Paula Groves is OBDC’s Vice President – Business Consulting. This is part of her ongoing series of best practices and tips for small business owners. Never miss a tip by signing up for our newsletter.
The City of Oakland and AC Transit are preparing to begin development of a 9.5-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route along the International Boulevard Corridor. This East Bay BRT project is estimated to cost $174 million over three years and has received $81 million in federal funding. After eight years of intensive community planning and project plan development, the project is scheduled to break ground in late 2015. The BRT project has huge community and economic development potential for the low-to-moderate income neighborhoods along International Boulevard. AC Transit is expecting increased ridership from 25,000 to 36,000 patrons per day along that route. That is a 44% increase in people rolling by your doors every day who might become new customers.
In order for your business to take advantage of the coming economic opportunity, we at OBDC suggest a three step approach called “Plan – Build – Grow”:
Step 1 – “PLAN”: The perfect time to begin planning for what’s ahead is before the BRT construction starts. Perhaps you can create an action plan around the following activities:
- Review your business operations to see if there are ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently.
- Research new ways to attract customers both online and through your existing network.
- Find out how much it would cost to spruce up your internal décor, improve external façade, or get a new sign.
Step 2 – “BUILD”: After construction begins, you can build your business by implementing the action plans you created in Step 1 – “Plan”. Executing your plans could include:
- Purchasing new equipment, or recruiting much needed staff.
- Creating a new website or logo to attract new customers.
- Hiring a designer or contractor to implement your remodeling ideas.
- Obtaining a loan to help with any of these activities.
Step 3 – “GROW”: Once the BRT is finished, not only will there be sparkling new buses rolling by with potential new customers, but you will have finished executing your action plans in Step 2 – “Build”. Now your newly energized business will be ready to grow by serving your new customers and community.
More about the BRT: According to AC Transit, the East Bay BRT is one of the highest rated transit projects in the nation. The BRT will link one of the busiest traffic corridors in the Bay Area with a fast, economical, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. It will connect downtown Oakland to downtown San Leandro with dedicated lanes, transit signal priority, and artistically enhanced stations with level boarding. By reducing traffic levels and significantly cutting emissions and pollutants, BRT offers residents a viable alternative to driving on congested city streets. Click here to learn more about this project.