One to share with the economic developers

Here’s an idea that you can pass along to the economic developers in your area. If that’s you, hit reply and let me know what you think.

Many small towns have a modest budget for economic development. Rather than try to save it all for one big deal, break it up. Instead of offering $50,000 in incentives to one big company, offer five $10,000 incentives to local companies to grow. Run a business contest.

That’s what got Scott Meyer and his brother into business: a local business contest with a modest cash prize.  Listen to Scott’s small town business story.

Any company you can attract, another town with deeper pockets can attract away. If you want loyalty, start with the people who are loyal now: your local people. Break that small budget up into $5,000 or $10,000 chunks and spend it growing small local firms that won’t want to move. 

How would you answer? 
One such local entrepreneur who could use some support is Caleb Mast, Nappanee, Indiana (population 6,700). He left this comment on an older post (about using one shared space to grow multiple businesses):

“Thanks for your articles! We are working on renovating an old factory building in Downtown Nappanee. We’re having a hard time getting businesses to fill all our space. It is growing but our town is pretty small for such a big project.
Let me know if you have specific advice for us.”

What advice would you give to help a multiple-business space grow? Hit reply and tell me, and I’ll pass along the best to Caleb and to everyone here. Be sure to take a look at the Coppes Commons website for some more background. It looks amazing!

Keep making your small town better,

PS – If you like pop-up stores and pop-up art, here are a couple of resources from a recent webinar on the subject: 

Why I love pop-ups for small towns: the short term and smaller scale don’t require as much to make them happen, and they are great tests to find out what is possible on a longer term and larger scale.