“Every economy loses about 10% of its jobs annually due to retirements, business closings, product life cycles, etc. Existing businesses are best positioned to replace those jobs.”
-International City/County Management Association
A lot of energy goes into securing economic investment. Communities spend time and effort on preparation of infrastructure, a quality workforce, and even marketing to keep local business and attract more from afar. This includes everything from a neighborhood retailer or restaurant, to a major manufacturer or headquarters.
After the sale, there are two alternatives. One is to say thank you and good luck, and the other is to continue to serve the company “after the sale.” I don’t expect too many to take the former stance, but there is a big difference in really caring for your businesses and simply checking in with them once in a while.
Monitoring the ongoing issues and opportunities of your local businesses through detailed research, regular meetings, and a personal touch every now and then goes a long way. Business is always uncertain and even volatile – the relationship with a community should be consistent and predictable. The return on investment for a great community-business relationship is high, as it avoids issues and surprises, and is an opportunity to build the trust and transparency that is needed when things do change. And they always do.
I’ll leave you with these questions:
Communities, are you providing certainty and aftercare for your most important businesses? Businesses, have you reached out to your community and invited them in to discuss changes and challenges in your industry? The benefits are well worth the time.