The Timing of the Process
One mistake made by many communities has been to initiate the strategic planning for renewed economic development once a crisis has appeared and it is clear that something needs to be done in order to recover. The leadership must act. It gathers the many remaining critical stakeholders to consider how to recoup and sustain their collective economic foundation. The communities that have experienced the greatest success with their strategic planning for economic growth have been those that have begun the process before severe needs arose to force the issue. The good times are also more propitious, and will make an easier sell, for bigger concepts that will drive greater growth, create more and better jobs, greater levels of expendable income, and a healthier tax base. Finally, communities that can demonstrate to companies that are making site location decisions that they are in growth mode but also prepared for a downturn will appear more business-like.