Is Rural Development Right for Your Business?

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There are pros and cons in commercial real estate with both rural development and choosing an existing metropolitan structure.

While some potential business owners are nervous about the sustainability of building a new structure, others believe building in a rural area promotes further growth of the area. The decision of whether to build or buy an existing structure lies within the needs of the business, and the potential of the rural area to develop into a viable commercial zone.

Rural development might mean building a retail facility in an area that may or may not be able to sustain the business itself. Business owners that consider building in a rural area must take a careful look at the population and have a strong idea of how their business will be received by the public. If your business is retail-based, it would be beneficial to look into the retail spending patterns in that area. 

While rural development business owners can't predict the future, they can look at trends of the area, and make an informed decision as to whether the business is suitable for that particular region. When considering building in a rural area, some points to consider are:

  • How far do consumers currently travel for the same goods or services?
  • If there is a true need for the goods or services you have to offer?
  • If the population is in a growth period, or the area has seen a population decline?
  • Available laborshed/ Potential laborshed
  • The zoning regulations of the rural development area
  • The potential for business growth in the area

While these considerations may seem simple, it's important to study the market and population where you are going to build a new business.

Rural development takes consideration and analysis if you want to be successful. Commuting patterns, for example, might be indicative of competition that might not be close to the rural community, but close to the commuter routes for the residents of that community. Existing developments can serve as an anchor for business development. Often times, shopping centers or other developments are built with space for other businesses to fill in. This provides the advantage of working on an existing route and using an established structure.

If you look at an existing structure that needs a lot of work, this might give you the push you need to consider a more rural location where you can afford to build a new building. Constructing a new building might also be appropriate if your needs are drastically different than existing developments in the area offer.

Repurposing an existing building has potential advantages. Zoning and planning are likely going to be less of a burden. Using an existing building is also a chance to give new purpose and life to a building that might otherwise be abandoned. North Carolina implements a building reuse program that incentivizes the reconditioning of existing structures and land developments. The Golden Leaf Foundation and the NC Rural Center both offer grants to assist with the cost of building reuse.

Opening a business carries risks, regardless of whether you’re in an urban environment or rural development.

Consider the benefits of building or operating in a rural environment and repurposing an existing structure. Establishing your business in the community is crucial to success, so it is important to consider that community. Knowing trends and expectations for growth of the surrounding areas can help establish a timeframe and give further considerations.

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