Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy

Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy


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Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy by Barry J. Moltz, Becky McCray

Technology and economics are transforming business in a completely unexpected way: suddenly, even the largest companies must compete as if they were small, local businesses. Suddenly, your customers can talk to everyone else across the nation, and people listen to them, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. It's just like doing business in a small town, where "reputation is forever." Suddenly, communities and personal connections are critical to your success - just as they've always been in small towns. The best small-town and rural entrepreneurs have been successfully overcoming these challenges for centuries. Their lessons and techniques are suddenly intensely valuable to even the largest companies, most dominant brands, and most cosmopolitan businesses. Small Town Rules adapts these lessons and techniques for today's new "global small town": one knitted together through the Web, Facebook, and Twitter. Two pioneering entrepreneurs and social media experts show how to:

* Survive seasonal cycles and year-to-year fluctuations the way rural farmers and businesses do

* Use "small town entrepreneur secrets" for coping with limited access to people and capital

* Reduce risk by "piecing together" multiple income sources * Start using customer-driven communication to your advantage

* Interact with customers on a more human scale, no matter how big you are

* Rediscover your company's local roots, and more

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780789749208
Publisher: Que
Publication date: 04/06/2012
Series: Que Biz-Tech Series
Pages: 206
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Barry J. Moltz grew up in a small town of 30,000 and moved to the third-biggest city in America. Becky McCray grew up in towns ranging from 1,500 to 350,000 and now lives in a tiny town of just 30 people. Both are small business owners.

Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck by unlocking their long-forgotten potential. With decades of entrepreneurial experience in his own business ventures, as well as consulting countless companies, Barry has discovered the formula to get stuck business owners going again.

Barry has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. After successfully selling his last business, Barry branched out into numerous entrepreneurship-related activities. He founded an angel investor group, an angel fund, and is a former advisory member on the board of the Angel Capital Education Foundation.

His first book, You Need to Be A Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business, describes the ups and downs and emotional trials of running a business. It is in its fifth reprint and has been translated into Chinese, Russian, Korean, and Thai. His second book, Bounce! Failure, Resiliency, and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, shows what it takes to come back and develop true business confidence. It has been translated into Korean and German. His third book, BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World, shows how customer service is the new marketing.

Barry is a nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship and has given hundreds of presentations to audiences ranging from 20 to 20,000 people. As a member of the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, he also has taught entrepreneurship as an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Barry has appeared on many TV and radio programs, such as The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, MSNBC’s Your Business,and The Tavis Smiley Show. He hosts his own radio show, Business Insanity Talk Radio. He blogs regularly for the American Express Open Forum and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Becky McCray has been called “the small town Seth Godin” for her savvy combination of rural entrepreneurship and marketing skills. She started her first business venture in junior high school and has been going ever since. Currently, she and her husband own and operate a cattle ranch and a retail liquor store. Along with Sheila Scarborough, she co-founded Tourism Currents to teach tourism professionals new marketing skills. Like many rural entrepreneurs, she has pieced together multiple lines of business to build a career.

Becky is a recognized expert in small business and social media and has taught nearly 1,000 classroom hours and more than 100 workshops and speeches on small business subjects. She has been featured in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Inc., Entrepreneur, Niche, Winning Workplaces, Reimagine Rural, Community Developer, and the Agurban. Becky publishes one of the top 20 small business blogs in the world, Small Biz Survival, which is focused on small town small business.

What makes all this possible is her wide experience in small town business, community, and government. That includes work as a small town administrator, a non-profit executive with the local workforce development and Girl Scout councils, an antiques store owner, a business and computer consultant, and a newspaper reporter. For nine years, McCray spent her evenings and weekends teaching a variety of computer and business classes at local technology centers, making her the fourth generation of her family to teach. In 2004, she was an unsuccessful candidate for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She believes we learn from both our successes and our failures, even when those failures are printed in the local newspaper.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Surviving Difficult Economic Times for the Big and Small 7

