When you’re about to start a business, location is one of the most crucial factors you’ll consider. Ideally, you should choose a place where most of the market resides. No matter your target market, it’s always preferable to open your business in a metropolitan area. With its diverse population, your target market can surely be found in a big city.
But there are drawbacks to selecting a metropolitan location. It’s expensive, so only a small space can be available for you if your budget is limited. The fact that most of the population resides there can also hurt your business. More consumers mean more competition. If the residents of a particular area you’re considering already support your competitor, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win them over.
For those reasons, starting a business in a rural area has become more appealing. But of course, rural areas have fewer residents, creating a smaller market. Is that really going to be a problem, though? Through technology, you can grow your rural area business fast, no matter the state of its location’s economy.
Technology Diversifies Business Ideas
If you’re worried about having a small market, you can target a bigger one, especially if you offer a remote service. Blog writing, for example, can benefit many companies everywhere in a country. By becoming a freelance blog writer, you can start your business anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. You can market your services to startups or digital marketing agencies.
What’s more, a blog-writing business—or any freelance writing business, for that matter—can be started for less than $1,000. Your meager capital can earn thousands of dollars in a few months if you attract numerous clients. All you need is an account on LinkedIn or any other job-hunting platform, and your marketing is taken care for.
If you want to cater to your community’s residents, consider offering matchmaking services. After all, people in a small town most likely know each other, limiting their dating options. If you know plenty of eligible bachelors or bachelorettes all over the country, then you may have the makings of a good matchmaker. Just get registered, open your own website, and start promoting your services in your area. Make sure to target people who regularly go online because the web is your biggest and cheapest marketing platform.
Technology Makes Locations More Visible
Back when apps like Google Maps didn’t exist, people would look at physical maps to find a particular location. Now, a quick Google voice search can point any location to any user. Thanks to that innovation, travelers can easily find lodging when they go backpacking.
To ensure that your rural area location will be visible to travelers or outsiders, find out how business is being done in the place. Do you often see shipments of goods coming by? If you do, there’s a big chance that the area is familiar to traders or vendors. That means you can easily find suppliers if you decide to open a retail store, for example.
If you want to venture into hospitality, find out if there are other businesses similar to your idea around the area. A little competition can be beneficial. It indicates thriving tourism or dining culture. As a result, travelers will see your new business when they visit, giving you a market to focus on.
HUBZone Programs Can Help Jumpstart Your Growth
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the HUBZone Program to small businesses in “underutilized areas.” To be qualified, your principal office should be in a HUBZone, and 35% of its employees should live in a HUBZone area. In addition, your small business should pass the SBA’s size standards, and 51% of the business should be owned by an American citizen, an Alaska Native corporation, an agricultural cooperative, a Native Hawaiian organization, a Community Development Corporation, or an Indian tribe.
The HUBZone program awards 3% of federal contract dollars to HUBZone-certified businesses every year. You can seek a HUBZone business consultation to find out if you can benefit from the program.
You Can Connect With Your Customers More Deeply
Social media allowed businesses to appear more “human,” and thus relatable to consumers. As such, you can forge a deeper connection with your market, encouraging them to support your business, no matter how long they have to drive, for example. If you cater to your community, you can rest assured that they’ll most likely be loyal customers. Rural communities are often loyal to the businesses they support.
Entrepreneurs from rural areas are indeed lucky to be born in this age, where technology can bridge gaps between locations and groups of people. As technology evolves nonstop, we can expect rural businesses to thrive with the internet alone as their tool.