Rangeviews: Website aims at helping small business with features, tips

Peggy Sanders
Oral, S.D.

How is a small town business supposed to remain viable with the competition from larger towns?

If that is your question, may have the answers you need. The information provided by Becky McCray and Deb Brown will get the ideas flowing.

Who are these ladies? Becky is from Kansas and is a cattle rancher and owner of a liquor store. In other words she understands the problems of small town commerce, along with those in the beef industry.

In 2006 she went into the business of sharing ideas to small towns, and by now has extensive knowledge and helpful hints. Deb is the outgoing, highly energetic executive director of the Webster City, Iowa chamber. Put their two heads together and innovative, inspiring ideas flow.

“Stores in these towns could do much to help themselves if they only would.”

They explained small towns across the country struggle with economies and the storekeepers often blame someone else, such as the bigger towns or the big box stores. In truth, stores in these towns could do much to help themselves if they only would. Free and brief informational messages can arrive in your email each business day if you sign up through Links to the past messages are also featured, so when you jump in it’s easy to gain new ideas.

Every Friday the daily message is “The Brag Basket,” in which readers can weigh in about what is going well in their town. For example a gal from Wall, S.D., wrote, “after watching the ‘Changing Small Town Attitudes Toward Entrepreneurship’ webinar, we held a ‘Coffee and Calendars’ event. We have since created an online community calendar! This was a community need that is now filled.”

For deeper research into a topic, you can find links and extensive information on the website. These include daily briefs for inspiration or dive deeper into a scenario for personal education. Ideas from how to attract independent workers to computer-based businesses to crafts and arts creators and to small towns are listed on the website. Another one is titled, “Why Are You in Business?” That may be an eye-opener. There is a primer on switching from a cash register, paper driven record keeping system to an iPad point-of-sale system.

Monthly live-streamed workshops are available for a very small fee; these programs are filmed and remain available online for two weeks. They are inspiring for groups to watch together and then follow with a discussion or individuals can watch on their own.

Recent webinar topics have been, “Bringing Big Ideas to Life,” “Filling Empty Buildings,” and “Filling the Downtown Gaps.”

Each month Small Biz Survival features a one-hour on-line webinar for a small fee. The beauty of it is the webinar is available for an additional two weeks, in case you weren’t able to go to the initial broadcast with the local group or individually on your home computer.

Besides the previously mentioned website, Becky’s own website is and Deb’s is Each of these has helpful information that is separate from the biz website. ❖


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