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Trends in rural and small town business

Becky McCray (www.smallbizsurvival.com) has just published her guide to SMALL TOWN BUSINESS TRENDS.

Becky McCray (5)

As Becky says “Every year, hundreds of small business trends are published. By default, they’re all written by and for urban businesses, people in big cities. Instead, I look at small towns, rural areas. Here, local trends matter more than national ones,
but there are some overall trends of note.


Becky defines a small town as one with a population of less than 20,000.

What trends has Becky identified for small towns in the US ?

  • 2014 will be a good year for most rural economies, with strong business development and a continuing emphasis on all things local.
  • a resurgence in local manufacturing and creative business forms
  • Urban likes rural – people from big cities are loving small town stories. Ruralism is taking root in design, urban planning and leisure time pursuits. Placemaking is pushing cities to be more like small towns:walkable, community-oriented, humanscaled. Urban investors are looking to purchase farm ground and ranches for more lucrative investment returns.
  • Brain Gain brings 30-44 year-olds to small towns – after decades of the “brain drain” of young people graduating and leaving small towns, a significant return flow of adults is changing rural dynamics.These 30-44 year-olds arrive with college degrees, years of experience in the workplace and large professional networks. Many come with substantial savings or proceeds from selling an expensive house in a metro area. These new rural residents aren’t looking for jobs. They start businesses at much higher rates than others.
  • Entrepreneurs get creative about business forms – cooperatives are for more than just the grain elevator and the electric utility. Coworking, pop-ups and combination businesses are pooling resources and cutting costs. Community ownership is taking over where individual ownership can’t make a go of it.
  • Energy booms are ongoing in several key rural areas. Construction of the transmission infrastructure means spillover opportunities.Everyone is thinking local
  • Rural eCommerce is up and down – as Amazon charges sales tax on more purchases, small town merchants will be closer to being able to match their prices. Rural retailers still need to build closer ties to customers and leverage instant gratification to compete. With the closure of more U.S. Postal Service distribution centers, package delivery times for rural areas are going up. Rural businesses that previously saw their shipments arrive the next day, now report similar shipments taking five days. Rural eCommerce firms have to explore alternative delivery services.Rural has the low cost advantage
  • Local manufacturing surges again

Why not download and read the full report available on Becky McCray’s website: www.smallbizsurvival.com/trends

QUESTION – What trends are you observing in small towns in your country ? why not share in the comments section below ?

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