Running a Business Successfully in a Challenging Economy Using Small Town Rules

It goes without saying that the past few years have been “the worst of times” for many small business owners. Uncertainty, lack of resources, lack of revenues… we’ve seen it all. Many businesses have completely disappeared. Yet there are those that have survived and even thrived during these challenging times. What’s their secret?

Two of our Sobcon community’s best, Becky McCray and Barry Moltz, have written a new book titled, Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy. In it they share some of the time-tested strategies that small, rural businesses have adopted to weather the storms (figuratively or literally!) and even grow.

That’s why we’re so excited to have Becky and Barry on our November 15 Sobcon Twitter chat to discuss some ways that small and online businesses can restructure, retool and refuel for success during economic challenges. Here are topics we’ll be discussing:

  • What is Planning for Zero and why should you do so? Shouldn’t you plan for growth?
  • You suggest spending brains before bucks. Ways to do that?
  • How does one keep focus when pursuing Multiple Lines of Income?
  • How do you know whether to keep going or go out of business when times get tough?
  • Is a “Connected Economy” only social media? What about offline?

BARRY J. MOLTZ founded and ran small businesses for more than 15 years. He has since founded angel investor groups and funds and advised the Angel Capital Education Foundation. An Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame member, Moltz’s first book, You Need to Be A Little Crazy, has been translated into four languages worldwide. His second book, Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and the Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success, shows how to come back from failure and develop true business confidence. He is also the author of BAM! Delivering Customer Service in a Self-Service World. He has appeared on TV and radio programs, including The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, MSNBC’s Your Business and The Tavis Smiley Show, and hosts his own web radio show, Business Insanity Talk Radio, with guests ranging from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh to Guy Kawasaki, Craig Newmark, and Seth Godin.

BECKY MCCRAY is a small town entrepreneur, with a cattle ranch, a retail liquor store and other businesses in Woods County, Oklahoma. A recognized small business and social media expert, she has spoken internationally to over 100 conferences on small business, rural issues and social media, including SXSW Interactive, BlogWorld Expo, the International Economic Development Council, 140 Characters Conferences, Revitalize Washington, and the Michigan Small Town and Rural Development Conference. She publishes one of the top 20 small business blogs in the world, Small Biz Survival, focused on small town small business and has been featured in Inc., The New York Times, BusinessWeek, and Entrepreneur magazine. In 2011, she was named one of 100 Small Business Influencers, and she is listed as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter.

What do they have in common?

While Barry Moltz lives in Chicago (population about 2.7 million) and Becky McCray lives in Hopeton, Oklahoma, (population about 30), they do share some common characteristics.

Both are entrepreneurs. Barry has had three businesses of his own. Becky started her first business in junior high school, and currently owns a liquor store and a cattle ranch along with her husband. (She also has a number of smaller side businesses.)

Both talk openly about success and failure. Both have been fired. Both have gone out of business. Barry has been kicked out of business by his own partners, and he sold his last business during the Internet bubble of 1999. Becky has run for public office and lost, started businesses that went no where, and has succeeded in building stable businesses in times of intense economic turmoil.

Barry also brings experience with large corporations through his time with IBM. Becky adds experience in agriculture, nonprofit and governmental organizations.

They wrote the book by collaborating almost entirely online, meeting in person only a few times.

We look forward to seeing YOU on on Sobcon Twitter chat on November 15th, 2012.