The Change: Economic Meltdown 8

Impact on Brands 10

Shifting Markets and Public-Relations Mistakes 11

Major Product Disasters 12

Chasing Trends and Shiny Objects, Too! 12

Why Small Towns Survive 14

The Small Town Rule: Plan for Zero 16

Question Assumptions 17

Know the Seasons and Cycles 18

Invest Long Term 21

Applying Small Town Rules to Big Brands Survival: Planning for Zero 23

Planning Ahead Is a Survival Strategy 24

Summary: Things Don't Always Go Up 24

The Small Town Rule: Plan for Zero 24

A Look Ahead 25

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 26

Winnebago Industries 26

Forest City, Iowa: Population 4,100 26

2 The New Normal: Profiting When Resources Are Limited 29

The Change: Resources Are Now Limited 30

Impacts on Big Brands: Low Consumer Demand Hits Where It Hurts Everyone 31

Why Small Towns? Because Resources Have Always Been Tight for Rural Business 32

Lower Consumer Demand 34

A Shortage of Skilled Workforce 35

The Small Town Rule: Spend Creative Brainpower

Before You Spend Dollars 35

Creative Financing 35

Being Frugal 38

Reducing Startup Costs 39

The Labor Force: Be Creative 40

Being Creative Means Doing Whatever It Takes 41

Big Brand Solutions and Examples 41

Conserve; Stop Spending for Stupid 41

Growing Slowly, with the Cycles 42

Getting Creative in Tough Times 44

Summary: Resources Are Now Limited 45

The Small Town Rule: Spend Creative Brainpower Before Dollars 45

A Look Ahead: Will the Rule Be Relevant Tomorrow? 46

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 47

Viking Range 47

Greenwood, Mississippi: Population 18,000 47

3 Adapting to the New Economic Realities of Self-Reliance 49

The Change: No Sure Things (A Job, Income, or Help from the Government) 50

Impact on Brands: No Sure Thing 51

Why Small Town Businesses Survive 51

The Small Town Rule: Build Multiple Lines of Income 54

How to Manage Multiple Lines of Income 55

Diversifying Online: Selling Expertise 56

Market Online to Diversify 58

Big Brand Solutions: Extending Brands for Survival 59

Summary: No Sure Things (A Job, Income, or Help from the Government) 61

The Small Town Rule: Multiply Lines of Income to Diversify Your Risk 62

A Look Ahead 62

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 64

Walmart 64

Bentonville, Arkansas: Population 35,000 64

4 Adapting to the "Anywhere, Anywhen" Business World 67

The Change: Geographic Advantage Is Shrinking, and Competition Is Everywhere 68

Impact on Brands and Big Business 70

How Small Towns Gave Up Geographic Advantage Long Ago 71

The Small Town Rule: Work "Anywhere, Anywhen" Through Technology 73

Broadband Internet Makes Working Anywhere Possible 73

"Anywhen" Makes Time-Shifting as Valuable as Work-Shifting 74

Putting It All Together to Be Location Independent 75

Digital Distribution Extends Reach 77

Forget Outsourcing, Think "Rural Sourcing" 78

Applying the Small Town Rule to Big Brands 78

Summary: Geographic Advantage Is Shrinking, and Competition Is Everywhere 80

The Small Town Rule: Work "Anywhere, Anywhen" Through Technology 80

A Look Ahead 81

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 82

L.L. Bean 82

Freeport, Maine: Population 7,800 82

5 Forget Advertising: Learn Customer-Driven Communication 85

The Change: Technology Allows All Customers to Easily Communicate with Each Other 86

Impact on Brands 86

Why Small Towns Already Work This Way 89

Rural Regions Lead in Social-Media Adoption 90

Social Media Is Like a Small Town, Everyone Says So 90

The Small Town Rule: Treat Customers Like Community 92

Treat Customer Service as Though It's All You've Got 92

Use Social Tools to Connect with Customers 93

Applying the Small Town Rule to Big Brands 95

Summary: All Customers Can Communicate with Each Other 96

The Small Town Rule: Treat Customers Like Community 97

A Look Ahead 97

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 98

The Grasshopper Company 98

Moundridge, Kansas: Population 1,600 98

6 How Big Brands and Small Businesses Are Thinking and Acting Small 101

The Change: Society Is Cycling Back from Big to Small 102

Impact on Brands 103

Why Small Towns Create Community Interaction on a Human Scale 104

The Small Town Rule: Be Proud to Be Small 105

Build Community Through Involvement 106

Network to Build Power and Accomplish Goals 112

The Antidote for the Negatives 116

Move Past Connecting and On to Building Relationships 119

Build Community Among Customers 121

Keep the Business Small 123

Apply the Small Town Rule to Big Brands 124

Summary: Society Is Cycling Away from Big to Small 128

The Small Town Rule: Be Proud of Being Small 128

A Look Ahead 129

Powerhouse Small Town Brands 130

Longaberger Baskets 130

Dresden, Ohio: Population 1,529 130

7 Going Local, Even When You Are Big 133

The Societal Change: The Local Movement Is Here 134

Impact on Brands 135

Small Towns Define What It Means To Be Local 135

The Small Town Rule: Build Your Local Connections 136

Connect with Your Culture and Place 137

Using a Local Story to Build Engagement Like Milk 138

How to Build a Shop Local Campaign 139

Apply the Small Town Rule to Big Brands: How Brands Can Go Local 152

Summary: The Local Movement Is Here 154

The Small Town Rule: Build Your Local Connections 154

A Look Ahead 155

A Resources for Implementing the Small Town Rules 157

B Business Ideas Inspired by the Small Town Rules 171

Afterword: The Small Town Rules 183

Endnotes 189

Index 199

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