Good Small Town Business Ideas

By | September 17, 2023

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Big business can be in small towns. Small towns offer the unique opportunity of a concentrated market as well as the challenge of limited population. Finding a small town business idea that will last is meeting current demand with a great product or service.

Good Small Town Business Ideas

Good Small Town Business Ideas

To start a business in a small town, you need to do some basic research on the local market as well as the specific geography of your physical location. In a small town, you are much more dependent on a smaller business group, so choosing the right location is critical to optimizing store traffic. Even if your business plan is based on services, it’s good to know how big your market is.

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Once you have an idea of ​​the consumer market in your town, you can lay the groundwork for a variety of small town business ideas, ultimately choosing the one that you think is the best. By learning more about available resources and other businesses in your area, you can talk to other business owners and assess the costs and requirements of starting a small town business. For inspiration, we’ve compiled this list of 35 small town business ideas every community needs. You can use this list as a starting point for your research and perhaps find a suitable business idea for your small town.

Starting a business in a small town requires careful research and understanding of your community. Once you know the existing businesses in your area and the local demand (more on this below), you can decide which business is right for you – and the community.

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Try to find an industry or service where a profitable small business, community needs, and your own interests intersect. Here are some small town business ideas you may want to consider:

Diner, fine dining, or something in between, a successful small-town restaurant is all about giving people what they want but don’t yet have. When opening a restaurant, it can be tempting to emulate a popular spot in town, but consider catering to a need — or want — that locals can’t find nearby, and an attraction worth traveling to from a nearby town.

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For example, a farm-to-fork restaurant is a great idea for a small town business, but if you’re not in a farming area or your town already has one, consider an alternative. Think about what your family will expect when you move out of town. Maybe it’s fine dining or maybe a slice of New York pizza, but there’s a good chance there’s a market for a new restaurant. You just have to find out what people want – and they will eat it.

Make up for the slowdown in business traffic by serving the drinks people crave all day long. If there are no coffee shops in your city, serving coffee all day in places where people go – like a bar – can gradually normalize the work and encourage crossover business. A local bar in a small town may be your dream business, but a coffee shop can start making money at sunrise; there’s no need to compromise as long as you create an environment that works both day and night.

Depending on county and state tax laws, opening a liquor store can be one of the most profitable business ideas in a small town. Especially in areas where grocery stores are prohibited from selling alcohol, liquor stores control the alcohol market in small towns. Be sure to read up on how to set up a liquor store as it can be difficult to get the necessary documentation (such as a liquor license).

Good Small Town Business Ideas

A good craftsman will always be in demand, even in small towns. If you’re frequently getting calls from friends, family members, and neighbors asking you to come look at a leaky pipe or a rickety board, you may be well on your way to opening a thriving business in your small town.

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Getting started as a contractor is relatively easy if you’re already doing odd jobs and know who’s hiring you. If people in the area aren’t familiar with your work, try contacting a general contractor who is willing to pitch a small project and hopefully get your name out to future clients. In word-of-mouth businesses like service, repair and construction, people you already know and know your work are your strongest salespeople.

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If you live in a rural area or small town, you’ll almost certainly need a car, but being far from your dealership can make routine maintenance a chore. Auto repair services meet an obvious need in small towns and make life more comfortable for local residents, so you should consider opening a shop in your town.

Similarly, cars break down everywhere and most tow trucks charge per mile. So, if your town is a long way from the big cities, you may be able to start towing cars – even if you don’t have a proper garage.

Some people just don’t like cleaning, and there’s a good chance some of them live in your town. Why not create a cleaning company for them? This is another service that uses a word-of-mouth referral system and can even be combined with other services like babysitting or yard work. Expert cleaning is a valuable skill, but not one that requires you to spend tons of money on courses or certifications, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for some extra work with little overhead.

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All businesses and individuals need technology support, no matter where they are located. No matter how big or small a city is, there will always be people who use technology and have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi.

This service will require a bit more advertising to get the word out as it is less visible than a business window and less regular than a service like cleaning. But if you don’t plan on doing major repairs, it won’t require a lot of equipment, so the overhead will also be small.

Opening a pet store in your town is one of the best small town business ideas if you don’t already have a local pet store or a large chain like PetSmart or PetCo. Depending on the pet population in your area, there may be needs for pet sitting and boarding services.

Good Small Town Business Ideas

If you’re interested in opening a pet store or pet care business in a small town, ask local pet owners where they currently buy food and grooming supplies. A current pet store owner in your town can also be a good source of information if you are interested in offering pet sitting, walking or boarding services.

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It is possible that there is at least one barber shop or hair salon in your city, but this can help you if you want to open a successful hair salon. If one demographic is underserved—for example, there’s only a predominantly male barber shop—find out whose hair needs aren’t currently being served on Main Street.

If your city already has full-service hair salons and salons, you may want to consider a more niche hair care business, such as a bar or salon that offers makeup, eyelash extensions, and tanning in addition to salon services.

They may not be the most glamorous of businesses, but gas stations are absolutely essential in communities where most people rely on cars and trucks to get around. Small towns on or near major highways can have significant transit traffic, and unlike most businesses, a gas station can benefit from being far between towns. Selling lottery tickets and tobacco products can also bring in significant profits, especially if you are the only retailer in the area.

If a town that can support a grocery store doesn’t have one, there’s probably a good reason: maybe most people commute to work every day and use other grocery stores, or the town doesn’t have a large enough population to support a chain of grocery stores.

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If you want to go the independent route (that is, not open a franchise store), try to find a way to specialize your store so that you don’t spend extra money on a huge assortment. Take advantage of local produce, trends and flavors to help you decide.

In agricultural areas, farm shops offering local produce and seasonal goods are popular with locals and tourists alike. A city that already has a large chain grocery store but few organic, local, gluten-free, or vegan options available is a great candidate for a specialty grocery store.

A pharmacy or dispensary requires more work – from hiring a pharmacist to buying insurance and setting up security measures – but if you don’t have a local pharmacy in your town, this can be a great opportunity to start a sustainable business in your community.

Good Small Town Business Ideas


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