According to the recently released SaveYour.Town Survey of Rural Challenges, the primary concerns are similar to findings in earlier surveys  (2017 and 2015). Here are the top five concerns of small business owners and residents of small towns.

  1. Young people leaving
  2. A dying downtown
  3. Not enough good housing
  4. Few new residents
  5. Lack of shoppers

Here is a breakdown of some of these challenges.  (▦▦ = 5%)

53% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (Percentage of respondents who say…) they are having trouble finding good employees
31% ▦▦▦▦▦▦ | (…) their marketing isn’t working for them
25% ▦▦▦▦▦| (…) they are concerned about losing sales to online competitors
23% ▦▦▦▦▦| (…) their changes in times of operation (experimenting with opening and closing times) hasn’t helped

Here are some positive trends for small and rural businesses.

77% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (Percentage of business respondents who say …) they have a good business idea 
88% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦|  (…) they have access to funding
88% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦ | (…) they have access to work-space

Rural residents care about their local businesses and want to help them propser

46% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (Percentage of business respondents who say …) they have downtowns dying
38% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (…) they have too few people shopping in their town

Small business owners and residents want to work together to solve their community’s challenges.

48% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (…) they are losing the next generation of young people is a challenge they want to help solve
46% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (…) there is not enough good housing
38% ▦▦▦▦▦▦▦| (they) are willing to help recruit new residents to their town

Rural residents fear situational problems at levels similar to residents of larger towns and suburbs.

23% ▦▦▦▦▦| fear crime
10% ▦▦| fear misfortunes like a natural disaster, loss of a factory, school, etc.

*SaveYour.Town is a biennial survey conducted by small-town and rural small business owners and experts: Becky McCray (Small Business Survival) and Deb Brown (

Photos: GettyImages

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