Skip to main content

ASBTDC offers new tools, workshops to help small, rural business owners

Laura Fine

Small businesses in rural communities face the one-two punch of dwindling population and online competition. 

This fall, the state’s rural businesses can get help identifying and targeting new customers from the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.

“We want to help Arkansas small businesses, especially ones in sparsely populated areas, find and attract the customers they need to survive and prosper,” said Laura Fine, ASBTDC state director.

For starters, businesses can request a free Market Assessment from ASBTDC. Customizable by city or county, the report combines information on customer spending patterns, demographics and other traits to give business owners deeper insight into their local customer base.

Through its no-cost consulting services, ASBTDC can help businesses apply the knowledge gained from the assessment and use it to identify new opportunities.

ASBTDC is also rolling out two new workshops this fall and offering them free of charge in rural hub cities around the state.

At “Make a Marketing Map for Your Rural Business,” participants will map out a quick-action plan to target and reach more customers. The program will also offer specific ideas for boosting sales through marketing and promotions. The two-hour workshop will be held in three locations:

  • Mountain Home, Oct. 3
  • Hot Springs, Oct. 19
  • Van Buren, Nov. 8

“Grow Your Sales in 5 Easy Steps” will focus on how to attract the right customers. The workshop will share strategies and tools that are practical, budget friendly and effective for small and rural businesses. The two-hour program will be offered in three places:

  • Helena-West Helena, Oct. 20
  • Heber Springs, Nov. 14
  • Pine Bluff, Nov. 16

“The workshops, along with the free Market Assessment, will highlight opportunities for local businesses to grow their customer base,” said Fine.

To request an assessment or register for a workshop, see or call 501.683.7700. While the workshops are offered at no charge, pre-registration is required.