on April 6, 2012
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!
on May 10, 2012
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.
Finally, "Small Town Rules" examines the social changes taking place, including the growing interest in social responsibility, buying local and "thinking small" that is redefining how Americans shop and consume. With even huge, global companies focusing on their local impacts and how their brands affect the planet, small businesses need to do the same.
McCray, a small town entrepreneur whose blog, Small Biz Survival, focuses on small town business, and Moltz, a serial entrepreneur and author, know what they're talking about and pepper the book with plenty of ideas for creative financing, creative staffing and creative marketing. Each chapter ends with an easy-to-read summation, a checklist of rules to follow and "a look ahead" that asks whether these rules will be relevant in the future.
More than anything, what "Small Town Rules" offers is a refreshing perspective on national and global changes that can often seem overwhelming. By pointing out that small town businesses have always survived--and even thrived--under adverse conditions, the authors give readers the sense of hope and energy that's so essential to keep their small businesses moving forward.
on June 14, 2012
Just by looking at the 7 Small Town Rules you might not get a good idea on how deep of an explanation Barry & Becky go into this book.
Not only did this book debunk with clear explanations some negative small town mentality and business myths it helped me see the positive side of how to approach a healthy & productive small town mindset.
I see this book as a guide for any entrepreneur in any part of the world who needs to understand how to build a lean business model that will prepare him for Zero while helping him move along and succeed.
I highly recommend this book and will be carrying it on Kindle App as a reference book to explain many concepts to many of my clients.
on August 30, 2012
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.
on August 6, 2012
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"
on July 26, 2012
As a lifelong farmer still living in the same small town I was born in, and as a person new to the ins and outs of marketing a small civil engineering business, I was impressed with the thoughts and suggestions brought forth by Moltz and McCray in "Small Town Rules."
I've found other texts or heard other speakers talk about "small towns"--towns of 25,000 or even 50,000. (To me, that's not a small town, and the observations and assumptions of doing business in a city of 25,000 are going to be somewhat different from a town of 3,000.) The authors of this book, however, are speaking to a true small town in my mind: population 0 to 7,000 or so. To me, this provides great credibility and authority on the subject, as they truly know the meaning of "small town."
Specifically, I liked the chapter on "How Big Brands and Small Businesses Are Thinking and Acting Small." The mainstays of small towns--being friendly, knowing everyone, watching out for each other, etc.--are so perfectly aligned by the authors with ingenious, practical strategies to make communication and customer service with clients and consumers personal, relevant, and successful.
In addition to the great business guidance in the book, "Small Town Rules" was a nice review of the reasons I love living in a town of 1,300. Sometimes small town residents only see the negative aspects of living in a small town, but Moltz and McCray remind us that the things that make small towns challenging to live in and do business in (e.g. everyone knows everyone else's business, there's no diversity, etc.) can be overcome in constructive ways and even turned into positives by residents and business owners alike.
If I could improve the book at all, I think I would add a little more narrative, conversational tonality to the text. Some of the prose seemed a bit sterile and scholastic--I enjoy a warmer, more story-like approach to business guides, as it helps me focus my attention and keeps the pages turning. Also, many of the topics covered revolved closely around the recent economic recession in the U.S., and I might speculate that down the road the book may lose some of its relevance.
Regardless, I would recommend "Small Town Rules" for any business person who wants to formulate an honest, straightforward, down-to-earth approach to marketing and business development.
on October 25, 2013
Becky McCray is one of the foremost small business advisors I know. This content of this book is just what you'd expect from her. She and Barry make a great team and I highly recommend this read to anyone who owns a small business in a small town!
on July 4, 2012
When I was growing up, one of the most popular marketing catch-phrases was "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!". Regarding the book Small Town Rules, the same (To me) still applies. Due to the economic mess that America still finds itself in the middle of, it seems that all roads out of this economic mess leads to small towns, using the same figurative road map that small town businesses have been using for hundreds of years.
The book Small Town Rules asks us (The readers) to stand back, and observe the humble economic infrastructure of the average small town. Small towns by their very population and geographic locations are insular. Tourists on average don't consider small towns when they are planning vacations. Urban planning commissions armed with financial earmarks don't consider small towns. Small town economies are very self-sufficient, because they have to be. Business owners in small towns must make do with the financial and the organic resources that they have available. More to the point, people in small towns are raised to be resilient entrepreneurs. They are bred to understand that hard times are a part of life and natural disasters, lack of resources, personal disasters, etc., must be prepared for and expected. Due to practicality and preparation, generation after generation, the small town business model still endures.
One would marvel that in spite of all of the inherent economic disadvantages that small towns have, small town businesses still prosper and endure. They might not be able to compete with big city entities or with huge corporations when it comes to revenue generation, but small town businesses are often passed down from generation to generation. These are businesses that are literally built to last, and to stand the test of time. How do these small town businesses manage to endure? This is the lesson of the book, and the authors are all too glad to share "small town rules" that are applicable to businesses of all sizes, in any geographic location.
This book is a study in creativity, resilience, disaster preparedness, team work, and financial sobriety. This book also makes the glaring statement that the rules of engagement have changed, forever. Any business entity that fails to accept these changes will be left behind, or lost forever. The smart business entity will enjoy the benefits of 21st century leadership, by applying principles that have helped many small town entities to create a solid foundation.
on July 11, 2012
Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses can Prosper in a Connected Economy (Hardcover)
Being an author (Fountains of Life: Choose the Life You Want to Live) and the owner of two small but viable businesses (LaPlaca's Landscaping and The art of Successful Living), I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of strategies and insights shared by McCray and Moltz which can be implemented NOW to enhance the growth of your business.
Far more powerful than the seven rules for doing business the small town way are the stories that illustrate them. The facts eventually will be forgotten, but the stories (and then morals) will remain in the minds/hearts of the readers. Finally, we have someone "singing the praises" (and justly so) of small towns and the businesses located there!
Until I "absorbed" this book, frugality had a negative connotation to me. I highly recommend this book and plan to implement several of the key ideas NOW (NOW is WON spelled backwards!), so I do not lose them (UsE or LOSE).
author of Fountains of Life: Choose the Life You Want to Live
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on August 15, 2012
Bottom line: The advise in Small Town Rules is useful in these changing times of economic and social upheaval in the market place.
Small Town Rules provides ideas to think about for weathering the economic storm whose conditions look to becoming the new norm. The idea of endless linear growth may be over. Small Town Rules connects the survival tools of businesses that have managed to survive in rural economies that have seen similar downturns on a smaller scale.
The book also reflects on the changes in our social structure brought on by the Internet and the ability for society to create social structures that are no longer limited by geography. The impact of which creates a "small town" of ones customers where, for better or worse, everyone knows your business. Small Town Rules discusses how your business can take advantage of this new small town in order to provide a better customer experience.
In the end, Moltz and McCray provide a resource list of links to dive deeper into the ideas and suggestions made in the book.