Amazon HQ2 Is Hot For Entrepreneurs And Sparking A Lot Of Business Plans
People work together best at two times: in times of crisis and in times of YUGE opportunity. Let’s talk about opportunity.
It’s hard to go anywhere in the Atlanta region without talking about the prospects of ‘landing the big one’—Amazon’s HQ2. In fact Atlanta’s Governor, Nathan Deal, may call a special session to talk about the opportunity. And I’m sure it’s the same for the other cities vying for the title.
Even if you’re not looking to draw a fish that size into your local ecosystem, economic development is something smart entrepreneurs need to better understand.
Economic development unleashes a world of new investments
While other entrepreneurs stick to their standard playbook of startup competitions and schmoozing with VCs, others take time to network with leaders in economic development.
When you understand the economic development focus of your region, you get an eye into the businesses that will be in high demand and will be sustainable in your region’s future.
Regions seeking to support broader business and growing industries to their area invest carefully and create new investment vehicles and partnerships to do so.
For several years I’ve judged the MidAmerica Economic Development awards, and I’m always astounded at the well-oiled machines—particularly well-oiled funding mechanisms—that exist around economic developers.
Building your business plan around long-term regional strategy
Building your business plan around a skillset you have or a group of customers you can uniquely solve a problem for is great for a first draft.
To go further, and have your plan rise to the top of the stack, the stack that banks and investors line up to review, you have to add another dimension of relevance and staying power.
Does your business and marketing plan elaborate on dynamic shifts that you will address:
- Increased populations in your area that have high demand for something not yet offered – do you need more schools, more restaurants, more just-in-time-personal services?
- Infrastructure issues of your region that are in flux that need reinforcement by something you uniquely offer – do you need more diversity in transit options or IOT technologies that tie to new commerce in your area?
- Demographic shifts that impact what your local economy has to offer – are younger people moving in that require more gyms or older populations relocating to your area that want jazzier assisted living?
When you can tie your relevance to the things that your region has placed a priority on, your loan requests or investment requests make sense not just for you, but for a larger set of constituents.
Where are the economic developers that provide the 40,000 ft. business view?
The U.S. Economic Development Administration has a great set of resources for you to look more closely at. The list includes groups whose unique focus may align with your area of entrepreneurship. A few of interest include:
- The Association of University Research Parks– Where are the incubation and invention hubs near you?
- National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) – This group is focused on a broad array of ‘regional solutions’ to local government, business and community needs. When you see the word ‘development,’ the funding is never far behind.
- National Business Incubation Association – If you’re at the napkin stage, associations like this can help you get to the next stage.
- National Rural Economic Developers Association – Entrepreneurship is not something that exists only in big cities or broad regions. On the contrary, areas with less big business are often the most enterprising and invested in helping local entrepreneurs succeed.
I could go on and on, but the point is not the laundry list of groups. The point is…
Where will your business go down in history…if it goes down at all?
Entrepreneurs must look more broadly at what they are trying to accomplish to broaden their avenues for potential investment.
If your region isn’t vying to attract a big fish like Amazon HQ2, what is it doing to invent and create the next Mega Business HQ1?
Is your company Mega Business? If so, you need the plan for grooming talent, sparking innovation and creating a vibrant economy that has sticky-ness.
Is your region grooming the entrepreneurs that say, ‘One day soon, I’m going to buy Amazon and then I’m going to X, Y, Z?’ That’s 40,000-foot view thinking.
I mean, definitely, figure out your monetization strategy and cash flow, but then get up to 40,000 feet, so you have a sustainable challenge to solve and begin securing your place in the business history books.
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