Small Town Rules: How Big Brands And Small Businesses Can Prosper In A Connected Economy

Hardcover | March 23, 2012

byBarry J. Moltz, Becky Mccray

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Technology and economics are transforming business in a completely unexpected way: suddenly, even the largest companies must compete as if they were small, local businesses. Suddenly, your customers can talk to everyone else across the nation, and people listen to them, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. It's just like doing business in a small town, where "reputation is forever." Suddenly, communities and personal connections are critical to your success - just as they've always been in small towns. The best small-town and rural entrepreneurs have been successfully overcoming these challenges for centuries. Their lessons and techniques are suddenly intensely valuable to even the largest companies, most dominant brands, and most cosmopolitan businesses. Small Town Rules adapts these lessons and techniques for today's new "global small town": one knitted together through the Web, Facebook, and Twitter. Two pioneering entrepreneurs and social media experts show how to:

* Survive seasonal cycles and year-to-year fluctuations the way rural farmers and businesses do

* Use "small town entrepreneur secrets" for coping with limited access to people and capital

* Reduce risk by "piecing together" multiple income sources * Start using customer-driven communication to your advantage

* Interact with customers on a more human scale, no matter how big you are

* Rediscover your company's local roots, and more

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From the Publisher

Technology and economics are transforming business in a completely unexpected way: suddenly, even the largest companies must compete as if they were small, local businesses. Suddenly, your customers can talk to everyone else across the nation, and people listen to them, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. It's just like...

From the Jacket

Technology and economics are transforming business in a completely unexpected way: even the largest companies must compete for customers as if they were small, local businesses.   Your customers are talking to their peers everywhere--and listening to each other, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. Suddenly, communities...

Barry J. Moltz grew up in a small town of 30,000 and moved to the third-biggest city in America. Becky McCray grew up in towns ranging from 1,500 to 350,000 and now lives in a tiny town of just 30 people. Both are small business owners.   Barry Moltz gets small business owners unstuck by unlocking their long-forgotten potential. With d...

other books by Barry J. Moltz

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.28 × 6.3 × 0.73 inPublished:March 23, 2012Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0789749203

ISBN - 13:9780789749208

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction     1


Chapter 1  Surviving Difficult Economic Times for the Big and Small     7

The Change: Economic Meltdown     8

Impact on Brands     10

   Shifting Markets and Public-Relations Mistakes     11

   Major Product Disasters     12

   Chasing Trends and Shiny Objects, Too!     12

Why Small Towns Survive     14

The Small Town Rule: Plan for Zero     16

   Question Assumptions     17

   Know the Seasons and Cycles     18

   Invest Long Term     21

Applying Small Town Rules to Big Brands Survival:

   Planning for Zero     23

   Planning Ahead Is a Survival Strategy     24

Summary: Things Don’t Always Go Up     24

The Small Town Rule: Plan for Zero     24

A Look Ahead     25

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     26

   Winnebago Industries     26


Chapter 2  The New Normal: Profiting When Resources Are Limited     29

The Change: Resources Are Now Limited     30

Impacts on Big Brands: Low Consumer Demand Hits Where It Hurts Everyone     31

Why Small Towns? Because Resources Have Always Been Tight for Rural Business     32

