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Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy (Que Biz-Tech) Hardcover – April 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Why Learn From Small Towns? What Business People Are Saying…


“Only in a small town can you discover the true nature of what it means to be connected and, at the same time, living in a fish bowl.”

--Tim Sanders, NY Times Bestselling Author, Love Is the Killer App


“People say the world is getting smaller; I think the world is getting more connected. It’s all about the relationships--who you know and who knows you. Through the power of the Internet, mobile apps, and online social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, businesses now have unprecedented ways in which to nurture relationships with everyone in their marketplace. We’re going back to the small town way of doing business where everyone knows your name and genuinely cares about you.”

--Mari Smith, Author, The New Relationship Marketing


“For generations, small town businesses have been responsible for building the American economy, and all entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two from their success.”

--Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneur Council; Cofounder, Gen Y Capital Partners; Author, Never Get a “Real” Job


“Small town businesses know their customers. They know their kids’ names, they know their favorite sports teams, and what they buy on a regular basis. This kind of intimate knowledge creates loyalty--the kind of loyalty that creates longevity and success in business.”

--Carol Roth, NY Times Bestselling Author, The Entrepreneur Equation


“Small is the new big, because you can reach everyone with the click of a mouse and anyone can review and critique you. Think you know how to play the game? Think again. The rules have changed. Read Small Town Rules. It’s the rule book for the connected economy. Highly recommended.”

--Michael Port, NY Times Bestselling Author, Book Yourself Solid


“Business should be personal. The ‘who you are’ can play a huge role in the ‘what you offer.’ That’s how small towns have conducted commerce since the get-go, and we’d all be well-served to inject that kind of approach to our businesses--no matter how big in scope or vision.”

--Rich Sloan, Author, StartUp Nation


“There are a lot of traits about small town business that offer insights and opportunities for people to leverage in all businesses. Community matters. Relationships matter. People matter. My observation about conversations in a small town is that people care. And businesses that are smart are learning to listen, connect, share, and engage their customers, too. Big business and businesses in general could learn a lot from how a small town works.”

--Jeff Pulver, Cofounder, Vonage; Founder, 140 Characters Conference, VON Conference


“In a small town, word of mouth is the most powerful force there is. Everyone in town knows about the business. If the quality and service are good--or bad--everyone soon knows. That’s why every business should operate like a small town business, no matter where you’re located or how far away your customers come from. When you and your team run your business as if every potential customer will eventually know everything about your business, you naturally will keep quality and service standards high.”

--Anita Campbell, CEO, Small Business Trends, LLC; Author, Visual Marketing


“It is no surprise that big businesses are coming around to the idea of small town style customer experience and service. As customers, we know we prefer the ‘small town’ way of doing things. We like to be treated as human beings, as individuals. We like our loyalty being rewarded, and we like having a person to talk to when things go wrong. When it comes across as natural, rather than forced in an awkwardly fake ‘PR’ way, then it works all the better. The future of business is one customer at a time, just like in small town businesses.”

--Chris Garrett, Coauthor, ProBlogger: The Book


“Small town businesses, by their nature, are genetically encoded to connect, share, and engage.”

--Alan Weinkrantz, Alan Weinkrantz and Company PR


“With a couple of basic tools, like DropBox, Skype, and Google Apps, a small town business can look like a big business with one killer app: You can stay in a small town with the associated lifestyle benefits and lower cost of doing business. Small town businesses are rewriting the rules on what it means to be competitive with their big company rivals for customers and talented employees.”

--John Warrillow, Author, Built to Sell


“Small town businesses understand this better than most any publicly traded company in the world: You must be cash flow positive or it’s your death. As long as you have positive cash flow, you can keep the doors open, expand as much as your cash flow will let you, and try new things. Big businesses are accustomed to running deficits and issuing stock, but these are stopgap measures that more often than not serve to enrich the shareholders as the ship sinks. If your business, big or small, is cash flow positive, then everyone from shareholders to shop floor sweepers will do well.”

--Christopher S. Penn, Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at Blue Sky Factory Email Marketing


“A key to success for any small business is to be actively involved in their community. That feeling of ‘community’ is what drives the web and social media. Now, it’s just about mandatory that businesses of all sizes be active in their respective communities--both online and off. It’s the interaction, the connection with those who support you, that helps make businesses successful today.”

--Leslie McLellan, All Things Social


“During the past four decades, big has gotten the attention in my industry sector. Economies of scale, resources for impressive events. But, what’s becoming clear is that the relationships, the personal attention, the value of doing life together is what matters. I know. I’m a pastor, not a business owner. But, the ideas that Becky and Barry are talking about for what small businesses can teach all business is true in our ‘business.’ While big churches get the press, the number of house churches, of communities of faith, is growing, too. Small, done well, can teach all of us how to live and work better.”

