“We just don’t have as many businesses as we used to.” It’s one of those rural myths that I hear variations of all the time.
- “Our downtown is all boarded up. All the businesses are gone.”
- “Census numbers show fewer employers.”
- “We did a business count, and the number of businesses is way down.”
But it’s a myth. See, we have new kinds of businesses, ones that don’t get counted at all. They’re not in downtown storefronts or listed in business counts.
What are these mysterious new businesses?
- They include kinds of business we’ve always had but not counted, like people running a side business.
- They also include businesses that haven’t really been much of a factor, like independent professionals.
- They include new styles of doing business like the Innovative Rural Business Models.
If you’re still looking for businesses in traditional ways, you’re going to find the remaining traditional businesses. You’ll have to look in new ways if you want to find the new businesses.
- You’ll have to look for multiple businesses operating Together in a shared space, and other Business Inside a Business examples.
- You’ll have to look for Tiny businesses, frequently squeezed into a small nontraditional space.
- You’ll have to look for Temporary businesses operating in booths at events, popping up in empty store fronts or only existing seasonally.
- You’ll have to look for Traveling businesses that move around, maybe operating out of a truck or trailer.
You’ll have to look for people doing business outside the traditional obvious frames.
The nature of business is changing. We won’t keep up with it by thinking in the same old patterns.
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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.