Just because you live in a small town, doesn’t mean you can’t open a business of your own. In fact, there are many small town businesses that thrive. The key is finding a small town business that suits the area you live in, your lifestyle, and of course, your expertise.
Small Town Business Ideas – The Best Businesses for Small Towns
Finding small town business ideas that will stick may take a little imagination and legwork. That being said, the types of businesses most likely to succeed can put into two broad categories.
1. Local services
The best business to start in small town settings is often the type of businesses needed in small towns. For example, you can provide necessary services to the local population working as a self-employed plumber, electrician or handyman. Or if you prefer, you can open a small business like a coffee shop or beauty salon. You can even focus on a specialty like pet grooming, a children’s clothing store, or even a Pilates studio.
Things to consider as you get started:
- Is there a real local need for your service?
- Is there any local competition in your area of expertise, and if so, who is providing it?
- How will you attract customers?
- Where will you get your supplies?
- Will you be able to find staff should your business grow?
2. Remote work
The second type of small town businesses that work well are those businesses that aren’t location dependent. In other words, it doesn’t matter where you’re located to get the job done. For example, you could work as a freelance graphic artist, copywriter, or even jewelry-maker from just about any place. Some companies may even be willing to hire you as a remote employee for things like computer programming.
Thing to consider over the long-term:
- How will you attract business?
- What will you do if a customer needs you to come into their offices for an onsite meeting?
- Where will you work? Is there a local co-working option available? Or a coffee shop with a free internet connection?
Challenges of Starting a Small Town Business
As rent and overhead are generally lower in small towns, this can work to your advantage. However, there are a number of challenges successful small town businesses face along the way.
For example, the question of building a customer-base may be more challenging than in big cities, where there are often more potential customers for just about every type of business.
Similarly, if you’re new in town, it might take locals a little time to warm to you. If you’re providing a new service, like a gourmet restaurant, you may need to expand your customer base by building your restaurant as a destination place.
There are also supporting services you’ll need to consider. For example, is there a small business accountant in your town? How about a lawyer who can help you with contracts and leasing advice? If these services aren’t available locally, you’ll likely want to find reliable services in a town nearby.
How about your insurance? Keep in mind, you’ll need good general liability insurance wherever you are, and likely things like property and auto insurance as well. Fortunately, these days most insurance can be handled online or by phone, so more a task to tick off than to worry about.
Things to Keep in Mind When Running a Small Town Business
There are lots of reasons why people like living in small towns, and similarly, like running small town businesses.
Small town life lets you get to know the people around, often on a first name basis. As such, a big part of your success will hinge on your relationships with people. Remember, in small towns both criticism and compliments can spread fast. Make sure to be friendly, courteous and reliable in all your dealings – both personal and professional. This will encourage customers to return, and hopefully, recommend your services. Also remember, since you’ll be seeing your customers around town, you always need to be on your best behavior, even outside work hours.
The Bottom Line on Small Town Business Success
The truth is, in most ways, running a small town business is pretty much like running a small business anywhere else. It will take a lot of dedication, research and preparedness to start your business, and ultimately succeed. While there are no guarantees, finding your niche, taking the competition into account, and providing an exceptional service will be the key to helping your business thrive.