Melissa W. asked:
What types of businesses would work in very small communities – less than 100, less than 250, less than 500?
No matter what kind of business you want to start in a really small town, start small. Use the Innovative Rural Business Models (Tiny, Temporary, Together, Trucks and Trailers) to build up with small steps to a successful business. With each step, you’ll be gaining information about what works, building your assets, building your following. The Tionesta Market Village is a terrific example of using the Innovative Rural Business Models to nurture many small businesses together in one space, all in a town of 500 people.
Businesses based in trucks and trailers are especially good for small towns under 500. You can use your mobility to reach other nearby markets as well as serving your local people.
Get beyond your town limits. Remember that you don’t have to rely on the market you can reach physically. There are plenty of location-independent ideas. If you have skills you can use via computer, you can be anywhere. Writers, graphic designers, programmers, consultants, web designers, marketers, virtual assistants, and many more people can build a business anywhere they can get internet, even if the town itself is very small.
Stand at the city limits and look out. What is made, grown or developed locally that you could share with the world?
For more business examples, Wisconsin Extension put together short profiles of small-town innovative downtown businesses that you might find helpful. They are all examples from real small businesses in real small towns. Although there are several examples from larger towns, the target was towns under 1,000. You’ll find it on their Innovative Downtown Businesses page.
20 Small Business Ideas for Small Towns is a short ebook detailing 20 different ways you can make a successful business in a small town. It also covers seven ways to generate your own ideas, so you can dream up the small biz idea that best fits you. To save it on your computer, right click on this link: 20 Small Business Ideas for Small Towns and choose Save Target As. For Firefox or Chrome users, choose Save Link As.
You can also read through our entire category of business ideas for small towns.
- About the Author
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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.