Part 1 of ???
The character Elaine Benes of the renowned comedy series, Seinfeld, considers whether her boyfriends are sponge-worthy or not. It was at a time in our history when contraceptive sponges were rumored to be unhealthy and even dangerous. The truth was different. Elaine had a specific line of questioning she would go through to make the determination. She went into quite the detail.
It is and isn’t similar to whether or not a community is investor worthy. Making the determination as to the worthiness of a community for business is a critical decision for both the community and investors. What are the criteria and factors that need to be considered? What questions need to be asked?
In our current environment, talent is THE key issue, but not the only one. The good news and bad news is that there are talent challenges everywhere. We will come back to address the talent challenge later in the story, but what else makes a community investor-worthy?
The first one I often hear is quality of life. Ugh! Yes, it is important, but it does not appear early on the list. Painted concrete garbage containers, murals, splash pads, and trails, for example, will be factors but they are not the leading indicators for success. It’s similar to those businesses that have swings, slides, free beer, and other gimmicks. They work in the short term, but the best talent wants a purpose and engagement. The same holds true in communities. It must be a data fit.
Site selectors and businesses do a great deal of upfront work before quality of life enters the equation. The site selection, at least for larger projects, is very analytical and data driven. This early part of the process typically eliminates candidate cities. It doesn’t necessarily select the community….to be continued