Small business is booming in Prince George’s County, and there’s plenty of room for more, according to the Moving Mountains Part II Small Business and Job Seeker Summit that was held at the Spirit of Faith Christian Center on April 23.
The summit focused on two groups: entrepreneurs and the underemployed.
Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Jim Coleman said small business opportunities have been reaping the benefits of lower crime rates and improvements within Prince George’s County Public Schools.
“Everything that is supposed to be up is up, and everything that is supposed to be down is down,” he said. “Our county has challenges, but we’re headed in the right direction. This county is poised for greatness.” Coleman said he attributes the county’s growth to the leadership of County Executive Rushern Baker.
Coleman said a proposed $650 million Regional Medical Center in Largo, $1 billion mixed-use project in Westphalia near Joint Base Andrews and the $1.3 billion MGM Resort Casino at the National Harbor are some of the most significant job creating developments in the region. A strong business plan, hiring an accountant and an attorney are the top three tips PGCEDC Small Business Services Manager Kisha Logan gives to budding entrepreneurs, which are also the main three start-up suggestions she has found that people try to avoid.
“When you sit down and you create a business plan, it’s basically an outline,” she said. “Do the competitive analysis, do your research. It makes you dive into all of the details of how you’re going to profit, what separates you from them, how you’re going to market.”
The plan should also account for how the business will make money. If the financial analysis does not demonstrate potential earnings, adjustments to the plan should be made.
Tracie Mitchell was advised by PGCEDC in the early stages of starting her business. She took a franchise assessment to see what kind of business would fit her personality. Eager to put 20 years of grant management behind her, and having always wanted to be her own boss, she now owns a Big Frog franchise in Lanham, Maryland. The store specializes in custom-designed t-shirts, tanks, totes for men, women, youth and infants.
Mitchell said it has been hard work, and she has experienced challenges finding reliable parttime employees, but she encourages others to take a leap of faith like she did to start their own business.
“Working 20 years for someone else making their dreams come true was excruciating, so I just jumped out there,” she said. “Do your due-diligence. You got to take that jump if you want to do something, but you also have to do your research.”