   Lower Consumer Demand     34

   A Shortage of Skilled Workforce     35

The Small Town Rule: Spend Creative Brainpower Before You Spend Dollars     35

   Creative Financing     35

   Being Frugal     38

   Reducing Startup Costs     39

   The Labor Force: Be Creative     40

   Being Creative Means Doing Whatever It Takes     41

Big Brand Solutions and Examples     41

   Conserve; Stop Spending for Stupid     41

   Growing Slowly, with the Cycles     42

   Getting Creative in Tough Times     44

Summary: Resources Are Now Limited     45

The Small Town Rule: Spend Creative Brainpower Before Dollars     45

A Look Ahead: Will the Rule Be Relevant Tomorrow?     46

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     47

   Viking Range     47


Chapter 3  Adapting to the New Economic Realities of Self-Reliance     49

The Change: No Sure Things (A Job, Income, or Help from the Government)     50

Impact on Brands: No Sure Thing     51

Why Small Town Businesses Survive     51

The Small Town Rule: Build Multiple Lines of Income     54

   How to Manage Multiple Lines of Income     55

   Diversifying Online: Selling Expertise     56

   Market Online to Diversify     58

Big Brand Solutions: Extending Brands for Survival     59

Summary: No Sure Things (A Job, Income, or Help from the Government)     61

   The Small Town Rule: Multiply Lines of Income to Diversify Your Risk     62

   A Look Ahead     62

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     64

   Walmart     64


Chapter 4  Adapting to the “Anywhere, Anywhen” Business World     67

The Change: Geographic Advantage Is Shrinking, and Competition Is Everywhere     68

Impact on Brands and Big Business     70

How Small Towns Gave Up Geographic Advantage Long Ago     71

The Small Town Rule: Work “Anywhere, Anywhen” Through Technology     73

   Broadband Internet Makes Working Anywhere Possible     73

   “Anywhen” Makes Time-Shifting as Valuable as Work-Shifting     74

   Putting It All Together to Be Location Independent     75

   Digital Distribution Extends Reach     77

   Forget Outsourcing, Think “Rural Sourcing”     78

Applying the Small Town Rule to Big Brands     78

Summary: Geographic Advantage Is Shrinking, and Competition Is Everywhere     80

   The Small Town Rule: Work “Anywhere, Anywhen” Through Technology     80

A Look Ahead     81

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     82

   L.L. Bean     82


Chapter 5  Forget Advertising: Learn Customer-Driven Communication     85

The Change: Technology Allows All Customers to Easily Communicate with Each Other     86

Impact on Brands     86

Why Small Towns Already Work This Way     89

   Rural Regions Lead in Social-Media Adoption     90

   Social Media Is Like a Small Town, Everyone Says So     90

The Small Town Rule: Treat Customers Like Community     92

   Treat Customer Service as Though It’s All You’ve Got     92

   Use Social Tools to Connect with Customers     93

Applying the Small Town Rule to Big Brands     95

Summary: All Customers Can Communicate with Each Other     96

   The Small Town Rule: Treat Customers Like Community     97

   A Look Ahead     97

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     98

   The Grasshopper Company     98


Chapter 6  How Big Brands and Small Businesses Are Thinking and Acting Small     101

