Small Business Ownership in Rural America : Where Community is Everything


Back in the days when the American landscape was either rural or urban and the suburbs did not exist, the rural communities often found themselves cut off from the cities thanks to a lack of investment in communication technology. Even as wireless technology expands, some rural towns are still not able to get the same level of services one would find in a city.

This idea of isolationism for rural areas means that the community bounds found in the rural areas are often much stronger than anywhere else in the country. Rural business owners must be able to walk that line between maintaining strong community bonds and reaching out for the revenue that can be found outside of the area.

The Shrinking Rural Landscape

Back before the days of mass communication and inexpensive long distance travel, people who lived in rural areas settled in their areas and put a life together. That life included all of the people who owned the rural businesses that serviced all of the population. When people wanted to buy farm equipment, they bought it from the local farm equipment vendor.

As time went by and the world appeared to get smaller, more people left rural areas to seek out opportunity. The suburbs grew and rural business owners started to see their potential revenue drop.

The Rural Business Balance

As the population in the rural areas started to dwindle, rural business owners started to find themselves in a difficult situation. They needed to maintain their loyalty to the local community while starting to chase business dollars from outside the area in order to survive. The rural businesses that have been able to find that balance of servicing the local community while making use of online commerce have been the ones that can find success.

The Talent Pool

Another significant challenge for rural small businesses is finding the necessary talent to stay in business. A retail business that thrives in a rural setting could get swallowed up in the big city. That means that it is important for that business to stay in the rural areas if it wants to survive. The issue is that with a big chunk of the local talent pool moving out of the rural areas, there is often not enough potential employees to keep up with demand.

To help rural small businesses stay open, they must learn how to get by with very little. Hiring new employees should be done only after a comprehensive financial analysis and establishing a real need. Depending on the personnel need, small businesses might be able to benefit from the growing remote worker population throughout the country.

When you own a small business in a rural area, you are faced with a lot of business challenges. The rural businesses that survive are the ones who understand the importance of community and the opportunities that technology has to offer.