With the rates of ecommerce soaring and online marketing becoming easier and cheaper than ever to do, now may be the perfect time to start up your dream rural business and invest in a small community. At first, the idea of setting up camp in a smaller, less populated village may seem pointless and completely non-profitable but, with the rise of online shoppers, your business can reach millions of customers from anywhere in the world. Before you jump at the chance and buy that small farmhouse you've always dreamt of, it’s important to consider a few things when starting your rural business.
Have a steady side income
Whilst the idea of leaving your city life for the peace and tranquillity of a rural community may seem exciting, setting up your rural business can take a long time with many new challenges to face that you would not have encountered before in an urban environment. It is important that you give yourself a steady side income that can cover your needs whilst your business finds its feet. You won’t be successful from day one! Having a side income will also take much of the stress away from your new business which will make the set up far more fun and enjoyable- increasing your chances of success.
Get involved with your new community
Smaller rural villages tend to come with a tight-knit and supportive community. Forming friendships with your new neighbours can help your business tremendously by raising awareness, sharing tips and advice and gaining some loyal, regular customers. You can get involved with your new community easily by attending social events such as: fates, council meetings, festive celebrations and local entertainment nights. Becoming a member of your community will help to get your new business the local support that it needs.
Be prepared for challenges
Life in the country comes with many new challenges to face including, a shortage of resources. Supplies such as water and heating are often cut short in rural areas due to bad weather, irregular shipment of goods and older infrastructure. To keep your business running smoothly and to prepare yourself for these problems, it may be a good idea to store extra supplies or resources in case of emergency. Investing in oil tanks, for example, is a great way to prepare yourself. Many companies offer heated tanks that can store oil for your central heating system and production of hot water, two things that are essential when living in the country during winter. Tanks can be easily stored in your garden and basement and could just save your business in times of a shortage!
Make sure that your online presence is immaculate
Whilst relying on the word-of-mouth from locals will get you many loyal customers, having a great website and social media presence is the key to making your rural business grow! Before making the move, you should ensure that your website is attractive, interesting and appealing to your audience and you should then work on advertising yourself through social media to gain interest from your target market. Having a strong social media presence is all about constant engagement, eye-catching pictures and new and interesting content. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook allow businesses to quickly and easily share adverts across the site which can reach thousands of potential customers. Social media also allows you to use your competition to your advantage by collaborating with existing businesses that have a similar customer base to your own. Your online presence must be professional, eye catching and authentic!
Consider applying for grants
For anyone, starting a new business is expensive and it can take a long time to see profits coming in. You may be tempted to skimp on certain things or to rush the set-up in hopes of making profits sooner. Both of these things may seem like a good idea at first but could end up sabotaging your business if you don’t put enough time and effort into making everything perfect! Applying for rural business grants can give you some extra money for your set-up process allowing you more time and resources to make your vision come true. There are many different grants to choose from and the best option is to visit your county council website to find out what grants are available in your area.