The Change: Society Is Cycling Back from Big to Small     102

Impact on Brands     103

Why Small Towns Create Community Interaction

on a Human Scale     104

The Small Town Rule: Be Proud to Be Small     105

   Build Community Through Involvement     106

   Network to Build Power and Accomplish Goals     112

   The Antidote for the Negatives     116

   Move Past Connecting and On to Building Relationships     119

   Build Community Among Customers     121

   Keep the Business Small     123

Apply the Small Town Rule to Big Brands     124

Summary: Society Is Cycling Away from Big to Small     128

   The Small Town Rule: Be Proud of Being Small     128

   A Look Ahead     129

Powerhouse Small Town Brands     130

   Longaberger Baskets     130


Chapter 7  Going Local, Even When You Are Big     133

The Societal Change: The Local Movement Is Here     134

Impact on Brands     135

Small Towns Define What It Means To Be Local     135

The Small Town Rule: Build Your Local Connections     136

   Connect with Your Culture and Place     137

   Using a Local Story to Build Engagement Like Milk     138

   How to Build a Shop Local Campaign     139

Apply the Small Town Rule to Big Brands: How Brands Can Go Local     152

Summary: The Local Movement Is Here     154

   The Small Town Rule: Build Your Local Connections     154

   A Look Ahead     155


Appendix A  Resources for Implementing the Small Town Rules     157

Appendix B  Business Ideas Inspired by the Small Town Rules     171

Afterword: The Small Town Rules     183

Endnotes     189

Index     199

Editorial Reviews

Why Learn From Small Towns? What Business People Are Saying…   “Only in a small town can you discover the true nature of what it means to be connected and, at the same time, living in a fish bowl.” --Tim Sanders, NY Times Bestselling Author, Love Is the Killer App   “People say the world is getting smaller; I think the world is getting more connected. It’s all about the relationships--who you know and who knows you. Through the power of the Internet, mobile apps, and online social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, businesses now have unprecedented ways in which to nurture relationships with everyone in their marketplace. We’re going back to the small town way of doing business where everyone knows your name and genuinely cares about you.” --Mari Smith, Author, The New Relationship Marketing   “For generations, small town businesses have been responsible for building the American economy, and all entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from their success.” --Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneur Council; Cofounder, Gen Y Capital Partners; Author, Never Get a “Real” Job   “Small town businesses know their customers. They know their kids’ names, they know their favorite sports teams, and what they buy on a regular basis. This kind of intimate knowledge creates loyalty--the kind of loyalty that creates longevity and success in business.” --Carol Roth, NY Times Bestselling Author, The Entrepreneur Equation   “Small is the new big, because you can reach everyone with the click of a mouse and anyone can review and critique you. Think you know how to play the game? Think again. The rules have changed. Read Small Town Rules. It’s the rule book for the connected economy. Highly recommended.” --Michael Port, NY Times Bestselling Author, Book Yourself Solid   “Business should be personal. The ‘who you are’ can play a huge role in the ‘what you offer.’ That’s how small towns have conducted commerce since the get-go, and we’d all be well-served to inject that kind of approach to our businesses--no matter how big in scope or vision.” --Rich Sloan, Author, StartUp Nation   “There are a lot of traits about small town business that offer insights and opportunities for people to leverage in all businesses. Community matters. Relationships matter. People matter. My observation about conversations in a small town is that people care. And businesses that are smart are learning to listen, connect, share, and engage their customers, too. Big business and businesses in general could learn a lot from how a small town works.” --Jeff Pulver, Cofounder, Vonage; Founder, 140 Characters Conference, VON Conference   “In a small town, word of mouth is the most powerful force there is. Everyone in town knows about the business. If the quality and service are good--or bad--everyone soon knows. That’s why every business should operate like a small town business, no matter where you’re located or how far away your customers come from. When you and your team run your business as if every potential customer will eventually know everything about your business, you naturally will keep quality and service standards high.” --Anita Campbell, CEO, Small Business Trends, LLC; Author, Visual Marketing   “It is no surprise that big businesses are coming around to the idea of small town style customer experience and service. As customers, we know we prefer the ‘small town’ way of doing things. We like to be treated as human beings, as individuals. We like our loyalty being rewarded, and we like having a person to talk to when things go wrong. When it comes across as natural, rather than forced in an awkwardly fake ‘PR’ way, then it works all the better. The future of business is one customer at a time, just like in small town businesses.” --Chris Garrett, Coauthor, ProBlogger: The Book   “Small town businesses, by their nature, are genetically encoded to connect, share, and engage.” --Alan Weinkrantz, Alan Weinkrantz and Company PR   “With a couple of basic tools, like DropBox, Skype, and Google Apps, a small town business can look like a big business with one killer app: You can stay in a small town with the associated lifestyle benefits and lower cost