How To Do Business In Small Towns in WV To Reach Big Cities
July 18, 2016
The high cost of living and working in cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., can be a deterrent to many business owners. For others, the security risks of basing operations in a city like DC can be cause for concern. But a company doesn’t have to make its home in a major city to do business there. In fact, many businesses (and employees) already thrive by making their homes in small towns and doing business in nearby large cities.
Business in Small Towns: Location Matters
The commute is a daily fact of life for many workers. Employees and consultants often commute to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle available in a small town while working in a major metropolitan area. Businesses can also benefit from this arrangement by taking advantage of tax breaks, lowered expenses, and community partnerships. But long commutes can be expensive and tiring, which impacts both productivity and profit. To truly reap the rewards of basing operations in a small town, a good location is key. An ideal location should have fast, easy access to nearby markets.
One of Jefferson County’s major value propositions is its proximity to cities like DC and Baltimore. The recent expansion of Route 9, a four-lane highway running east-west through Jefferson County to DC, has made traveling much easier than before. A commuter train also runs through Jefferson County to the nation’s capital, Monday through Friday, with stops at Harpers Ferry and Duffields. Nearby Interstates 70, 81, and 95 offer easy access to additional major markets.
As the only West Virginia county included in the Washington, D.C. MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), Jefferson County’s strategic location -- ideally situated between northern Virginia and western Maryland -- make commuting a viable, appealing option for employees. The nearby embassies, government agencies, universities, and diverse companies of DC provide numerous opportunities for a business to grow.
Big Businesses Can Contract Labor in Small Towns
Many consultants and contract laborers already enjoy the benefits of living outside a major metropolitan area. Likewise, many government agencies and major companies contract work in smaller towns, creating satellite offices or secondary operations there. This creates a profitable situation for both large organizations and smaller businesses looking to do business with them.
This is particularly true in Jefferson County, where several large federal agencies maintain installations. Thousands of federal employees and contractors already make their home in Jefferson County and the Eastern Panhandle. For businesses seeking federal contracts, the opportunities are numerous.
Federal agencies doing business in the area include:
- Coast Guard, which employs over 600 people (almost 90 percent of which are contract workers)
- Internal Revenue Service, which maintains a tax return processing center employing over a thousand people
- Customs and Border Protection, which operates an Advanced Training Center
- Department of State
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of the Interior
- National Park Service
Jefferson County is also home to satellite offices for business that work with agencies like the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Virtual Business Headquartered in Small Towns
Many 21st century companies no longer require a brick-and-mortar presence. For companies that operate online, doing business in small towns makes good financial sense. For example, Jefferson County offers numerous services to businesses, including site selection assistance, expansion programs, financial and training assistance, and more. These services are in addition to the tax breaks and lower costs already inherent in a small town location.
American Public University (APU), one of the largest online, for-profit universities in the world, makes its home in Charles Town, West Virginia. APU is a top-ranked online university, offering almost 200 degrees and certificates, as well as military training. With professors and students on a global scale, APU maintains its infrastructure in Jefferson County, employing admin staff, IT support, and student loan processors locally.
Doing business in a major city carries certain risks. Disasters, either natural or manmade, are a possibility every company must prepare for. An emergency situation in a major city can bring vital operations to a halt for days or weeks -- a hardship no company wants to face.
Continuity of Operations Planning (or COOP) is a government initiative whose purpose is to ensure the continued operation of government or corporate organizations in case of such a disaster. To this end, many federal agencies replicate their work in areas outside the major metropolitan centers.
Thousands of employees work in Jefferson County on behalf of these agencies, ensuring those agencies can maintain operations in the event of disaster. Even in a worst-case scenario, an agency can still perform critical functions until the emergency passes. The security and peace of mind that comes from having redundancies in place is another great reason to do business in a small town.
In short, your company (or your life) doesn’t have to be in a big city like Baltimore or DC to do business -- in fact, doing business in a small town can offer all the rewards of small-town life with all the opportunities of a metropolitan center. This is already a reality for many small businesses in Jefferson County -- and it could be yours.
Find out more about doing business in Jefferson County by contacting us today.