Small Town Rules : How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy
* 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
- Hardback | 224 pages
- 152.4 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
- 30 Jan 2013
- Pearson Education (US)
- Que Corporation,U.S.
- Indianapolis, IN, United States
Other books in this series
24 Aug 2011
30 Jan 2013
15 Aug 2011
Back cover copy
Your customers are talking to their peers everywhere--and listening to each other, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. Suddenly, communities and personal connec¿tions are critical to your success. It's just like doing business in a small town, where "reputation is forever."
Great small town and rural entrepreneurs have been successfully overcoming these challenges for centuries. Their solutions have become invaluable to even the largest companies, most dominant brands, and most cosmopolitan businesses.
In Small Town Rules , Barry J. Moltz and Becky McCray show how to adapt proven "rural" and "local" approaches for today's new "global small town" one knitted together through the Web, Facebook, and Twitter. You won't just learn why these techniques are so valuable; you'll learn how they're being applied right now by companies like L.L. Bean, Viking Range, and Walmart.
- Going local, even when you're global
A seven-step plan for building crucial connections with culture and place
- "Planning for zero" surviving worst case scenarios that kill your competitors
Questioning hidden assumptions, knowing your "seasons," and investing for the long term
- Sustaining profits and growth with limited resources
"Rural-style" approaches to growth and profitability in resource-constrained environments
- Adapting to the new economic realities of self-reliance
Marketing and managing when there won't be any bailouts or safety nets
Small Town Rules
- You now compete in one "global small town," where all your customers can talk directly to each other, wherever they are
- Local community and individual human voices matter most
- Your personal reputation counts for more than your marketing, size, or resources
Massive societal, technological, and economic changes have transformed the world into one huge small town. In this new "old" world, size, scale, and resources are no guarantee of success. Your true competitive differentiators are personal relationships in local communities: the reputation you earn from real customers with real voices. For generations, the best small town businesses have competed this way. They haven't just survived; they've thrived. This book reveals what they've learned, showing you how to compete and win on a human scale with limited resources--no matter how huge, urban, or global you are.
You may not realize just how much like a small town the business world is today...
- When every customer can talk directly to each other, it's like a small town
- When people listen more to what your customers say about your company than your advertising, it's like a small town
- When the individual human voice is valued over corporate mission statements, it's like a small town
- When everyone online is trying to band together in small communities, it's like a small town
- When everyone wants to buy their products locally, it's like a small town
Table of contents
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Chapter 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
Appendix A Resources for Implementing the Small Town Rules 157
Appendix B Business Ideas Inspired by the Small Town Rules 171
Afterword: The Small Town Rules 183
"Only in a small town can you discover the true nature of what it means to be connected and, at the same time, living in a fish bowl."
--Tim Sanders, NY Times Bestselling Author, Love Is the Killer App
"People say the world is getting smaller; I think the world is getting more connected. It's all about the relationships--who you know and who knows you. Through the power of the Internet, mobile apps, and online social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, businesses now have unprecedented ways in which to nurture relationships with everyone in their marketplace. We're going back to the small town way of doing business where everyone knows your name and genuinely cares about you."
--Mari Smith, Author, The New Relationship Marketing
"For generations, small town businesses have been responsible for building the American economy, and all entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from their success."
--Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneur Council; Cofounder, Gen Y Capital Partners; Author, Never Get a "Real" Job
"Small town businesses know their customers. They know their kids' names, they know their favorite sports teams, and what they buy on a regular basis. This kind of intimate knowledge creates loyalty--the kind of loyalty that creates longevity and success in business."
--Carol Roth, NY Times Bestselling Author, The Entrepreneur Equation
"Small is the new big, because you can reach everyone with the click of a mouse and anyone can review and critique you. Think you know how to play the game? Think again. The rules have changed. Read SmallTownRules. It's the rule book for the connected economy. Highly recommended."
--Michael Port, NY Times Bestselling Author, Book Yourself Solid
"Business should be personal. The `who you are' can play a huge role in the `what you offer.' That's how small towns have conducted commerce since the get-go, and we'd all be well-served to inject that kind of approach to our businesses--no matter how big in scope or vision."
--Rich Sloan, Author, StartUp Nation
"There are a lot of traits about small town business that offer insights and opportunities for people to leverage in all businesses. Community matters. Relationships matter. People matter. My observation about conversations in a small town is that people care. And businesses that are smart are learning to listen, connect, share, and engage their customers, too. Big business and businesses in general could learn a lot from how a small town works."
--Jeff Pulver, Cofounder, Vonage; Founder, 140 Characters Conference, VON Conference
"In a small town, word of mouth is the most powerful force there is. Everyone in town knows about the business. If the quality and service are good--or bad--everyone soon knows. That's why every business should operate like a small town business, no matter where you're located or how far away your customers come from. When you and your team run your business as if every potential customer will eventually know everything about your business, you naturally will keep quality and service standards high."
