Starting a Rural Business: Is It Right for You?

rural local business

You don’t have to be in the big city to start your own business. You can open a store or start your own business right from the country. Sure, it’s not going to be the same as having a business in the city. For one thing, unless you’re working online, you might not be able to get the same audience. But starting a business in a rural area does come with its unique advantages. Here, we weigh the pros and cons of a rural business to help you decide whether expanding to a rural area is the right move for you.

The Pros

1. Less competition

A rural area is often defined as an area with a population of 50,000 people or even less. Think of your stereotypical small town and imagine just how many residents live in it. Now narrow that number down to the number of businesses that are in that town. Chances are, you won’t find as many businesses as there are people. The lack of competition is one clear advantage of running a business in a rural town, especially if you run a more niche establishment. Less competition means more customers for you and less time and money spent on marketing and similar endeavors.

2. Low prices

You can get much lower prices on real estate, mortgages, construction, raw materials, and supplies in rural areas. You might even be able to find a place on rent for much lower than what you’ll be able to find in the city. If you plan to buy land or property, you can apply for a USDA business loan for a relatively lower interest rate than usual loans. Likewise, a USDA home loan is much cheaper and more flexible than other types of mortgages. So it’s a practical option if you plan on moving somewhere closer to your business.

Once you have your business up and running, you can also expect lower overhead expenses or expenses made to keep your business running. Overall, if you’re looking for a cheap option, striking it out in the country might not be a bad idea.

rural business

3. Loyal customers

Because there are only a few people and companies, the limited businesses around are guaranteed to have a much more loyal customer base, due in part to the lack of choices. If you cater to a specific niche and you happen to find a significant portion of that niche in whatever small town you decide to take your business to, you can be sure that you won’t find a more loyal bunch of customers.

4. Greater sense of community

And speaking of a loyal customer base, small towns tend to have a much friendlier and close-knit community than those in the cities. In a place where everyone knows each other like they’re all part of one big family, it shouldn’t be hard to feel like you’re part of the community once you manage to earn their trust. As the newest business owner in the area, especially if you come from the city, they might at first be wary of you, especially if your business is similar to another’s that’s been in their town for many years. But if you manage to endear yourself to the residents, there’s no denying the sense of community and kinship you can get in a good small town.

The Cons

1. Accessibility

Of course, one con to living or operating a business in a rural area is accessibility. There’s no guarantee that you can get a property close to the square or commercial space where most of the town’s residents do their shopping. Those areas are most likely already filled with other businesses. You might have to settle for some out-of-the-way property that barely gets any foot or car traffic, if at all. And if you have interested customers from the city, making the trip to the country might be a hassle.

And then, of course, there’s the problem of the internet. While the same can’t be said of all rural areas, plenty of areas still don’t have access to a high-speed internet connection. If you run a purely online business, maybe moving to the country isn’t the right move.

2. Small audience

The small population of a small town is its own bane and blessing. It can be a blessing if you want less competition and more return customers, but it’s also its own worst enemy. A smaller audience, of course, means fewer customers and potentially slower sales. If your goal is to get as many people as possible interested in your business, then you can’t look for it in places that only have a relatively small population.

3. Labor issues

Like a small audience, fewer people living in a town also means fewer people to hire for labor. Most workers from small towns either leave to pursue better opportunities in bigger cities, already have their businesses or jobs, or are unqualified and untrained for your particular needs. Finding the right people to employ can be challenging for a small business in a small town.

Final Thoughts

There’s no guarantee that your experience operating a business in a small town will be good or bad, but it’s always best to look at all your options before making a decision and to weigh the pros and cons fairly.

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