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How to Grow Your Small Business On Long Island

Updated: Dec 26, 2018

Did you know that #LongIsland is one of the most densely populated areas in the country? In fact, a recent census showed that over 1/3 of all #NewYorkers reside there.

Unfortunately, despite such a large audience, many LI businesses still struggle to cut through the “noise” and reach new customers. Luckily, we have 5 proven ways to grow your #smallbusiness on Long Island.

Know Your Audience

Long Island is an incredibly diverse region comprised of a range of #economic classes, #education levels, ethnicities, and cultures. The first thing you need to know is who your #customers are and where to find them. Use census reports, websites that breakdown demographics by zip code, or even real estate data to better understand which county/town you need to target.

Hit the Streets…Street Fairs, That Is From farmers markets to craft shows, there are dozens of reasons to shut down Main Street for a celebration. Add on the fact that Long Island is home to over 100 villages, many of which host their own annual events and you have a seemingly endless parade of fairs and festivals. Take advantage of events to meet and greet your potential #customers. Hand out coupons, flyers, and free samples to encourage patrons to visit you after they finish shopping.

START-UP NY Program For new businesses, particularly #smallbusinesses, New York state developed a program call START-UP NY which offers tax-based incentives and innovative academic partnerships. The program encourages #businesses to partner with eligible universities in order to gain up to 10 years of tax-free operation, access to research laboratories, business development resources, and expert advice from university staff. A variety of business owners from restauranteurs to dentists are eligible, so visit https://esd.ny.gov/startup-ny-program today for more information.

Let Students Be Your Teachers Nassau and Suffolk counties host over 20 colleges and universities. If you find yourself ineligible to partner with them through START-UP NY, however, there are other ways to make the most out of the island’s many college towns. By offering #students internships for college credit or hourly pay, you get access to a young, eager workforce with built-in social media skills. One look at our article on social media will show the importance of this new form of #communication and lucky for you, younger generations are already knowledgeable. Provide education and guidance about the real world of #business in exchange for some help with a medium that comes naturally to them.

Consider the Traffic Anyone who grew up on Long Island will tell you that learning to drive meant mastering parallel parking, learning to merge onto a parkway, and developing patience through a never-ending sea of traffic. Being so densely populated has its downsides but many #businesses fail to consider the jammed-up roads when developing their business plans.

If your #business handles deliveries or service calls, be aware of your service area not just in terms of miles, but in terms of travel time. 5 miles worth of gas down side streets is different than 5 miles worth on the L.I.E. during rush hour. If you’re a stationary business, consider that same information from the perspective of your patrons. Should you stay open later to allow for people to reach you after work? Should you limit your advertising to a shorter radius due to the high population density in your area?

Don’t Underestimate Traditional Ads There’s a lot of talk these days about #digitaladvertising, which has left many businesses with the belief that mediums like print and radio are dead. A region like Long Island is unique in that its isolated geography has caused it to develop its own culture and lifestyle – almost as if it were its own state! As such, local newspapers, magazines and direct mailing are especially effective with residents. As for #radio, we again must consider traffic. The New York Times estimates the average resident spends 13% of their time sitting in traffic. That’s roughly 3 full days per year spent in the car with not much to do but listen. Take advantage of this captive audience with a short 15 second ad promoting your latest product, event, or sale.

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