Guest Post by Chris Brogan
The COVID-19 quarantine has crushed so many small businesses and the economy at large. It’s truly been the worst financial crisis unfurling in this country since the 1930s. And while some measures are in place to help this not reach that level of despair, many people are finding themselves out of a job.
But is there a silver lining? Heck yes!
“Work From Home” Will Invite More People to Experience Small Town Life
The whole “work from home” part of quarantine has shown a lot of employers and employees a path to choosing where they want to live. In a system that no longer requires “butt in chair” management, why would someone choose some of the big cities out there? Would you rather look out on some fields or forests, or listen to cars honking all night long?
But when some of these folks come to a small town setting, they’ll get exposed (maybe for the first time) to the power of a small town localized community. Maybe they won’t be able to visit the opera every weekend and maybe the little grocery store doesn’t have a big selection of quinoa (how many quinoa choices do we need?), but the sense that everyone is working together and everyone knows each other is a very alluring opportunity.
This Will Drive More Small Business Opportunities
The easy example is that delivery businesses thrive when city types show up at a small town. People are used to convenience living, and if those services don’t quite exist in the small town setting, you can step in and fill a gap.
Another way to serve this relocation migration that may come 3/4 of the way into 2020 or maybe at the start of 2021 is to find and adapt coworking spaces, even if they’re more “six feet apart” than they would have been a few months ago. These spaces will need great wifi, space to spread out and work, and a little kitchen space. Not a lot of investment really.
Small Town Sourcing
The other BIG opportunity is that right now several call centers are being pulled back from other countries and re-sourced to small US towns. So are software development jobs (you can learn several languages for free online and those jobs pay around 80K to start). Someone has to house these people. Someone has to prepare all the wiring and materials. Someone has to feed and do other services for them.
Big cities were the way to go for a while. Then suburbs (ugh). Small towns were “unsexy” for some time.* But it’s the right time to show off the power of the small town brand and how you can help grow the world not that far from your front porch.
*Editor’s note: We disagree, but who’s counting?
- Why “Small Town” Might Become the Sexiest Brand In the World - August 7, 2020
- Masks are the new “no smoking” for small businesses - July 13, 2020
- Open Up – It’s the Customers - May 19, 2020
- Remember when we used to try to hide our accents? - May 7, 2020
- Show and Tell – How Video and Maybe Even LIVE Video Are Important for Small Town Business - April 20, 2020
- Did America Get Too Big? Next steps for small businesses right now - April 17, 2020