Remote areas are a goldmine for any business person willing to take the risk. Increase in income among the rural folk has seen an improvement in consumer purchasing power and therefore demand for products and services. However, it is not an easy task to penetrate the market in a remote area. You will face challenges such as underdeveloped infrastructure systems and lack of proper distribution channels among others. Here are ways in which you can overcome these challenges and run a successful business in remote areas:
Conduct market research
This is the most important factor that is key to a business in a remote area. You need to understand the target customer base for your product. Get to know the community’s income levels, the purchasing power of the basic family in that community, their needs and how much they would be willing to spend for that product. This will help you identify your prospective customers and their characteristics such as age group and social class among others. Tip! Have a look at what grants you could get in a rural area.
Gain the trust of the local community
Unlike urban businesses that are profit-centred, remote businesses need to community-centred. Urban businesses have the numbers to keep them going after all. If you want to achieve long-term success, then you need to earn the trust of the community around you. Establish a long-term relationship by providing consistent, efficient, reliable and cost-effective products. If the community is satisfied with your services and are able to identify with the product, you will be able to retain existing customers and attract prospective ones.
Develop appropriate distribution channels
The success of any business depends on the product or service reaching the intended customer base. Since people in remote areas may be highly dispersed over a large area, it is often difficult to get access to them. You can develop a multilayer distribution channel where you have sub-distributors at different points. You can also have a delivery van to take the product to the customers’ doorsteps. Ensure you have excellent communication with your retailers to ensure the product is always available to the customers.
Use rural marketing strategies
Businesses in remote areas need marketing strategies tailored to rural areas. One of the best marketing strategies for a remote area business is to identify and develop rural talent into the business. They are in a better position to understand the mindset of their people and can work with them easily. Locals are also likely to embrace business that gives opportunities to their own. There is no better strategy for a remote business than training and promoting a local up among the ranks. You can also use the services of local influencers and opinion leaders to market the business.
Proper inventory management
Inventory management will help the business have a clear view of how best they can cater to the needs of their customers, where they are doing and where they need to improve and whether their marketing strategies are working. The inventory helps keep a regular update of which products are moving and which ones are slow and how the different categories of customers are responding to the different products.
Have a corporate social responsibility strategy
Corporate social responsibility is a way for your business to give back to the community. Participate in the development of communal infrastructure and facilities such as the construction of dispensaries, environmental conservation efforts and giving scholarships to needy students. You can also organize workshops for the unemployed rural youth to equip them with job skills even if they won’t be absorbed by the business. This will go a long way in helping the business integrate into the community and gain acceptance.
If you’re based in a rural area but you want to target an urban public, you need to re-think again. Some businesses are based in rural areas, but attract visitors from the cities. Hotels, for example, could be based in the forest or close to the ocean, but they don’t necessarily market to their local area. For instance, if you had one of the best hotels in Tasmania, you probably wouldn’t advertise in Hobart. You’d advertise in Melbourne, right? The same goes for experiences. If someone is looking for a hotel package in Tasmania, they probably don’t live there. So make sure you tailor your strategy based on your ideal customer.