NCGrowth Develops Whiteville’s New and Improved Business Starter Packet

Wednesday November 18, 2020

NCGrowth worked with the City of Whiteville during the summer of 2020 to update and streamline their processes and documents for residents and others looking to open a business in the City. According to the City’s Economic Developer, Sean Martin, some residents described the old process of starting a business in town as confusing and too bureaucratic. Further, most residents interested in starting a business had to visit the planning or economic development department in person in order to receive the information they needed. This process was inefficient for residents and unnecessarily took up the city staff’s valuable time. The City of Whiteville asked NCGrowth to update their business starter packet to make it:

1) simpler for residents to use and “less clunky”,
2) clearly lay out the business starting process,
3) clearly convey the importance of the information being collected (e.g., why the storm water process is so important),
4) accessible and for use online, and
5) professionally designed.

As part of this project, NCGrowth also created an internal deliverable for the City, which examined ways to streamline their internal and external processes to make starting a business easier.

NCGrowth Analysts, Keegan Pace and Erin O’Quinn, set out to work on this project in May 2020 and completed it in August 2020. Keegan led the research and content development portion, while Erin led the design and formatting portions.

Keegan’s methodology for collecting the content for the business starter packet included holding meetings with City officials, current business owners in Whiteville, and developers who were currently working to open businesses. Through this process, Keegan worked to understand the vision of City officials and the needs of the business owners themselves. Once this step was complete, Keegan found examples of business starter packets from other municipalities and presented them to the City team. As part of this research, Keegan also examined how the City could best distribute the business starter packet. To do this, he researched studies on website design and user experience to determine where the City should place the packet to receive maximum attention from website visitors, and how to best promote it via local and social media channels.

NCGrowth presented its findings and the Business Starter Packet to Whiteville’s City Council on August 25th. Since then, the City has heavily promoted the business starter packet on its website and via various local news sources.