Starting a Business in a Small Town
Look around the community to see what need is not being met. If your idea is to start a printing business, scour the region to see who your competition is and what services they don't offer. Remember that you must have a passion for that type of work, since entrepreneurs work long hours.
Research how much money, education and help you'll need for your small business. Look around your community to ensure that there is adequate infrastructure for your idea. For example, if your business will be entirely dependent on worldwide, overnight delivery services, you'll want to make sure your town has at least two freight carriers to meet this need.
Draft your business plan, then share it with a business expert from your nearest educational institute or government agency to determine the feasibility of your idea. A local chamber of commerce or small business support group can assist you in finding the right person to talk to.
Pick a suitable location for your business and check with local zoning experts to ensure you obtain the correct permits for the location. Almost all small town governments require permits to start a new business, even if the business will be home-based. If your operation will be located in a commercial district, you'll probably need many more permits for zoning, parking, employees and more.
Join your town's chamber of commerce. Business chambers are located around the world and they offer great benefits to new businesses by providing low cost advertising opportunities within the local community. In rural areas, oftentimes business chambers in neighboring cities will allow members to promote their services there too. In a small town, joining a chamber of commerce is also a great way to know what's going on in the community.
Promote your new small town business by joining local merchant associations and sponsoring events and sports teams. Introduce yourself to your community by attending these events and remember to hand out business cards so people remember you helped with the event.
Get to know local businesses in your industry to see if there is a way you can support each other by reselling each other's services, otherwise known as "co-operation." For example, if you make fresh bagels, meet with local coffee shops and ask if they would like to carry your bagels. In return, you can give your customers promotional coupons for that merchant with every order.