Our latest infographic examines the benefits and challenges of running a small business in rural America.
Self-employment has dropped across the country since 1990, but it has remained higher in rural areas than suburbs and cities.
Percentage of self-employed in:
- Rural areas:
- 8.4% in 1988
- 6.5% in 2016
- 7% in 1988
- 6% in 2016
- Central cities:
- 5.2% in 1988
- 5.7% in 2016
Rural small businesses are comparable in revenue and profit to urban companies.
- <$100k: 21% of both rural and urban small businesses
- $100k-$1m: 52% of rural; 49% of urban
- $1m-$10m: 24% of rural and 26% of urban
- >$10m: 3% of rural and 4% of urban
- 56% of rural small businesses were profitable
- 53% of urban small businesses were profitable
80% of rural small business owners believe the quality of life and cost of living are much better in rural areas, BUT they cite challenges.
Challenge #1: Access to capital
40% of rural small business owners have trouble accessing capital so most use personal savings.
Funding sources (selected all that apply):
- Personal savings: 71%
- Loan from a community bank or credit union: 14%
- Investments or gifts from friends & family: 13%
- Loan from a large bank: 6%
- Angel investor or seed funding: 4%
- Online lender: 3%
- Crowdfunding: 3%
Challenge #2: Access to workforce
Barriers to finding workers:
- 74%: Finding candidates with the right education, skills or training
- 72%: Finding candidates with the right kind of experience
- 69%: Lack of talent pool in my area
- 53%: Finding candidates willing to relocate to my area
Challenge #3: Access to connectivity
Digital technology increased gross sales for rural small businesses by 17.2% during the past three years. Twenty percent generate at least 80% of their revenue by selling online. BUT…
- 56% of rural small businesses do NOT have good access to digital technology
- 20.6% do NOT have high-speed broadband
- 5.4% still use dial-up access
Whether your business is rural, suburban, urban or online, SCORE mentors are available in 300 chapters across the country and online.
Infographic designed by Easel.ly.