The new mayor had taken office, and she had appeared on many different local television shows and radio shows. It seemed like every time she spoke, she spoke about the importance of retaining jobs. She spoke about the importance of keeping local businesses.
It was amazing to hear, and yet it was not amazing to hear. It was amazing to hear in the sense that very few politicians ever talk about retaining jobs. Sure, they are more than willing to promote the next new local headquarters or the company that is moving a facility to their jurisdiction. But rarely do politicians talk about the importance of retaining jobs and companies in the future.
The reason why it was not so surprising is that the local economy had lost some major employers recently, and there was an increasing sense of concern permeating the community about the loss of more jobs.
Just like with any private sector business attempting to retain clients, government entities need to have strategies focused on retaining their local businesses and local jobs. These strategies involve having an organizational structure setup that is continuously touching base with local businesses in key industries to ensure they are getting their needs met. This strategy includes ongoing research by directly contacting companies as well as more passive research where the municipalities are gathering information on local businesses about leadership changes, changes in company performance, facility changes, and industry trends. That strategy includes making sure that there are incentives in place to help with economic development for companies willing to expand and stay locally so that those incentives can fend off other jurisdictions offering relocation incentives.
It’s sad that it takes a bad economy to get politicians to talk about business retention, but if it does nothing else, it proves that every local job, every local business, and every industry impacted by local business is important.
Make sure that your jurisdiction has a sound strategy for business retention and expansion.
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