Conducting business in the twenty-first century comes with its own set of unique challenges. Add a pandemic to the equation and you must come up with new strategies to make your business a successful, sustainable one.
When considering rurally run businesses, it becomes clear that these modern and current circumstances require an understanding different from those in urban areas. You become part of a community when living in the countryside. Your neighbours and their friends, those in the immediate vicinity, will be the people regularly supporting your rural business. Success often relies on their dedicated custom, which is why it is crucial to assess their needs and levels of satisfaction regarding your product and/or service offerings.
Grow your enterprise as both demand and your budget allow. Avoid carrying excessive amounts of stock because the number of patrons will be less than those visiting larger chain stores located in the city. Also, take the time to know what other small businesses in your community are selling; stock alternative items rather than ones that directly compete with those of your neighbours.
Be Tech and Social Media Savvy
As technology advances, more people are beginning to use payment applications rather than carrying cash. There are many options available; we recommend that you conduct an online survey to find out which applications are the most popular among customers in your area and include at least two as payment offerings. To ensure smooth transactions, make sure that you have high-speed internet at your premises. If space allows you could even have a booth or two for clients to use the internet for a nominal fee.
Staying with technology, it is important to have some kind of online footprint. Generation X’ers are more inclined to first check Facebook and conventional search engines when researching products and services. Millennials, on the other hand, use Instagram which often influences their purchasing decisions.
Ensure that your details on Google are up to date and that your business makes a clear, positive impression online. For an increasing number of customers, this will be the first interaction with your business.
Showcase and Network
Villages and counties all across the United Kingdom often host fairs. As a business owner, it is imperative that you be involved in such events, whether as a vendor or behind the scenes. Not only does the interaction strengthen the relationships you have with the local residents, but it also affords you the opportunity to network with potential customers and/or suppliers from areas nearby. Establishing ties with members of your community may allow for co-operations in the future.
Furthermore, you could join forums that operate in the interests of the local communities such as the Rural Policy Group. Their Chair, Mark Lumsdon Taylor has vast expertise in the field of rural business development and the group itself offers a number of services to assist rural entrepreneurs.
As archaic as it may sound, taking out an advertisement in the local village newspaper is always a good move. It not only gives you some assured exposure but also speaks of your commitment to support other services within your community.
Staying on top of trends will keep your product and/or service offerings current and fresh. There are many ways to do this, so you are likely to find one that complements your brand ethos. One avenue that has become more popular in recent months is webinars, many of which are free to attend.
Photo by AndreyPopov from Getty Images
Armed with these guidelines, we trust that your rural business will go from strength to strength despite the challenges the world economy faces.