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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Revitalizing Small Towns Through Niche Strategies

Small towns across America are dying as companies pack up and leave for foreign locations taking viable jobs with them. Common complaints from local residents are that young people move away, there is no money to be made here, and amenities are lacking. Rethinking our economic strategies may help in creating a more vibrant economic restructuring of rural areas.

Without a doubt many of these towns are beautiful and offer charm for people who want to get out of the crowded cities. The problem is they don't offer solid employment and are many times too far to commute for busy professionals.

The Internet may offer some advantages in the future to create virtual jobs and help employ people in areas that offer a slower and more family oriented environment. However, this may be a few decades off and many of these towns will continue to decline.

Current approaches should focus on recreating small town cottage industries in niche markets that lead to greater overall growth. While it would be difficult for many of these towns to compete with large manufacturing centers they can create greater focus on a few products that have high market appeal.

For example, a town could focus on creating bicycles that are unique to the location and sold to a wider market. That could be something that isn't well served n the market like bikes for disabled people or bikes for long-distant travel.

Before a town can find their niche industry they will need help in understanding the world market and the many different demographics in that market. When a under-served need is found, even if it is a small market, small towns can focus on building the capacity to fulfill that need.

While niche markets can be subject to market swings which can lead to greater or lesser growth they do offer opportunities to create skill sets that can be used in other industries. Revitalizing small towns takes effort and fore-site. Policy makers should consider the merits of helping local entrepreneurs find products and services that are likely to succeed and employ local workers. Teaching them how to make it happen can go along way.

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