You don’t have to live close to a big city or town to start your own business, or buy an existing business - there are plenty of reasons why being an entrepreneur in small town BC can be rewarding, both financially and in terms of your career. Here are five things to consider:
1. There’s a lot to be said for being a big fish in a small pond
You will be supporting your local community and be looked up to as a business leader, rather than being small fry (pun intended) in a big city. You will get to know your customers more and it’ll be far easier to build a loyal customer base.
2. You may be thinking that there is limited business in a small town
But here’s the thing - commercial space often costs less, and the overall cost of living compensates at least in part for lower sales. Not only that, small towns almost always have a selection of small businesses for sale at very reasonable prices that can give you a head start on becoming self-employed. As huge numbers of baby boomers retire the selection of businesses for sale has never been better. Check out the ‘Buy BC Businesses” guide for your region at www.ventureconnect.ca.
3. Your financial risk is often lower in a small town
In larger towns and cities you’ll probably have to commit to longer leases, and the more business you expect the larger the inventory you’ll need to carry, the more staff you’ll require, and that all means increased financial exposure.
4. It’s a slower pace of life out in the ‘burbs
You’ll feel more in control of your life. Being self-employed in rural BC means living in a place “where everyone knows your name” - and you’ll be on first name basis with your customers. And - consider the non-commute!
5. Rural communities invest in themselves and their futures
Being an integral part of the growth and sustainability of your town can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. Being self-employed in rural BC means you can actually make a difference.
5 Tips on Starting a Business in Rural BC
- Look for under-serviced niches. What products and services are locals driving to the nearest town or city to obtain? Is this a need you could satisfy?
- When looking at potential products and services make sure it’s something people need on a regular basis, not just occasionally. For example, while people may only buy expensive jewelry once a year, they need inkjet cartridges every few months, and coffee several times a day.
- Look at established, successful businesses - is there a product or service they need but which is not being sufficiently met by existing local suppliers? For example graphic design, bookkeeping, office equipment/supplies etc.
- Typical rural self-employment opportunities that are often successful include: home cleaning; construction; handyman/person; courier/transport; hair salon; children’s daycare; senior care; tutoring; specialist organic produce. There are many more and much will depend on the needs of your community, your skills, and what areas are being under-serviced. And don’t forget that if you buy an existing business it will come with loyal customers ready to support you as the new owner.
- Just because your business is rural, doesn’t mean all your customers need to be local. If you are selling a product, or a service that can be carried out remotely, consider an online component to your business, this will allow you to supplement local income with customers from across the country or beyond.
Becoming a ‘ruralpreneur’ might just be the best thing you’ve ever done!