5 Tips to Grow in Small Town America

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If you grew up with a family business in rural America or are starting a business in a small town, don’t let your location stop you from being a huge success. According to a recent survey by Everyday Law, “63 percent of respondents said that small cities are better for small business.”

That’s right. With supportive family and friends nearby, comfortable and cost-effective surroundings, and the latest technology, you have many advantages over “Big City” entrepreneurs. Plus, you can provide unique products and special, hometown customer-service unavailable anywhere else.

And once you start your business, it’s essential to think about future growth. According to the SBA Office of Advocacy’s most recent statistics, “about half of all new establishments survive five years or more and about one-third survive 10 years or more.” If you want to be one of the successful, new businesses that is around for a decade or more, here are five tips to grow a small town business.

1 Be a part of the community.

One of the advantages to starting a business in a small town is the close-knit community. Your friends, family, and neighbors will probably support you in your efforts. In return, contribute to community events, and donate to good causes in your local area.

Purchase Girl Scout Cookies, and sponsor high-school yearbooks, football teams, car washes, performances, charity fundraisers, and more. Let the community know how important they are to you and your business by showing a true interest in what’s important to them.

As you grow your business, it’s important to help other, local businesses grow, too. Even if you think they are competitors, it’s essential to help each other and grow together as part of the community. Purchase as many of your business supplies and products as possible from local stores and retailers.

3 Treat people as family.

Small communities are like a family in both good and not-so-good ways. Plus, news can travel very fast. With this in mind, treat everyone with dignity and respect. Whether they are employees, associates, neighbors, or friends, try to be friendly and positive whenever possible.

If you do someone wrong in a way that someone feels is not right, then others in their sphere of influence will look at you and your company in a negative light. This can make it more difficult to obtain the caliber of workers you need to grow in your local area. Plus, one negative comment on the Internet or in a small community can go a long way to significantly hurt your business sales and reputation.

4 Never do anything expecting a “thank you.”

When it comes down to the basics in business, it’s important to remember you are providing a solution via your products and services. Keep this in mind. “The more credit you give away, the more will come back to you,” states Brian Tracy, a leader in self-development. “The more you help others, the more they will want to help you.”

Help people because it’s the right thing to do, not because you want something from them or your name in the press. Provide honest, high-quality products made the right way, and you’ll be surprised at how fast your business grows. It’s the word-of-mouth regarding the good that you do that helps your business build a good reputation and positive buzz—locally and on a worldwide level.

5 Don’t be known as the “salesperson” in your community.

If possible, focus on selling your products outside of your close-knit community. Of course, you want to let your local network know what you offer, why it’s unique, and where it’s available, but avoid giving a sales pitch. Instead, do everything possible to promote the name of the town where you’re located when selling outside of your community and on the Internet. This makes your products and services unique and helps you stand out from the competition.

And once you launch your business, never stop learning to keep your competitive, “small town” edge. Continue to offer new products and services to meet the changing needs of your customers. As Andy Walsh, author of “Business start-ups? You are never prepared for how much hard work it is.” in The Guardian, writes: “Places like this always start off with good intentions, but before too long you become just like everyone else.”

Successful, Business Growth Comes Down to Simple Basics.

It can be overwhelming to start a new business, especially if you are in a small town and afraid of the competition in larger cities. But instead of looking at the negative, focus on all of the advantages available to you in your supportive community. Treat others with respect, focus on selling quality products that provide solutions to others, and give back to your community.

With these simple steps, you’ll start to build positive word-of-mouth for your unique business in a small community. And that’s priceless marketing that the “Big City” businesses can’t touch!

About Greg Hackenbracht 1 Article
Greg Hackenbracht is the president, founder, and owner of Tastee Apple, Inc., www.tasteeapple.com. After graduating from Bowling Green State University, Greg worked tirelessly to turn the simple, start-up into the largest, caramel-apple producer in the U.S. With over 40 years in the specialty-apple processing business, Greg has been chairman of The National Apple Month Committee and sat on national, marketing boards designed to increase the consumption of apples.

1 Comment

  1. Great tips! It’s important to recognize that small towns operate a bit differently than larger cities, so adjusting your business model accordingly will take you far and ensure success. Thanks for sharing!

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