Small Town Big Money

“A useful, laugh-out-loud guide to running a small-town business.”
Indie Book Review

Small Town Book
The only book on the shelf dedicated to small town entrepreneurship.

Think innovation only happens in big cities? Think again!

Forget moving to the city to launch the next big thing only to become another face lost in the shuffle. Entrepreneurs everywhere are finally waking up to the fact that there is a better way. If you’re ready to wake up, this is the small town book for you.

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“This book is funny, caring, genuine. Like a small town.”
Mia Pohlman, Editor of B Magazine

Small Towns are Ripe for Entrepreneurship!

Whether your goal is to start a business in the hopes of financial freedom, to gain a competitive advantage by cutting costs, or simply to make your small town better, Small Town Big Money shows you how.

Discover the untapped treasures of small town entrepreneurship, like:

  • How building your startup in a small town will launch you past your competition
  • How Colby and other small town entrepreneurs used small town stereotypes to their advantage
  • How to scale to the Big Money level, even from a small town
  • How other small town entrepreneurs built a rich life by embracing authenticity and other non-corporate values
  • How to alter your town’s paradigm in order to attract entrepreneurs and to boost your local economy

“In addition to recommending [this book] to entrepreneurs and people involved with attracting businesses to small towns, I highly recommend that instructors consider using this as reading material for business entrepreneurship classes.”
Paige Lovitt, Reader Views

“There’s no better place for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin than with this accessible survey, which is both educational and compelling
with its chatty tone and real-life, encouraging examples of risk-takers and achievers.”
D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

The Small Town Book for Today

“Williams mixes from-the trenches advice with humorous commentary and real-world examples, making the book both informative and enjoyable to read.”
Janet Attard, Founder of


News & Reviews

Here’s what people are saying about Small Town Big Money:

In the Press column dave kerpen entrepreneurship small town small business
From, written by Dave Kerpen

Read Dave Kerpen’s “3 Reasons to Consider Small Towns for Entrepreneurship” here on

news reviews southeast missourian colby williams entrepreneurship small town small business small town big money book
From, written by Marybeth Niederkorn

Read Marybeth Niederkorn’s “Business Notebook” here on

Book Reviews

Small Town Big Money: Entrepreneurship And Opportunity In Today’s Small Town is about operating a small business in a small town, and comes from an entrepreneur author who owns and runs a coffee company in such a town in Missouri. Colby Williams doesn’t deem his venture a ‘small business’, however. He identifies as an entrepreneur, and his focus and book embraces that effort.

Unlike too many books about small business, Williams pulls no punches in outlining the pros and cons of any given entrepreneurial effort: “Getting started is hard. Longevity is hard. Being financially successful in business seems like a million years away, and it all feels that much more difficult when you live in a town in which a used espresso machine costs the same as a house just five blocks away.”

Another big difference between this book and more general approaches is that it considers specifics, from gaining funding from reluctant investors and what drives their perception of an entrepreneur’s pitch and prior successes and (surprisingly) failures (“People who hit the bottom and climb to the top are a great investment, so don’t be afraid to let your pitch audience know how you’ve struggled to get where you are today.”) to the many differences of a startup venture created in a small environment.

In such a place, failure may actually be a starting point for future success: “…in a small town, failure can be extra-intimidating. Everyone knows you and knows your family. We already discussed how quickly word travels here. Some of that is gossip. There’s an element of schadenfreude – a few people will love dishing about your failure. It makes them feel better about themselves. But the vast majority will watch what you do next. Maybe you lose everything, go bankrupt, sell the last piece for pennies – if you aren’t afraid to show your face soon after, owning the points at which you went wrong, then a small town is a great place to receive love and support and to start again. As long as you haven’t lied to or tricked anyone, and as long as you don’t owe money to everyone in town, falling and bouncing back is something to respect. This frees you up to innovate, create, and take risks in your small town without fearing shame. Use that failure for fuel.”

By covering the basics of small town atmosphere and how its unique size and community translate to support systems unavailable in larger cities, Colby Williams not only makes a big case for small town residents to achieve their dreams, but offers chapters that explicitly detail how to research, fund, manage, and grow a small venture.

