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Economic Assets & Liabilities

Creating an inventory of the community's economic assets and liabilities is the very first, most fundamental step in creating a successful economic development strategy. Simply put, it's looking at what makes the area good for business and what doesn't.

An economic asset is anything that makes the region unique and better for businesses. This may include close proximity to an airport, a railroad running through town, a low crime rate, or an above-average school system. Assets make the community more attractive to businesses.

An economic liability is anything that doesn't make the region attractive to businesses. This may be a poorly maintained infrastructure, unreasonably high taxes and impact fees (water and sewer), a high crime rate, or a failing school system. Liabilities may run the businesses away.

Three things must happen once the assets and liabilities are gathered:

  1. Assemble knowledgeable people who can help you strengthen the assets and weaken or eliminate the liabilities.
  2. Build community awareness of the asset and measure it against other communities with a similar asset. Build community awareness of the liability and see what actions other communities took to fix the liability. Create a plan that slims the chance of the liability becoming an issue again for future generations. 
  3. Market, promote, and improve the asset. Confront the liability.

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