The book: Start and Run a Rural Computer Consulting Business by John D. Deans, on the Self-Counsel Press.
Short and Sweet Review: It’s a great book.
Who should read it: Anyone who wants to run a rural computer consulting business.
Aaron Morris with the Self-Counsel Press sent it to me back in November. (right before a really crazy period around here, so the review is a bit late!)
Deans explains how he personally left behind the big city for a small town and a successful business. His advice is sound.
In short, Deans’ advice is to
- get your finances cleaned up before you move,
- find a great small town location,
- make the move,
- fit in with your new community,
- offer general computer consulting instead of over-specializing,
- build your skills,
- and manage your business.
I agree with almost everything Deans says. Sometimes, though, he represents his way as the only way. Deans has a strong right-wing slant. He uses it to his advantage in his small town, so he gives the impression a more moderate or liberal person might need to hide their views. Trust me, though, small town people will respect you if you are authentic and not combative, even if you are more liberal than average in your town. He also chose a rural house, rather than in town, and he seems to presume you will, too. Don’t think that is your only choice.
In conclusion, don’t try to copy every single thing Deans said. But do consider his advice.
[Photo of the book cover from my Flickr. ]
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Stephan Miller says
This could be useful in more places than rural. I live in a city of over 100,000, but the whole place is amazingly behind the times. A computer consultant would have to do everything here also and the book is now on my wish list.
I know of a small town locally with only 300 people. Main street is full of Businesses for sale. They have a library (where a beautiful old bank used to be). A grocery store, A lawyer. No gas station except for a Coin Operated Gas Pump anong the nearby library. I wandered. Why doesn’t some people get to get her and get a 2 story large brick building and lease out store spaces like a flea-market only more upscale. Share the rent, Utilities, etc. The “City” could allow the building to be Tax Free for 5 years. If it succeeds than that also becomes shared. No one is ever going to buy or rent 90% of the small Main Street Stores. To risky at the town is now. If a Walmart can succeed near a small town rural area, why couldn’t this. In this one old Brick building here is some of the Pssibilities for little stores. A Bakery, A Laundramat, A Computer Repair/Used/New business, A beautique, Hair Salon, Barber Shop, A grocery store, Candy Shop. Photographer, Seamstress, News Sheet or even a Small Newspaper by Computer etc. Most of these buildings are abandoned and owned by the City. The City could let it out for free rent for a few years to get it off the ground. They are not going to collect any taxes from here on out anyway. The could levy a small tax from each owner. 1% maybe and apply it to fixing up the building or advertising for it’s merchants Ok, Maybe it’s a Crazy Idea but why not try something different?
Becky McCray says
GrandBob, you’ve got a great idea for growing businesses. I’m going to start a new post to share it with everyone.
Thank you Becky. I have a new idea about every 5 minutes. Most die of loneliness. I turned my daughter on to this website thinking Her small town could use some changes. I wish I lived there. But you have to find at least ONE person of like mind to do anything in a small town. And they have to be as dedicated as you are. I live in a bedroom community. The people not only come here to sleep during the night…They seem to sleep during the Day Too. Hate new ideas – unless there are millions of dollars attached. Our Low Rent district charges a minimum of 3000 dollars a Month for downtown stores to open. And at the City Council Meetings they wrack their brain trying to figure how to get new businesses. It is against the Law here to start a small business in your home. Duuuh. How did Bill Gates start – In his Garage! Normally, 50% off all small businesses start in the Home. We have no Theatre, No Bolling Alley, One Dollar Store – that has enough business for another one just like it. A Sonic. Tire and Automobile shops galore. One Bar – that couldn’t make it. A Bingo Parlor. Our Main Street has 9 Churches on it. OK. Plenty of people and they all go out of town to buy nearly anything. Reported Population of 10,000 people. A sister town just 4 miles away has Everything! It’s booming. Also begin as a bedroom community. The difference is simply the City Council. The majority of both town worked at the same aircraft companies! I am sorry to say (being an “Olster” myself, the retirees are Killing this town. Both with their anti-entrapenaur attitude and Greed. We had a wonderful “real” resteraunt. Finally. Evening dining, wonderful food, happy customers. The landlord upon new leasing time, because the Restaurant was successful after only one year was making money, tried to raise the rent by nearly 50%. The owner of the restaurant, refused to sign a new lease and moved down the Highway a few miles and reopened there. Now we have to drive out of town again to visit a real restaurant – one of which is the Young Mans family business that moved.
Becky McCray says
You’ve really illustrated something I believe: not every small town will survive. Some towns will die, and some towns will be killed by their own people.