of doing business. Small town businesses are rewriting the rules on what it means to be competitive with their big company rivals for customers and talented employees.” --John Warrillow, Author, Built to Sell   “Small town businesses understand this better than most any publicly traded company in the world: You must be cash flow positive or it’s your death. As long as you have positive cash flow, you can keep the doors open, expand as much as your cash flow will let you, and try new things. Big businesses are accustomed to running deficits and issuing stock, but these are stopgap measures that more often than not serve to enrich the shareholders as the ship sinks. If your business, big or small, is cash flow positive, then everyone from shareholders to shop floor sweepers will do well.” --Christopher S. Penn, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing   “A key to success for any small business is to be actively involved in their community. That feeling of ‘community’ is what drives the web and social media. Now, it’s just about mandatory that businesses of all sizes be active in their respective communities--both online and off. It’s the interaction, the connection with those who support you, that helps make businesses successful today.” --Leslie McLellan, All Things Social   “During the past four decades, big has gotten the attention in my industry sector. Economies of scale, resources for impressive events. But, what’s becoming clear is that the relationships, the personal attention, the value of doing life together is what matters. I know. I’m a pastor, not a business owner. But, the ideas that Becky and Barry are talking about for what small businesses can teach all business is true in our ‘business.’ While big churches get the press, the number of house churches, of communities of faith, is growing, too. Small, done well, can teach all of us how to live and work better.” --Jon Swanson, Social Media Chaplain   “Small town business has to do with the basics. Those simpler times that city-dwellers dream about when they’re sitting in a 2-hour traffic jam, listening to their satellite radio, while pounding out meaningless emails and texts on heavily used Blackberrys. Small town businesses are a lot more about handshakes than they are about 14-page contracts that Harvard Law School graduates write…and that no one ever seems to understand. All business owners can learn a lot by watching how business gets done in America’s small towns.” --Joel Libava, The Franchise King®; Author, Become a Franchise Owner!   “Although the competitiveness of large population areas (between individual businesses) might be tougher, it does not compare to the daily fight for survival in a small town or remote area. This fight for survival brings out the best of entrepreneurial spirit in many small town businesses with innovation, service, and quality. The real treasure of small town business is the heart! Small town businesses are not just serving strangers, but their neighbors, friends, family, or someone who knows these people who are important to them. This natural sincerity that comes from living in small communities can be duplicated in practice by all business, and I believe it is the most valuable asset small business has to share.” --Laura Girty, NW Field Representative, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc.   “Small town business can teach all businesses about efficiency. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of compartmentalizing roles. It’s all hands on deck, working as quickly and seamlessly as possible, to ensure the greatest profit.” --Alexandra Levit, Author, Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success   “Small town business teaches us that it’s easier to continue to sell to the customer we already know. It’s easy--just provide great value and consistent quality, and you’ll make customers for life.” --Jim F. Kukral,; Author, Attention: This Book Will Make You Money   “There are more successful small town businesses than there are large corporations. They aren’t a fluke or an accident or an anomaly. They grow from need, vision, risk, and response. The information small town business owners offer is practical, tested, and shared generously. Small town business can be easily underestimated but should never be ignored.” --Andrea Springer, Springer Coaching and Consulting   “Transparency is the over-used buzzword in the customer-service world of today, thanks to the communication onslaught brought on by the Internet and specifically social media. Due to the ‘everyone knows everyone’ effect of small towns, small town businesses were forced to become masters of transparency a hundred years earlier than the rest of the world.” --Cody Heitschmidt, Small Town Business Owner   “Small town businesses are lean and mean, which means they have to be creative and innovative to compete and turn a profit. Businesses of all sizes can watch and learn in order to do the same.” --Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment-Dietrich;; Coauthor, Marketing in the Round: Multichannel Approaches in the Post-Social Media Era   “Small town business teaches us about community, trust, and relationship--all the current buzzwords that have been the backbone of small town business for more than 100 years.” --Sarah Robinson, Escaping Mediocrity   “A small town business owner knows that every customer is important and that every customer, employee, vendor, partner, friend, and family member contributes to what makes the business grow. Small town businesses know that relationships and being part of the community are at the heart of every successful business and that a business without a heart won’t survive.” --Liz Strauss, International Business Strategist; Author, The Secret to Writing a Successful Outstanding Blog;