How to Make a Killing in Small Town America
Tips to get started
by David LaGesse, US News & World Report
Can a rural town be the place to start your small business? Here’s help in finding out:
- Know the market. Talk informally with others already running related businesses, particularly those in your region. They can help you see the community differently–as a market. Also talk with a local banker, who is likely to know the area and what helpful resources are available. Finally, have frank talks with family about the pressures of starting a business.
- Get training. Colleges and extension centers offer seminars, one-on-one counseling, and other resources through small business development centers. A center near you can be found at www.sba.gov/sbdc.
- Look for financing. State and local economic development bureaus offer loans, tax incentives, and help in writing business plans. A Web search for a state name and “economic development” can usually get you started.
- Check with the feds. Rural development resources, including federal grants and loans, are available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Small businesses, for example, can get funding for technology research and development in rural areas. More information can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov and www.csrees.usda.gov.
- Go back to school. High schools in some small towns can help open doors. They are helping recruit alums to return home or invest in local businesses.