Small towns and areas with declining populations have fought for years to increase industry and employment. One of the economic development strategies being used today is to locate businesses that are for sale, select ones that match the special natural resources of your area, and support local business people and entrepreneurs in buying those businesses to relocate into your area.
It’s a double bonus thing. First, you are taking an existing business that has a head start over a brand new business. Second, you are using people from your area who are much more likely to stay in your area even if the business is successful.
It makes a lot more sense to me than offering huge incentives to try to lure big businesses who are playing one town off of another, won’t stick around, and frequently don’t deliver on those big promises. (Read the EDPro Weblog if you don’t believe me about that.)
In our area, we heard about this approach from the Northwest Oklahoma Alliance and consultant Neil Doty. NWOA has a page online describing this approach, that they are calling REBAR: Rural Economic Business Acquisition and Relocation Strategy. It’s a good read, with 12 factors to consider about each target business.
Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur’s Journey brought up a resource that could be really helpful for this, an RSS feed (blog) of businesses for sale. You can also get info in email updates. The site is BusinessesForSale.com. I can see this as a terrific tool for this particular strategy.
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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 have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.