By adding case history examples of success and failures and lessons to be learned from them, Small Town Big Money in effect crafts the kind of atmosphere it seeks to explore in its subject: a small book advocating big ideas and supporting big dreams.

The process of realizing these dreams is quite exact. Williams outlines the roots of achievement and identifies common pitfalls and cautions. Any would-be entrepreneur residing in a small town will find much invaluable information encouraging the effort in a book that outlines the basic principles and practices of successful business practices that hold an eye to “building an empire that can last.”

There’s no better place for aspiring entrepreneurs to begin than with this accessible survey, which is both educational and compelling with its chatty tone and real-life, encouraging examples of risk-takers and achievers.

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Small Town Big Money: Entrepreneurship and Opportunity in Today’s Small Town discusses the ins and outs of business entrepreneurship in small towns today. The author Colby Williams classifies small towns as those with populations under 100,000. He also describes the difference between being a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Based upon his descriptions, entrepreneurship is the way to go. There are pros and cons to starting up a business in a small community versus a big city, but Williams convinced me that a small town would be the best bet. While a big city offers a greater customer base, a small town would have less start-up costs, operating expenses, and be less likely to have competition with corporate businesses. The cost of living would also be a lot less for the entrepreneur. I also found the small-town stereotypes that he discusses to be very appealing for someone who wants to be a part of a community.

Using his personal experience from creating a successful coffeeshop, Williams takes his readers through the whole process of creating and owning a business. This includes discussing some of the steps such as writing a business plan, preparing for launch, financing, planning for growth and finally ends with what happens when the time comes to sell the business. In addition to his own experiences, he offers examples from other businesses and includes an informative chapter of Innovative Rural Business Models. While most of the information in “Small Town, Big Money,” is directed at potential business entrepreneurs, there is also information for people who want to promote business growth in their cities, like city managers and Chamber of Commerce directors.

Williams has a writing style that makes this an enjoyable book to read. It gives a great overview of how a lot of small towns operate and provides readers with a greater appreciation about the work that goes into making a small-town business a success. The information is presented in a concise yet still enjoyable manner.

In addition to recommending “Small Town Big Money: Entrepreneurship and Opportunity in Today’s Small Town” by Colby Williams to entrepreneurs and people involved with attracting businesses to small towns, I highly recommend that instructors consider using this as reading material for business entrepreneurship classes. The physical quality of the hardbound book is exceptional. It would also make a great gift for someone thinking about starting a business.

Paige Lovitt, Reader Views

Small Town Big Money captures the essence of what it’s like to start a business in a small town and grow it into a major enterprise. Colby Williams mixes from-the trenches advice with humorous commentary and real-world examples, making the book both informative and enjoyable to read.  His tips and insights will ring true to anyone who’s ever started a business or been involved in their local business community whether they are located in the Midwest or the suburbs of New York City or other major cities.

Janet Attard, founder of
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“A useful, laugh-out-loud guide to running a small-town business.”

This book has two main goals: to help you find entrepreneurial success and to keep you entertained. I haven’t found out about that first one yet, but I can check number two confidently off of my list. Written with a fun voice and a great personality, Small TownBig Money is something that aspiring business owners should really start paying attention to.

In 2012, Colby Williams and his parents founded Parengo Coffee, a small-town gem now located in historic downtown Sikeston, Missouri. The Williams’ family was well-aware of the difficulties of starting a business in a place with a low population: “If well-intentioned warnings are ‘food for thought’ then small town entrepreneurs should prepare for an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord.” But they didn’t let anything stop them.In Small Town Big Money, they urge you to do the same.

Author Colby Williams shares practical advice on how to build a successful business through the lens of his time at Parengo Coffee. He writes with such clear prose and never loses hold of his fun, informal style. It’s easy to trust him as an author, whether he’s offering business advice or cracking a joke about his quick-witted baristas’ remarkable abilities to “just can’t even.”

