In July 2009, I attended the High Plains Resource Conservation and Development Board meeting in Taloga, Oklahoma. While I was officially there to present their new website, I couldn’t help learning and taking notes.
Dr. Larry Sanders from Oklahoma State University spoke about wide ranging rural business issues, including marketing, entrepreneurship, retaining youth, and tourism. Here are the notes I made from his talk.
- The number one rule of marketing is delight the customer.
- If you have an idea, do something with it. Get out there and find that first customer or group of customers.
- You’re got lots of help around you, a real support system. (referring to the RC&D and other community resource people in attendance)
- Most people live where they do because they want to.
- Imagine if we could each find one idea we could take back and help our graduating seniors decide to stay in our community.
- Go out and see what your local business are doing, and let the rest of the world know it. Find out what they need, and access this business support system to help them stay in business or grow.
- Ask your tourists what would cause them to stay an extra night.
- Let them [tourists] get to know you. Maybe they’d like to stay here.
- There is a tide in the affairs of men, which when taken to at the flood leads to fortune. Shakespeare, Julius Ceasar.
RC&D has a big role in rural entrepreneurship. The purpose of an RC&D board is “to encourage and improve the capability of State and local units of government and local non-profit organizations in rural areas to plan, develop, and carry out programs for resource conservation and development.” (Public Law 97-98, Sec. 1528) If you live anywhere in the United States, including most territories, you are probably part of an RC&D area. You can find yours at the National Association of RC&D Councils.
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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.