Monday, September 13, 2010
LASTING CHANGE STARTS WITH THE RIGHT APPROACH
For the last couple of months, I have been a part of a joint effort to attract retailers to the local mall. The experience has offered an in-depth exposure to the retailers, large and small, and to their perception of our mall and the citizens of our community.
It has also added yet another dimension of experience related to inviting someone from outside the community into the community to do business.
The business of marketing, advertising, and leasing a mall has its similarities to that of marketing a city government or even local businesses.
These similarities lie in the questions that the outside businesses always want to know.
What is the average household income?
What can the city offer us?
What is the population of your town?
What are the vital demographics associated with this market (married couples, employed, education, etc.)?
I have seen local business owners work feverishly to improve every aspect of their business to accommodate anticipated inquiries from new tenant solicitations.
I also have watched as multiple government agencies, past and present, work to package the city/ county to be attractive to potential employers.
In general there is a misunderstanding from people who are not involved in the day to day process. There is a relationship process that is involved in establishing a community for attracting new companies to town.
For all of the warranted and unwarranted complaints about creating more jobs, better stores, and a higher quality of education, there is a prerequisite to accomplishing this goal.
Neither jobs and retailers nor education and quality of life concerns get better because we wish them to do so. It involves improving the product or service offered while marketing and advertising the advantages/ vision of our product or service over every other competitor. It comes from a concentrated effort of improving reach and frequency to solicited companies that might choose to plant themselves in our town.
It means nearly every citizen making sacrifices that are for the benefit of the entire community. It means company mergers, partnerships, acquisitions, and whatever it takes to remain relevant and in business under times of economic uncertainty.
Having evaluated our community from both a public and private perspective, I firmly believe our greatest assets are our work force and our location. These assets should be held up as the beacon of hope for our community.
It will be a joint effort of the small businesses in our town along with the robust companies that offer opportunities to boost the local economy that will differentiate us from everyone else.
Building relationships that leads to business takes time and an investment of someone's money. Lasting change starts with the right approach. Quick fixes hinder our ability to reach and sustain real change.