We’re Moving – Join Us!

we're movingFor months, we’ve been pondering the future of the economic and community development industry through our “Next Stop, the Future” blog series.

After we spent time examining where the industry is moving externally, it was time for some internal soul searching, too.

We looked at how we communicate with you, Valley-area economic developers and community leaders, as well as prospects and business executives around the world.

We asked ourselves, “How can we do things even better?”

We found this answer: LinkedIn.

Beginning today, our Valley Works blog moves to a LinkedIn TVA Economic Development group.

It’s no secret that most corporate executives, EDOs and other business leaders already use this online network regularly (check out this article for details). (more…)

Build Tomorrow’s Workforce, Today

As part of our “Next Stop, the Future” series, we’ve examined major changes in economic development. We’ve provided tips on what Valley communities need to know – and do – now to land ahead of the curve in the near future.

Today, we end this series with a final look forward, exploring what you should know and do now to build your community’s future workforce.

Companies are planning their futures on the next generation of employees. These young professionals, who are commonly called “millennials,” are in their 20s and early 30s. They now account for the largest portion of the U.S. workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.

“If companies are building their futures with millennials in mind, then Valley-area communities must do the same,” said Melissa Halsell, a TVA Economic Development program manager who leads the Young Talent Infusion initiative.

Halsell is traveling the Valley, facilitating Young Talent regional roundtables and listening to millennials discuss what they look for when choosing where to work and live. She offers some insights on what economic and community developers might consider: (more…)

Smart Marketing – Part Two

contentAs part of our “Next Stop, the Future” series, we’ve been exploring winning marketing practices in economic development.

Last week, we explored how to build competitive economic development websites.

This week, we look at a few more marketing strategies you can use.

Know This Now:

Your success lives and dies based on how well you understand your customers’ needs.

Do This Now:

  • Conduct a listening/marketing tour
  • Ask existing businesses and their suppliers, local university and college leaders, site selection consultants, and ally organizations (such as your local power company, regional economic development organizations and state agencies) what they need to succeed in the next one, five, ten years
  • Listen – don’t pitch your products right away
  • Back at the office, match what these sources say they need with solutions you can offer
  • Return and market your solutions – you never know who will repeat something helpful to a prospect later on

Know This Now:

Here’s one thing you already know: your staff, time, and budgets are limited. So focus on marketing efforts you can measure. (more…)

Smarter Marketing Brings Leads

contentAs part of our “Next Stop, the Future” series, we examine winning marketing practices.

Let’s start with two questions:

  1. What are the top three stories you tell about your community?
  2. Which megaphone do you use the most to tell those stories?

According to leading economic development marketing firms, you should have answered:

  1. incentives, workforce, and demographics
  2. my community website

If you missed the mark – or if you’re on the right track and looking for more ideas – read on for helpful tips.

Know This Now:

Company leaders and site selection consultants overwhelmingly look to local websites while screening locations to determine their short list for site visits.

That means potential prospects are evaluating you even before you can make your pitch on the phone or in person. (more…)

Give Incentives A Makeover

MP900390102As part of our “Next Stop, the Future” series, we examine an industry staple that’s quickly evolving: incentives.

In the U.S., 95 percent of communities use tax credits and other incentives to spur job creation and investment, according to an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) report, “Incentives for the 21st Century.”

You can maximize your incentives by focusing them on four areas:

entrepreneurship and small business, talent attraction, local hiring, and energy savings.

Communities are poised to impact the first three areas at the local level. Meanwhile, Valley communities can depend on TVA to lead in energy savings.

Entrepreneurship and Small Business:

Support new and small businesses by simplifying zoning processes, reducing business license requirements, and hosting networking and education events.

(For ideas, check out the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurship report).

Attracting Talent:

Increase vibrancy and diversity through smart planning. Build your locale into a place where young, international, and other talented workers want to live (TVA can help with strategic community development support).

(For ideas, check out the Lower Town Artist Program in Paducah, Kentucky, or the Live Midtown program in Detroit, Michigan). (more…)

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