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Showing posts from October, 2013

Building Relationships with Entrepreneurs

As is true for the world of business, but especially for economic development, relationships are everything. As the economic development practitioner most of the business leaders, community leaders, and entrepreneurs that you need to meet aren't coming to you. You must take initiative and introduce yourself to them. To accomplish this, you must have tact. (This post focuses more so on introductions to entrepreneurs and small-business owners).
Schedule a meeting with the particular individual(s) you would like to meet. This may require some homework, but time well-spent. Search for the business owner's email address, office phone number, and office hours. In your research, make it a priority to find out something about the particular business. How can you say you'd like to "help" their business when you have not performed due diligence on the front end? Knowing something about the business you are meeting with will establish credibility and context to your conversa…

Three Business Development Takeaways

I am currently reading Journey to Jobs by renown economic development author and practitioner Maury Forman and accomplished economic development consultant Audrey Taylor. The book covers a variety of business recruitment and retention techniques and one I find particularly meaningful, business development.

Business development and retention guru Eric P. Canada contributed a chapter entitled "Existing Business Programs." Mr. Canada's writing on assisting businesses were of such great meaning and professional value that I decided to share three golden takeaways from his writing.
Don’t make any promises that can’t be kept. If a direct request is made, take down the details and offer to get back to the executive later. After the meeting, consider the company’s requests and check to see if others can help before returning with an offer to help the company. This is an enlightened approach to dealing with the assistance trap.Maintaining an open structure …

SPLOST's Special Purpose

Sales taxes are a large revenue stream for governments. They usually go by the name "SPLOST"- Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

Try this: if you have an old receipt nearby from your last retail or restaurant purchase, look at the very bottom. Underneath the listing of all of your purchase items there is a column labeled "Subtotal" and another "Tax." The "Tax" amount you see is the sales tax received from your purchase. It is calculated as a percentage of all sales items, not each individual item.

Many governments, by law, use the sales tax dollars for capital improvements and not for immediate expenditures. In other words, the sales tax revenues must be used for projects that will upgrade, improve, or sustain any government-owned assets and infrastructure. This includes improving roads, bridges, sidewalks, and water and sewer systems to name a few.

The sales tax is an ad valorem tax meaning it is calculated as a percentage value of your ov…

Must Have Tourism

It is extremely difficult to establish a successful economic development program without including a  tourism strategy.

Tourism is oft-neglected and undermined by the shinier and more "fundamental" components of business retention and recruitment. However, tourism is a trillion-dollar domestic industry.

Tourism is the collection of activities of people traveling to and staying in places outsider their usual environment for leisure, business, or other purposes.

When visitors come into your community and shop at the local stores, eat at local restaurants, stay at local hotels, and spend their time and money at any local activities, festivities, or amenities, you have tourism.

Aside from visitors bringing in new revenue, tourism: provides a multiplier effect causing many businesses and industries to benefit; boosts a community's image; increases the tax base; creates jobs.

Consider these numbers released last month by the Athens (GA) Convention and Visitors Bureau:

2012 Econ…