It’s not news that small towns across America are struggling to survive. Downtown Mom-and-Pop shops are going out of business and young people are moving to big cities to find jobs.
Are small towns doomed or can they survive? And what’s the lesson for small businesses?
In this week’s Uncopyable Business program, Steve Miller shares the story of one small town in Illinois that appears to have found the secret sauce needed to revive the downtown and make residents proud to live there.
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I don’t know that building the “largest rocking chair” isn’t much different from someone claiming to have the latest new phone. If someone wants to pursue it they will build a larger rocking chair and then the race continues – will Casey just stand by and change their sign to the 2nd largest? Not if they want to keep the people coming to their town! Its a great story but I wouldn’t claim it to be uncopyable.
We have made some innovative changes to an old product that is manufactured by at least 4 other companies. We wanted to provide something innovative with 3 different major changes and at a lower cost that no one else had in the market. It’s been out for over a year now and we have been getting a lot of interest in it, however, as soon as we start getting where we are taking away business from the other guys I anticipate they (larger corporate companies) will just copy what we have and we be on equal footing. Then we will have to find some other way to separate us from the pack. It’s a viscous cycle in business – especially more so now a days!
Actually, building the world’s largest rocking chair and all the other Guinness Book offerings are definitely uncopyable.
Being uncopyable can be defined as doing something nobody else CAN do and doing something nobody else WILL do.
Casey, IL has taken ownership of being the small town who has the big stuff, so to speak. They’re competing with other small towns within driving distance for visitors, so they’ve taken the initiative to offer not just big stuff, but Guinness Book of World Records big stuff. They don’t just have the rocking chair, but several other Guinness record holders. For the other small towns nearby, Casey “owns” the big stuff branding and they were first to grab it. First-mover advantage. There is no incentive for a nearby town to try to outdo them, as it would be clearly copycatting with no apparent benefit. Other towns will have to find something new to distinguish themselves.
Also, “largest” is exactly that. “Latest” clearly implies something else – newer, better, etc. – will come along.