Love the One(s) You're With

Your Business Retention and Expansion Program should serve as the Bedrock of your Economic Development efforts. Showing your love-appreciation and helping those already in your town can result in the creation of many more new jobs than recruiting outside businesses. Remember, these growth opportunities exist right under your nose, right down the street.

David Thornell

6/25/20242 min read

This months Blog will be short and simple, as the tip (recommendation) is so very very obvious. However, it is too often not given the attention it needs, or should I say "they" don't get the attention they deserve, meaning your local businesses.

ALL of the numerous job-creation surveys I have seen in the past 40+ years credit the majority of new jobs in any given place for any given time-frame as being the result of existing business expansions. These surveys normally show that 70 to 80 out of every 100 new jobs can be attributed to this, but I recently saw one that showed the number as 92 out of 100, mainly caused by companies that had shrunk to skeleton crews during the pandemic, but are now adding rapidly back to their ranks. Jobs from newly created businesses (by entrepreneurs) were found to account for only 7 out of every 100 new jobs, although that number is trending higher. New jobs from businesses that had relocated from elsewhere or established a branch facility (what economic developers call "recruitment"), only totaled 1%. I know. This is traditionally a crazy low number and does not fit traditional results, BUT.

Why not start at home? What could feel better than helping those who already help you and your town by employing your residents, boosting your tax base, and by contributing to many local charities and causes? Start out by getting to know what makes their business successful, as well as whatever hinders their growth. Do your best to provide whatever they are lacking and need. Remove any stumbling blocks. Partner with them to furnish needed loans, incentives, real estate and fine tune regulations to keep their business goals in tune. They know best what changes will have the greatest impact to accelerate their growth. Ask them. Meet with them regularly. Listen more than talk. Choose together a direction and destination that will result in mutual success for their business and your community. Cooperate with them. Celebrate them.

Love the one(s) you are with, then enjoy the benefits of happy growing local businesses. The survey results may vary, but the value of having this close relationship with existing companies cannot be overstated nor underestimated.