We’ve recently talked a lot about what we learned during the first few years of our Virtual Business Incubator. A program that has helped activate over 100+ businesses in 60 rural communities across EVERY region of Nova Scotia (and beyond) in just 24 months.
Our program resonated with people, and we wanted to know what it was! From 2018 to 2020, we had over 450 applications for 200 spots. When we interviewed everyone who participated in these first few cohorts, the vast majority revealed an interesting fact:
Before working with us, they had NEVER participated in any business or entrepreneurship program, despite the fact there were a TON of resources on their doorstep.
They felt this way because they felt the resources in their community weren’t “for them”–ie. They didn’t “feel” like entrepreneurs and felt that existing programs were meant for people with “real” businesses.
To repeat: this wasn’t a minority opinion. This is how most of the people we spoke to felt. How many hundreds and thousands of people felt this way? This insight tells us that there is a MASSIVE pool of untapped talent sitting on the sidelines in every rural community.
The Magic Word To Unlock Rural Communities: Approachability.
Entrepreneurs need to know that their local resources are ABSOLUTELY designed for them. There are a few different ways we can communicate that message.
First of all: it’s not enough to be available and accessible. These are both great qualities, and many programs across North America fit this standard, but entrepreneurs on the sideline need a little bit more to feel comfortable taking the first step.
We must ensure that whatever we’re working on feels approachable to our target audience. To do that, we can ask questions like:
- Are we using the correct language?
- Are we consistent in our messaging?
- Are we listening?
- How do we show our audience we’re listening?
- Are we friendly and inviting?
- Are we being too formal?
- Are we consistent in our messaging throughout the entire process?
Would you be interested in connecting?
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an entrepreneur or someone passionate about their community and your business. If you want to help unleash the untapped potential of your community or you have a business idea, here are two ways you can help:
1. Share this article with one friend. Do you have a partner in crime? Do you know people who have BIG ideas and are looking to unleash them? Who comes to mind? Do you have a name in your head? This person would love to hear from you. Think of the ripple effect you could start!
2. We would LOVE to meet you if you want to plug into our resources. The easiest way for you to do that is to pick a time in our calendar, and we’ll do the rest!