The future looks brighter than ever. A recent survey by the Center for Rural Affairs shows that small business hiring is on the rise, and owners have an optimistic outlook, expecting this trend to continue. As more skilled workers opt for the benefits of country living, local economies will keep growing stronger.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
1. Shopping locally
"Shop local" has gone from a catch phrase to a way of life for many people. According to the latest MasterCard SpendingPulse For Small Business Report, retail sales for US small businesses continued to grow faster than for retail overall—7.2% versus 4.6%. Since small businesses tend to shop locally for supplies and services, this consumer trend has a multiplying effect on rural economies.
2. Brain gain
If you own a local business, no doubt you've dealt with the problem of "brain drain": young people leaving the community for opportunities in more urban areas. Now there's good news. Trends show that 30-44 year-olds are coming back to small towns in significant numbers. These new additions to the workforce tend to be well educated and have years of professional experience. They often start their own businesses, helping to boost the local economy.
3. Lower cost of living
While urban small businesses may be able to command higher prices for their goods and services, rural companies have the edge when it comes to profitability thanks to the lower cost of doing business. Most of the major resources that go into running a business—including land, labor and materials—are less expensive, often greatly so, in small towns.
Over the past few years, US manufacturing has become more competitive again, prompting companies to rethink their offshoring strategies. A survey by the Boston Consulting Group showed that 54% of US companies are considering moving manufacturing operations back home. Reshoring promises to be a boon to small towns, spurring growth in manufacturing suppliers, services, and customized factories.
5. High-Speed Internet
High-speed Internet access is crucial to business growth and success, and in the past, that's been a challenge for companies located outside the city. However, since 2002 the digital divide between urban and rural areas has closed from 18% to 8%. Even in remote places where mobile broadband isn't available, satellite Internet is keeping small businesses connected.