Smaller communities function much like an involuntary social club. People, of all demographics in that club, are sensitive to how this office will make the town appear. People in small towns take pride in the area that “belongs” to them. No town wants to be known as “backwards” or “unsightly”. Every town, no matter the size, wants to be seen as reasonably progressive and respectable. If a town only has a handful of businesses, one that does not fit with the culture of the community will stand out like a sore thumb and eventually fail because no one will go to a place where the organizational principles conflict with their own.
For this reason, it is very important to research the area and get to know the community in order to open an office that is well received. For example, a person with no credibility in the town would fail at opening a tax preparation office. Whoever opens the office needs to be a credible member of the community in order to handle business dealing with this personal type of information. Whether he or she is credible within the community due to PTA meetings or due to having lived his or her whole life there has no bearing. Is this person sociable? When he or she goes to the bank, will there be friendly small talk? These characteristics about the person affect the way the new business will be viewed. This small talk and community interaction sets the office up for loyalty and longevity within the town, which could prevent other individuals or businesses from attempting to open an office and compete for your customers. Also, the office can not have an air of brevity. Small towns respect businesses that are dedicated to its patrons.
One of the main advantages to start a tax preparation business in a small town is the longevity you can create with a solid business plan. By actions and not words, this business must make it apparent that they intend to operate within the community indefinitely. Another advantage is that most rural areas are beyond the scope of large franchising corporations because of low population density. Large corporations or franchises will not see profit quickly from this venture after a new building is built and a large marketing campaign is launched. Small towns have enough interaction to give people a sense of security, allowing an office to operate out of the proprietor’s house, or existing business. This causes only a minimal increase in overhead for the business owner who will start making money as soon as he or she begins preparing taxes. As for marketing and advertising, these towns are their own intertwined social networks: everyone knows everyone else; news moves fast in small circles. This a very good thing, assuming news about your new tax business is met with eager anticipation and trust. People in the community get excited for you, as a friend, and they help you spread the word without even having to asking for the favor. Knowing everyone in the town enables the proprietor to go confidently door to door to personally ask for their business and invite them into his or her home or office.
Opening an office in a small town has many benefits for a motivated, credible tax preparation business entrepreneur. If executed properly, a tax office, opened in an underserved market like a small town, can become a staple of the community, resilient to the attacks of larger corporate offices who have no tangible ties. As we approach the end of the large corporate era, the pendulum swings back to benefit the small business owners who stand up and take a risk for their family and friends, and their small town.