Deb Brown, a small town newspaper editor from Iowa, has interviewed me on a wide range of subjects! She has also shared the interview on her blog, Deb Works.
We talked about making a living in a small town, Small Biz Survival, lessons I’ve learned from my businesses, social media for small town businesses, African safaris, grant writing, and agritourism.
Here’s a sample, about reducing brain drain.
How can we get our kids to come back to the community after college? What do we need to be doing to help develop our community for them too?
Engage them. Put young people in charge of projects. Involve them in “adult” meetings, like Rotary or the City Council. Setup a job shadowing or mentoring program with local businesses. Do everything you can to make young people a vital part of everything in the community. It’s not just about projects or assets. It’s about building a sense of belonging and community. That will stick with kids long after they head to college, and that is what will make them want to return.
You can also go further to bring them back, with events focused on homecomings. You can hold all-school, all-year reunions. If you can compile a mailing list of interested alums, you can market not just your events, but also your town. Your city government might be able to offer inexpensive lots for building or other move-back incentives. You have to be creative about it.
Read the whole, long interview at Becky McCray – A Real Entrepreneur.
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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.