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I come by my down-to-earth perspective honestly.
Throughout my career, rural has been the focus. I ran a small town liquor store. I’ve been a city administrator for a small town with a population under 1,000 and a nonprofit executive working the broad stretch of rural counties that no one else wanted. I’ve been an antiques dealer scouring rural auctions for bargains and a teacher of computer classes for rural small businesses and senior citizens. I helped small towns learn how to use social media for tourism. I don’t just talk about rural issues, I live them.
I watch the rural trends
Because I care about rural people, I watch the global trends and disruptive changes in the economy, technology and society from a small-town perspective:
- The coronavirus changed the world.
- Remote work rocketed to wide acceptance.
- Economic inequality was questioned much more broadly.
- Local businesses were squeezed even tighter.
At the same time, I see positive trends for rural people and places.
- There’s a renewed emphasis on quality of life and a sense of community.
- I’m hearing increased interest in downtowns, walkability, human-scale places and thriving local businesses.
- New models for local entrepreneurship, new ways of creating equitable local economies are earning greater acceptance.
Knowing the trends is different from knowing what to do next. All those 10 year plans from 2019 look pretty out of date. Even knowing what we know now, none of us can predict exactly what will happen even 5 years out.
You don’t have to know all the answers. Our best move is to be open to new ideas. If we can make our town more Idea Friendly, we can better adapt to any future that comes our way.
Our old solutions aren’t helping
Rural people like you and me have tried using frameworks from government agencies and other organizations, but they don’t solve the real problems. Those formulas are focused on building more committees or they’re just too rigid and old fashioned to address the changing realities.
You’ve probably been through too many strategic planning sessions with sticky notes and voting on issues, where you felt like every minute of it was a waste of time. You’ve probably put hours of work into a great plan, just to see it put on the shelf to collect dust.
The Idea Friendly solution
We can change this.
There’s a system, a method to bring the new way of thinking to your town, to make it open and Idea Friendly. You do it with three elements: Gather Your Crowd, Build Connections and Take Small Steps.
You know you have to start with tiny, easy-to-do steps. That’s how we get things moving. You know that connecting people with each other is the essence of both community and innovation. And you know the few people you can most rely on to get started. You’ll draw more people to you as you go.
The same things that make rural places challenging can be turned into positives. There’s a lot of rural wisdom inside you; it’s just been covered up with the busy-ness of everyday life. These are the bedrock, common sense principles that small-town business owners have survived by for years, but it’s not a return to the past.
It will never go back to the way it was.
We have to start from here and go forward. You’re the person who is best positioned to spark the excitement in your town. You’ll build the small steps and tiny experiments that will add up to change the shape of your town. I’ll show you how with practical tools like the Small Town Creed.
Your town matters. It’s worth the effort. No place is quite the same mix of people and place, culture and heritage. You’re unique. Despite all the naysayers, your small town has a future, and you’re about to change it.
Stay in touch: my website and social media links
Start Page with all my links: Becky McCray and find me on Mastodon
Let me know what you need through the contact form.
Or get a feel for my interactive speaking style on the Videos page.
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