I grew up in a very, very small town in Ohio. There are only 12,000 people in the town and every body knows everybody. Being a small town (ahem – a small business even) has it’s huge advantages and of course it’s disadvantages.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kat Mandelstein of IBM at SXSW this year and we discussed what big businesses can learn from small businesses in this video interview.
Over the weekend I was reading, with interest “Small Town Rules: How Big Brands and Small Businesses Can Prosper in a Connected Economy” by my friends Barry Moltz (Chicago – big town) and Becky McCraw (Woods County, Oklahoma).
The book is a refreshing look at the advantages that small towns have and what lessons we can all learn by thinking small.
For example, the “small town plan for zero”, is pretty neat. It reminds us, what VCs and successful startup folks (like Scott Hintz founder of TripIt) have said for years. If you have TOO much money you’ll spend it and you don’t think as nimbly and creatively as if you have little or no money. When you’re a small town and you have few resources you MUST pull together and do more with less.
Small Town Rules is not an intellectual masterpiece of thought that leaves you floating. Instead it’s a brass and tacks, bread and butter, hammer and nail MANUAL for succeeding when you’re small. It’s not the book for an army of 10,000 going against 1,000. It’s a survival guide for a solo entrepreneur who wants to do big things or for the big company who needs to continue to be and act small.
It’s got a nice resource section in the back as well.