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Written by: Andrew Mitchell

Photography by: Kinkaid Photo Art

When it comes to running a successful rural business, out here… it’s just different.

Technology has widened the gap

There is no question that technology has widened the gap between urban and rural communities, both culturally and economically.

Technology that disrupts inefficient industries in big cities decimate businesses out in the country. Rural areas don’t have the foot traffic to sustain most on-demand-economy business solutions (Uber, Doordash, etc.). Most local businesses can’t sustain the fees attached to apps like these.

Also, the distance between a business and their customer is simply greater. People are spread out, and money is spread thin.

Competing with free shipping

Once the market introduced free 2-day shipping globally, our local businesses never stood a chance to compete. Now, every small business is on Facebook and Twitter, begging people to support them over big corporations. This is not dignified, respectful or sustainable for rural communities.

And the truth is that this bubble is bursting. You may or may not have noticed, but prices are skyrocketing on everything from food to rent to cable tv.

And free 2-day shipping? Well, that’s not so free once you factor in bloated pricing on the actual products to offset the shipping cost.

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This is the chance of a lifetime for rural business.

Rural businesses can leverage its greatest strength; rural communities are tight-knit and willing to share resources.

One idea would be to create small delivery networks comprised of any willing and able person with a reliable vehicle. Imagine having a dozen drivers available to deliver your goods within a 50 mile radius? Imagine what the impact that could have on local food growers and shop keepers.

Yardaroo - Rural Business - Out Here, It's Just Different - photo by Kinkaid Photo Art

The Erie Canal at Lockport, NY

Photo by: Kinkaid Photo Art

Lockport, NY is a picturesque small city with rich American history.

From the epic Erie Canal to the city’s vital role as part of the Underground Railroad, Lockport is an example of what’s at stake if we don’t support local businesses and communities.

It’s time to get creative

Now is the time to start experimenting with digital distribution and sales channels, as well as local delivery solutions. Many rural businesses have a POS (point-of-sale) solution in place, but are lacking in the ability to properly market their products online.

Being headquartered in a rural area (Lockport, NY), and growing up in western New York, I personally understand the struggles many rural businesses are facing.

Now is the time to band together and get creative. When it comes to rural business, out here… it’s just different.

Andrew Mitchell – Founder & CEO at Yardaroo

Twitter: @yardaroodude

Instagram: @yardaroodude

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