Though the urban landscape is often the one in which small businesses seek to establish themselves and to thrive in close proximity to their customers, it’s important not to forget about the business owners and entrepreneurs making waves in Canada’s rural communities. Operating a rural small business comes with an unique set of benefits, assets, challenges and requirements.
Lower Cost, Greater Connection
In stark contrast to the rising prices of commercial real estate in many urban areas on both coasts, rural communities may offer cost-effective space in which to bring a small, close-knit team together and run a business with a keen eye on the local community. Rural small business owners are taking greater and greater advantage of digital communications tools and e-commerce to develop relationships with wide-ranging networks of customers and suppliers. They are able to reap the benefits of both brick-and-mortar community interest and digitally scaled brand awareness, pushing the tech envelope even from well outside the urban bubble.
Specific Funding Incentives
The federal government in Canada offers assistance to rural communities for the development and implementation of long-term strategic plans leading to the growth and diversification of the local economy. The financial technology sector has also increased the availability of funding to rural small businesses by providing direct, location-independent customer service, funding assessment, and disbursement through automated, web-based and mobile platforms.
Collaborate and Conquer
Rural small business owners are in a favourable position when it comes to collaborating with other local entrepreneurs, BIAs and Chambers of Commerce. In many cases, making your small business a “destination” for those seeking products or services in a particular niche will have radiant effects on the popularity and productivity of nearby businesses in the same community. Collectively organized events, co-sponsorships, collective sales or promotions, and other collaborative marketing activities are likely to win significant attention for rural small businesses.
Strong Leadership, Healthy Businesses
Studies have shown that despite remote location and other disadvantages when compared to their urban counterparts, small town businesses which thrive typically have strong community leaders. This leadership is instrumental in the upholding of municipal and regional political goals, support for economic growth, and business recruitment. A close working relationship with small business owners allows local government to respond to industry needs more effectively and to create a healthy reputation for rural small business expansion.
With these advantages in mind, rural small businesses are poised to enjoy success. As long as they continue to be supported by both private and public funding initiatives that take their specific needs into account, they can enjoy the success that is most widely cited among their urban counterparts.