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Refilling the rural business pipeline

Refilling the rural business pipeline

This is a short sample from the SaveYour.Town video “Refilling Your Business Pipeline” featuring Deb Brown and me.

Small towns and rural communities will need new business startups to revitalize their local economies, but not many people have the resources today to do a startup the way it’s traditionally been done.

Part of what holds your potential new entrepreneurs back is thinking that going into business has to be a big and difficult and long project.

Imagine all the work that “everyone knows” is part of starting a new business:

If you decided to open a retail store, you have decide on your specialty and what kind of merchandise to carry, deciding or guessing whether your town will support it, finding a location and remodeling it or even bringing it up to code, decorating, finding suppliers and getting started with them, getting your local banking established, securing financing, hiring staff, advertising and marketing, and all that before you even know whether your initial concept is actually sound.

In small towns, those problems can be magnified where you may face a shortage of usable buildings, long distances to suppliers who don’t pay attention to small accounts like yours, few local banks, no chance of local financing, few choices for potential workers, and a smaller potential market. It seems like it takes a lot of time, money and work just to get into business.

You have to get all your ducks in a row.

What if I told you there was a much easier way to get into business?

Just get one duck and go from there. 

Imagine building some steps in between. If you could buy just a few products and test them by running a temporary business inside another business for a month or two, you’d learn a lot about what sells in your local market right now. If that works, maybe you could rent a small booth in a shared retail building. If something doesn’t work, you can fix it and try again.

From there, jumping up to starting a traditional store doesn’t seem as hard. You’ve learned what people want to buy. You’ve established relationships with suppliers. You’ve gained a loyal following. All those smaller steps lift you up closer to jumping over that hurdle of starting a traditional business. And if you miss a jump at a smaller step, it’s easier to recover and try something new.

Why this works

That’s the purpose of the innovative rural business models. They put people in a much better position to succeed, or to fail in a manageable way. It cuts time and money off the process of getting into business. 

For economic developers, these give you an easy way to add entrepreneurship promotion to existing projects and activities. It’s not about starting new things from scratch. It’s about finding and building on the small steps that already exist in your area.

The entire 30 minute is available for purchase at SaveYour.Town: Refilling Your Business Pipeline.

Learn more

About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.

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  • Better entrepreneur training for small towns – November 4, 2019

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