--Jon Swanson, Social Media Chaplain


“Small town business has to do with the basics. Those simpler times that city-dwellers dream about when they’re sitting in a 2-hour traffic jam, listening to their satellite radio, while pounding out meaningless emails and texts on heavily used Blackberrys. Small town businesses are a lot more about handshakes than they are about 14-page contracts that Harvard Law School graduates write…and that no one ever seems to understand. All business owners can learn a lot by watching how business gets done in America’s small towns.”

--Joel Libava, The Franchise King®; Author, Become a Franchise Owner!


“Although the competitiveness of large population areas (between individual businesses) might be tougher, it does not compare to the daily fight for survival in a small town or remote area. This fight for survival brings out the best of entrepreneurial spirit in many small town businesses with innovation, service, and quality. The real treasure of small town business is the heart! Small town businesses are not just serving strangers, but their neighbors, friends, family, or someone who knows these people who are important to them. This natural sincerity that comes from living in small communities can be duplicated in practice by all business, and I believe it is the most valuable asset small business has to share.”

--Laura Girty, NW Field Representative, Rural Enterprises of Oklahoma, Inc.


“Small town business can teach all businesses about efficiency. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of compartmentalizing roles. It’s all hands on deck, working as quickly and seamlessly as possible, to ensure the greatest profit.”

--Alexandra Levit, Author, Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success


“Small town business teaches us that it’s easier to continue to sell to the customer we already know. It’s easy--just provide great value and consistent quality, and you’ll make customers for life.”

--Jim F. Kukral,; Author, Attention: This Book Will Make You Money


“There are more successful small town businesses than there are large corporations. They aren’t a fluke or an accident or an anomaly. They grow from need, vision, risk, and response. The information small town business owners offer is practical, tested, and shared generously. Small town business can be easily underestimated but should never be ignored.”

--Andrea Springer, Springer Coaching and Consulting


“Transparency is the over-used buzzword in the customer-service world of today, thanks to the communication onslaught brought on by the Internet and specifically social media. Due to the ‘everyone knows everyone’ effect of small towns, small town businesses were forced to become masters of transparency a hundred years earlier than the rest of the world.”

--Cody Heitschmidt, Small Town Business Owner


“Small town businesses are lean and mean, which means they have to be creative and innovative to compete and turn a profit. Businesses of all sizes can watch and learn in order to do the same.”

--Gini Dietrich, CEO, Arment-Dietrich;; Coauthor, Marketing in the Round: Multichannel Approaches in the Post-Social Media Era


“Small town business teaches us about community, trust, and relationship--all the current buzzwords that have been the backbone of small town business for more than 100 years.”

--Sarah Robinson, Escaping Mediocrity


“A small town business owner knows that every customer is important and that every customer, employee, vendor, partner, friend, and family member contributes to what makes the business grow. Small town businesses know that relationships and being part of the community are at the heart of every successful business and that a business without a heart won’t survive.”

--Liz Strauss, International Business Strategist; Author, The Secret to Writing a Successful Outstanding Blog;

From the Back Cover

Technology and economics are transforming business in a completely unexpected way: even the largest companies must compete for customers as if they were small, local businesses.


Your customers are talking to their peers everywhere--and listening to each other, not your carefully crafted advertising or branding. Suddenly, communities and personal connec¿tions are critical to your success. It’s just like doing business in a small town, where “reputation is forever.”


Great small town and rural entrepreneurs have been successfully overcoming these challenges for centuries. Their solutions have become invaluable to even the largest companies, most dominant brands, and most cosmopolitan businesses.


In Small Town Rules , Barry J. Moltz and Becky McCray show how to adapt proven “rural” and “local” approaches for today’s new “global small town”: one knitted together through the Web, Facebook, and Twitter. You won’t just learn why these techniques are so valuable; you’ll learn how they’re being applied right now by companies like L.L. Bean, Viking Range, and Walmart.


• 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


Small Town Rules

• You now compete in one “global small town,” where all your customers can talk directly to each other, wherever they are

• Local community and individual human voices matter most

• Your personal reputation counts for more than your marketing, size, or resources


Massive societal, technological, and economic changes have transformed the world into one huge small town. In this new “old” world, size, scale, and resources are no guarantee of success. Your true competitive differentiators are personal relationships in local communities: the reputation you earn from real customers with real voices. For generations, the best small town businesses have competed this way. They haven’t just survived; they’ve thrived. This book reveals what they’ve learned, showing you how to compete and win on a human scale with limited resources—no matter how huge, urban, or global you are.


