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There are many different kinds of entrepreneurs. Some are drawn to a business just because of an innate passion for what they are doing, some are bred into it and others discovered a problem and want to create a solution for that problem in the marketplace. For those who want to start a business in the small-town communities — how can you make sure you do it right?
Related: Who Is an Entrepreneur
Step 1: Create your list
Identifying a gap in a small town is as simple as a Google search followed by taking a walk.
If you live in town, simply walk around. Check out the local businesses and see what their offerings are. When you are there, pay close attention and think about something that you would enjoy but cannot seem to find.
If you don’t live in town but you’re thinking of, spend a weekend there. During your time there, start asking the same question: What would I like to see there?
There might be restaurants, a hardware store and a beauty shop, but what else would you be interested in having there? If you’re looking at a town that has a direct transit connection to a major city, what business could attract people from that city? Is the town located near natural resources that people haven’t thought to use for business yet?
For example, are there hiking trails, mountains, rivers or lakes? If you have a train connection from the city to some hiking trails, what could a possible business be? Maybe there are a lot of urbanites who would love to go hiking, but they don’t want to drive or lug their equipment on a train. Maybe an equipment rental store could provide them with all of their equipment, or maybe even a guide service would be a good business to set up.
Step 2: Create a list from others
So you have your list, but that’s one perspective. That brings us to the next step: Ask the town what it needs. Ask the people of the town what it needs or what are some things people wish they had. Do they have to drive out of town to go to a dry cleaner, for certain entertainment or go to the gym? Don’t just ask a select few people; ask as many people as you can.
Find the high traffic areas around town and spend a couple of hours asking and recording answers, identifying which ones keep popping up. Ask people who work for the town, ask organizations around town, ask business owners, ask people at random, just keep asking and you will start to hear the same ideas repeat.
A great resource to ask is the local Chamber of Commerce. The local chamber likely keeps a running tab of business ideas. In addition to keeping a running tab of businesses, they will be an amazing connection to have as time goes on in this business process — which brings us to a bonus point.
Bonus: By simply asking a lot of people questions, you will be able to start building connections and relationships that might come in handy and help speed up the process should you decide to launch your business.
By the end of this gap refinement process, you will have a list of businesses you created and a list of businesses that other people mentioned as well. It’s time to sit down and compare the two — there will be a couple of businesses that overlap from these tests, focus on those.
Related: The New Networking: 8 Strategies f
5 Steps You Can Take to Start a Small Town Business