people, organizations, and businesses; advocates on behalf of business interests on governmental concerns on the local, state, and national levels; and promotes business growth through marketing and educational programs.
The Chamber is also an excellent way to find local and reputable service providers like web designers, virtual assistants and accountants that will help your business grow. Learn how you can partner with the Chamber at www.chamberbrainerdlakes.com.
What good is your business if no one knows about you? There are several networking groups in our area and the direct benefit of these groups is the face-to-face factor. Not only do you get to connect with like-minded business people, all networking groups work together to promote each other’s businesses through referrals. It’s like your own personal sales team. Here are few of the networking groups in the Brainerd area.
BNI: BNI is business professionals building relationships on the idea of “Givers Gain.” I’ve belonged to BNI in the past and it is a phenomenal way to grow your business. BNI Groups in Brainerd include Leaders Edge, Leaders of the Lakes and Lake Country Connections. If you would rather networking with women only, Women In Networking is a good option as is the co-ed group LANG.
Coworking is an amazing way to give your new business a professional presence without committing to months/years of rent leases. Many business can operate from home, but just as many need to have a classy and visible place to meet with clients. As a small business or a new business venture you can rent desk/office space and also conference room space. This is an affordable stepping stone to your entrepreneurial dreams.
The Brainerd Lakes area is blessed with a wonderful co-working center in the lower level of Black Ridge Bank. Clean, professional and easily accessible, Scott and Tessa Hall have created a wonderful place for small businesses to rent space, hold conferences, conduct meetings and have a place to “be” when creating a new business. This co-working space is one of many amazing options for new entrepreneurs in this area.
Besides joining networking groups and the Brainerd Lakes Chamber (who also has wonderful meet-n-greet networking events like Business After Hours and C.H.O.W) there are a handful of other ways to get FREE P.R. for your business:
Brainerd Dispatch Business Notes: Did you know you can share information about your business and have it appear in the Business Notes section for free? These updates are only for events in your business or landmark changes like new staff or an award and can’t be “sale-sy” in any way. But it is still an excellent way to get your business’ name in front of prospective clients and newspaper readers.
“The Dispatch welcomes business notes submissions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or fax to 218-829-0211, mail to Brainerd Dispatch, P.O. Box 974, Brainerd, MN 56401 or use the drop-off box in the alley next to the Dispatch building on James Street. Questions are welcome to Renee Richardson at 855-5852.”
Doing a Sunday Spotlight on Lakes Area Mom Squad: This free service on this very blog allows local businesses to answer a series of Q&A type questions to “shine the spotlight” on their business and have their information get seem by the over 10K viewers that visit this blog every month. email me at Becky (at) LakesAreaMomSquad (dot) com or RebeccaFlansburg (at) gmail (dot) com for more details.
CTC: CTC is a huge help for new business and it’s a resource I use myself. I can vouch for their great services, affordable pricing and a customer service team that has saved by bacon on may occasions. Business owners can establish phone numbers, email addresses, website, etc. to start putting together marketing materials prior to opening.
The Office Shop: Get the gear you need for your new business. From used office furniture to tax forms and office products, TOS is a great place to get your start-up supply needs. The Office Shop of Brainerd/Aitkin sells “everything for the office.” Canon Copier dealer, NEW & used office furniture, & over 30,000 office supply items available. Locally owned & operated since 1983.
Website Creation and Design: Having a vibrant website is critical when creating your new business. How can people do business with you if they can’t find any information on the WWW about you? Corey Kretsinger from MidState Designs is one of the many qualified website creators in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
Lakes Printing: Lakes Printing has been my one-stop-shop for quality business cards and marketing materials creation.
What resources have I forgotten? Add your opinion in the comment box below!
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