Using my real-world perspective as a small business owner, I deliver concrete take-aways that you can use today to shape the future of your town without getting beaten down by others’ negativity. Audiences feel energized and hopeful because they know how they can make a difference in their community despite opposition.
You get down-to-earth advice, based on my current experience as a retail store owner, a cattle rancher and a life-long rural entrepreneur, including the “get your hands dirty” aspects that others gloss over.
My programs on small business, rural trends, economic development and marketing have given practical ideas to audiences at over 200 events including entrepreneur conferences, business groups, small town conferences, tourism associations, economic development organizations and chambers of commerce in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.
You can choose programs on rural trends, small business, economic development, and marketing. All are interactive and packed with straightforward advice that can be put into practice now. Here are some of my most popular topics, and any of these can be a keynote, a breakout session, or a workshop.
All your life, you’ve been told that small towns are dying, drying up, and disappearing, and that there’s nothing you can do to change it. What if, just once, there was some good news about rural? There is! Big trends are moving in our favor: brain gain, changing retail dynamics, new travel motivations and more. Learn why we have a future and how to shape the future of your town.
Rural audiences love this topic because it is a breath of fresh air: the good news about small towns!
Want to focus on just retail? I can do that, with Retail’s Big Split: Future Trends in Small Town Retail
Which small towns will survive into the future? Advances in agriculture, energy and fuels, manufacturing and materials, all mean changes to jobs, economic development, and tax revenues. Given the certainty of change in our globalized future, it’s time to start making your rural community more Idea Friendly. Learn the 3 practical ways to improve the climate for new ideas, and position your small town to thrive, no matter what the future brings.
This topic shakes up old ideas about small towns. Audiences leave feeling measurably more optimistic (16.77% more optimistic in one survey) because they see exactly how they can shape a better future for their town.
For towns facing intense opposition or stubborn negativity, I offer a specialized version with practical steps you can take to draw a crowd of supporters, create more connections, and move ahead with small steps.
Jobs are changing, and the very nature of work is changing. That means jobs creation is changing, too. Learn ways small towns are connecting their small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs with the support and network they need to be successful and create jobs. Learn about business resource nights, networking events, backroom tours, and online courses you can take together. You’ll hear about actual small towns who are using these techniques right now.
This topic gets the attention of business and economic development audiences.
You don’t have to settle for a normal business. Rural businesses are exploring new shapes, new locations and new ways of doing business, including pop-ups, shared buildings, businesses inside of other businesses and more. Entrepreneurs are using these smaller scale experiments and tests to learn what works before making a huge investment.
Not only are entrepreneurs interested in these potential models, but local leaders also can put them to work spurring new business development and supporting fuller participation in the local economy.
When you invite me to your town, it’s not about me. My impartial approach keeps the group focused. We all pull our chairs up together. We get on the same side of the problem, and we all work together on practical steps you can use right now. Then we get out and walk through your downtown to apply what we just talked about.
Towns and counties from 700 to 7,000 to 70,000 population in the US and Canada have invited me to be part of shaping their future.