Small communities taking an entrepreneurial approach
Entrepreneurship in small communities is the art of finding profitable solutions to problems. Every successful entrepreneur, indeed every successful business person has been able to identify a problem and come up with a solution. And they do it before somebody else does. I believe this is the best time for small towns and villages to thrive beyond their hay-day.
If you believe what you read or hear about all small towns and villages are dying, is rubbish. It is true some are dying because of circumstances well beyond their control, but they are rare. Even a highway by-pass or a new dam does not stop the entrepreneurial activity. You only need to research what happened to the towns of Breima and Adaminaby in NSW.
Most small communities are surviving, and many are prospering because they continue to change their direction. They are able to manage the disruptive changes and generate new opportunities according to the local wants and needs.
Modern trends are also acting in favour of small towns, opening up possibilities which never existed previously. The Internet, better transport, exploding populations in cities and people seeking a better lifestyle are all impacting the future of these communities.
The entrepreneurial directed action is the key
Focus on the community members, as they are the ones who live there. Entrepreneurs will drive change, but the community members will be involved in successful implementation.
Change is more likely to occur with entrepreneurial activity. Why not look at you small town or village as a business having difficulty.
The source of most great changes came from within the community and their contact base. Remember most successful community turnarounds were started with an idea and with personal efforts called sweat equity.
A simple approach to a small communities development
- Understand people’s wants and needs and address them. The end of geographic limits, how customers are changing retailing, the local movement of people. New people are moving in also helping to reshape the future of rural and small towns. All will have some common wants and needs.
- Solve community member’s problems and frustrations. Identify the issues and understand them. Then solve look around for matters locals have been trying to find an answer for and provide them with some new insights. Look for solutions nobody has thought of and give them a try. One good solution could change the whole direction and momentum of the community’s development
- Seek solutions for those who can help. Seek advice on ways to supply products and services better, cheaper, faster or easier. Perhaps there are partnerships you can put together, or find better ways of using modern technology.
- Reduce the chances of failure. It is challenging to start, build, manage or turnaround any community and its businesses without first addressing the ecosystems and introducing training programs which are practical, useful and helpful.
- Become action orientated. Here are two things you can do immediately to put your ideas and opportunities into action in a small community:
- Learn the valuable lessons about operating on a small scale
- Look at applying sound business practices
- Understand the capacity of the ecosystems to support small communities growth
- One little idea is enough to start creating positive momentum in any small community.
“Some people say I have attitude, maybe I do, but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does, that makes you a winner right there”. Venus Williams
“Why not look at small communities as a successful business. It should have all the elements of a successful business. Planning, management, marketing, operations, finance, relationships, innovation and so on”. Peter Sergeant