The business community learned a valuable lesson over the last year. We’ve been taught that adapting to change is critical to our success as a business community — and as a society. As 2021 continues, an opportunity exists at your fingertips that can transform your business development processes through out-of-the-box thinking and unique alliances.
Oftentimes, business development leaders look to private sector companies as the true innovators. Many aspire to replicate Tesla, Google and Amazon, hoping to find their niche and grow fiercely once it’s established. Meanwhile, the public and not-for-profit sector are often viewed as static and lacking the next generation of revolutionary ideas.
Some of the most creative business development concepts over the last few years have come from redevelopment authorities, foundations, small cities and local chambers of commerce. Small towns and rural areas identified creative ways to promote their economies while also recruiting a remote workforce.
A recent survey of 130 human resource leaders by Gartner, Inc. showed 90% of respondents intend to permit employees to work remotely — whether full-time or part-time — even after coronavirus vaccines are more readily available across the U.S. Economic development engines and their business development staff are finding avenues to attract and relocate potential remote workers. Many are renewing past initiatives or creating new ones
• Alabama is offering remote workers up to $10,000 to move into the state.
• Committing to building a home in New Richland, Minnesota's Homestake subdivision — and meeting certain requirements — could result in free land to build on.
• Savannah, Georgia, created a worker incentive program offering $2,000 in relocation fees to employees of any technology company that opens a small office in the city.
• Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is recruiting a remote workforce by leveraging first-class outdoor recreational amenities – like 25 parks, 52 arts and entertainment venues, 65 hiking trails, high-speed broadband and more.
Exploring opportunities for public-private partnerships is oftentimes an afterthought — but it should be at the forefront for business development idea exploration in 2021. Finding ways to collaborate with public entities in your region could mean a new source of revenue to your existing business model. It is important to remember not all local government-affiliated organizations are bureaucratic. These groups are oftentimes nimble and ready to look for a joint venture that puts together a long-term economic vision.
One official I spoke with offered a perspective from the municipal side. John Dubnansky, Community & Economic Development Director for the City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, carries a belief that municipal governments must engage in public-private partnerships in order to achieve community goals.
Why? It's part of a need to fill financial gaps while serving citizens. Public-private alliances also provide municipal governments the opportunity for efficiency while leveraging educated and experienced professionals from private companies. Infrastructure projects were often originally the driving force behind partnerships but there are now immense opportunities that reach far beyond that.
You can start exploring public-private partnerships on municipal websites and by calling your regional economic development directors. Often times partnerships are formed when a private sector company initiates a conversation with a public organization. In my experience, it’s best to start the conversation by explaining what your company does, what you are looking to accomplish and what the regional impact could be if you succeed at reaching your goals. Business leaders have the chance to create these alliances. It's not just about searching for partnership opportunities like you would online bids.