You may not realize just how much like a small town the business world is today…

• When every customer can talk directly to each other, it’s like a small town

• When people listen more to what your customers say about your company than your advertising, it’s like a small town

• When the individual human voice is valued over corporate mission statements, it’s like a small town

• When everyone online is trying to band together in small communities, it’s like a small town

• When everyone wants to buy their products locally, it’s like a small town


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Que Biz-Tech
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Que Publishing; 1 edition (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789749203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789749208
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By @jamesdalman on April 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Becky McCray and Barry Moltz have put together a classic!

Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy, is down to earth and offers practical business advice that you can apply TODAY. I've read hundreds of business books that discuss great theories, but Small Town Rules presents applicable insight and strategies into how a company brand can operate like a small town community and prosper. And while some of the wisdom that Becky and Barry share are common sense strategies, I have found that many companies forget them and need a refresher course. It is rare that I highlight so many thoughts in one book like I have with this one.

Some of the great takeaways you get in the first few chapters include:

- Companies that hold on to frugality and plan for the long term are the ones best positioned for survival.
- Hard work building trusted relationships is what produces sales.
- Some businesses act as though there is an inexhaustible supply of customers, as they burn and church through buyers, never servicing the ones the already have.
- There's a time to plant new projects, a time to reap new rewards, and a time to prepare for what's next.

I highly recommend that you purchase Small Town Rules and read it. You will gain a very great knowledge in how to build your brand and small business. I truly consider it one of my top 25 business books of all time!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rieva Lesonsky on May 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
For most of America's history, life for the majority of people revolved around small towns and rural communities. The Industrial Revolution put the focus on cities, but now a sea change is taking place--and in "Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy" Barry Moltz and Becky McCray are here to tell you all about it.

Massive shifts in society, technology and the U.S. economy have combined to put people's focus back on the local and personal. As a result, businesses both big and small need to engage with customers on the local and personal level if they want to succeed. In "Small Town Rules," Moltz and McCray share their advice for how big and small businesses alike can learn from the tactics that small-town entrepreneurs have always used.

"Small Town Rules" first examines how businesses can deal with the changes wrought by the Great Recession. Pointing out that business owners in rural areas have long known how to do more with less, plan for disasters and live through lean times, the authors share a variety of ways business owners can be more creative and use their brains (instead of their budgets) to effectively market their businesses. Like people in small towns, who often work more than one job, smart business owners set up multiple income streams so they're not at risk.

Next, the authors look at how technology is changing the face of business and marketing. The spread of remote and virtual work is removing any advantage businesses once enjoyed by virtue of being in a certain location. In addition, online shopping, sharing and reviews are redefining the sense of "community" that once attached to place. "Small Town Rules" shows entrepreneurs how to profit from these changes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Savvy Biz on August 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of author Barry Moltz and enjoy his small business tips and tricks. Barry sent me a copy of the book which I read with interest. Small Town Rules offers a different analogy for thinking about some familiar themes -- for example: think before you act; know your customers; business is about people (no matter what you offer), etc. At times, it reads almost like a primer on social media or a testament to the familiar saying: "Think global; act local". It's about community, interaction, and networking, whether yours is large or small or a B2B or B2C business, with some practical tips about specifically how to do those things. Best values are the 'grey box summaries' at the end of chapters, the Powerhouse Small Town Brand stories, and the Afterword with a synopsis of all the rules and their key messages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Mollie Marti on August 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Barry Moltz and Becky McCray have written a thought-provoking, resource rich book.

Up front, want to say that I received a copy of this book from one of the authors, with no expectation that I would write a specific review. Also think it's relevant that I'm a "small town girl", born and raised in and now choosing to raise my family on a farm outside of a town of 4,000 people...and also a business owner who speaks and consults internationally.

In a time when "community" has become a buzz word for businesses to thrive in the age of social media, this book is a breath of fresh air providing sense and depth around what this truly means.

"Small Town Rules" highlights and helps apply how what small town folks see every day on main street in their community (valuing neighbors; being friendly, honest and helpful; watching out for each other; playing, working and celebrating together) can be put to work to help businesses communicate, serve their customers and build loyalty.

The authors don't paint a rose colored glasses picture of small towns, sharing a list of the downsides of small towns and show how these downsides can be overcome in business (everybody does know everyone else's business...hmmm, does sound like social media).

For me, the book builds up, with the strongest chapters toward the end. My favorite was "How Big Brands and Small Businesses Are Thinking and Acting Small" and the comprehensive, practical Resource section for implementing the Small Town Rules.

I highly recommend Small Town Rules for business owners, entrepreneurs, and any student of communications, marketing or business development.

Mollie Marti, J.D., Ph.D.
Author, "Walking with Justice" and "The 12 Factors of Business Success"
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