I attended the annual meeting for the Hamilton County Business Alliance the other day.   This group of business leaders is focused on attracting and retaining companies in this area.  Wisely they understand the interrelationship of the surrounding communities, and they work hand in hand with Indy Partnership to present the best regional face to site selection firms.

The guest speaker was an Robert Radcliffe, Principal, Resource Development Group from Dublin, Ohio, an economic development expert.  He described requirements for a great economic development organization.  Interestingly, I think everything on hihs list applied equally well to great small businesses!  Here’s his list:

  1. Great Vision  – Where do you want to be a year, two or three from now?
  2. Strategic Plan – An outline of how you will get there
  3. Relevant Metrics – Specific measures of success which connect actions to results
  4. Comprehensive Communications – A method of keeping all stakeholders abreast of the progress, changes and issues.  In a small business, the stake holders may include your employees, spouse, clients, and business associates.
  5. Engaged and Empowered Leadership – For a small business I would add empowered employees.  Can your team make decisions without you?  Your business will never grow if they can’t

He also had three strategies for successful growth

  1. Build for tommorow  – Develop a structure to support the company you are going to be
  2. Shoot for the stars  – If you don’t dream big, you will never win big.
  3. Fully fund  – Too many small business owners, are afraid to invest, trying to piecemeal things together till they make the next sale.  And then there is always another reason not to spend.  Invest in your brand, your website, and marketing material so you have the tools you need to compete effectively.