Join our panel of experts on Wednesday 13 February at 1pm for key advice on starting up in the countryside.
• Sign up here for details of upcoming live Q&As
A few months ago we published a blog post looking at the importance of location when starting a business. So what of setting up shop in the countryside as opposed to a town or city?
There's no doubt there are differences in how businesses operate depending on their location. And challenges as well – for example, one thing holding 60% of rural businesses back, according to a study by the Federation of Small Businesses, is slow broadband speed. Also, one of our readers, who wants to hire apprentices, worries that potential candidates would find it hard to travel to work each day because of their business's remote location.
That's not to say the entrepreneurial spirit isn't alive and kicking in the countryside, though. According to a report from the Commission for Rural Communities, business owners can potentially identify a niche in the area, gain a deeper understanding of the local market and benefit from lower rents and parking charges. And the decent quality of life found in a pastoral setting can attract highly skilled people from urban areas.
So, how can rural small business owners overcome potential challenges and make the most of their location? We thought we'd ask the experts to share their experiences of starting up in a rural area with you in a live discussion. They'll also be on hand offering advice and insight, so whatever your burning question, post it now in the comments section and join us on Wednesday 13 February between 1pm and 3pm.
You can also tweet your questions to @GdnSmallBiz.
Here is this week's panel:
Carolyn Frank is vice-chair of the Helmsley in Business group
Chris Hillary is the founder of Fitness Frenzi, a Zumba fitness provider
Chris runs his business from the village of Shepherdswell in Kent. He is now working on a franchise model.
Toby Parkins is the founding director of Headforwards
Toby has built two businesses in Cornwall in the past 14 years. He is also the chairman of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.
Barney Jones is head of brands at XLN Business Services
Barney formerly spent several years of his career at Google where he led their European account strategy team.
Mike Cherry is national policy chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
A woodworking engineer by trade, Mike took over the running of the family manufacturing business in 1983 and has been an active member of the FSB since 1995.
Murdoch Mactaggart is managing editor of Ingenious Britain
Murdoch is a freelance writer, editor and presenter who lives and works near Bridport, west Dorset.
Tim Stanger is the owner of Vinyl Clocks, an internet retailer turning vinyl records into clocks
Tim set up Vinyl Clocks in rural Shropshire. He has more than 30 years experience in retailing.
Diane Hannah is a co-founder of Herdy, a giftware business
All Herdy products are designed from scratch at the company's base in Kendal.
Christine Hope is the founder of Hopes of Longtown
Sue Prince is a commissioner at the Commission for Rural Communities
Sue owns Beechenhill Farm, an organic dairy farm and eco-tourism business.
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