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NWA Business-Startup Kit: For New Companies of Northwest Arkansas

The NWA business-startup kit provides tips and links for new businesses of Northwest Arkansas

Welcome to Northwest Arkansas. Welcome to the best place to live and work in America. 

Okay, okay. Maybe we're a bit biased. We love NWA, and we've been doing business here for almost two decades. But we think you made a smart choice deciding to start a business in beautiful, friendly, forward-looking Northwest Arkansas. 

"NWA is a fantastic place to be," said TekTrendz co-founder Rob Brothers. "Call it the perfect storm for raising a family and raising a business. The quality of life is outstanding, the economy is strong, the cost of living is reasonable, the seasons are separate and distinct, and the people who live here are awesome."

Sam Bridges, who founded TekTrendz in 2007 with Rob, said he particularly appreciates the business diversity of NWA.

So many different business types, doing so many different things.

Northwest Arkansas is home to three Fortune 500 companies and more than 500K people.

Now the fun really begins: building your business from the ground floor. But is there anything you should know about business ownership in Rogers, Bentonville, Springdale, or another town in NWA?

Certainly we're not the only ones to write a resource for new business owners, and by no means do we think we can provide an exhaustive set of guidelines for starting an NWA-based business. But since we're a Rogers-based small business ourselves, we thought we'd provide some tips and helpful links for new start-ups in Northwest Arkansas. 

Of course, there's plenty of foundational business advice that all startups should heed: write a business plan, make a budget, create a compelling brand, select the right legal structure...  Such fundamental advice is not really the point of this kit; plenty of books, articles, and podcasts are devoted to Small Business 101. And we recommend you dig into these resources with gusto. 

This kit, rather, is meant to empower you with some of the finer, easy-to-miss, more localized checkpoints of launching a business in Northwest Arkansas, specifically. And to point you to some helpful resources for new NWA companies.

Another way to put it: This kit is designed to help you fit right in and find your groove doing business in NWA.


Congratulations on your decision to open a new business in one of the most business-friendly parts of the country.

Now, on to some "to-dos" that you might want to check-off when starting a business in NWA.


A Guide for New Businesses of Northwest Arkansas

✔️ Get involved in NWA's strong and well-connected non-profit community

The charitable, non-profit community in Northwest Arkansas is deep, active, and generous. There are too many non-profit organizations to mention by name, so here's what we suggest: Visit the NWA Gives website to search for and find charitable organizations doing work in NWA. Find a few that most closely align with your personal and business values/priorities.

Then, get involved. Donate. Volunteer. Stay informed. 

"Be a giver," said Rob Brothers of TekTrendz. "NWA is a giving environment. Get involved in helping the community, you will make tons of friends and contacts."

In other words, you'll find that tying your new business to one or more NWA-based non-profits isn't only a great way to make a difference...'s a great way to connect with community leaders, fellow business owners, and even potential customers. 

Rob Brothers of TekTrendz encourages new business owners in NWA to get involved with one or more non-profits

✔️ Join one (or a few) of our fine chambers of commerce

Here's the thing: In many ways, NWA is a town in and of itself. Yes, the address of your business may be Fayetteville or Rogers or Bella Vista, but your customer base is possibly spread across several towns of Northwest Arkansas. 

Consequently, some NWA-based businesses find it beneficial to get involved in more than one chamber of commerce. After all, COCs often provide new businesses with needed publicity (e.g., ribbon-cutting), networking events, educational seminars/workshops, advocacy, etc. 

For your convenience: 

Similarly, be aware of the opportunities, resources, and advocacy available through regional economic development agencies like NWA Council and NWAEDD.


✔️ Show your support for the Razorbacks - Go Hogs

Northwest Arkansas is pretty well unified around the Razorbacks. 

There's no in-town (think Duke vs North Carolina) or even cross-state rivalry (think Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State) in these parts. Northwest Arkansas is covered in red and white, from North to South, East to West.

Whether you root for the Razorbacks in the quiet of your home or not, consider showing public support through yourThe Razorback Foundation offers affordable ways for NWA businesses to show their support of the Razorbacks business.  

