In our line of work, we deal with a lot of obstacles. The existence of obstacles is actually the premise that our entire business is based on. Obstacles from lenders, obstacles from zoning boards, obstacles from neighbors, obstacles from planning committees, obstacles from city staff and obstacles from city councils are a daily hazard in economic development. Besides those I just mentioned, there is one obstacle that is by in large the most difficult to overcome. That obstacle is...our clients themselves.
Business owners by nature are decision makers. They think on their feet. They push through problems and succeed despite them. Many times the speed of business pushes the timelines and makes us feel as though decisions must be made and action must be taken in a hurry. This is the point at which potential clients need to slow down and take more control over the situation.
- What if you could have saved $500,000 by building 1 mile away?
- What if your sites previous use will cost your project 4 months and tens of thousands of dollars?
- What if a neighboring city or county just introduced a forgivable loan program?
- What if slightly changing your build-out could have qualified you for energy grants?
You see, as economic development consultants, we often end up being one of the last groups brought to the table. By that time, our ability to research and apply for funding has been substantially truncated. Many times loan packets have already gone to committee, purchase agreements have already been signed and construction has already begun. This very often leaves tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. All because clients decide to talk to their landscaper, banker, realtor or business coach before us.
Now, we get paid regardless of when you decide to bring us to the table, so I am not complaining from my end of the stick. I do like to see our clients succeed. I do like to maximize our firm’s value to our clients. And I do enjoy working towards amicable resolutions between stakeholders without staring down the barrel of a loaded time shotgun. For those reasons, slow down. Save yourself some money, some headaches, and some I told you so's.
Take a look at your project from a mile high global perspective and see all of the opportunities for an economic development consultant to make the project smooth and rewarding. From research, to site selection, to timelines for lucrative incentives, the sooner you involve us, the better off your project will be.