Five Steps to Strategy

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02 August 2018

Building a framework in five steps that you won’t snore over.

Every economic development director has created or discussed a strategic planning document. This process is critical to building a successful plan. And, getting started doesn’t need to be a formidable process that is overwhelming--start small and build on the success of each stage.

Your organization's strategy should start with five basic components: purpose and goals, advantage, target, marketing, and lastly, niche. These components, if built correctly, can provide a solid framework for use in grant writing, business attraction and workforce campaigns as well as internal stakeholder communication.


Purpose and Goals

Why does a business want to communicate with you? What is your purpose? What is the conversation you hope to have with potential businesses? What are some basic goals you have established as a organization? Keep in mind goals must be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, results oriented, and time bound. This section should be direct and to the point and have no more than three points.



What is the advantage of coming to your area over another? How will the goals be accomplished through this advantage? Be specific and only gather 2 -3 advantages that you have over competitors. Don’t know who your competitors are? Take some time to identify these as well, look at other communities that might offer the same things you can, and identify why you are different. 



This section is one of the most important. Who are you trying to attract? Be very honest and look at items such as company culture and community culture, see what companies would be the best fit in your area. What is the size, average wage, and industry you are looking to attract? If it’s workforce, be specific as well. What are they types of workers you need for your area?  What demographic would fit best?



In this section you want to identify current marketing activities happening, as well as activities that you’d like to pursue to meet your goals. What are some of the primary mediums used by the organization and how can you build upon those to better gain traction with your target audience? This is your opportunity to identify some of the missing gaps between where you are and where you want to be.



Once the above four components have been addressed, now is the time to incorporate who you are as a community.  This section identifies community, culture, and and location. The niche is the area to focus to be creative and bold in your space.  Think of what you have that others don’t and go beyond the normal “great place to work and play.”


Building a great strategy takes time, energy, and dedication. It is also helpful to have guidance through this process and have questions asked that you might not already know the answer to.

Interested in gaining first hand knowledge to pursue your target audience? Download our guide here.


Stay connected,

The Golden Shovel team.

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