We often think that with the kind of technology we have these days, starting and growing a business is easier. Even those with zero experience can build a thriving brand with the right business idea, customer service, and marketing strategies. But if this is the case, why are there so many local businesses in rural areas that fail to scale?
The Great Recession caused a major economic decline in the U.S. Many lost their jobs and many businesses suffered. Business growth was mostly seen in urban communities and urban suburbs. Despite the initiative of the government, only a few startups opened up in rural areas and managed to grow.
Why Entrepreneurs Should Consider Growing a Business in Rural Areas
When it comes to startups, many prefer building one in larger cities and the suburbs. Many entrepreneurs think these places are a better choice since there are more diverse consumers to sell your offers. In big cities, there are more talents and professional networks to hire and more financing options to choose from.
In rural areas, you can access a customer base that tends to be more loyal. You can also enjoy less competition. This makes it easier to gain customers and grow your profit.
You get to reduce your operational costs since the cost of living is also lower. Rural companies often have comparable revenue with their urban counterparts. But are many entrepreneurs still go to cities when starting and building a business?
Why Rural Businesses Find It Hard to Grow
Rural entrepreneurship has its own set of challenges. Here we get to find out what those challenges are and what you can do about them.
Limited Access to Financing
A study shows that one out of five small business owners in rural areas finds it difficult to access funding. Some rural areas lack trusted lenders while most offer to find in exchange for higher interest rates. Some have poor credit histories or don’t have enough collateral to secure a loan.
The good news is, there are now loans, services, and grants for rural small businesses. One only needs to check the requirements and see if you are eligible for one. There are also online lenders willing to finance the business ventures of rural entrepreneurs.
Limited Access to Professional Services
In cities, there is an abundance of businesses offering specialized services. There are some services rural businesses can skip. But there are others one can’t afford to take for granted or else their production and reputation can suffer.
Take IT solutions, for instance. Businesses can no longer operate without computer systems and tools. The ever-changing trends demand brand owners embrace innovation that is both efficient and secure. Without these, it will be hard to grow a successful brand in the digital world.
What rural entrepreneurs can do is to reach out to HUBZone-certified IT consulting firms. These companies aim to help businesses in underutilized areas get the help they need. This way, you can have access to reliable and cost-efficient IT solutions for your brand.
Some businesses require skilled individuals to work on special tasks. But since more people who originated in rural areas moved to big cities and the suburbs for work, this puts rural entrepreneurs in a dilemma. Without access to the right talents, it can be hard to scale a brand.
Thanks to today’s innovations, you now have the option to hire remote workers. This means you can hire talented individuals in cities, suburbs, and even around the world for tasks that won’t require their physical presence. You can also try posting your job posts online and hire city talents who are willing to move in exchange for work.
How Rural Entrepreneurs Boost Their Success
There are other ways entrepreneurs of rural businesses can grow their brand without moving to the city. With the right business model, you can scale your rural business the right way.
Some entrepreneurs stepped up their game by investing in trailers and food trucks. They go around towns rendering their offers to round up customers with their unique goods. This often excites consumers who can’t wait for the seasonal food trucks to drop by in their area.
Some businesses opted to share their business location to try out experimental businesses. Sharing spaces enables them to lower their costs and share assets together. This helps bring a sense of community while helping other businesses thrive with their complimentary tricks.
There are brands that would pop up in booths and would stay open for a couple of weeks, months, or seasons. This can be a good opportunity for small business entrepreneurs to try out their idea and see if there is a demand for their offers in that area.
There may be other barriers to rural entrepreneurship. But in this ever-changing world, many are optimistic that rural brands will dominate their areas and will soon branch out to big cities. One only needs to be resilient, be more open to change, and find ways to stay competitive to successfully grow a rural small business.
As a professional marketer with over 25 years of experience in the industry, Brian Townsend has all the knowledge necessary to become Storm Hosts’ editor-in-chief. Aside from his editorial duties, he also sits on the board of multiple technology startups. He is a proud early adopter of social media and other tech solutions for marketing