Information for the Innovative, Enterprising and Brave 

July 2012

Small Business Investment Grant Fund Signed Into Law

Virginia ranks as one of the best states in the nation for business, and recent legislation is making it even better for entrepreneurs. Governor McDonnell signed Senate Bill 344 into law June 6 in an effort to spur new private investment in small business. The law creates a small business investment grant fund that will provide grants equal to 10 percent of a qualified investment in a small business. Eligible investments will include those made on or after July 1, 2012. Up to $1.5 million in grant funding has been allocated for Fiscal Year 2013. Details on how to apply for grants will become available from the Virginia Department of Business Assistance as details are finalized.

People You Should Know 

This month: Robyn Bailey, Business Infrastructure Manager

Robyn is an expert on commercial land and development processes, and is the Loudoun, Virginia Department of Economic Development liaison with the development community. We put Robyn on the hot seat this month with these questions:


What's your best advice to entrepreneurs?

"Let a broker do the work for you in site selection. It's like hiring a real estate agent to find a house. It takes some of the emotion out of the process and focuses the search on key requirements. But before you do, think about how your business operates so the broker can help you get the best property. Do you rely on high visibility -- is signage and drive-by traffic important? Will customers be visiting you and needing parking? Do you require high-speed connectivity? Is there any area of the county you're most drawn to? Think these through."


What are some things small businesses might not be aware of?

"I see smaller companies focused too heavily on making the finances work and not enough on the other things like visibility, location, connectivity, or parking. These issues can make or break your business just as much as the finances."


What should small businesses know about working with the county?

"I see some small businesses that are leery of government. If you contact us, we always try to help. While you may find we refer your small business on to other people or organizations that can help you the best, that's what we do with all business, regardless of size."


What was one of your most memorable deals?

"A financial services firm. I worked with them over a 10-year span where they looked at three different sites. Each time the deal fell through was heartbreaking, but it taught me that if the first site doesn't work out, there's a reason, and a better one will be the end result. It also reminded me that at the end of the day, it's all about relationships, because they kept returning to us each time they were ready to do the deal."

Be Your Own Business Intelligence Detective

Don't just wonder about your competition -- understanding it is critical in running your business. Fortunately for Loudoun residents, the county library system provides multiple online sources for free business intelligence. Two of the best resources available for entrepreneurs are:

  • Business and Company Resource Center: Need the scoop on a specific business? Use this resource to research detailed company histories, industry classifications, profiles and rankings.This resource also includes current links to company-related articles and reports.
  • Reference USA: this great tool allows for custom queries of nearly 24 million U.S. businesses. Want information on all the private website design companies in Loudoun employing five to 19 employees? You can find it here. Use Reference USA for customized searches that will help keep you "in the know."

Read It and Reap

Have you ever wondered how successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates got that way? Are they just lucky, do they work harder, or are they super smart? According to Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book "Outliers," people like Gates -- "outliers" -- are way outside the norm. To get there, many of them have achieved the 10,000-hour rule popularized by Anders Ericsson. His theory is that extreme success requires 10,000 hours of study and practice. You may have racked up 10,000 hours in your area of expertise without even realizing it. Find out other factors that contribute to business success by checking out this book for free from the Loudoun County Public Library.

The Northern Virginia Tech Council's Entrepreneurship Center is hosting two special events this month. On July 18, a movie screening of "SOMETHING VENTURED: Risk, Reward and the Original Venture Capitalists" -- will be shown at the Center for Innovative Technology. The following week, "Valuation of Early-Stage Companies" will be offered as the latest in the "Power of Angel Investing" workshop series. Learn more here.


The Loudoun County Small Business Development Center is also hosting four separate July seminars on starting, promoting, and protecting your business. Details and registration are available online.


Be a Winner

The first reader to access the Loudoun County Public Library databases, and send us the name of a "Business and Investing" database (other than Reference USA or the Business and Company Resource Center) wins a Loudoun, Virginia Department of Economic Development long-sleeve, button-collar cotton shirt. Only one guess per reader; email your answer to


Last month's winner was Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, a brand journalist, blogger and speaker for Ruiz McPherson Communications. Congratulations!

Gut-Check From a Guru
"Opportunities multiply as they are seized." -- Sun Tzu 
Pay It Forward

This monthly email newsletter is published by the Loudoun, Virginia Department of Economic Development to inform and connect Loudoun's thriving entrepreneurial community. As a leader with influence, please help our community by forwarding this newsletter to your business colleagues. Thanks!

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Debi Roder   
Loudoun Virginia
Economic Development Entrepreneurship
Manager Debi Roder

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