Time for the rural small business trends for 2014

Downtown Sulphur, Oklahoma.

2014 looks like a strong year for most rural places. Photo by Becky McCray.

Business in rural areas just isn’t the same as what urban business pundits assume. I like to break through that urban bias with special trends for rural small business.

I’ll share a short overview here, and you can download the full report here. No cost, and no sign-up needed.

Trend 1. Stage 2 businesses bloom in towns under 5,000
These are businesses that have already hired between 10 and 50 people and have potential to grow even more, and you can find them in the smallest of towns. Economic developers are starting to notice.

Trend 2. Urban likes rural
Ruralism is taking root in design, urban planning and leisure time pursuits.  Placemaking is pushing cities to be more like small towns: walkable, community-oriented, human-scaled.

Trend 3. Brain Gain brings 30-44 year-olds to small towns
After decades of the “brain drain” of young people graduating and leaving small towns, a significant return flow of adults is changing rural dynamics.

Trend 4. Entrepreneurs get creative about business forms
Cooperatives, co-working, pop-ups, combination businesses and community ownership are changing the old definition of a rural business.

Trend 5. Energy transmission is lighting up business opportunities
Energy booms are ongoing in several key rural areas. Construction of the transmission infrastructure in wind, solar, oil and gas means spillover opportunities.

Trend 6. Everyone is thinking local
Consumers are much more aware of the importance of local business to their local economy, driving more activity to local businesses.

Trend 7. Rural eCommerce is up and down
Amazon is the dominant ecommerce player, and their sales tax and delivery changes affect the whole sector. Changes at the U.S. Postal Service are also affecting rural businesses.

Trend 8. Rural has the low cost advantage
Regional differences in cost of living and cost of doing business are making headlines.

Trend 9. Local manufacturing surges again
The reshoring of manufacturing is making national headlines, but it’s rural areas that are reaping the most new projects.

This is only a short overview. You can download the full report here. No cost, and no sign-up needed.

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About Becky McCray

Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband own a retail liquor store in Alva, Oklahoma, and a small cattle ranch nearby. Becky is an international speaker on small business.

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  1. Dr. Sabrina Schleicher says

    Thank you for sharing these with us, Becky. I am summarizing these in my newsletter and including your link so my readers can download your full report. Rural biz owners rock!


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