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Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy

By Barry J. Moltz, Becky McCray

Published by Que

Published Date: Mar 26, 2012

Description

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

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


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ISBN-10: 0-13-295372-2

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-295372-6

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