“Living in a small town…is like living in a large family of rather uncongenial relations. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s perfectly awful, but it’s always good for you.” – Joyce Dennys, Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front 1942-1945
There is something magical about living in a rural village. As Joyce Dennys mentions above, residing in a small town is like living in a large family, with all of its advantages and disadvantages. It isn’t always easy living in a village; however, I believe that the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges of living in a small town is to generate enough money to make ends meet. There aren’t a large number of people living within its urban boundaries. Additionally, the ease with which people can access eCommerce stores or travel to the nearest city to purchase their goods can and will harm the small-town retail sector.
Additionally, December 2015 statistics show that the Canadian economy had 1.17 million employer business in total. Of these, 97.9% (1.14 million) were small businesses. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that the Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) sector is what sustains and drives the Canadian economy. Furthermore, even though I have quoted Canadian statistics, they are on a par with the rest of the world. Ergo, we can use these statistics as a benchmark for our business model no matter where we live and work in the world.
Ways to ensure your SME grows and thrives
Moreover, statistics show that it is worth concluding that the way to prosper in a small town is to open an SME. The question that begs is how to leverage the small-town economy not only to keep your business’s doors open but to grow your business. It is a good idea to look at an existing business that is a small-town success as a case study to learn from the successes and failures of that business. Ergo, here are several pointers to help you run a successful business in a small town.
Complement other businesses
There will always be a limit to the number of visitors that your store will receive during the day. Ergo, by competing directly with another business will not only dilute your potential to run a successful business, but it will also more than likely harm the other business as well. Therefore, look for complementary products to allow both your companies to run sustainably.
Invest In High-Quality SEO
No matter how small the enterprise is, proper online exposure is necessary. You need to be sure that you start investing in SEO as soon as possible. This includes everything from running SEO audits to buying backlinks. You might think that the business does not need SEO since it is based in a small town but this is completely incorrect. As the business grows, so does the need to have optimization work done.
Prioritise community over individuality
It is important to work together with other SMEs in your rural village. There are plenty of opportunities to form local business organisations which will help with mentoring new and existing retailers, marketing products and services as part of the town’s value proposition, as well as fostering a sense of community among the business owners and the community. It is important for merchant owners to be there for one another, especially when one owner has a family crisis.
Prospering as an SME owner in a small town is very different to that of a big city. It is vital to work together with both other retailers as well as the community for the good of the whole town.
Images: Maria Pender by Maciej Bernas for Design Scene Magazine