What rural people say they need: Survey Results

And what do they want your help with? 
View this email in your browser

 
Howdy

We all know what rural towns need, right? They need jobs, and to recruit some manufacturing, and they have a huge poverty problem. Right? Well, no. At least that’s not what rural people told me.

Earlier this year, I ran a survey of subscribers and visitors to SmallBizSurvival.com. Over 200 people who identified themselves as rural shared with me what challenges their small towns were facing that they wanted help with and what challenges their rural businesses were facing.

The challenges they picked were not the usual suspects.

When describing their community’s challenges, people selected a set of inter-related challenges, of bringing life and activity to their towns, so their businesses will prosper and young people will choose to stay and other people will want to visit. That’s a much more nuanced view of community development than we usually give rural people credit for understanding. 

Most of the people surveyed also owned businesses. Adapting to being open later hours was their most-selected challenge. Marketing was the second most-commonly-chosen challenge. And in the open-ended answers, marketing got mentioned over and over. Clearly, getting the word out about your business is still a big issue, even in small towns.

There were a few surprises. Not many mentions of jobs or poverty, which are the stereotype of rural challenges. Very few people mentioned a business gap in their community. We hear a lot about filling gaps, so that surprised me. More business people cited a lack of usable buildings in their town than a lack of a business loan, which runs contrary to the usual stories.

I was struck by how often the lack of cooperation came up. We just don’t work together very well, from town leaders to local businesses. That’s something we can all work on.

Business issues seemed to fall into the pattern of the The 7 Most Common Weaknesses of Local Shops, and that’s something else we can work on.

And of course we can work on bringing more life and activity to town.

If you’re ready to work on those three things (cooperation, business weaknesses and more activity), then I have a guide for you. It’s a few pages of Action Steps specifically inspired by these survey results. Since you’re a subscriber, you get a copy right here:
 

Download Action Steps

If you want to share this survey or the Action Steps with others, please send them to the Survey of Rural Challenges 2015 page, or this address:  

  • smallbizsurvival.com/ruralchallenge

At that page, you’ll find all the survey goodies: 

  • A summary of survey results
  • A detailed report of the survey questions and answers
  • A chance to signup to get the Action Steps (only for subscribers) 

If you’re interested in an article about the survey results for your publication, or to have me come to your town, just hit reply and tell me about it. That is the quickest way to reach me. 
 
Keep shaping the future of your town, 
Becky

 

 
 

 

Like this idea? Boldly share: 

Share

Tweet

Share

+1

Forward to Friend

New email address? Go here to update your profile.

Want to refer a friend to get these weekly emails? Send them to sign up at SmallBizSurvival.

You signed up for this newsletter at SmallBizSurvival.com or at BeckyMcCray.com. You get the Positive View of Rural once a week and notices when we offer products and services to help you shape the future of your town.

Small Biz Survival

PO Box 8

Hopeton, OK 73746

Add us to your address book

 

 

Did someone forward this to you? Sign up to get your own  

Get a weekly dose of positivity for small communities from Becky McCray and Deb Brown, co-founders of SaveYour.Town. We share practical steps you can put into action right away.
We won’t sell or rent your email address to anyone else because we wouldn’t like that either.