For instance, look at this affordable opportunity with the Razorback Foundation:

Small Business Member Program is [an innovative] way for small businesses to partner with the Foundation and to support Razorback student-athletes and Razorback Athletics. For just $100 Small Business Members receive an annual Razorback Foundation Small Business Member window cling, priority points and a Razorback Foundation membership packet.

It's that window cling – for your company's front door – that really gets our attention. For a small investment, you can show your business stands with the Hogs. And chances are...your customers will like that. 

Oh, and learn to call the hogs. Wooooooooo pig soooooie


✔️ Harness the many rich opportunities at the University of Arkansas and other NWA colleges

NWA is home to many colleges, not just the University of Arkansas. Depending on your business, you might find that one or more of the schools below offers greater opportunity for hiring, training, partnering, and generally growing your business. 

Universities, colleges, and technical schools of Northwest Arkansas:

  • The University of Arkansas (located in Fayetteville; a public land-grant research university; the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas system)
  • NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC; located in Bentonville; community college offering certificates, job training, and associate degrees; offering programs in computer programming, food science, health professions, CDL truck driving, and more) 
  • John Brown University (located in Siloam Springs with classrooms in Rogers; private, interdenominational Christian university)
  • Ecclesia College (located in Springdale; private evangelical Christian college)
  • Harding University - Northwest Arkansas (an extension of Harding University; located in Rogers; private Christian university)
  • Paul Mitchell: The School (a cosmetology school located in Fayetteville)
  • Northwest Technical Institute (a private technical school located in Springdale; offering diploma programs, adult education, and certifications/licenses in a variety of areas, including nursing, automotive, electrical, info systems, truck driving, etc.)


But how do you make the most of close proximity to so many colleges and universities?

Consider some suggestions:

  • NWA doesn't have quite the 'brain-drain' problem that other educational centers have. A lot of local graduates want to stay local. So whether you're opening a marketing agency or a hair salon, a trucking business or a manufacturing operation, closely align yourself with local colleges that could be training and credentialing your future employees.
    • Get to know local professors/instructors (and ask them to send you their best and brightest)
    • Start internship or apprenticeship programs and fill them with local students
    • Partner with classes and/or programs at local colleges (e.g., let them use your business as a class project)
    • Participate in college career fairs
  • Give discounts or special perks to college students (clearly, there are a lot of them floating around NWA)
  • Start a campus ambassador program for your business (e.g., if you're a bakery, consider enlisting college students to hand out free samples of cookies or donuts in their classes – with a little marketing message from your business)

Northwest Arkansas is home is home to several colleges and universities that provide real benefits to new NWA companies

✔️ Take advantage of the resources on

It's a great website with a "relocator toolkit," a talent network, and information about NWA's local talent incentive.

While you're there, check out their materials specifically for startups


✔️ Find a good NWA-based lawyer and accountant. A local IT partner, too.

You already know to hire a lawyer and an accountant for your enterprise. Small businesses have been well-versed in this advice for decades. Law and finance, simply put, are too technical and time-consuming for the typical business owner.

Better to outsource them to an expert.

The same is equally true of information technology. Especially today. Computer viruses, malware, ransomeware – they've all gotten astonishingly sophisticated. As you can see from these examples, each taken from right here in Arkansas, probably too sophisticated for the average business owner or manager to tackle on their own.

Rob Brothers explains:

Some of the best advice I was given when we started our business was to find a good lawyer and a good CPA. But I think that advice should be find a good lawyer, a good CPA, and a good IT service provider. Your business is going to have information. That information is going to be what sets you apart. You may not think you have data to protect, but if it goes missing, you are going to have a hard time operating.

Of course, it's not just about defending and protecting your data. Working with a good IT services-provider can also help your business save money (e.g., in hardware and software investments), operate more efficiently, collaborate and communicate more effectively, serve customers better, and ultimately grow faster.

NWA is home to many good lawyers, accountants, and, yes, IT service providers. 

TekTrendz would be honored to serve your business with all its IT needs.


