The value of England’s rural economy is around a fifth of the national total, and the vast majority of rural businesses are very small.
A report published last year by the Commission for Rural Communities looked at ways in which some micro-businesses in rural areas had managed to thrive, despite the challenging economic conditions.
It identified the following factors behind the continuing success of some rural micro-businesses:
• Many farmers and other small businesses have diversified by letting out accommodation for other businesses to use;
• Small companies, such as food producers or providers of holiday accommodation, have found success by identifying a niche market, either with a rural-focused product, or in a location where that product is currently hard to obtain;
• Successful small, rural shops and other small businesses have often benefited from developing a very deep understanding of the needs of their local market, and adapting to meet them;
• Some businesses offering holiday accommodation or leisure facilities in rural areas, for example, have found ways of packaging their products and selling them to a wider market.
• Some farmers have been able to use an idyllic rural location to market business units in former farm buildings;
• Some small business have found that costs such as rent, rates and parking charges can be lower in rural areas, compared to urban.