A small town can be a difficult place to succeed in business. Any business needs sufficient customers to help keep it afloat, and the customer base, by definition, is smaller in a small town. On the plus side, property leases and other costs of business tend to be lower in a small town than they are in a large city.
Most small towns are not known for their culinary adventurousness, because the population is not diverse enough to support a lot of different ethnic cuisine. If you are a die-hard foodie with a lot of daring, open up a small combination grocery store and cafe that specializes in food from other cultures. To make this work, you will need to be a master marketer who knows how to lure people in to try something that they might not normally try. Offer live music and weekly specials on things such as chicken chimichangas, miso soup or cous cous salad. Once they have discovered the joys of new food varieties, locals will thank your creative contribution to their town.
A bison ranch is a creative alternative to the beef cattle that are usually found in commercial agriculture. Bison are hardy animals, and unlike cows are native to North America, making them more compatible with local ecosystems. Bison meat can be marketed as a specialty food at higher prices than beef, and their skins can be tanned and made into blankets, clothing and rugs. Bison are unusual enough that people will want to come to your ranch to look at them. Providing an on-site store to your ranch will provide an opportunity for adding income to your ranch.
Bungee jumping opportunities are somewhat limited by geography, unless you want to invest in a giant crane. If you live in a hilly area near a bridge that is high above a river, take advantage of this fact by starting a bungee jumping business. Believe it or not, people will pay you to tie a rubber band to their feet and throw them off a bridge. A decommissioned railroad bridge is best. Be aware that you will almost certainly have numerous municipal hoops through which you will have to jump to get permission to do this, as well as substantial insurance premiums.
Haunted houses work best as seasonal entertainments, being run primarily through October as a lead-up to Halloween. For maximum success, you will need access to an old Victorian mansion, preferably abandoned and somewhat run down. If you don't own one yourself, convince the owner to rent it to you for the month of October. Hire local high school kids to help you make it into a terrifying place, and to work as your monsters when your clients wander through. Charge people a free to wander around in the dark and be scared half to death by zombies, vampires and the undead. And don't forget to sell them a T-shirt before they go.
- the school zone in a small town image by Gary from Fotolia.com