Tips for Successful Local Economic Development
Economic development is an investment, not a cost. Both business and government play important roles in economic development. Business marshals and mobilizes human, financial, physical and natural resources to create marketable goods and services that generate a profit. Government provides infrastructure, incentives and services that support business, which in turn produces jobs and revenue.
- Leadership drives local economic development and the local business climate. The city’s leadership needs to make it clear that economic development is a priority.
- You must have a strategy. Develop a plan that spells out where you want to go, and engage your community in the process.
- Pass a resolution adopting this strategy as a policy. Your city needs to know that you are serious.
- Commit for the long term. It takes time to create and implement an effective economic development program.
- Fund your program. Invest in your program with the intent of generating a return.
- Staff your program with professionals. Volunteers are great, but they are no substitute for a paid, committed staff charged with implementing your economic development strategy.
- Communicate and cooperate. Create partnerships with key stakeholders, such as your workforce investment boards and community colleges so you’re not out there trying to do it alone.
- Retention equals attraction. Taking care of the businesses your city already has will communicate that your community is an attractive place for businesses to locate.
- Customer service is essential. Your ability to deliver quickly is extremely important.
- Results are important. Economic development may be a long-term process, but you have to identify and celebrate your short-term results.
- Measure your success. Decide how you’re going to measure your efforts and then track your performance.
- Communicate your success to the community. It’s not enough to know that you are reaching your goals. You must share this success with your city’s residents and businesses so they can celebrate and share the vision with you.