How to grow their companies and zoning concerns were the top two issues cited by business owners who participated in a forum organized by the Leesburg Economic Development Commission on Monday.
Held at the Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, around 20 town business owners across different industries, including retail, health and wellness, real estate and the development community to name a few, came together to offer their input on the current chief concerns for businesses.
Those who registered for the forum were asked in advance to cite their top concerns and that would become the focuses of discussions on Monday. The top four were, in order, growing and scaling their business; zoning; social media; and partnership resources.
Attendees broke into three groups and moderators moved from table to table to glean ideas on ways to address worries related to the top three identified concerns. Moderators were EDC members: Chairman Jim Sisley, Vice Chairman Eric Byrd, and Commissioner Josh Thiel.
“We’re not actually here to solve any problems today,” Byrd said at the beginning of the forum. “We need to know what your problems are before we can start thinking about and brainstorming on solutions to those.”
At the end of the forum, the trio came away with a healthy list of input from area business owners that the EDC hopes to use to brainstorm ways to help. Chief concerns identified by participants were the town’s cumbersome and at times lengthy development review process; confusion about some existing rules or regulations; and how to use social media to grow business and also inform others.
The EDC’s goal is to be proactive in dealing with challenges, so Byrd thanked those who attended for providing invaluable insight into the everyday plight of local businesses. The occasion also served as a time to debut the town’s new online business directory, and Byrd urged those who are not on the directory to visit the town website, under existing business services, to sign up.