--Anita Campbell, CEO, Small Business Trends, LLC; Author, Visual Marketing
"It is no surprise that big businesses are coming around to the idea of small town style customer experience and service. As customers, we know we prefer the `small town' way of doing things. We like to be treated as human beings, as individuals. We like our loyalty being rewarded, and we like having a person to talk to when things go wrong. When it comes across as natural, rather than forced in an awkwardly fake `PR' way, then it works all the better. The future of business is one customer at a time, just like in small town businesses."
--Chris Garrett, Coauthor, ProBlogger: The Book
"Small town businesses, by their nature, are genetically encoded to connect, share, and engage."
--Alan Weinkrantz, Alan Weinkrantz and Company PR
"With a couple of basic tools, like DropBox, Skype, and Google Apps, a small town business can look like a big business with one killer app: You can stay in a small town with the associated lifestyle benefits and lower cost of doing business. Small town businesses are rewriting the rules on what it means to be competitive with their big company rivals for customers and talented employees."
--John Warrillow, Author, Built to Sell
"Small town businesses understand this better than most any publicly traded company in the world: You must be cash flow positive or it's your death. As long as you have positive cash flow, you can keep the doors open, expand as much as your cash flow will let you, and try new things. Big businesses are accustomed to running deficits and issuing stock, but these are stopgap measures that more often than not serve to enrich the shareholders as the ship sinks. If your business, big or small, is cash flow positive, then everyone from shareholders to shop floor sweepers will do well."
--Christopher S. Penn, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing
"A key to success for any small business is to be actively involved in their community. That feeling of `community' is what drives the web and social media. Now, it's just about mandatory that businesses of all sizes be active in their respective communities--both online and off. It's the interaction, the connection with those who support you, that helps make businesses successful today."
--Leslie McLellan, All Things Social
"During the past four decades, big has gotten the attention in my industry sector. Economies of scale, resources for impressive events. But, what's becoming clear is that the relationships, the personal attention, the value of doing life together is what matters. I know. I'm a pastor, not a business owner. But, the ideas that Becky and Barry are talking about for what small businesses can teach all business is true in our `business.' While big churches get the press, the number of house churches, of communities of faith, is growing, too. Small, done well, can teach all of us how to live and work better."
--Jon Swanson, Social Media Chaplain
"Small town business has to do with the basics. Those simpler times that city-dwellers dream about when they're sitting in a 2-hour traffic jam, listening to their satellite radio, while pounding out meaningless emails and texts on heavily used Blackberrys. Small town businesses are a lot more about handshakes than they are about 14-page contracts that Harvard Law School graduates write...and that no one ever seems to understand. All business owners can learn a lot by watching how business gets done in America's small towns."
--Joel Libava, The Franchise King (R); Author, Become a Franchise Owner!
"Although the competitiveness of large population areas (between individual businesses) might be tougher, it does not compare to the daily fight for survival in a small town or remote area. This fight for survival brings out the best of entrepreneurial spirit in many small town businesses with innovation, service, and quality. The real treasure of small town business is the heart! Small town businesses are not just serving strangers, but their neighbors, friends, family, or someone who knows these people who are important to them. This natural sincerity that comes from living in small communities can be duplicated in practice by all business, and I believe it is the most valuable asset small business has to share."
--Laura Girty, NW Field Representative, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc.
"Small town business can teach all businesses about efficiency. Small businesses don't have the luxury of compartmentalizing roles. It's all hands on deck, working as quickly and seamlessly as possible, to ensure the greatest profit."
--Alexandra Levit, Author, Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success
"Small town business teaches us that it's easier to continue to sell to the customer we already know. It's easy--just provide great value and consistent quality, and you'll make customers for life."
--Jim F. Kukral, DigitalBookLaunch.com; Author, Attention: This Book Will Make You Money
"There are more successful small town businesses than there are large corporations. They aren't a fluke or an accident or an anomaly. They grow from need, vision, risk, and response. The information small town business owners offer is practical, tested, and shared generously. Small town business can be easily underestimated but should never be ignored."
--Andrea Springer, Springer Coaching and Consulting
"Transparency is the over-used buzzword in the customer-service world of today, thanks to the communication onslaught brought on by the Internet and specifically social media. Due to the `everyone knows everyone' effect of small towns, small town businesses were forced to become masters of transparency a hundred years earlier than the rest of the world."
--Cody Heitschmidt, Small Town Business Owner
"Small town businesses are lean and mean, which means they have to be creative and innovative to compete and turn a profit. Businesses of all sizes can watch and learn in order to do the same."
--Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment-Dietrich; SpinSucks.com; Coauthor, Marketing in the Round: Multichannel Approaches in the Post-Social Media Era
"Small town business teaches us about community, trust, and relationship--all the current buzzwords that have been the backbone of small town business for more than 100 years."
--Sarah Robinson, Escaping Mediocrity
"A small town business owner knows that every customer is important and that every customer, employee, vendor, partner, friend, and family member contributes to what makes the business grow. Small town businesses know that relationships and being part of the community are at the heart of every successful business and that a business without a heart won't survive."
--Liz Strauss, International Business Strategist; Author, The Secret to Writing a Successful Outstanding Blog; Successful-Blog.com
About Becky McCray
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.