Deb Brown and I are getting ready to talk about how to fill up empty downtown buildings next week. And we’re up to the part about building owners who are a real pain in the neck. I’m sure you have some of these, too, so let’s talk about them.
Your fellow reader Rebecca Davis has a set of owners to deal with, a family estate made up of 12 people who can’t agree on anything. (Hardly surprising. I don’t think I have 12 relatives I could agree with.) They don’t even have a building any more; it’s just a green space now. They’re still being a pain about refusing to allow any use of the space, pointing to liability issues. Maybe because two of them are lawyers.
For a first step, I suggested Rebecca take them proof of her insurance coverage for the events she’d like to hold there. After that, she could get to work finding out the real reasons they don’t want to do anything. Because you know it really isn’t about liability. (Liability is a dodge, like we said last week.)
The second step is to talk to them (which ever ones she can actually reach) about how important their property is, how it matters to the town, how she wants to honor what used to be there and their important role as leaders in the community. I think it’s smart to appeal to their vanity as important people. Talk about how in 10 years or so, this property will be home to something wonderful and new that will be key to revitalizing the downtown for their daughters and granddaughters.
Sometimes even when stubborn people don’t see a positive future for themselves, they do see a future for their children and grandchildren. It’s their weak spot, Deb Brown taught me.
Deb and I have more ideas for those recalcitrant building owners, including a policy change that may help with frustrating corporate owners who think their building is worth big-city prices. Join us live Tuesday or catch the replay anytime from Aug 17-30. Get more details on the Filling Empty Buildings event.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – Trying to come up with a tagline for something? Small Biz Survival contributor Glenn Muske has Seven Steps to a Small Business Tagline that could help, even if you need a tagline for something besides a business.