Retaining and Expanding Existing Businesses
by By Hasco Craver IV
(Editor’s note: In the first installment of a five-part series dedicated to detailing the goals of the City of Newnan’s Business Development Plan, this month’s column from Business Development Director Hasco Craver IV focuses on Goal 1: Retain & Expand Existing Businesses.)
The protection and promotion of a diversified and healthy tax base is required to function as a financially responsible government. Therefore, a sturdy retention strategy is required to assist key existing businesses and industries successfully expand and create jobs and encourage investment.
Business retention involves building a solid relationship with the current business owners or managers, regularly collecting data on both the company and industry, analyzing and tracking the collected data in order to predict future behaviors, assisting the company in solving problems that may cause a relocation or closure, and looking for opportunities to assist with the growth of businesses in the community.
A local jurisdiction’s economic health is partly dependent on the number and quality of jobs provided by employers within the community as well as the amount of private capital being invested locally. Good jobs attract and retain residents. Good jobs allow residents to purchase property and improve their neighborhood. Good jobs afford residents with the disposable income needed to support a strong commercial and retail sector.
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The City of Newnan’s retention and expansion strategy includes the following objectives:
Objective 1: Develop and Maintain a Knowledge Base
Analyze existing businesses and industries which should be targeted for Business Retention & Expansion efforts. Priority should be directed at high impact and future growth oriented businesses and industries. Conduct comprehensive interviews with high-value businesses and industries to support their current and future needs.
Objective 2: Create Partnership Newnan Team
Strategic partnerships with property owners, business owners, industry officials/ experts, brokers, local/ regional/ state/ federal agencies, chambers of commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, utility providers, financial institutions and other economic development engines are required to develop a communication framework, which will indicate the current and future health of existing businesses and industries.
Objective 3: Build a Support Network for Small/ Entrepreneurial Businesses
Continue and enhance the effectiveness of the Main Street Newnan program. Develop a clearinghouse of information and resources designed to support small/ entrepreneurial businesses. * * *
One of the most recognizable business development activities promoted by the City of Newnan is the management and support of the Main Street program. Originally couched within historic preservation, the Main Street program has brought countless benefits to the City of Newnan. A true and complete Main Street program involves the promotion of the downtown district through events, advertising, social media and more.
In addition, the program provides design guidance in the form of façade and streetscape improvements, banners and signage programming and space renovation recommendations to interested stakeholders. The business-to-business networking events that oftentimes drive entrepreneurial success are also a focus of the Main Street program.
Making certain that all interested stakeholder groups are represented is of paramount importance as well as the economic restructuring of the district. The Main Street program, in adhering to the above-listed objectives, maintains a robust catalogue of existing space as well as a listing of potential assistance programs needed to assist the local business community with their retention and expansion needs.
While it’s not surprising that communities continue to be intrigued by the concept of recruiting jobs and investment by attracting large employers, the competition for such corporate partners is fierce. Major corporations have not been building new facilities in the United States at the same rate seen in previous decades. Studies from across the country demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of new jobs are created from existing business expansion projects.
Therefore, it is critical to the overall success of the City of Newnan and its citizenry that a concerted effort is directed at the retention and expansion of existing businesses.