Is Your Business At-Risk? Take a Free, 5-Minute IT Assessment from TekTrendz


✔️ Keep up and synchronize your business with what's happening around NWA

Events, athletic competitions, and other happenings in Northwest Arkansas offer businesses opportunities to make connections and sales. Consider just some of the events that draw masses of people to NWA:

Or consider the many cultural venues that call NWA home  – and welcome thousands to the area throughout the year:

Oh, by the way: If you're a tech startup specifically, you should also be aware of the annual NWA Tech Summit.

Some businesses may find that smaller events and venues offer the best opportunities to network, connect, and grow. We recommend following one or more of the publications devoted to happenings in Northwest Arkansas, for instance: 


✔️ Follow the NWA business news. Specifically.

Many excellent publications are dedicated to business and the business news. However, as a business startup in Northwest Arkansas, you should be especially aware of the news-providers that focus specifically on business in NWA. 

For example, consider subscribing to Talk Business & Politics and/or The NWA Business Journal

They'll keep you in-the-know on business happenings right here at home.


✔️ Get serious about the "Best of Northwest Arkansas" competition9f1185_16804c141bb64b61908445783975e19e_mv2-removebg-preview-1

Want to catapult your new business into the spotlight?

Try competing for the "Best of Northwest Arkansas" award in your particular category. Hundreds of local businesses win each year.

Just think how good that award would look in your office/store and in your marketing materials. 


✔️ Be aware of local non-profits dedicated to your business success

Business planning. Capital-raising. Free consulting. It may be worth your time to learn how these local non-profits can help you launch and grow your business:

"There are lots of excellent resources for startups in NWA," said Rob Brothers of TekTrendz. "The entrepreneurial environment is being nurtured and celebrated. Make sure to take advantage of these local resources."

Rob Brothers suggests local businesses take advantages of the many resources available to help them start and grow their business

✔️ Don't forget about our tax-free weekend

Just a friendly reminder for all those who may be from another state. Arkansas offers a tax-free shopping weekend at the start of every school year. For this two-day window, shoppers can buy clothes and school supplies free of sales tax. 

If you sell BTS supplies and merchandise, don't be caught off-guard. Make plans now. 


✔️ Get Walmart-savvy

Northwest Arkansas is a small pond with some big fish. The biggest fish in our little pond happens to be the biggest fish anywhere. Walmart is #1 on the Fortune 500 list as well as the Global 500 list. And as you might suspect, Walmart exerts a lot of influence on business, work, and life in Northwest Arkansas. For some residents and businesses more than others.

As you'll soon discover, many NWA neighbors either work directly for Walmart/Sam's Club or they're part of the area's sprawling supplier community (i.e., consumer brands that sell through Walmart and B2B firms that serve Walmart or Walmart suppliers). Consequently, NWA is fertile ground for startups looking to serve Walmart or their suppliers. 

"But my business has nothing to do with Walmart," you say. You should still be aware of the impact the Fortune 1 has on NWA. From concerts at the Walmart AMP to charitable grants offered through the Walton Family Foundation, from our mountain bike trails to the annual Walmart shareholders meeting (and the traffic and celebrity sightings it generates).

And if you are serving Walmart or its suppliers directly, there are resources for that, too. Consider:


 ✔️ Join online communities and forums dedicated to business, work, and/or life in NWA

If you can't make it to chamber of commerce events, you'll find many members of the Northwest Arkansas business community are also active online. If you have questions about business in NWA, or you just want to connect with likeminded business owners or managers, consider online forums like, for instance:


 ✔️ Ask the natives for help. They're friendly. 

Rob Brothers of TekTrendz may have said it best:

"Don’t be afraid to ask for help! People here are friendly and engaging."

Don't know anybody? Reach out to us. We'd love to connect...

...and to hear more about your business.


Free One-Hour IT Consultation for NWA Businesses

Starting a business in Northwest Arkansas? Let's talk. 

No pressure. No risk. No rush. 

We'll just listen to your business plans, and offer some free insight about your IT needs. 

Click below for a free one-hour IT consultation.