Small towns have a reputation of having little to offer in making money. A lower population means fewer potential customers, and fewer corporate jobs mean less money circulating in the community. Which makes it harder to start a business for most people.
But does that reputation hold water? It sounds like it probably does at the surface level, but when you look a little deeper, It’s different. So if you live in a small town and you’re looking to start or grow your own business, you may have a few more advantages than you realize.
Start Your Own Business: Small Town or Metropolis?
While it’s true that a higher population means more potential customers, there’s also something else that a larger city has: more competition, a higher cost of living, and a higher cost to operate your business. A small town on the other hand may have fewer potential customers, but it also has less competition, a lower cost of living, and a lower cost to operate your business.
So while you may bring in less revenue than your big-city counterparts, it also requires much less to operate and live in a small town. In short, yes. In most cases, there is more opportunity to earn more money in an area with a larger population, but again it doesn’t take as much money to live or operate in a smaller town.
We would suggest that instead of comparing your dollar earnings with those in larger communities, you would be better off comparing the lifestyle that you’re able to afford with those dollars.
Now, that comparison between starting your own business in a small town versus starting in a big city is out of the way, let’s discuss making money in a small town.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to be proficient at identifying opportunities, so the main question in today’s article is how do you identify opportunities where most people think none exists?
Well in this article we will share a few tips to help you do just that, So let’s just jump right into it.
5 Steps To do Before Starting a Small Town Business
First, let’s just understand what is an opportunity for us, we mean by that: entrepreneurs. Opportunities do come in many forms, but most will present themselves as a problem. So we’re looking for problems.
To do that, awareness and involvement are your best friends. If you keep your head down and you aren’t involved in your community, you are likely missing out on opportunities that can easily be identified if you had just been paying attention. So get involved with your local community.
Network and get to know people in positions of influence. Every community is different, but volunteering with your local chamber of commerce could be a really good first step. Or just attend your city council meetings. We are serious when we say get involved in your community and participate in everything that is available to you.
If other business owners in the community will be there, or if other people from the general public will be there. Just go participate, shake hands, and get to know people. Because that is the quickest way to get your pulse on the community and find problems.
For example, maybe at a city council meeting, you hear a recurring theme of residents complaining that their yard debris isn’t being picked up from the road as often as they’d like. Normal people hear residents complaining about their roadside pickup.
An astute entrepreneur hears customers complaining about a problem that they’re probably willing to pay to have resolved, and those are the types of opportunities that you need to be identifying. Get involved and pay attention, opportunities will present themselves. It’s just up to you to recognize them.
Once you’ve identified a problem, what’s next? Trace it back to its roots and ask yourself a few questions:
- Why does this problem exist?
- Is this problem a symptom of a larger problem?
- Do enough people have this problem to make it worth solving?
- Am I uniquely positioned to solve it?
- If so, can I move quickly enough to solve the problem and capture the market before someone else does?
Let’s share an example from the real world, so you can understand better. In my hometown, they had a large F3 tornado cut the town in half a couple of years back.
Expectedly so, this was a traumatic event for our community and it created an opportunity that still has not been serviced to this day. The fear associated with that night created the perfect opportunity to generate demand for tornado shelters. Yet, That exact same town still doesn’t have a single tornado shelter dealer anywhere around the area.
This opportunity should be on my list to tackle but I just never got around to it and I would say the time window for this opportunity is probably near expiration by now, as the memories of that night begin to fade. But looking back if you had to decide and take advantage of this opportunity, how would you do it?
It’s really pretty simple and straightforward. You need simply to research the main problem, in this situation tornado shelter manufacturers. Contact them about becoming a dealer, then you simply advertise tornado shelters to your community. You could also go talk to your local builders or your local home designers and offer them a commission for every home they include a tornado shelter in.
You can even take this business on the road when other communities nearby are hit by a tornado simply advertise your shelters there, some people may think that you’re taking advantage of a bad situation. But you’re really not it’s a symbiotic relationship.
You’ll really be doing the community a favor by bringing each of your customer’s peace of mind. Now they’ll know they don’t have to hide in the bathtub next time the wind blows. You and your installers make a decent paycheck.
On the topic of taking advantage of people, offer them at a fair price. You don’t jack the price up because people are scared, offer them a good product at a fair price and you’re not taking advantage of anyone, it’s a win-win deal. Opportunities like that are everywhere you just have to keep your eyes open and pay attention.
If you want to take a shortcut, check these Five side hustle ideas in small towns that you can start right now with very little or no money.
position and timing
All opportunities have a time window, once you identify an opportunity it’s very likely that someone else has too, because you are certainly not the only one in your area looking for them.
So once you start looking for this kind of situation be prepared to jump, that doesn’t mean to jump into it blindly. Be quick but never cut corners. If something is worth doing it’s worth doing correctly.
Self-awareness is also really crucial in this know what you’re capable of, don’t sell yourself short but also don’t overestimate your ability. Customer satisfaction is the most important aspect of any business.
Because if you do a poor job or offer a subpar product you can forget repeat business, And in a small town repeat business is pretty important. You also don’t want to get yourself into legal trouble by performing poor work. You’ll have to balance all of that while moving quickly enough that other people don’t beat you to market. It really is a balancing act.
Execution and implementation
Execution is king, we all have that friend that constantly talks about that great idea they have. And they’ve probably been talking about it or others like it for years, but guess what it’s never going to happen for them unless they execute and make it happen.
Don’t be like that friend, and if you are that friend you will never accomplish anything in life if you don’t stop thinking about it and do it. Stop waiting for someone else to hand it to you, it’s not going to happen. Get out and do it, just get started.
Take the first step, and if you don’t know where or how to get started. You either aren’t thinking about it hard enough or it’s not the right idea for you. But it’s time to act, make your plan, get out there, and do it.
One more thing that small town entrepreneurs need to consider is the internet. You might live in a small town but you also live in a big world. And thanks to technology that whole big world is at your fingertips 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
While there are plenty of opportunities that you can identify in your community, there are millions more online. So you cannot use the size of your town as an excuse.
choosing The Opportunity
If you are one of those born with the entrepreneurship genes in their blood, the problem for you is going to be deciding which opportunity or which problem to tackle first.
Some people just have the fortunate ability to see opportunities everywhere they look, and for others finding those opportunities may not come quite so naturally. It may take a little more time and effort on your part.
But if you have a hard time identifying those opportunities, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be a successful entrepreneur. It simply means just that you have to look a little harder to find your opportunities. Problems exist everywhere and if your desire is to be an entrepreneur your main objective is to learn how to identify them. Then once you identify what you think is the perfect opportunity for you, you just need to find the most efficient way to solve it and monetize it.
This all starts with a simple mindset shift, you must begin seeing problems as opportunities. That simple mindset shift will open your eyes to a world of opportunities that you haven’t been noticing.