Absolut vodka goes local through partner distillers

May 30th, 2014 → 10:35 pm @

Our Vodka Berlin

Pernod Ricard, owner of Absolut vodka, is building a terrific connection following Small Town Rule 7: Build Your Local Connections. They are working with local distilling entrepreneurs worldwide on a project called Our/Vodka. Each will be called by the local city name, like Our/Austin or Our/Melbourne.

The local partner will open micro-distilleries that will produce vodka following a set recipe but by using local ingredients. Our/Berlin is open now. Watch for new openings in Detroit in June, with Seattle, New York, Amsterdam, Los Angeles and London planned later this year. Austin, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans and Melbourne are planned in 2015.

Story source: Shanken News Daily.

Photo source: screenshot from OurVodka.com.


Piggly Wiggly is proud of being local “since forever”

November 7th, 2013 → 8:32 am @

Regional supermarket chain Piggly Wiggly is proudly proclaiming their localness as a selling point. This is exactly how to do Rule 7: Be Local. 

“At Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company, we know what it means to be ‘local.’ Our founder, Joe Newton, had a vision when he started this grocery store chain in 1947 — to buy local, sell local, hire local and invest in the community. Today, we’re 100% employee owned and Joe’s vision holds true. The Pig has more than 100 stores and over 4,000 employee owners throughout South Carolina and southeastern Georgia. We support local businesses and farms. We invest in the communities of which we are a part. Piggly Wiggly is, and will always be, local since forever.”

Source: BALLE


Plan for Zero: Small biz owners sacrifice their own pay

October 30th, 2013 → 8:32 am @

Pizza place owner at work

These two bits from a 2012 Citibank small business survey really stood out as Rule 1: Plan for Zero moments. Both business owners and employees have gone without or delayed pay, to help the business survive.

Almost one quarter of business owners have gone a year or more without pay to keep their business alive. 

 “In addition to using their own money to help their business survive (69 percent), the majority of small-business owners (54 percent) say they have gone without a paycheck. Looking back over the history of their businesses, almost one-quarter (23 percent) have gone without pay for one year or more.”

“Demonstrating true commitment, employees showed thanks by their own investment in the success of the company: more than one-third (38 percent) of owners say their employees worked additional hours without pay; another 18 percent credit their employees with voluntarily missed or delayed paychecks.”

If you don’t seriously plan for zero in your business, you’re putting the business at risk.

Photo: pizza place owner happy at work in downtown Austin, Texas. Photo by Becky McCray.



Small Town banks know lots that big banks don’t

October 24th, 2013 → 9:09 am @

Bank ad

The Small Town Rules secret is out: small town banks know a lot of things big banks don’t. Bloomberg Businessweek author Brendan Greely picked up on it in a story, “Rural banks know something big banks don’t.”

“It turns out small, rural banks make smarter loans,” Greely said. It’s the soft knowledge, the un-quantifiable personal factors, that make smarter loans. And community banks excel at knowing the people. It also helps that rural bankers face their borrowers and investors daily in the community.

“We don’t make bad loans,” Louisana community banker Albert Christman says. “They’re way too expensive to do.”

New regulations aimed at bad loans in big banks are hurting small community banks, raising their overhead in a time when margins are low. The result is many rural community banks looking to expand modestly by acquiring banks in neighboring towns, but existing bankers are in no mood to sell. They’re just as invested in their local community.

Original article: Rural banks know something big banks don’t

Photo: 2008 ad from a Community Bank in Alva, Oklahoma. Photo by Becky McCray.


Consumers prefer small businesses for real human reasons

October 19th, 2013 → 11:06 pm @

Why do consumers choose small businesses today? It’s personal.

A web.com sponsored survey found 85% of consumers said they chose small businesses because they are:

  • personal, intimate, human, face-to-face
  • easy to to business with
  • customer focused

There’s never been a better time to be Small in business (Rule 6). Consumers are ready to accept you for just the size you are. In fact, consumers defined small business as 25 or fewer employees, so forget about that 500 employee rule from the SBA.

83% also said they wanted the small business they choose to be online and active on social media. So consumers seem to want to extend that personal, human relationship online, too.

Get a copy of the report and infographic at Web.com’s press room.

The online survey, fielded by Toluna Research from August 9-15, 2013, had 3,000 total respondents, out of whom 850 (28%) were Small Business Decision Makers in organizations with fewer than 25 employees. The survey has a ±2.25% to 2.74% margin of error at 95% confidence at the 3,000 “all respondent level” and a ±3.00% to 3.49% margin of error at 95% confidence for the 850 SBDMs.


AlwaysOn Ranks Becky McCray As A 2013 Power Player In Technology Business Media

October 4th, 2013 → 8:24 pm @



AlwaysOn announced their Power Players in Technology Business Media list, honoring the the editors, writers, and bloggers in the technology world who are keeping the Global Silicon Valley connected and informed. Becky McCray was included for her work at her award-winning blog Small Biz Survival.

“This year’s Power Players in Technology Business Media list spans a wide range of jounalistic talent, from established reporters, writers, and editors for multi-national news organizations to independent writers and bloggers crossing over from the venture capital community,” said AlwaysOn’s Shannon Calvin. “This year’s inaugural list highlights an impressive group of talented and opinionated people who are covering the issues that matter in the Global Silicon Valley, keeping the world informed on the best ideas and trends in technology.”

This adds to the awards received for the book Small Town Rules, including the Small Business Book Awards 2013 and the Best Small Business Books Published in 2012 from the NFIB.


How to identify your national brand with local ties

August 21st, 2013 → 3:17 pm @

Rustic painted sign says, "Vote for your favorite Main Street."


Paint company Benjamin Moore is identifying with Main Streets through a campaign to repaint 20 downtowns. They’re backing it up with TV commercials praising downtowns, the “three-story highrise,” and the small businesses that typify Small Town Rules.



National chains can borrow local connections

August 14th, 2013 → 8:17 pm @


Sign says, "The Shops at Target"


Even national retail chains can borrow some local connections.

The Shops at Target are a new type of collaboration, taking products from small shops, “the shops we stumbled upon and couldn’t help but fall in love with” and putting them in Target stores around the country for six-week runs. And not just stacking them in, but recreating each business’s unique aesthetic with personalized displays.

Usually, Target is known for working with big-name designers and luxury clothing brands. This is completely different, focusing on the small. Stores have included The Candy Store, Cos Bar, Polka Dog Bakery, Privet House, The Webster, Boston-based Patch NYC, Manhattan fashion boutiques Kirna Zabête and Odin, and The Curiosity Shoppe from San Francisco.

Photo source: Target PR.



More “Local Pride” examples

June 14th, 2013 → 3:03 pm @

More examples of what we call “local pride” merchandise. It’s all part of Rule 7: Be Local.

This one is T shirts with your home state, from The Home T. Not as localized as, say Neighborhoodies, which localized down to the block for New Yorkers.

The Home T - localized t shirts


And here’s an Etsy shop with Local Pride necklaces, Ottava Designs, from Willington, Connecticut (population 5,900). They even place the heart over your hometown.

Necklaces with state-shaped pendants


Chris Brogan works Anywhere, Anywhen from his small town

May 9th, 2013 → 11:46 am @

As we celebrate the one year anniversary of Small Town Rules and winning a 2013 Small Business Book Award, we’ve asked a few friends to share the rules that are a part of their business every day. Today, Chris Brogan tells his small town story of working anywhere, anywhen.

Every business can take advantage of the same tool, using cloud storage services like Google Docs or SkyDrive.

That implies an important safety rule, and Chris explains in this quick 1 minute video.