Grow your Small Business in Northern Virginia

The Northern Virginia (NOVA) area can sometimes be overshadowed by its proximity to Washington, DC, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a great place for business. Interestingly, the tax revenue the state of Virginia collects from the northern part of the state is enough to cover over half the state of Virginia’s yearly budget. The area is no doubt a booming place for businesses to thrive. Every year, many new businesses open their doors in NOVA and hope to take in some of the area’s wealth.  In total, the cities and counties that make up the northern VA area are among the wealthiest in the nation, which provides plenty of opportunities for small businesses owners to take advantage of. Not only are there plenty of wealthy customers in the area, but there’s also numerous successful business owners that you can learn and collaborate with. So now that we covered the basic economics of the area, let’s dive into how to successfully grow your small business in Northern Virginia.

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Starting a small business is not an easy task to do and is the reason over half of all small businesses close within a year of opening. Sure, you’ve done your market research, defined your target customer, and developed a business plan, but how do you think you’ll be able to successfully reach your target audience?  Unless you have successfully opened multiple businesses or have a business partner that has, then you’re basically taking a shot in the dark.  Every decision you make in the early stages of starting your business will ultimately determine the business’ fate and lifespan.

After analyzing hundreds of new businesses, the biggest pitfalls seen from new business owners is that they cut corners on some of the most important aspects of starting a business, while spending tons of money on things that don’t matter.  I can’t even begin to describe the amount of new business owners who throw up a cheap website with no care for how they’re business is perceived online.  On top of having a bad website, they then will have absolutely no budget for any type of marketing.  If you know someone like this, please show them the light!  Neglecting to have a professionally built and optimized website is the first step of the demise of so many small businesses.

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Don’t neglect your small business, start it off the right way by hiring a professional digital marketing agency in Northern Virginia that will make sure your new business is set up for success.  Implementing the right digital marketing strategy for your small business is one of the only ways to forecast your company’s success. Sure, you could try to learn how to effectively do SEO, Social Media Marketing, PPC, Content Marketing, Reputation Management, Mobile Marketing, etc., but the time it would take to learn all those skills individually will most certainly take away time from running your business.  Therefore, successful business owners always hire professional digital marketers to do it the right way first. Your time is your most important asset, and you will be needing every second of it when you start a new business. Many successful new businesses in NOVA all share one thing in common and that is they all hired The W Agency – one of the top digital marketing agencies in Northern Virginia.

The W Agency handles all aspects of digital marketing in a strategic way, and uses proprietary search engine optimization methods that have been proven successful time and time again.  There are many other digital marketing agencies out there that charge exorbitant amounts of money for ineffective methods, so be careful who you decide to work with. Many small businesses I personally know of in the Northern Virginia area, have had great success after letting The W Agency take care of their digital marketing.

There you have it, how to successfully grow your small business in Northern Virginia. Now you know the pitfalls to avoid in starting a new business and how important a digital marketing strategy is for your business’ success.  Start by hiring the best digital marketing agency in Northern Virginia.

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Capital Bikeshare coming to popular parks along Mt. Vernon Trail

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WASHINGTON — Getting to and around two popular parks along the Mount Vernon Trail will soon get easier.

The National Park Service and the Arlington County Board approved an agreement to install Capital Bikeshare stations at Gravelly Point and in the parking lot of Theodore Roosevelt Island as part of a funded expansion of Bikeshare along the Mount Vernon Trail.

The agreement, the Memorandum of Understanding, is part of a new permit process that allows bikeshare stations on National Park Service land.

The only other Capital Bikeshare station on National Park Service land in Arlington County is located near the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn.

“These bikeshare stations, when installed, will surely be well-used,” Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said. “Both Gravelly Point and Theodore Roosevelt Island are favorite spots for Arlingtonians and visitors as they enjoy the Mt. Vernon Trail. Installing bikeshare stations at these spots also makes these National Park Service resources more accessible, bringing nature and history closer to our residents.”

Under the agreement, Arlington County is responsible for the installation and maintenance of Capital Bikeshare station on land owned by the National Park Service.

The county has not yet determined when the facilities will be installed.

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Va. Senate won’t have a proposed budget until at least May 14

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Editor’s Note: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam takes your calls and questions live 10–11 a.m. Wednesday on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor.”

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s Senate Finance Committee will meet May 14 — more than a month after a special session on the state’s budget standoff began and less than seven weeks before a shutdown deadline — to consider the budget bills presented by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The announcement means the state’s budget standoff, largely tied to a long-running debate over Medicaid expansion, will not be resolved for at least a few more weeks.

The House of Delegates passed its version of the budget April 17, less than a week after the special session convened, and again included Medicaid expansion for up to 400,000 more low-income Virginians that would largely be paid for by the federal government.

The Senate has not yet formally referred the base budget bills to committee, so it will convene before the Finance Committee meeting May 14 to do that. Senate Republicans expect the May committee meeting to include the latest updates on Virginia’s financial outlook from Finance Secretary Aubrey Layne.

“I’m disappointed it’s taking this long to do something that could have been done nearly a month earlier,” House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) said in a statement. “We need to get this done sooner rather than later.”

Without a budget passed by the Senate, formal negotiations over a budget deal have not been able to begin. Informal budget negotiations have continued behind closed doors in the hopes of avoiding a state government shutdown at the end of the day June 30.

“Local governments, school boards, and national bond rating agencies are expecting us to act, and there’s no reason for delay,” Cox said.

Local governments have largely set their tax rates and budgets based on their best guesses of what state funding will be as part of a two-year budget deal.

While Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City County) has maintained his opposition to Medicaid expansion due to cost concerns, he has recently left an opening to back expansion after two Republican Senators – the minimum needed to join Senate Democrats to get Medicaid expansion through – said they would support expansion under the right circumstances.

“It is our intention to consider the implications of all proposals when the Senate Finance Committee meets,” Norment said in a statement.

Republican leaders in the House joined Democrats to support expansion during the regular session this winter after losing 15 seats in November’s elections.

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Court upholds ex-officer’s conviction in fatal shooting

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former Virginia police officer who was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager suspected of shoplifting.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia on Tuesday unanimously affirmed the voluntary manslaughter conviction of Stephen Rankin in the 2015 shooting of William Chapman II.

Prosecutors alleged that Rankin — a white police officer in Portsmouth — killed the 18-year-old Chapman “willfully, deliberately and with premeditation” outside a Walmart.

Most witnesses said Chapman had his hands up, although some said he was combative.

Rankin was fired from his job after being indicted. After he was sentenced in 2016, Rankin said he was deeply sorry and never meant to hurt anyone.

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Environmentalists dump on proposal for weaker coal ash rules

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Dozens of environmentalists and others are speaking out against a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that would roll back regulations governing the disposal of ash generated by coal-burning power plants.

The EPA is holding its one and only public hearing about the proposal Tuesday at an Arlington, Virginia, hotel. The Trump administration says the new rules could save utilities $100 million annually in compliance costs and give states more flexibility in enforcement.

Environmental groups, though, say coal ash can pose significant risks to a clean drinking water supply if it is disposed of improperly and leaches into the groundwater or spills into rivers. They say regulations imposed at the end of the Obama administration are just now taking practical effect and should be allowed to continue.

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Richmond prosecutors will no longer seek cash bail bonds

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The chief prosecutor in Richmond says he will no longer seek cash bail bonds for criminal defendants awaiting trial.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring told The Richmond Times-Dispatch the current practice of seeking bail bonds is “unfair” and leaves many defendants unable to afford to get out of jail.

Bail bonds are often set for defendants to try to ensure they will show up for trial.

Herring said he’s instructed prosecutors to make an assessment of a defendant’s risk to the community. If they don’t believe the defendant poses a risk, they can recommend to a judge his release without bond, but with pretrial conditions. Prosecutors can still ask judges to hold defendants they believe pose an unacceptable risk.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Man who overdosed while with his daughter gets probation

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CHESTERFIELD COURT HOUSE, Va. (AP) — A man who overdosed on heroin and collapsed in a Wendy’s bathroom while with his 6-month-old daughter has been put on supervised probation.

The Richmond-Times Dispatch reports that 20-year-old Daniel Brody Stephenson was sentenced on Monday to five years in jail. A judge suspended the sentence and Stephenson was given probation instead. The newspaper reports that police responded to a medical emergency at a Chesterfield Wendy’s on Oct. 31. They found Stephenson on the floor and revived him. The child wasn’t injured.

Stephenson pleaded guilty to felony child neglect in January. Circuit Judge David E. Johnson said he was tempted to have Stephenson serve the full sentence behind bars, but advisory sentencing guidelines called for probation. The judge also ordered Stephenson to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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Lawsuit seeks details of school’s ties with Koch Foundation

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A judge is weighing whether to force a Virginia university’s philanthropic arm to disclose details of its relationship with the conservative Koch Foundation.

The Koch Foundation gives tens of millions of dollars annually to universities all over the country, but no school has received more Koch money than Fairfax-based George Mason University, which has gained a reputation as a conservative powerhouse in law and free-market economic thought.

A student-led group, Transparent GMU, has been seeking details of the school’s donor agreements with the foundation. Some students are concerned the Koch money comes with strings attached.

The trial began Tuesday in Fairfax. It centers on whether the George Mason University Foundation, a separate corporate entity from the university itself, is a subject to the state’s freedom-of-information laws.

Samantha Parsons, a former GMU student who for years has been active in raising concerns about the Koch Foundation’s influence, said awareness among the student body has increased tenfold since 2016, when the school named its law school for conservative jurist Antonin Scalia in conjunction with a $10 million Koch Foundation donation.

“The name change is a consequence of a bigger issue — donors buying control over the university,” said Parsons, who has since graduated and now works for an activist group, UnKoch My Campus, which calls attention to donations made to universities by the Koch Foundation.

About 25 students, faculty and others rallied at the courthouse Tuesday before Tuesday’s trial, asserting that Koch money represents a danger to the university’s academic freedom. Many of those students filled the courtroom Tuesday. The judge, John Tran, applauded the students for their activism. After both sides made their closing arguments, Tran took the case under advisement and said he will issue a ruling at a later date.

University officials have said in the past that receipt of Koch funds does not influence how or what the school teaches.

A university spokesman did not return an email seeking comment Tuesday.

At the trial, lawyers for the GMU Foundation argued the foundation does not perform any duties that warrant public oversight or allow members of the public to make requests of it through the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

“We are not a public body,” said GMU Foundation lawyer Robert Hodges.

The university itself was dismissed from the lawsuit after it argued that it didn’t have any of the donor agreements in its possession, because they are held by the GMU Foundation.

Transparent GMU’s lawyer, Evan Johns, argued that the GMU Foundation works hand-in-hand with the school, and that by managing the school’s fundraising and relationships with private donors it is in fact carrying out a core function of the university and should be subject the Freedom of Information Act just like any other state agency.

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