Can Small Businesses Fare Well in an Urban Market?

Small business in urban market

We have talked before about the classification of small businesses which usually refers to any business with less than five employees but still brings in a substantial amount of money.   In this particular post when we say small business but in the context of including the at home business that hasn’t even started to generate an income.

A big misconception is that many businesses that fit into this category believe that they will probably never grown enough to be a threat to the “big guns” in their industry.   They should not totally think this way because any business if it is run properly and the circumstances are right can become a force to be reckoned with.

It is also a misconception to think that a business has to be located in the hub of the city to be successful.   This may have been an advantage at one time, but this has slowly changed and can be for a few reasons.

Businesses that now operate out of the urban areas can do quite nicely partly because there has been a lot of growth for example like in the GTA. Many of these residents commute to the downtown core but that doesn’t mean that they continue to do all their shopping there.   Many prefer to shop in their home area because it is convenient.

It may be that the urban business has to be a little more aggressive with their marketing.   This includes both online and off line tactics.   Many people living in the urban areas will now use their mobiles to seek out businesses in the area that can meet their needs.   It is unlikely they are going to drive around to seek these businesses out.   In the rural areas there may be fewer shopping malls where every need can be met.   There may be plenty of plazas but even these only consist of a small number of stores, and often means the shopper needs to visit more than one to get their needs met.

One of the biggest factors about rural businesses is they must have a higher caliber of customer service.  There is a general concept that country shopping which rural shopping is often referred to should have a warmer atmosphere to it.   It is the form of customer service that is offered that creates that atmosphere.

In many ways the urban market is much more targeted.  It is important that businesses that are doing businesses here know who their target market is and is able to directly meet their wants and needs.   In a downtown core business you can play with the numbers.  Meaning that there are so many potential shoppers at any given time that most likely the businesses there will have what a good portion of what a certain numbers of the consumers want.

Urban businesses have a lot of advantages and it is important that the business owners here identify those advantages and put them to good use.


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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
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Toronto, Ontario
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