Farragut business owners who signed up for the town’s business registration program are beginning to reap some of the benefits promised for participation in the program.
About 20 representatives of local businesses attended a town sponsored workshop last month on social media, according to Allison Sousa, executive vice president of the Farragut Business Alliance.
“We’re trying to show value for the registration process,” she said.
One of the primary goals of the business registration program is to collect data on the needs of local businesses, including topics such as marketing and human resources. The information will be used to prioritize the benefits.
“We’re trying to respond to what they say they need to increase their business,” Souza said.
The program was delivered by several subject matter experts including get out of debt guru Dave Ramsey and Courtney Herda, founder of Smarter Searches, an Internet and social media marketing agency.
The attendees, including representatives from a bakery, a veterinarian and a fitness club, received advice on how to use social media tools such as Facebook to create promotional opportunities for their businesses.
The FBA plans to offer more opportunities to learn more about social media including a beginners’ class for those who have very little experience with tools such as Facebook.
“This class will be for those who really are just learning about social media. They will be able to come to the seminar and leave with a Facebook page set up for their business,”Sousa said.
As the holiday season approaches, registered businesses will be able to take advantage of promotions such as Shop Farragut, which will include an opportunity for participating via social media using the “Shop Farragut Smartphone App” distributed by the FBA.
The shopping promotion begins Nov. 17 and will be supported by an FBA investment of $15,000 in marketing promotions, Sousa said.
The “Business Privilege License” program has been doing well, although it may take months or even years to get all the business in the town registered, according to David Smoak, town administrator.
“We’ve tried hard to notify all the businesses, but it will take time,” he said.
Alderman Bob Markli, the only member of the FBMA that did not vote for the business license program, said he hasn’t registered his construction business yet, although he plans to do so.
Markli said he is encouraged by the benefits the town has been able to offer program registrants. He said he would like to see more promotions and special events such as “Shop Farragut” and “Taste of Farragut” to bring more people into the town.
The business privilege license applies to all commercial, office and home-based businesses located in Farragut.
Over 400 businesses registered during the free registration period that ended Oct. 12. Estimates of the total number of businesses in the town range from 600 to 700, Smoak said.
Businesses that register after the free registration period will pay $15 for the license.
The license is good for one year and expires June 31 of each fiscal year. Business owners who register by Aug. 31 each year will not have to pay the $15 fee.
Business owners could be assessed a total fee that includes the $15 license fee and a penalty of “one percent of the total license fees due and unpaid for each 30 days,” up to a maximum of 25 percent of the total unpaid amount, with a minimum penalty of $10, regardless of the amount of fees due.