If you need outside funding to get to the next step in your rural small business, your next step is too big.
Before you bet big on your business idea, test it with small steps. Make some sales from your front yard, then try a booth, then a trailer, then think about moving up to a small building.
Before you borrow money to buy a new piece of equipment, find a smaller step you can take. Borrow or rent equipment temporarily. Share equipment with another business, splitting the cost. Subcontract out that part of production to another business. Redesign your product or process so you don’t need that equipment after all.
Before you go into debt to fix up an older building, think smaller. Find a tiny space to occupy first. Share space with an existing business. Go mobile. Open smaller in a few towns rather than bet everything on a single location.
Go Small or Go Home
This is some hard-won rural wisdom. Better to stay small than go into big debt. Expect that you’ll face some zero income times. Don’t take on more responsibilities than you can cover. Be ready for banks to be bought out, loan portfolios to be sold and resold to unsympathetic lenders. These are part of the Small Town Rules: Be Small to Grow Big, and Plan for Zero.
Have you taken small steps?
If you have a story about taking small steps to stay independent, I’d love to hear about it.
- Join me for the Rural Renewal Symposium online Oct 13 - September 26, 2020
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- Refilling the rural business pipeline - July 7, 2020
- Huge vacant buildings: grants to renovate? - June 9, 2020
- Economic self defense for small towns - June 7, 2020
- The best things you can do for local businesses in light of coronavirus - March 27, 2020
- How to get more parking downtown without adding any spaces - March 7, 2020
- Exact Yeti Blue mic volume and Windows settings to reduce background noise - February 17, 2020
- Getting local businesses to cooperate with you: Shop Hopping Around Brownsville - December 16, 2019
- Survey of Rural Challenges 2019 results - December 5, 2019