Every company, no matter its size, can draw a direct correlation between how successful it is and how large and engaged its customer base is. Understanding that, you might believe that businesses located in larger towns or cities have an advantage over small town businesses because they have a larger population pool to draw from.
In reality, that's not always the case. Although there may be more people living and working nearby, companies located in cities usually also have more competition for those potential customers.
In many ways, if you buy a business based in a small town it can have some advantages that its urban counterparts do not.
More Opportunities to Make Personal Connections
Living and working in a small town means you're a member of a tight-knit community. Using the concept of six degrees of separation that theorizes that we are all connected to any other individual in the world by no more than six people, you're probably no more than two degrees of separation from everyone else in your town. That means there's a greater possibility for people to find out about the quality of your offerings.
When the time comes, be sure to tell everyone you know about the business you are planning to buy and encourage them to tell their friends and family.
Protect the Existing Base
As part of your negotiation to buy the business, hopefully, you have secured the support of the previous owner to provide assistance during a transition period. One of the most important things that the owner can do is to facilitate connecting you with the company's existing customers. This will reduce the risk of customer erosion when they discover that the business is no longer run by the same person.
Building On Your Small Town Business’ Customer Base
Current wisdom for growing a business is centered on online inbound strategies. Putting it in simplified terms, an inbound strategy aims to draw potential customers in by making useful and interesting information available to them through blogs and other online content when they are looking for it, rather than putting an unwanted or unwelcome piece of advertising before them.
This kind of strategy has proven to be successful for companies everywhere and should be considered for your business. In a small town setting, a business can also more readily apply the idea of growing the customer base by personally engaging with potential customers offline rather than giving them a sales pitch.
In a small town, there's no better form of advertising than good word-of-mouth. If you ask your satisfied customers for a testimonial about the product or service they receive from you that can be posted on your website and shared on social media, it's a good way to generate positive word-of-mouth and have it spread around town. You can also leverage popular online review sites like Yelp.
Develop Brand Champions
With some encouragement, your best customers can become champions of your brand and be your ambassadors within the community. You can achieve this by remaining focused on building a relationship with them. The objective is to turn your customers into your biggest fans. You can also implement a program that rewards referrals.
With a greater possibility of forming strong personal relationships in a small town, you'll have a greater opportunity to improve customer loyalty for your business.Browse the businesses for sale in our current listings to find one that's right for you.