If you live in a small town or rural area, you know that sometimes the business environment works differently than in the big cities. Handshakes may still be enough to seal a deal and with big box stores more than a 5 minute drive, the local competition may not be as fierce. For a small business owner or budding entrepreneur, that can create opportunities that aren’t always available in big cities. Before you open your small town business, keep a few things in mind.
Be Community Minded
You’ve heard the old cliché that everybody knows everybody in a small town. It’s for that reason that making your startup a part of the community from its inception will help it grow. Advertise in athletic programs and local newspapers, set up booths at town events and parades, and look for other ways to give of your business’s resources. Not only is it cheap advertising, it sends the message that you’re in business for more than just making a profit.
Are you in a community that will appreciate a store that has a modern, urban décor complete with the most expensive trendy lighting and computer systems? This is when knowing your clientele can help you make decisions on where your startup money should go. Trendy and modern may be appropriate but every dollar you spend should result in value to your business. If your town looks like a throwback to the 70s or 80s, twenty first century amenities may be an unnecessary expense.
It doesn’t matter where you open your business, quality and service counts. Even if there isn’t a big box store within driving distance, your business will still suffer if the quality of your product isn’t superior. There may not be a lot of competition but there’s always the internet. Even in the most rural communities, purchasing online is always an option and that makes the quality and reputation of your business very important.
Speaking of Online
If your business is in a small town, the amount of foot traffic is more limited than in an urban center. If your startup is a retail business, consider selling online in addition to your local store. Many of your local customers will have friends and family who live outside of the community making word of mouth equally important.
If you’re opening a business startup in a small or rural town, don’t treat it like a store in an urban center. Be part of the community and solve a problem that is faced by that community and as always, don’t start a business you aren’t passionate about. Passion about your business leads to passion for your customers. Passion leads to sales.