Trends Influencing Your Small Business

It is important to remain aware of and be prepared to respond to trends that may influence your business.

Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild took some time to look at three mega-trends she views as influencing rural, small businesses. Watch the first of her videos that examines the gig-economy.

What’s the gig-economy? It is many things but one element is self-employment, or freelancing in her terminology. Her information shows this is a rapidly growing trend.

So take a look. Read more about it here.

And then take a few moments to think about how this and the two other trends, Living with Purpose and Meaning and The Decentralized Marketplace, are and will continue to influence your business.

Elwood Market Moves Forward with Nebraska Encouragement

Guest Bloggers: Jim Crandall, Cooperative Business Development Specialist – University of Nebraska Extension

Elwood marketTaking a look back at a business our guest bloggers highlighted in May, 2013. Find the original story here.

The Elwood Hometown Cooperative Market was born to meet a community need.  When the local grocery story closed, the citizens were faced with no place to buy milk or a loaf a bread. With the assistance of the UNL Nebraska Cooperative Development Center, a part of Nebraska Extension, a steering committee made plans and then opened a new cooperative grocery store in town.

The store continues to do well.  The Nebraska Cooperative Development Center Extension staff continue to meet with them on a regular basis as they develop and change to meet community needs. With the closing of a local café, they have added a daily lunch special to their offerings.

Inside Elwood MarketThe expertise of the staff is growing. New things are happening. Membership communication has been expanded and includes the use of social media and emails. Check out their Facebook page.

Jim Crandall summed up his comments saying the store is doing well as it grows slowly and deliberately into the future.

And while they work hard, they also have some fun. Check out their video.


Marketing and Your Business

It can’t be said enough that “build it and they will come” is just a myth. A “one-and-done” effort will not get you what you want, either. Developing a successful business means putting a marketing plan that creates and maintains awareness of your product and/or services.

Learn how to build your marketing plan from Glenn Muske, small business specialist for North Dakota State University Extension.  Check out Glenn’s article on marketing your small business for more information: Standing Out from the Competition

Tell Your Story

story book

Photo (CC) by UNE photos, on Flickr

Information provided by: Susan Moffat, Extension Educator, Oklahoma State University Extension

Storytelling is a marketing tool small business owners should capitalize on. They have great stories on how they got the idea for their business along with its growth, bumps and all. Plus it allows them to highlight some of their own story.

Susan provided the stories that two quilting/fabric shops have included on their websites. (You may see a theme in these stories. I worked with Susan and know quilting is a passion).

Missouri Star Quilt Company discusses the reasons why they started along with why they picked this industry. They make a strong case for going online thus showing that a solid business can grow in small towns. They offer some key elements that helped the business grow. Hamilton, MO has now become a destination because of their efforts.  Read their entire story at:

Prairie Quilt,, also has their history posted in the “About us” section. They not only include the history of how Randa became the owner along with information about the team and story hours. They also list nearby hotels. The date the business started as part of their logo as well as their tag line, where sewing is fun, is all found on their website.

Both of these examples show how story telling is a great tool in marketing. You don’t find anything lengthy. Pictures were used to highlight the stories. And they are not just about the business but also about you, the owner.

Do you include your story in your marketing? Do you have a short version to tell when networking? Consider them. Customers enjoy knowing more about how you and your business.

For more information, check out:

Are You Telling (and Selling) with Your Business Story at Small Biz Survival blog