With over 50% of the U.S. working population employed by small businesses, prioritizing local development is worth any initial investment. While it can seem like a daunting task, with the right team and organizational skills, any local government can begin taking steps to gradually improve their community’s economy and general quality of life. Whether you are a business owner or a government official working alone or with an economic development corporation, consider these tips to get you started.
- Collect Data and Use It
It may be obvious, but make sure that your economic development plan includes numbers and statistics. Do an initial assessment, set goals, then continue to measure in the future.
- Use Consultations
Hiring an expert is the best way to get well-seasoned insight on what you can improve within your community. Whether choosing a freelance consultant or an economic development corporation, be sure to be open to their suggestions and to have plenty of questions ready.
- Take Note of What Works
While you are analyzing your local economy’s performance, notice what is working. Make it a goal to sustain these measures. Your own self-education will be an ongoing process.
- Set a Realistic Budget
Be honest about what your community can afford. Invest in programs and projects that fit your current economic situation, then leave room for growth. Be sure to adjust accordingly as your local economic needs change.
- Think Long-Term
Once you establish this growth mindset, begin implementing your long-term goals. This does not mean over-reaching immediately. Rather, continuously view your plans as stepping stones toward a future goal.
- Build and Retain Effective Leadership
Strong community leadership is the key to successful local development. With leaders they can look up to, your citizens will be enthusiastic about the proposed plans and will want to get involved.
- Be Transparent
Include and inform your community every step of the way. Be transparent about your plans through newsletters, social media, town-hall meeting, and open forums. Allow residents to bring ideas to the table, and encourage them to ask questions.
Implementing your community’s economic development strategy can be an engaging, inspiring, and intuitive effort when done in an inclusive and organized matter. By including these steps, you can be one step closer to your local development goals, and one step closer to a more vibrant community. To see more, read this.