Preparation is the key to a successful move to the hinterlands. Location, available work force, proximity to transportation, local attitudes and culture shock are all factors to consider. Two kinds of people generally make the move, says Bard: One takes the time to explore and visit; the other just drops everything and leaves. Guess who ends up being more successful? "Preparation can solve a lot of problems, both culturally and business-wise," Bard says.
While small-town life is not for everyone, it has been a successful move for Wersen. After cutting costs by more than $600,000, he has doubled his staff and reached sales of approximately $13 million. In the past, he has worked on the town's Economic Development Committee as well as with the Chamber of Commerce. He has also purchased some outlying land for development, a solution to the housing shortage the town now faces because of Wersen's growing company and several other businesses, which are all attracting more residents. "[My wife and I] both wonder aloud `When is it going to slow down?' " Wersen says. "I can't say I've had any time so far to really kick back and relax."