Great Small Business IDEAS for Small Towns
Shared art studios and galleries, like the ARTesian Galleries in Sulfur, Oklahoma, extend the sharing and networking benefits to artists.
They go mobile with trucks, trailers & social media
In big cities, “food trucks” and “trailer shops” have become an accepted and popular part of the retailing ecosystem. Rather than depending on having a market in one town only, innovative businesses are hitting the road to round up customers. Retail stores and boutiques now commonly operate from a truck or trailer. But you can’t just drive up your truck into people’s yards (unless, perhaps, you are the ice-cream man). You must reach out to them with your unique story told in your personal way. The Peach Truck has become a four-state operation by developing a transportation network and working with peach farmers in Georgia. The credit part of their reason for their growth to Instagram. Their photos are beautiful and have led to nearly 60, 000 followers who can’t wait for the summer and the arrival of the Peach Truck (and canopy stores) to arrive. Many of their Instagram posts are about the men and women in small towns who grow their peaches.
Service businesses are using this model, too: wedding planners, financial consultants. Just about any kind of business can go mobile, expanding the market size of a small business in the smallest of towns.
They see opportunity beyond the town limits
Remember that you don’t have to rely on your physical marketplace. There are plenty of location-independent ideas. If you have skills you can use via computer, you can be anywhere. Writers, graphic designers, programmers, consultants, web designers, marketers, virtual assistants, and more people can build a business anywhere they can find internet access, even if the town itself is very small.
They practice creative ownership
For rural areas where people don’t have a lot of personal assets or wealth, the traditional model of risk of ownership may be too much for one person to bear alone. That’s why community ownership, cooperatives, and employee-owned models are appealing. Cody, Nebraska (pop. 154), has a community-owned and high shool student-run grocery store, the Circle C Market. The students even built the building! Now, they run the store.