If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how you can identify a new business need in your community.

In this edition of “Ask the Board,” we’re pleased to feature Amber Woods, Owner of Dogtopia dog wellness franchises in Houston, Texas, and Lafayette, Louisiana. Amber shares her tips on how to pinpoint the need for a new business in your community.

There are countless businesses out there. But how do you know which ones are right for your community? Amber Woods dives deep into this very question so you can determine which ventures may be worth pursuing in your area.

Pay attention to how your community is growing

Construction is an obvious sign of growth, but the earlier you can be aware of development in your community the better. Most municipalities have planning or zoning meetings that are open to the public. Attending these meetings can get you a sneak peek into where future demand is growing. However, keeping an eye on where there is development is only the first step. You’ll also need to consider how the community is growing. Ask yourself how the demographic of the population is changing and what they are interested in.

As a consumer in your community, you have a first-hand perspective on the quality of services available in the market.

Listen to what your people are saying

These days, there are so many platforms where people can speak their mind and you should be in as many of them as possible. When consumers turn to neighborhood apps to ask for recommendations for services, they are expressing a need that hasn’t been fulfilled. Also, listen for complaints. If there’s a particular service area that regularly receives complaints, there might be an opportunity to enter the market with a high-quality alternative.

Look for services your community would love

My favorite way to find new services or offerings that you can bring to your community is by traveling. While you’re exploring, keep an eye out for offerings that consumers in your community would love. When you’re not traveling, try to identify communities with similar demographics to yours and research services that have been successful there.

 A picture of Amber Woods, the owner of Dogtopia, posing with an arm around a dog. Amber is a white woman with blonde hair pulled back, and she wears a bright blue shirt with "dogtopia" written in small white font above a series of multicolored stripes. The dog is medium-sized with a light brown coat, a white face, and floppy ears.
There are many platforms on which people can speak their minds, and Amber Woods suggests paying attention to as many as possible to gauge your community's wants and needs. — Dogtopia Enterprises

Let your personal experiences guide you

As a consumer in your community, you have a first-hand perspective on the quality of services available in the market. If there’s a service that you’ve repeatedly had a poor experience with or a need you haven’t been able to fulfill in the community, chances are others are having a similar experience. Allowing your personal experiences to guide you means you’ll be passionate about providing the service which will instantly make you more successful. As an added bonus, you’ll probably have more fun doing it.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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