Much like incorporating a business in a large city, you will face some unique challenges when starting a small business in a small community. When incorporating a small business, you just need to be smart about it. Be strategic, and consider all potential roadblocks ahead of time, so that you’re well-equipped to handle them when you inevitably encounter them. Don’t let that discourage you from starting a business, however. Forming a corporation is never going to be a simple process; if it were, everyone would do it! In addition to challenges, there are also some real benefits in starting a business in a smaller community.
Consider Your Competition
A small community may not present the immense amount of competition that a city does – and you may not find dozens of companies selling similar products or services. But by incorporating a company in a more rural or suburban area, you will likely encounter consumers who are more set in their ways, and less willing to try something new and different. It’s also unwise to open a supermarket, for example, across the street from a mom-and-pop market that has been the town’s primary source of groceries for the past forty or fifty years. As you might assume, local residents will not want to abandon their neighbors, and may even resent you for presenting an alternative to the legacy shop.
If you aren’t already set on a business idea, but are passionate about starting an incorporated business, take a look around the community. What’s missing? What product or service isn’t already being offered, that would make life easier and more enjoyable for the town’s residents?
Immerse Yourself in the Community
If you’re not already an integral part of the small community where you want to start a small business, it’s time for you to get involved. There are many ways to show your interest in the prosperity of the local community, so consider the following when forming an incorporated company:
- Join your town’s chamber of commerce: Business chambers within a small community often provide low-cost advertising opportunities and other unique benefits to help promote the success of locally-owned business. Participating in a chamber of commerce is also a great way to network with other local business leaders and influencers, and to learn what’s going on in the community.
- Sponsor local associations: A great way to promote your business and prove its worth and legitimacy is to sponsor the town’s events and sporting teams, to demonstrate your investment in the small community. Additionally, join local associations – such as the merchant association in your area – whenever possible.
- Keep it local: Get to know the local businesses, and consider your options. Is there a way for you to support ‘co-operation,’ and therefore resell the products or services of another local company within your small business incorporation? For example, if you do choose to open a grocery store, is there any way for you to sell the eggs from the local farm, or the meat from a local butcher?
Starting a small business in small community will be no easy task, but there are certainly several perks as well. Incorporating a small business is a great way for you to ‘test the waters’ for your new product or service, and competition will likely be limited (although – don’t forget – your initial target market will be small as well). Marketing and advertising costs are certainly more affordable, and you will likely reap the benefits of the best form of advertising within a small community – word of mouth. Though your business may be small, your impact could be great within a small town. If you’re up for the challenge, give it a shot!