How inviting is your town or city to attracting new businesses to move in? And how about keeping the businesses that are already located here? As I talk with government officials, it is becoming very clear that financially-stressed municipalities have two choices for dealing with the future.
One is to cut back on services with the intent of bringing the cost of running the community down to a point where revenue will cover the cost of services. That sounds like a fiscally valid approach. But when they reduce the number of police on the force, cut back on firefighters and paramedics, discontinue after-school programs, and terminate senior activities, what does that do to the qualify of life?
The other approach is to actively attract business with the intent of attracting new businesses, as well as retaining the ones already there. Doing so brings new jobs to the community. It generates revenue from a variety of sources. And it creates an aura of success rather than failure.
But how can you attract new business when the economy is in such terrible shape? The first step is always to define the product. What do you have to sell? Transportation access? A trained workforce? Close ties to the local community college? Affordable housing. Great weather? Recreation and sports facilities?
The key is positive momentum. Don’t wait until the economy improves.
There are always positive stories to be told. Tell them. Build positive images for your community now. Generate positive stories, even if they seem insignificant. In difficult times people respond to good news.
Take advantage of that opportunity. Thanks to Irv Hamilton, Placemaking Group’s Senior Vice President for this blog post.