05 November 2021
Business basics for rural entrepreneurs
Thinking of launching a business in a regional area? Two successful rural entrepreneurs share their top business tips.
More Australians are moving from cities to regional centres and rural locations, which means there’s never been a better time to launch a rural business. But opening the doors to a new business in a rural location comes with some unique challenges.
Regional business owners make up more than a quarter of income earners in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, so their economic contribution is significant. If you live in a regional area and are thinking of starting your own business, read on for some tips from an Aussie success story.
Flow Hive founders Cedar and Stuart Anderson found themselves in the enviable position of raising a staggering $US2million on a crowd-funding platform in just one day, after sharing a video of the flow hive concept: a method for harvesting honey from a hive with minimal disturbance to bees or danger to beekeepers.
At the close of the fundraising campaign, Anderson’s business, which he operated from a shed on a rural property in the Byron Bay hinterland, had more than $US12million in pre-orders. It was the most successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in the platform’s history.
Go with what you know
Cedar and Stuart Anderson had been keeping bees and harvesting honey for years, so they knew the territory well, including what worked and what didn’t in conventional hives. The idea was born after years of the father-and-son team accidentally killing bees and being stung during a week-long honey harvest. “There had to be a better way,” Cedar says. “How about if you harvested honey straight out of the hive without opening the hive and disturbing the bees,” he says. The concept was delightfully simple, but it took years of development to get the design right.
There’s no such thing as an overnight success
Cedar and Stuart workshopped the design of the flow hive, including multiple prototypes of their ideas for more than a decade before they had something ready to share with the bee-loving public. It was anything but an overnight success.
When success did finally come, with it came new complications: suddenly they needed an office, “And I didn’t want an office!” Cedar laughs.
The benefits of infrastructure
Basic communication tools, online sales platforms and reliable internet each contribute to the smooth operation of a business, and these can be harder to secure in remote locations. This means you might need to consider a back-up system, in case your primary Internet goes down.
Build a reliable team
To complicate matters further, Cedar’s partner Kylie gave birth to a baby earlier than expected, and family and friends were recruited in a hurry, to service orders pouring in from around the world.
While the initial orders shipped a few weeks behind schedule due to supply chain, manufacturing and logistics hurdles, Flow Hives now generally ship within 24 hours. Cedar and Stuart credit the unwavering support they received in those early days from their close supporters for the ongoing success of the business.
Do something you believe in
Cedar has described the Flow Hive concept as “A drawbridge to connect people to the natural world,” fuelled by people’s concerns about declining bee populations worldwide. The founders felt a true responsibility to tell everyone about the crucial relationship between human and bee survival. The core values at Flow Hive of treading lightly on the planet, with love and without cruelty, endure.
More than 75,000 flow hives have been sold to date, in more than 130 countries across the world.
Not every rural business is going to take off quite the way that Flow Hive did. But the lessons about having the right support network and believing in your product and process remain relevant, no matter the size of your business.
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