If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’ve likely had a dream of starting your own business. It can be intimidating to follow through with the idea, but your dream can never come to life if you don’t take the first step. Starting your own business takes a lot of courage, and with adequate knowledge, preparation, and the right group of supporters standing behind you, it can be the best decision of your life. American businessman and entrepreneur Nolan Bushnell once said, “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”

Are you ready to be a doer and take the plunge with your next great idea? Several local businesses shared their advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs and how they can help you make your vision a reality.

Cover All the Bases with ECR

Eschliman Commercial Real Estate (ECR, ecrproperty.com) offers site selection resources for office, retail, warehouse, land, and commercial investment prospects, as well as listing services. We sat down with Vice President Ted Eschliman to learn more about what they can do for prospective business owners.

Ted Eschliman
Eschliman Commercial Real Estate

“If your business requires a physical space, be it a warehouse, office, display, etc., Eschliman Commercial Real Estate can represent your needs in negotiating a lease,” explained Ted. “More often than not, as tenant you don’t pay for these services because the landlord does. We can also help with research into the neighborhood for demographics, traffic counts, and all you need to make the best decision about location.”

Professionals are necessary as they can help you think of what you may have missed. In leasing or buying commercial space, there are several things you must be sure you thoroughly understand: your obligations in maintaining a space, who is to cover the specific costs in the lease, what kind of physical limitations from the Neighborhood Association covenants and restrictions may be put on your business, the need for client or team parking, and viability of location in terms of access and visibility. A commercial realtor can help if you are running your business from outside the home, and help you plan for the costs of space.

“The biggest mistake we encounter with startups is lack of a professional business plan,” Ted shared. “You need to be handy with numbers for long-term survival, and you’ll often need to demonstrate you’ve planned for this on literal paper – not only in rent, but costs of utilities, advertising and promotion, supplies, and paying your vendors and employees. A good banker can be a great partner in success, so it’s a good idea to have that established first with savings, collateral, and eventually a good line of credit.”

Technology Solutions

Panology Tech Solutions (panologyinc.com) is a technology solutions firm, providing computers, networks and cloud to local small businesses. They serve exclusively small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. When starting a business, Panology can help you get the most out of your technology budget.

Darren Lichty Panology Tech Solutions - Headshot

Darren Lichty
Panology Tech Solutions

“Our offerings have been designed with the needs and challenges of small-businesses in mind,” said Owner Darren Lichty. “We take great pride in being able to help our clients achieve their goals for their businesses, making technical support and cloud services easily accessible and affordable. Additionally, we help to fi nd efficiencies that can greatly benefit a business in a number of ways.”

By educating small business owners on the options available to them, they are in the position to make an informed decision – one of many they’ll be making as they get their businesses up and running. Moving forward, Panology’s technology growth plan allows for the integration of faster and more advanced technology as a business grows. It does this by identifying and resolving any technology deficiencies early on in order to prevent growing pains when a business decides to expand its operations. By implementing this in the very beginning, you’re setting yourself up for
success and ensuring that the technology you’ll come to rely on is always working hard for you at peak performance.

Technology is critical to the success of your business operations, and Lutz (lutz.us) emphasizes that it’s important to invest in solid IT equipment to help make sure processes are running efficiently. Their IT professionals can offer support in assessing your business technology needs and recommend the best options for you. Furthermore, the Lutz Tech team can provide your startup with everything from managed network and IT services to custom software and application development to help your organization optimally function.

They are designed to be your one-stop service as their expertise extends beyond IT operations. The Lutz Accounting and Financial teams can help you not only manage but optimize your financials so that you can focus on what truly matters—running your business. The Lutz Talent division can help relieve your staffing burden by searching, vetting, and hiring the top talent your business needs. In addition, the Lutz M&A division can help market your company for sale, recapitalization, or new investment as well as assist you in assessing future transactions through Quality of Earnings (QoE) reporting and transaction structuring.

Office Planning Made Easy

Michael Holroyd
Holroyd Investment Properties

HIP OffiCenters provided by Holroyd Investment Properties (hiprealty.com) is a very low-risk way of getting your business started. They offer a wide range of lease terms to meet your commitment level. They have a variety of office sizes and styles, with the option of furnishing the office for you if you desire.

“At our OffiCenters, we staff a professional receptionist in a comfortable lobby to greet all of our tenants’ customers and professionally answer incoming phone calls,” explained Owner Michael Holroyd. “This lets tenants focus on taking care of their existing clients and building their businesses. Perception is important, and we strive to help you make every experience for every customer the best that it can be.”

