People You Should Know: Barbara Zimmerman, Loudoun Business Assistance Team Leader

By September 5, 2013February 6th, 2017Blog, Small Biz

By: Susan VanEpps

Barbara Zimmerman is the team leader of the Loudoun Business Assistance Team. Here’s how she and the rest of the BAT can help you.

How was the BAT formed, and what is your role?

The Board of Supervisors created an Ombudsman/Business Assistance Team on October 3, 2012.  As the business assistance team leader, I am the initial contact for any small business owner who is interested in starting a new business or who wants to expand an existing small business.

What are the key resources you are able to provide entrepreneurs?

The Loudoun County Business Start-up link leads the individual through a series of questions to help them decide what business legal structure to use, how to find a location, how to register for a Virginia tax identification number and how to get a business license. The county also has a link to LoudounSmallBiz.org, which allows the user to connect to all kinds of local, state and national resources. For everything from business statistics to marketing assistance to networking, [it’s there]. The Business Assistance Team also works closely with the Loudoun Small Business Development Center and the towns.

Are there questions startups should be asking their landlords first, before they come to the county?

One of the most important questions to ask early on, whether to the landlord or to the county, is “Is the property zoned for my type of business?”  Verifying the property zoning early in the process can save a small business owner time and money. Loudoun County operates under three different zoning ordinances. There may be restrictions that would preclude the business from [operating at the location you want]. The safest thing to do is to make a request to the Zoning Administrator to verify that the use is allowed at the location.

What should entrepreneurs know about starting a business in Loudoun?

First, Loudoun County is committed to attracting and retaining small businesses. There are many resources available to business owners through the county, and the Business Assistance Team is available to help entrepreneurs find and utilize those resources. These are free resources that are available to anyone. Secondly, there is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to planning for and establishing your business. The Business Assistance Team understands that entrepreneurs come from many different backgrounds and experiences, and that each business is unique and requires individual attention.