6 Tips for Building the Best Small Town Business

For decades, the PM Company has grown alongside Vienna and Parkersburg in the Mid-Ohio Valley. We know firsthand how small towns offer a unique charm and sense of community that can make them ideal locations for businesses to thrive. Building a successful small-town business requires careful planning, creativity, and a deep understanding of the local market. 

Perhaps you’re thinking of starting a retail store or a hair salon. Perhaps you’re an accountant looking to bring on a larger team. Whatever your dreams, the PM Company wants to help. We offer friendly, top-quality real estate services to entrepreneurs looking to start a business in a small town.

In this article, we will share six ideas to help you build the best small town business. We’re going to talk about managing risk, offering a great product or service, connecting with your customers, giving back to your community, and so much more. 

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1. Embrace Local Sourcing and Sustainability

In small towns, where community bonds are strong and people often prioritize local products, embracing local sourcing and sustainability can be a winning strategy. Consider partnering with local farmers, artisans, and producers to source your products or ingredients. Not only does this support the local economy, but it also resonates with environmentally conscious consumers.

A great example of this is a small-town café that exclusively serves coffee from a nearby roastery and pastries from a local bakery. By doing so, you create a unique selling point, showcase the quality of local goods, and foster a sense of pride among your customers who know they are supporting their community. Depending on your community, you may not be able to justify the added costs of receiving materials from across the world, so looking locally could pay dividends.

2. Offer Exceptional Customer Service

In a small town, word-of-mouth travels fast. Building a reputation for exceptional customer service can be a game-changer for your business. Train your staff to be friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive. Go the extra mile to make your customers feel valued and appreciated.

Consider creating loyalty programs or special events for your regulars. Respond promptly to customer feedback and adapt your business to meet their needs. Your dedication to customer service can turn one-time visitors into loyal patrons and attract new customers through positive recommendations.

3. Create a Unique Brand and Experience

Small-town businesses have the advantage of creating unique and memorable experiences that take work to replicate in larger cities. Invest in branding that reflects the personality and values of your business and town. Consider the aesthetics of your storefront, signage, and interior design. Create an ambiance that resonates with the local culture and history.

For example, a boutique clothing store in a historic small town could decorate its interior with vintage elements that pay homage to the town’s heritage. This not only adds character but also makes shopping at your store an experience in itself.

4. Foster Community Engagement

Small towns thrive on a strong sense of community, and your business can become a focal point for local gatherings and events. Host workshops, classes, or social events that align with your business’s niche. For instance, a bookstore can organize book clubs or author meet-and-greets, while a craft store can offer crafting workshops.

Engage with local organizations, charities, and schools to collaborate on community projects or fundraisers. By actively participating in community activities, you not only build goodwill but also create a loyal customer base that sees your business as an integral part of the town.

5. Leverage Digital Marketing

While the heart of your small-town business may be local, the reach of your marketing efforts can extend far beyond your town’s borders. Utilize digital marketing strategies to reach a broader audience. Develop a user-friendly website that showcases your products or services, provides essential information, and allows online orders if applicable.

Harness the power of social media to connect with potential customers, share updates, and promote special offers. Regularly engage with your online audience by responding to comments and messages promptly. Email marketing campaigns can also help you stay connected with existing customers and inform them about upcoming events or promotions.

6. Diversify and Adapt

It’s important to understand your market no matter where you do business. The best small town businesses are those that can adapt to the economic conditions unique to their market. You may need to diversify and expand your offerings to fulfill the needs of your local customers.

For instance, a small-town fitness studio could offer not only traditional fitness classes but also wellness workshops, personal training, or nutritional counseling. By diversifying, you can tap into different customer segments and increase revenue streams.

In a small town economy, being adaptable is crucial, especially during uncertain times. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us the importance of being able to pivot quickly. Consider offering online services, delivery options, or curbside pickup when necessary, and communicate these changes clearly to your customers.

The Best Small Town Businesses Have the Best Locations

Building the best small-town business requires the right blend of creativity, community engagement, and adaptability. These markets have their unique challenges and opportunities. Your business can thrive in this close-knit and supportive environment with the right approach.  By incorporating these six tips into your plans, you’ll not only find success as a small town entrepreneur but also make a valuable contribution to the growth and vitality of your local community. 

The PM Company is here to help you with all of your commercial real estate needs. You’ll receive prompt, one-on-one attention as we help you secure the right space and contract. From buying to leasing, you can rely on us.


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