Back to Roots, Back to Basics

ChicagoEonomicRestructuring.jpgIt’s the annual National Trust for Historic Preservation Main Street Conference. This year, it’s in not-so-far away Chicago.

The theme for this year’s version is Web 2.0. There are a number of sessions discussing getting more economic leverage from web-based tools. However, I thought I’d start off with a little old school action: Economic Restructuring.

The presenter, Elise Tinsley, outlined three goals for your organization’s “E R Committee”: 1) identify new market opportunities, 2) support existing businesses, and 3) stimulate development investment. Her points struck me as potential guiding principles for any group pursuing economic vitality in Northfield.

Elise said that you attract customers by communicating your community’s image honestly and accurately. Your message must be built on your existing assets, not your envisioned assets. Every community is different and its message should be unique. Perhaps most importantly, your image must be deliverable.

She then talked about gathering market data…and verifying that data. But more on that topic later.

Elise suggested that once you know your community and its assets, as well as your current market and your potential market, you should capture it in a simple and straight-forward Market Position Statement. You position your community within your wider trade area by using this statement to brand, assist and recruit your mix of businesses.

Your statement helps to focus your community’s efforts and helps to draw people to your community. If you’ve accurately captured your assets in your statement, when people visit your community, their experience will match your message.