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Archive for May, 2019

5 Essential Steps For Smart Economic Development and Retail Growth

Is your city ready for economic development and retail growth?

Most cities want to grow and develop their economies. But you’re not going to achieve that goal without taking steps toward building a smart economic development strategy.

No matter what your city’s particular situation, you’ll benefit from taking the time to define your strategy. Putting in this prep-work in helps ensure your economic development efforts will meet the community’s needs and goals. Here are five essential steps to help you get started.

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1) Choose Where To Focus

The first step in planning economic development and growth is to choose where you’ll focus your efforts. Each location, neighborhood, or area that you choose as a focus will have distinct goals.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution for economic development. Your strategy is going to depend on the area of focus. For example, goals when developing an industrial area will be different than when working in a downtown shopping district.

2) See Where You’re At

Once you decide what areas you’re going to focus on, take a close look at what you have to work with. This should include a history of the work done in this location as well as the impact it had. You’ll also want to take into account information related to the current state of the area.

At this stage, data collection and analysis should focus on helping you identify the existing condition and challenges in the target area. This data will help you define goals for the area. This doesn’t necessarily involve extensive data collection – only the information you need to start setting goals.

3) Set Goals

Now that you’ve chosen a focus area and collected data related to that area, it’s time to define clear goals for your economic development strategy. The specific goals will depend on your area’s needs, but as a general rule the goals should line-up with key concepts for economic development. This includes supporting and attracting businesses, supporting workers, and supporting quality of life.

4) Identify Existing Barriers

Now that you’ve defined your goals, you have the information you need to identify barriers that might stand in the way. This step helps ensure that you’re shaping your economic development strategy in a way that equips you to meet all the challenges posed by the location you’re developing.

For example, let’s suppose your focus area is a downtown shopping district and your goal is to make this area more vibrant. Barriers to achieving that goal might include outdated retail space, lack of convenient parking, and/or property owners who don’t share your goals.

5) Use The Right Tools

Identifying barriers to achieving your goals helps you figure out what types of tools you’ll need to overcome those obstacles. These tools typically include policy changes or actions that communities can take to help the development process work more smoothly. Examples include streamlining the permitting processes or incentivizing property owners.

Hiring an expert consultant is another valuable step you can take toward overcoming obstacles related to economic development. Here at Retail Attractions, we have extensive experience helping cities achieve their goals related to economic development and retail growth. Just contact us today to get started.

Make The Most of Future Retail Development With These Tips For Strategic Site Selection

If you want to make the most of future retail development, then it’s time to for a more strategic approach to site selection.

It used to be that most companies approached site selection as a tactical activity rather than a strategic one. No matter how many new locations you were planning on opening, there’s a good chance you treated each site selection individually. The goals for this type of process are often concrete and focused on specific locations rather than on how each site relates to a larger plan.

Strategic site selection, on the other hand, takes a more holistic view of things. With this approach, you’ll be thinking about your company’s long-term goals. You’ll also focus on figuring out how each selected site relates to those goals.

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Think Long-Term

For strategic site selection, you’re going to want to take into consideration more than just how each site will work for your company today. You’ll also want to consider how site selection relates to your entire network of locations. In addition, you’ll need to consider future plans for expanding your network as well as the current state of your business ventures.

Of course, this means extra work on your part. But taking the time to research, plan, and strategize in addition to the other steps you take during the retail site selection process is going to pay off in the long-term.

Remember The Basics

As you’re developing your strategic, long-term site selection plan make sure you don’t overlook the basics of site selection. Choosing the right location for new retail expansion is key to success. You don’t want to overlook important factors about choosing individual sites because overall goals distracted you.

Strategic site selection starts with narrowing-down which cities and towns fit best with your long-term goals for building a network of locations. Once you do that, it’s time to zoom-in and choose the best site to build. For further information about this vital step, check out our articles on the most important factors in retail site selection:

Evaluate Ongoing Performance

Part of strategic site selection is continuing to evaluate your site after selection. A location that used to work really well might not be ideal 10 or 20 years from when you first selected it. As you continue to track data on each location, you can adapt your strategy to include evaluating existing locations. Some under-performing locations might just need additional investment to reach their full potential. For others, the strategic decision might be shutting that location down and investing resources elsewhere.

If you want help with making your retail site selection more strategic, get in touch with us. We have extensive experience helping retailers find the best possible locations for their next expansion. Also, be sure to pick up a copy of my books. City On A Hill is a book about cities and how to make them better, and my new book The Devil’s In the Details addresses things that challenge city government and the language of development.