For city dwellers seeking refuge from smog, rush-hour traffic and long supermarket lines, it's a romantic fantasy: owning a quaint bed-and-breakfast inn or a charming general store in a sleepy town where everybody knows your name. If you're wondering where to sign up, read Lisa Shaw's Complete Country Business Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Rural Entrepreneur (Williams Hill Publishing, $24.95, 800-639-1099), a look at the nuts and bolts of small-business ownership, "village" style.
Complete Country Business Guide highlights real-life case histories of former city folk who tell what it took to dig into country soil. Running the gamut from specialty food manufacturers and furniture makers to entrepreneurs with more unusual ventures such as cat kennels and llama farming, each profile offers start-up cost estimates, special considerations and resources for additional information.
While the kinder, gentler side of country living is undeniable, Shaw holds out no illusions that it's easy. "The ideal rural entrepreneur," she writes, "is an optimistic cynic--someone with a positive attitude toward the world who's not surprised when things go wrong." If you still have the gumption to tackle country living after reading this book, the solid advice Shaw offers should help ensure things go right.