Key research findings include:
- Americans are on the move—and rural businesses are feeling it: With rural America losing population, rural entrepreneurs (45.3%) are significantly more likely than non-rural entrepreneurs (25.5%) to say that population trends impact their business.
- Rural businesses are hurting for workers: Population shifts create challenges for small rural employers, over a third of which (35.9%) say there are few qualified workers in their area.
- Rural entrepreneurs struggle with more expenses and fewer customers: Rising fuel costs (49.3%), slowing customer spending (48.6%), tight marketing budgets (47.6%) and a limited local customer base (34.6%) are their most vexing customer-related challenges, rural small businesses say.
- The technology gap between rural and non-rural businesses persists: Rural entrepreneurs (19.2%) are twice as likely as non-rural entrepreneurs (9%) to cite broadband/high-speed internet access as a technology challenge. Small businesses in both rural and non-rural areas, meanwhile, say they’re challenged by a lack of technology knowledge or assistance.
- Health insurance is a competitive advantage: Rural (35.3%) and non-rural (36.4%) entrepreneurs agree that better health care options would help them succeed, especially as they struggle to compete with larger employers for qualified talent.
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