“Someday, maybe, you could sail through life in the captain’s chair and treat yourself to every whim and fancy. For now, you have to row the boat.”

Because of the excerpts written by other business owners, I found this book especially useful. These first-hand accounts put Williams’s ideas and advice into motion, showing the reader how multiple entrepreneurs got their start, how they kept moving forward, and what their plan was to achieve their future goals.

It’s easy to get inspired by Williams. “Good enough is not good enough,” he reminds us. And, “This thing might have to be your life for a while.” With both the optimism and advice that the author shares, the book succeeds in proving its primary point: you can do this. Whatever you’ve got your entrepreneurial mind set on, you can do it if you put in the time, work, and heart.

Small Town Big Money does come in at around [240] pages, which could be shortened quite a bit. It repeats similar inspirational points fairly often, and in the grand scheme of things, it could have taken on a more practical tone more often than its purely inspirational one.

However, this book is definitely worth the market price. It offers specific business advice like pitches, online presences, and specific marketing plans in an accessible voice. It could prove useful for anyone looking to start their own business, whether they are in a small town, a digital marketplace, or anywhere.

Independent Book Review
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This book is funny, caring, genuine. Like a small town.
Colby Williams, author and co-founder of Parengo Coffee in Sikeston, Missouri, couldn’t find a book that told people what to do as an entrepreneur before they had money or a location, so he wrote one himself. It’s called Small Town Big Money, and it is the first book you should read if you find yourself needing to scratch the entrepreneurial itch. Williams makes a strong case for locating your business in a small town and introduces you to smart, engaging, creative small-town folks along the way. Through his use of personal anecdotes poking fun at his own successes and failures as a small-town business owner, inclusion of essays from other voices in the throes of small-town entrepreneurship and incorporation of interactive portions of the book, Williams feels like a friend who really, really wants you to succeed — the kind to whom you can ask any question (even an embarrassing one) and receive an honest answer. He’s been there.

Mia Pohlman, editor of B Magazine
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Colby in the studio book reviews
The author out in the studio at KRCU, Cape Girardeau, MO.

Book Tour!

Here’s a list of where Small Town Big Money and the author, Colby Williams, shows up online. Everyone with a small town podcast wants to talk about this book, so we’ll be adding plenty of links here as the tour rolls on.

the how of business podcast henry lopez colby williams small town big money small business
Listen to Episode 227 of The How of Business podcast with Henry Lopez featuring author Colby Williams.

barry moltz the small business radio show podcast small town big money
I was honored to be a guest on Episode #510 of The Small Business Radio Show with Barry Moltz. Mr. Moltz is a great host and a leading influencer in all things small business. Please subscribe to his podcast and check out my episode!

Bob Phibbs podcast The Retail Doctor with Colby Williams Small Town Big Money
Check out this episode I did with Bob Phibbs – The Retail Doctor! I had a great time talking to him. This man is sharp and really believes in retail. Definitely subscribe to his podcast!

jesse forte young revolutionary minds podcast entrepreneurship small town big money small business
You’ve got to tune in to this episode I did of Young Revolutionary Minds with Jesse Forte! Jesse is a really cool guy and has a fantastic personality. He’s doing great things with his platform.


Get in touch! If you’re interested in small town entrepreneurship, Colby would love to hear from you.

Do you have a podcast, blog, magazine, radio show, or whatever?

Colby is down to collaborate! He can talk or write about small towns, entrepreneurship, big ideas, second chances, hard work, and pretty much anything that interests you. So, send some information to and let’s work together.

Ready to launch your empire?

To find out more about Small Town Big Money or how to get it, drop a line here! Stay up to date. Posts include small town entrepreneurship news, articles, podcasts, and a whole lot more. Subscribe to the blog to get it all first.

Remember, for press inquiries, collaboration proposals, article requests, or appearance information, please email Thanks a lot!

Wholesale Ordering

Last but not least, if you’re interested in stocking up your bookstore, adding the book to your classroom curriculum, or handing out copies to your clients, Small Town Big Money is available through Ingram for any purpose your heart desires. Email for more information.