Try to open a luxury car dealership in a rural area and you’ll quickly discover that some business ideas just don’t work in small towns. Small towns carry a characteristic charm and warmth that urban areas just can’t match, and part of that charm comes from keeping things simple.
That seems to be the general rule when it comes to business ideas that work in small towns – keeping it simple. Certain business ideas work best in small towns because they appeal to the inhabitants and offer cost-effective entertainment, resolution of problems, or needed products.
You can better ensure your small business will be successful in a small town by choosing a model that has already been proven to work in such areas.
What business ideas work best in small towns?
The business ideas that work best in small towns are listed below. This data has been collected by compiling various studies and surveys of small businesses in rural and low-population areas.
These business ideas work best in small towns:
1. Bed and breakfast
A bed and breakfast is a perfect example of a business that lends an area that special small-town charm. If you own property in a sleepy area, turn it into a bed and breakfast to earn more profit than you would from renting to a single tenant each month.
If you’re a person who loves to entertain and offer the finer things in life, being the owner of a bed and breakfast in a small town is right up your alley. You’ll be able to plan menus and activities for guests, be social and keep everyone entertained, and ensure the best accommodations in your area for your guests.
2. Catering company
Food is a common denominator – we all eat it, and while a new restaurant is a risky venture in a small town, a catering company is much closer to a sure bet. Catering enables people to make celebration and event food prep and cleanup easier and most people consider the cost of catering well worth it.
Most catering companies specialize in a specific type of food or regional culinary items like Italian cuisine or submarine sandwiches. Do people rave over your fried chicken? Do you make authentic tacos and tamales that would be a hit in your area? Be creative but realistic – ideas that are too far-fetched or narrow may not do well in small areas.
3. Private tutoring
If you’re an expert on a particular subject, especially at the high school or college level, there is money to be made in private tutoring in a small town. Just be clear about the types of tutoring you offer and remember to manage expectations with your clients – basically, don’t take on a calculus tutoring client if you aren’t 100% confident in your calculus skills!
You can post flyers around town and consider advertising your service with local schools to attract more clients. Make it clear in your marketing materials what ages or grades you can tutor in each subject – for example, “Algebra tutoring for ages 12-18.”
4. Private classes or coaching
Do you play a sport, an instrument, or sing well? Do you fish or hunt in your area often? Are you crafty and know how to knit, crochet, sew, or embroider? Maybe you’re an expert at couponing or stockpiling items. Whatever your hidden talent is, you can begin offering private lessons or coaching to residents in your area to create a small, profitable business. The sky is the limit here – whatever you know about that residents in your area want to learn is a viable business opportunity.
Post flyers with information about your classes around town and in other small businesses. Create a website to advertise online. Use social media to target ads to people in your geographic area. Spread the word about your private classes to generate a nice income for yourself!
5. Delivery service
Crowd-sourced services are only growing in popularity – just look at Airbnb and Uber. In small towns, services like these haven’t really taken off yet but are beginning to. The elderly, disabled, and those who just don’t want to get out provide an excellent consumer base for a delivery service that offers pick up and drop off.
All you need is a reliable car and insurance to begin offering pickup and delivery services for a fee. You can set your parameters for delivery and create a free website to list your prices and service details online. It’s a great time to get in on this trend!
These 5 creative business ideas work best in small towns, but they can also be successful in larger areas as well. Keep in mind that every small town is different, and your area may need businesses not listed here – appliance repair, grocery shops, a dance studio, bakery, you name it.
If you’re interested in starting a business in a small town, pay attention to the locals and what they are already economically supporting to get clues on what might be successful there.