Where I grew up in rural Maryland, everyone knew my name and I knew theirs. As soon as something happened, it was news. Social media? Please — Twitter is slower than molasses compared to how fast word spread in my little corner of the world.
Of course, as soon as I had the inkling to delve into entrepreneurship, the words had hardly left my mouth before I had relatives, friends and neighbors asking me all kinds of questions (and some even ready to use my service!).
While all hometowns aren’t exactly like mine, I can bet that more than a few readers can identify with those surroundings and situations. Like my small-town start, there were drawbacks to starting small, but a few advantages as well.
For one, the cost of living was lower and, therefore, it wasn’t as expensive to start up, find space or hire employees.
Like my town, it may also be easier to get employees. You can start out by recruiting at local colleges and job fairs. If you need an office or a storefront, that is usually less expensive as well.
Plus, in a small town there are fewer businesses that will offer the same products and services as your company, and there will be more opportunities for you to personalize your services. Less competition – I’ll take that!
Lastly, your advertising dollar goes further when your business is in a small town because you are targeting a smaller area. Placing an ad in the local paper was a cinch.
But let’s say (like me) that your startup began to grow bigger, and you that you have two choices — grow, or go out of business.
You have meticulously groomed it and have worked hard to expand it. Now you have a decision to make about where to go next. You want your business to keep growing, but you don’t want to lose the customer base that was there for you in the beginning. How do you keep your hometown roots for a growing business?
Keep your headquarters in the town you started. This will show your clients that you aren’t looking to change the business’s core values just because you are making more money now.
Continue to support local organizations. One of the biggest ways you can repay a community that has given to you is by supporting local nonprofits and charities. These community members do wonderful work to improve the everyday lives of citizens. By giving to them, your business stays connected with its hometown roots.
If you haven’t already, join the local Chamber of Commerce. Offer discounts to other businesses and companies. Partner to hold networking events or for teamwork and leadership training.
Talk to the city and county government. Get involved in what’s important to you, your family, and your business. Staying in touch with city and county leaders is a great way for your business to stay in touch with what’s going in your town.
How has your business stayed local while growing global? Tell us in the comments!
This article was written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases and author of The Advanced Guide to Writing Powerful Press Releases.