Too much small business advice is Big City business advice by default. It’s written by and for the people living in one of the top 10 cities. It’s a world of millions of people, easy access to support and resources, high-rise office buildings, cubicles, cabs, and co-working spaces.
I don’t do business in that world. I do business from my home in a town of 30 people. 8 miles north of here is my liquor store in the big town of 5,000 people, and 8 miles south are my cows on our farm. I’m 70 miles from the nearest Starbucks.
But I have high speed internet and cell signal, and I can touch the world.
Over the past 20-some years of making a living in a small town, I’ve been the business owner, the entrepreneur, and the hobbyist who barely makes money. I’ve worked for other people, too. And I know what it’s like to leave one professional job, then spend a year looking for the next one.
The people who truly thrive in the small town economy are the owners, the people who take ownership of everything they do, whether it’s their own business or not.
We cope with limited resources, few customers, patching together multiple lines of income to make a living. We hold second jobs. We plan for the time when there will be zero income. We hate to spend money if we can find any way around it. These are not flaws. They are strengths.
We treat everyone like a member of our community. We use technology to defeat distance. We let our local culture be part of our business.
I’ve been told I could be a bigger success if I lived in a big city. They’re defining success by the amount of money earned, or by important positions held or by public recognition received. Those are not my goals. I choose to define my success with more than dollars, titles or fame. And I choose to live in a small town.
Keep making your small town better,
PS – Jack Schultz writes The Agurban, a terrific email newsletter for small towns, manufacturing and economic development. Here’s his latest issue and you’ll find a link to subscribe in the right sidebar next to the article: Manufacturing Leaders Have a Positive Outlook for 2015
(While you’re signing up, you might choose to get The Industrial Edge, too. It’s much more hard-core economic development, but very targeted to small towns.)