Small businesses face challenges - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Small businesses face challenges

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July 26, 2006

Albany -- Our economy depends on the success of small businesses. But running a successful business isn't easy all the time, and many endure summer slumps when school is out and many people are on vacation. There challenges small business owners deal with here in South Georgia.

The Rocket was a popular Albany restaurant, but a few weeks ago it closed for good. Owner Tim Underwood says Albany presents several challenges for entrepreneurs like him.

"The middle class isn't as big as some other communities so the challenges are to attract the middle and upper class to your businesses who are going to be your ultimate supporters of what you're doing," said Tim Underwood.

Albany Chamber of Commerce President Tim Martin works with small business owners, and knows it can be tough. He says there are many aspects that entrepreneurs cannot forget to take into account.

"They've got to be lawyers and real estate experts and accountants to make sure that the business part of the business works and they can stay open," said Chamber of Commerce President Tim Martin.

For downtown businesses, a huge hurdle has been the empty streets.

"One of the challenges we face most is being downtown and the stigma that is attached to being downtown is that there's nothing to do here, which as a matter in fact there is plenty of things to do down here," said co-owner of Envy Ana Condit.

"We still don't have the traffic flow, and that's our biggest challenge, to convince people in Albany, that there's shops and things to do downtown," said owner of Sky Water Steve Brimberry.

Tim Underwood is out of the business of owning his own restaurant, but has advice for those looking to try.

"I would really do the research to really understand your market and your market's ability to support your business and or needs," said Tim Underwood.

It's also important to have enough capital to get your business through times that are slow, so success can be seen year-round.

The city partners with various groups to reach out and help entrepreneurs. A two-day seminar that starts tomorrow will offer advice to small business owners.

For more information call the Chamber of Commerce at (229) 434-8700.

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