Commercial Real Estate Expertise in All Areas

It’s wise to call a professional for help when searching for commercial space for your new business because real estate agents can help locate the best options available on the market, and by comparing properties, they can ensure they are being leased at a fair rate. Greenleaf Commercial Real Estate (greenleafcommercial.com) takes their market research very seriously and releases the Greenleaf Market Report semi-annually to announce trends in vacancy rates, absorption rates, asking rents, building permits, and notable transactions.

Adam Lowney
Greenleaf Commercial Real Estate

“When searching for commercial space for a startup company, there are many things you need to consider,” explained Sales Associate Adam Lowney. “First, you will want to determine the location for your new business. Will your company be leasing or purchasing space? It is important for a startup to completely understand their occupancy costs.”

It’s common for entrepreneurs to underestimate the amount of start-up capital required for rent, build-out, equipment, and operating expenses. Greenleaf can help entrepreneurs to understand their expected real estate expenses and create a realistic budget.

“Site selection and proper lease drafting are the two most important components for any start-up business in relation to its new space,” said Adam. “Greenleaf provides expertise in these areas, as well as lease versus purchase analysis, negotiating leases, and making sure our client understands all the costs associated with the lease.”

Bring your Business Vision to Life

Cathy Kottwitz
Guiderock Commercial Realty LLC

Guiderock Commercial Realty LLC (guiderockrealty.com) is here to help you make the best decisions possible about leasing and investing in commercial real estate. Their tenant and buyer services go beyond simply finding available space for your business. Their representation services include market knowledge to get you a fair price and favorable terms, due diligence to ensure the location meets your business requirements, and connections to their service partners for your legal, financial, and construction needs.

“As we work with prospective entrepreneurs, we want to learn as much as we can about the vision they have for their business and where they are in the startup process,” said Broker and Property Manager Cathy Kottwitz, CPM. “We help new and small businesses learn about leasing and buying commercial real estate, but we know that our service is only a part of what new business owners need. We often hear from clients that they may not know about resources available or there may be areas that they need help thinking through. As we engage with them, we can then help connect entrepreneurs with professionals in other areas who can get them off to a strong start. Through a collaborative approach, we help our clients make the immediate decisions needed to get their business going and create a foundation for their long-term success.”

Promotion Time!

Amy Doele
Flicker Promotions

Put your new business out there in the community by ordering promotional items from Flicker Promotions (flickerpromotions.com). Flicker can provide customized items such as drinkware, bags, technology, paper products, pens, and more that will make your company noticed in the community.

“The purpose of Flicker Promotions is to take the stress out of choosing items to fit your budget and brand,” said Owner Amy Doele. “We curate options for your projects and take care of all the details.”

The team at Flicker brings an intensity to their work that ignites your brand through a concierge approach to ad specialties. With over a decade of experience in the promotional industry, Amy and her team have honed their abilities to turn their connections with clients into something special, something that helps brands shine brighter than their competition.

Julie Shald
Sign Pro of Lincoln

Signage is a big piece of making your business known in the community and telling the public that you’re ready to provide them with your goods and services. Regardless of where you are at in your new business planning, Sign Pro of Lincoln (signprolincoln.com) has something to offer.

“We offer a wide variety of products for the different stages of getting a business going,” said Owner Julie Shald. “In the early stages, we can offer temporary signage such as ‘Coming Soon’ banners, yard signs, and temporary window signs. When your opening date is closer, we can give you many options for building signage, both interior and exterior. If your business is mobile or has delivery or service vehicles, we can produce a wide variety of vehicle graphics to meet any need and budget.”

Once you have the business up and running, Sign Pro can continue to help you with signage for special events, sales, or promotions. They encourage you to keep them in mind over the years as your business grows to help you keep your signage and graphics looking great.

Developing a Network

With your business up and running, it’s important to make continued connections in the community to spread awareness of your brand and build relationships that will grow your business. Center Sphere (centersphere.com) is an established network that provides excellent opportunities for networking and building relationships. Joining The Network allows networking without boundaries. They also have chapters that you’re encouraged to join, if that fits your specific needs. Either way, The Network can and will help anyone in business develop relationships.

It’s an exciting time when your entrepreneurial spirit gives you that push to go forward with your dream of opening your own business. We encourage you to reach out to these local businesses and professionals to ensure your vision can be made a reality.