3 Traits of Highly Successful Economic Development Organizations

Posted by Ben Wright on Feb 5, 2013 8:52:09 AM

While at the IEDC Leadership Conference last week in Orlando, we took the opportunity to ask some of the best in the business what it is that makes them the best in the business. What do the top performing economic development organizations do to get them to the top? Here’s what we found out.

Play to your strengths

Some ED organizations are marketing powerhouses. Others may excel in business development. Know what’s working for you and tailor your tactics accordingly. For example, Kenny McDonald, Chief Economic Officer of Columbus 2020 knows that his current website is not generating as much traffic as other regions of similar size, however, their business development team excels. “We have a strong ground game and connect one-on-one with companies -- and we close well,” said McDonald. In addition, once you know your areas of opportunity (eg. weak awareness, low website traffic) close those gap and make your game whole.

Keep your eye on the prize

Oftentimes ED practitioners find themselves wearing many hats and focusing their energy on activity-oriented goals and not results-oriented ones. Jim Fram, Senior Vice President of the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce consistently works his plan that is geared toward two main goals. According to Fram, “Our organizational structure allows us to focus on efforts strictly on achieving new business and capital investment for the Tulsa area.” In other words, always keep your eye on the prize.

Sell the best product

Michael Langley, CEO of Greater MSP knows this is not an overnight process, “Don’t stop at one year -- look ahead. Know your potential beyond 12 months and work toward building that best product.” How does an organization go about doing this? Constantly measure your performance so you know where to tweak your plan. Developing and delivering the best product evolves over time and only after a series of steps, measurement, evaluation and adjustment.

Click here to view more of the top performing economic development organizations in the country.

Topics: Economic Development

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