Earlier this month, we celebrated National Small Business Week, and West Virginian entrepreneurs have much to celebrate! In West Virginia, our small business climate has been steadily growing. Specifically, between 2018 and 2021, we’ve seen a 50% growth year-over-year in business filings. When you keep in mind that this span of years also played host to a global pandemic, it is clear West Virginia truly is a land of opportunity for small business entrepreneurs.  

Our state has claimed this success by moving the business registration process online, making it easier to access the means to start a business. We have initiated a push for better entrepreneurial education, reaching our youth to foster a promising future for our state. West Virginia is also making efforts to meet entrepreneurial difficulties head-on, with the creation of organizations like ours, 3 Steps to StartUp. As West Virginians, we are a team in the effort to bring our state to the next level when it comes to supporting small businesses.  

Nearly all entrepreneurs agree on one overarching need: funding. Businesses in the startup phase need money; businesses in the maintenance phase may also need money. Tom Barkin, President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, made opening remarks at the Investing in Rural America Conference recently. He pointed out that current West Virginian entrepreneurs are in a special position: “we are in a unique moment. Multiple rounds of federal stimulus (combined with healthy state and local government balance sheets) mean that billions of dollars are being made available for small towns across the country, on top of those available through private grant-makers.”  

Even though money is available and opportunity abounds, it is complicated. Barkin points out that grants are time-consuming and can be overwhelmingly complicated for applicants. Those wanting funding need to invest in getting that funding. Some grants are so labor-intensive that it is suggested that applicants set aside a month’s worth of work to complete the application. Ultimately, Barkin settles on the fact that West Virginian entrepreneurs, along with entrepreneurs throughout this part of the country, need help. They need help writing grants, creating pools of match funding money, and building local capacity. Luckily, helping small businesses is our business at 3 Steps to StartUp! 

At 3 Steps to StartUp, we celebrate small businesses year-round, and our mission is to continue leading West Virginia on its path to entrepreneurial greatness. Our 3 Steps to StartUp program leads a business from conception to opening, but that doesn’t mean that every business we help starts from scratch. Our experience has taught us how to ensure a business’s success at every turn, and we have provided services to businesses in each stage of entrepreneurship.  

As part of our celebration of small business this month, we also want to remind and embrace the entrepreneurs who may not need us at the “start up” of their business. Our clients are each unique with business needs across the entire spectrum; we are also here to support the entrepreneurs who may have hit a wall and aren’t sure what to do next after making significant headway. Growth ensures that a small business can survive and thrive. Here are some ways that you may not know we can help:  

  • We can assist with something as simple as creating a website or digital presence. We even assist in branding and increasing name recognition.  
  • We have a broad range of educational resources, including podcast episodes and Master Classes available for free to anyone who would like to access them. We are eager to share our expertise with anyone who needs it in West Virginia. 
  • We can help with steps that come later in a small business process: you may already have a prototype of a product, but development stalls because you have no way to manufacture your product effectively.  
  • We can be a tremendous help in acquiring funding. Some of our clients don’t need any education whatsoever, but they’re lacking the proper funds to get started. We can help with that!  
  • We have had clients who need funding but are reluctant to seek it from outside sources. Your business idea is something you want to protect, so it makes sense that you might resist asking for help. We can help, though. Accepting outside investment does not mean that you’re turning over the reins to your business. In fact, with outside investment, you get not only. 
  • We also have a broad network of resources. Follow our calendar for information on upcoming venture fairs or other events. 

In all, 3 Steps to StartUp helps businesses at all stages overcome any issue they may encounter, and we want to be instrumental in helping your small business thrive! Connect with us today with any questions you may have about how we can collaborate to continue to make West Virginia a wonderful place to do business.

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