Starting a business is a daunting task, even more so if it is going to be situated in a small town or village with limited traffic. However, it is not impossible, nor doomed to fail if you do your homework first. Here are some guidelines to consider for those opening a business in the countryside.
The Right Fit?
If you’re planning to open a coffee shop where there are already five others servicing a small population, your establishment may see limited support. Make enquiries with the residents to determine if there indeed is a need for another café in the area. Then, if so, investigate what additional offerings they would like to have when visiting a coffee shop and incorporate some of the suggestions in your menu. If not, consider an alternative business idea better suited to the area.
Start-up Costs and Finance Options
All businesses require a form of start-up capital, whether land, cash, or equipment. Knowing what the expenses to layout a new enterprise are going to be is crucial to its success. Investigate different options with regards to business loans; some local banks may offer preferential loans to residents that make use of local labour or donate a percentage of their profits to improving the lives of the local population.
Expand your Research Horizons
Aside from exploring the methods above, it would be advantageous to contact external parties with expertise in the field of rural businesses. Such parties have access to a myriad of resources that will benefit you and the growth of your business. Seek out reputable experts, such as Mark Lumsdon Taylor, who are dedicated to supporting rural enterprises
Exposing Your Business
As a business owner in a small community, your enterprise will need exposure in order to sustain itself and grow its customer base. Staying with the coffee shop analogy, we have a few suggestions that may positively impact this:
- Create Quid-Pro-Quo Opportunities
Procure the services of local contractors, such as a handyman or plumber, to do repairs at your business. Purchase fresh produce from local farmers for your baked goods, and hire local artists to manage your business’ designs. By supporting these individuals, you are supporting the community, which, in turn, is likely to support you.
- Be Visible
Having a digital footprint is always beneficial, but in a rural area being physically visible is important. If your village has a county fair, ensure that your business is represented; have a kiosk where your goods are available to purchase or consider advertising in local print.
Image by onepony from Getty Images Pro
- Be Teachable
This may come as an odd statement, but it is one of the biggest keys in successfully growing your business. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to sustaining a successful enterprise, so being open to constructive criticism and using it in a positive way might be what puts your business ahead of its competitors.
These are not the only guidelines available to people looking to open their own business in a rural area, but they are a great way to start small and grow from strength to strength.