Rural business entrepreneurs in Alberta have advantages that are often overlooked. They are smaller in size, which enables them to respond quickly to economic boom and bust cycles, and they also have the benefit of being near rural economic development. The advantages of being a rural entrepreneur in a small town are mutually beneficial to one another and create a strong partnership in the sustainability of rural life.
There are three major advantages to starting your business in a rural area: you can access your customers immediately and directly, you can deliver niche market services, and your business can be flexible when shifting to meet new business needs. Let’s explore these a bit further.
You Can Access Your Customers Directly
Rural businesses can offer personalized service, so you can meet your customers face-to-face. In rural areas, this is how customer bonds and consumer confidence are built. For example, farmers, ranchers, pipeline clients, and local homeowners can walk into your storefront and discuss their needs with you without having to drive too far or play a game of phone tag. On the business side, rural businesses offer intimate knowledge of the services and products needed in their geographic area. Business owners also know their customers’ names and remember details about former transactions. Being local also gives you the inside track on what is happening in your immediate area. Being in tune with your immediate area can also help you adjust your stock availability and have a close ‘handle’ on your monthly cash flow – key elements to a small business thriving.
On a social level, as a way of contributing to the sustainability of their community, many business owners often sponsor local events like ball tournaments and local festivals, purchase hockey team uniforms, donate funds for ski hill operations, or also hold volunteer positions on town council demonstrating social accountability. In other words, rural business owners are not anonymous and absentee landlords. They directly contribute to the social fabric of the rural community and encourage strong viability, sponsoring population retention necessary to keep essential services available and operating full-time. They are an essential component of sponsoring a sense of community for rural residents.
Your Business Can Deliver Specialized Services
Many rural business owners are experts in their fields. As a business owner, you have discovered a market niche where your services and expert skills can be used. You can compete with businesses in big municipalities thanks to lower operation costs and product prices, and delivery of front-line services by you, the business owner. In other words, you are right there behind the counter waiting to say, “How can I help you?”