3 Critical Steps that Economic Developers Miss

economic developers athens ga

Our Director of Economic Development Justin Greer, Business Developer Jim Lenahan, and Landscape Architect Mary Charles Howard lead the charge for W&A Engineering for economic development throughout the State of Georgia and beyond. Combined these three economic developers have garnered a great deal of knowledge over the years working in the economic development arena. That expertise includes familiarity with the three issues that may impede the success of economic developers and their respective communities, and what action those developers should take to maximize their chances for success.

Emphasize these easy economic development strategies to attract and establish new businesses, create jobs, and catalyze capital growth in your community.

1) Have the Due Diligence for Your Sites and Community at Your Fingertips

Know your sites, know your workforce, and know your community. To make informed decisions, prospects will always do due diligence on properties that cities or counties own or have options on, but you can improved your odds by being able to readily provide this information in a format that is easy to understand and accurate The site selection companies that assist prospects are looking to eliminate sites, not choose them, so by having critical information available you can improve your odds against the competitors that might not be as prepared.

When the due diligence is not complete and coherent, prospects are left with too many unknowns to consider the economic viability of new communities and the projects they are proposing within those communities. Looking at the process as a whole, these due diligence dollars will eventually be spent. Why not spend them up front to increase the odds of landing a strong prospect for your community prospect?

2)  Foster a Strong County-City and Regional Dynamic

Encourage active communication both within your county and the surrounding counties. Industries want to move somewhere where the cities and counties get along and work toward common goals.  State project managers that bring in winning projects are also very aware of and appreciate this dynamic.  Healthy relationships among elected and appointed officials show industries that the community as a whole is willing and ready to work with them, and help  them to achieve their goals and objectives within the community.

Fostering cooperation and long term relationships between the county and city governments makes large projects as well as day-to-day deals proceed more smoothly.

3) Encourage Statewide Networking

Get your local leaders involved with trade organizations, such as the Georgia Economic Developers Association (GEDA) and the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC).

Bringing elected officials, appointed board members, and business leaders to economic development networking events creates a greater understanding of the needs and limitations of your community, and lets them hear directly the expectations of the project managers and site selection consultants. The more the local leaders get involved, the better — for all parties!

For more on cultivating economic development in your community, subscribe to our blog! We’ll be discussing what key information economic developers should have on hand, and how companies like W&A can help you communicate that data to land new industry growth.