Starting a business in a small town may be a smarter option for the savvy entrepreneur due to lower competition and overall lower costs of doing business with rent and taxes. With any startup, however, there will be associated costs – and not all of those costs will be financial.
Point-of-Sale and Inventory Tracking
Whether you are opening a gallery with your own artwork or taking over the hardware store that has been in the town for generations, you will need to both manage your stock and sales. A retail pharmacy software system can track your patients and their purchases, or a spreadsheet can help you keep an eye on how many flowers were bought and sold for the week.
Labor and Benefits
With a lower cost-of-living, labor may be cheaper than in a larger city but that does not mean it is a minimal expense. In general, it is important to decide which wages and benefits allow you to minimize turnover while maximizing profits. Your reputation may be just as important as your bottom line.
Depending on the size of your small town, you may choose to advertise in a local paper, television station, radio program, or with a billboard. You may also find yourself dependent on word-of-mouth recommendations and ensure that you do not step on anyone’s toes that could ruin your business with a few choice complaints.
In many small towns, niche businesses sometimes struggle to survive on a single income stream. It may be beneficial to consider related industries which you could partner with in order to have a more desirable center of commerce. You may also consider looking into e-commerce to sell online outside of your local community.
It can be vital to a business to be a part of the local community. This may mean being a part of the local Chamber of Commerce, making donations to the local school district, sponsoring a sports club, or having a booth at the county fair. Consider which ways you want to impact your community and what your priorities are for contributions.
Integrating yourself into your community is a vital part of small-town, small-business lifestyles. As you make decisions about which aspects are the most important for your start-up you may find yourself having to balance wants versus needs. Ensure that you are seeking advice from a local business mentor and working with experts to keep you on your game as you begin your venture.