04 Sep Don’t Choke on the Big Smoke: 9 Reasons Why We Love Being Based in a Small Town
We’re based in a vibrant little market town in Berkshire, so clearly we’re already sold on the idea. Everyone knows there is less pollution, more greenery and a lot more community spirit, but what are the solid business reasons to base your business in a small town?
Firstly, you’ll have less competition, simply because the number of people doing the same is smaller. This means you can carve out a niche for yourself. Also, small towns can be at least a few months behind London trends, so if your business involves something ‘trendy’ (whether in food, home and garden, entertainment or fashion), you could even be the first to launch a proven idea into a completely unsaturated market. And if you are a new enterprise, remember small towns are the perfect place to start off building a solid reputation that you can then extend into other local towns or the closest city.
Become a household name!
Your name will not be forgotten. Everything is less anonymous in a small town and news travels fast. It does mean you’ll have more pressure to keep clients happy- but don’t worry, that can be a real positive as it makes you more aware of the importance of customer service. In return, recommendations will spread more quickly and more enthusiastically.
Lower cost of living, lower cost of office space
London has the most expensive office space on the planet- it overtook Hong Kong in 2012. And of course, no one needs to remind you that the London residential property market exists in its own hyper-inflated bubble. Moving your business to a small town translates to more space or higher quality space for the same budget. So much is ‘virtual’ or online these days that a London address is not the necessity it used to be. In honesty, your big city clients would usually rather keep costs down by using an out-of-town quality alternative- they know all about overpriced overheads themselves.
Because time is precious
SMEs and start-ups don’t need to follow the corporate sheep into big cities. When you work for yourself, you get to set the agenda, and one of the biggest benefits is choosing a location nearer home. It gives you time actually to enjoy your evenings, as well as the convenience of ‘popping into’ the office at the weekends if something urgent crops up (vital for a start-up business).
Build better business relationships
When the pace is less frenetic, people have time for people. You may be surprised how often people look you in the eye. Eye contact is generally avoided rushing through big cities because nobody has the time or energy to devote to greeting every stranger who crosses their busy path. Break the habit in a smaller town where potential customers from your networking groups or marketing activities will often end up crossing over into your ‘social’ environment too; in the supermarket, gym, tennis club, walking through the town centre, collecting children from school. Think of it as value-per-interaction; it simply gives you more opportunities to persuade them they want to work with you.
Be BETTER connected than a Londoner!
Basing your office in the centre of a big city can leave you battling traffic or vulnerable to annoying train and tube strikes. You’re well-connected, but only within your own city (especially if you prefer to keep costs down by driving).
Power and Influence
You will inevitably have better opportunities to influence local policy, too, through closer contact with decision-makers in local government. When Mass Information Systems moved to Wokingham they persuaded two mayors and a rather famous ex-cabinet member to attend their opening event (John Redwood, for those of you wondering!) Actually, many a small businessperson has used their business as a platform into politics. Who says small towns are limiting?
Recession-proof your business
A higher proportion of small business owners live and work in small towns, whilst larger companies tend to gravitate towards so-called ‘prestigious’ (expensive) locations in big cities. It’s one of the reasons why small towns statistically tend to experience fewer of the effects of the recession; with a loyal, local client base they are better equipped to weather bad times.
Surround yourself with an entrepreneurial spirit
Finally, if you’re starting up your own company or have been running one for a few years, you’ll know how much more drive you need to get ahead and how much initiative counts when there is no corporate structure, or large sales and marketing teams to fall back on. Small towns are full of entrepreneurs with good ideas, as well as people willing to work hard to get somewhere. Don’t forget that plenty of ‘small town’ businesspeople have no choice but to turn up and make the most of every day as they are a ‘team’ of just one person! Culturally that can be a very inspiring place to be.
Call us on 0118 9778599, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and (as a small business ourselves) we will get straight back to you. We also welcome tweets about your experiences of running your business in a smaller town https://twitter.com/MantleLtd