Small Business Ideas For Small Towns
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A small town is a great place. Everyone tends to know each other, parking is free, and there is a relaxed atmosphere. Employment, on the other hand, can be a difficult thing to manage. What work there is may not be very challenging. You may be forced to choose between working a job you hate to stay, or moving away to find edifying employment. A small business in a small town is completely viable, and a great way to make a living.
You need to be careful when checking out various small business ideas for small towns. There are small businesses that cater to virtually every interest under the sun, but only a few of them will practically survive in a limited population base. Choose a small town business idea that will fly by observing the following tips (written by a small town guy)!
Small Town Business Ideas
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Small town business ideas need to be carefully chosen. First, look at what your little town does for its main industry. Is it a tourist town? Industrial? Natural resources? You can use these factors to determine if your small town business ideas will be successful.
For example, if your town is a tourist location you have a lot of good options. You'll be experiencing traffic from all over the place. People of all ages and interests will pass through, so you can start a 'tourist-y' small business and it will probably work.
Cater to what people will need: a ski resort town will need ski services and sales. A farm town will require farm equipment maintenance, feed and seed supply, etc.
A huge mistake is to choose a small town business idea that has little relevance to your particular location. A hobby and craft shop isn't likely to fly in a little logging village full of lumberjacks. It might fly, but it's a risky investment of your time and money.
Another thing to consider when contemplating small business ideas for small towns is essential services. People everywhere have need of certain things: basic entertainment, food, legal services, insurance, education, etc. Your small town business idea will fly if it includes something people need on a routine basis.
Successful Business Ideas For Small Towns: Notary Public
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Becoming a Notary Public is a great idea for a small town business. Even in little communities people still need this service, signing off on mortgages, marriages, legal deals and loans, everything. It's also a great thing because it's very portable. You don't have to invest in a lot of equipment or capital, just an education and the right certification.
In this vein, there are many other specialized practices that could work. I mentioned insurance earlier, and legal services are huge. Accounting would be popular as well, since even small town folk must do their taxes. When you're the local guy, people will love supporting you.
My experience living in a small town is there is a brain drain to the cities. If you're educated (or seeking an education) you will probably find a ton of opportunity in a small town.
Successful Business Ideas For Small Towns: Trades
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Any trade can be extremely successful as a small town business idea. Chances are you won't have a lot of competition, and you'll receive a lot of referral and repeat business. Customer loyalty is high in smaller communities. You'll just need to make sure to do quality work and follow up, because your reputation can make or break you.
Even if there's already a tradesperson in the trade you're investigating, you may be able to form a cooperative or a partnership. A good idea is to interview people around town about their locals tradespersons: are they happy with the service they've received? What trades do they wish they had locally? If there's a gap in service, fill it!
Small Town Business Ideas To Avoid
Bad Small Business Ideas For Small Towns
In my experience, running a retail business is a rough go for small communities. The exceptions seem to be entertainment (if marketed properly), grocery stores, essential clothing (socks, underwear, jackets) and the odd specialty store. I've seen pet stores, hobby shops, craft supply stores, book stores and skateboard shops open and close. You need to do the math and figure out what your realistic sales will be and judge it by that.
If you're going retail with your small town business idea, be very careful to follow what the town already demands. Don't attempt to 'pique people's interest' with a new distraction. If everyone in town likes to mountain bike, sell mountain bikes!