5 Creative Approaches to Gain the Attention of Businesses
19 Oct 2020
So your community didn’t get on the finalist list of Amazon HQ2. Now what? The site selection process is changing and adapting with the trends in business. While it may still be important for you to look for potentially large company relocations, many good business expansions can occur with small to mid-sized companies. But gaining the attention of their businesses requires some creative approaches.
#1 Talent > Incentives
Workforce, workforce, workforce. The ability of a community to attract and retain a workforce is ranking at the top of the incentive list. Business owners may still be interested in traditional incentives, but the real key to long-term growth and sustainability for companies is access to quality workers.
The amenities and quality of life attractions your community can offer are critical to the care and feeding of your local workforce. Today’s workers are valuing their time away from the office more than workers in the past. Feed their recreational habits and they will come.
#2 Telling a Story
Storytelling is one of the only ways to get people's attention - and keep it. While every community is working on their narrative, most communities have forgotten the most important rule: keep it simple! If a potential business owner has to struggle through a long, drawn-out story, you will lose their interest. Remember, with today’s sensationalized content, getting people’s attention is difficult. And, when they finally do give you attention, it is a great privilege! So get to the point and don’t waste their time.
#3 Don’t Live in the Past
George W. Somebody was really famous and a great founder of your community. He started a great community and there is a fountain in honor of his greatness… zzzzz…. Sorry, we fell asleep for a second! Who cares?! Every community has a past and everyone is from somewhere. But what does tomorrow bring?
Successful business owners are able to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible. Your community needs to pitch a new company of future investment commitments and what potential lies ahead. Quit retelling your past. Sell. Your. Future.
#4 Find a Mentor
Think about your favorite book or movie. The main character experienced a problem and had to fix it. Were they able to do it completely on their own, or did they have a friend or guide to help them? Chances are, they did.
Much like any other professional development, communities and economic developers need a guide too, preferably someone with exposure in the fast-paced economic development world with site selectors. Having a guide, such as Golden Shovel Agency (yes, we can help you conquer a problem!), helps pave the path to the right outlets and is a great resource for your community.
#5 What do Businesses Care About? (Hint: $$$)
Businesses are interested in profits and growth so find ways that you can lower their cost of doing business and your community has a real asset. Access to transportation routes is important and having buildable acres is appealing, but having lower utility rates and fewer government rates and hassle is even more important.
If a business gains a financial edge by moving or expanding in your community, that reduced cost of doing business translates to profit and future investments.
Relocation decisions and expansion decisions often hinge on an increase in EBITDA. The faster a business can turn an expansion into profits, the better the investment will make sense to the board members. The quickest way to increase EBITDA is through cost reduction and operational efficiency gains.
Like every other trend in our globally connected world, economic development is increasingly becoming more competitive. So now is the time to step up your game and partner with the businesses to help grow your community.