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El Paso’s rich culture and diversity make it a great place to live and work. It’s the 6th largest city in Texas, and its central location makes it ideal for international business with Mexico and Canada.

Whether you’re just starting out with your business or you’ve been up and running for a while, there are a few key strategies that will help business owners establish themselves in El Paso.

1. Join the Chamber

Finding and connecting with the local Chamber of Commerce should be one of the first steps a small business owner covers once they launch their business.

A chamber membership gives you access to business coaching and training, events, networking, and other exclusive resources. Contact the Chamber of Commerce in El Paso to learn about their exclusive benefits:

2. Use Social Media

These days everything is done online, so having a strong online presence is crucial to business success.

Social media is a great tool for low-cost advertising. There are several easy ways to get a website up and running and many free or low-cost platforms that will help you build and host your website.

There is a wealth of information out there, so if you’re not comfortable navigating the online arena, consider hiring a consultant to help get things running. No matter how you do it, make your web presence known. Related: 3 Reasons Websites Are Vital for Small Businesses

3. Set up a Business Banking Account

A must-have for any business, even if you have a sole proprietorship, is a dedicated business bank account.

But recent reports reveal that this is an area where small business owners struggle. It’s been reported that 17% of owners don’t have separate personal and business bank accounts.

Having a dedicated business account makes bookkeeping more efficient and simplifies the tax filing process. If you plan on creating an LLC or another corporation, you’ll be required to have a separate account in order to protect your personal finances.

There are a number of different types of business checking accounts structured with small businesses in mind, including low account balance requirements and greatly reduced fees.

4. Open a Business Credit Card with Rewards

Small business owners should also opt for a business credit card. You'll likely be able to get a higher credit limit with a business credit card account. Also, many banks offer special tools or resources help to streamline your financial organization.

Be sure to get a business card that offers reward points. Other useful benefits of a rewards business card includes travel insurance and rental car damage waivers, two important extras if you travel often for work.

5. Get to Know the Community

El Paso has a vibrant and diverse community, and small businesses can play a big role in these communities.  

There are tons of ways to get out and meet the locals: festivals, fairs and other events will allow your customer base to see the face behind the company. Consumers will stay loyal and do more business with companies when they feel connected. For more information about El Paso area events, look here.

6. Form a Relationship with Local Colleges and Universities

(Photo credit: https://givingto.utep.edu/home)

There are several colleges located in the greater El Paso area and small business owners can benefit from building connections with them.

Schools can be an excellent source of employees and interns for small businesses and startups. Stay up to date with events on campus. Consider giving away promotional material at job fairs, events and to on-campus housing.

Area schools include: El Paso Community College , The University of Texas at El Paso , Southwest University at El Paso , Vista College , Western Technical College , Park University.

7. Make Word of Mouth Work for You

When a business delivers an outstanding customer experience, that customer will in-turn tell others about it, and that conversation often happens online.

It’s been reported that a whopping 9 in 10 consumers read local business reviews to find out more about a company. Encourage your customers to leave a review on your Facebook page or on Yelp.

Take it a step further and offer incentives for sending new customers your way. For a new referral, send out a thank-you card with a coupon for their next visit, or even a small gift card for another local business.

Building Closer Communities Through Small Business

El Paso’s rich, diverse community offers startup and small businesses a great place to thrive.

Using the strategies we’ve highlighted, you can encourage closer connections in your community. Developing those connections is part of why consumers will choose your small business over the large or big-box retailers, and key to growing your business further.