Small Town Rules - How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Community argues that a combination of social, economic, demographic and technology shifts have resulted in business in general looking more and more like business in a small town.
The premise of the book is technology - and especially social media - is combining with tougher economic times to create business conditions that reflect those traditionally associated with small towns.
The book outlines these changes and provides advice designed to help companies big and small adapt proven small town business approaches to what the authors call today's "global small town".
Examples of this advice (taken from the book website) include:
- Going local, even when you’re global
A seven-step plan for building crucial connections with culture and place
- “Planning for zero”: surviving worst case scenarios that kill your competitors
Questioning hidden assumptions, knowing your “seasons,” and investing for the long term
- Sustaining profits and growth with limited resources
“Rural-style” approaches to growth and profitability in resource-constrained environments
- Adapting to the new economic realities of self-reliance
Marketing and managing when there won’t be any bailouts or safety nets
Although very different, this book reminded me of E.F. Shumacher's 1970s classic Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. Both books focus on the advantages of business on human scale - and what's lost when we lose that focus.
We agree that business is becoming more small town like. And I would add that, if anything, the authors may be underestimating the strenght of this trend.
The growing availability and use of Big Data and analytics is making it easier and cheaper for large companies to "go local" by personalizing products and services and looking and acting like small businesses.
Small businesses will need to respond by upping their game - and a good place to start is by reading Small Town Rules.
BTW, Becky has a short video equating today's business environment to wheat farming. I grew up in a wheat farming family and I really enjoyed watching the video and harkening back to my days on the plain.