Where to locate your business: Rural location or village

It can be difficult these days, but setting up in a village is still possible

Unfortunately modern trends have dictated locating in a rural area is more difficult. Mike Goodman, associate director of The Village Retail Services Association (ViRSA), says: “There is no longer a golden guarantee of a comfortable lifestyle if you own a rural business such as a sub-post office. The days of a retired couple running a village store and working four days a week from 9am until 4pm have well and truly gone.”

Last year 450 sub-post offices and 300 shops closed. But it is not all doom and gloom. If you have the business acumen, retail training and an original idea you can succeed away from prime town pitches. Goodman explains: “I know of a man who sells ice cream from a boat along a stretch of National Trust land in Dorset. He saw that there was no shop and now makes a fortune.”

Goodman adds: “If you are looking at a rural location you should ascertain the movement pattern of the community – the same as if you were in a town. If the majority of them work in the neighbouring town, for example, then they may drive past the supermarket to get their food and miss you out altogether. It is one of the riskiest forms of self investment but if you have a proven track record then it could work.”

Summary:

  • Pros: Although rare, niche businesses can do well. For example, even if you are based in the country you could sell to town based customers via mail order or take your products into town yourself. You can also set yourself up your business in a fringe area (between town and country) and make the most of both worlds.
  • Cons: Often the riskiest of them all so be careful. Considered research is absolutely vital.

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