Day 116: Trick or Treat

Day 116:  Trick or Treat.  Obviously this post is being written on Halloween.  What’s Halloween have to do with economic development?  Nothing.  I am trying to be clever.  But, maybe there is a correlation.  Let’s say your house is a community.  Let’s say a business looking for a location is a “beggar”.  Let’s call the treats we hand out, incentives.  So you have beggars going to each house.  I have a twelve year old.  Last night she was Trick or Treating.  She ran into some friends and said, “Oh the house at the end of this street is giving out a bag of chips and Sprite!”  The other kids said “cool!”  I would argue we have been conditioned since a very young age that we want incentives.  As we go through school we were awarded by either good grades or pizza parties if we did something well.  We sort of expect to receive something if we are doing good.  Fortunately my parents taught me to always do good and don’t do it for a prize.  But society as a whole is conditioned to get something.  Incentives are expected.  Do any of us like giving them?  No.  Are they bad?  Not necessarily.  Do they do good?  Most times.  Many of us give some thought to what treats we are going to give kids.  I am of the age where popcorn balls and apples were the popular treats when I was a kid.  Then there were stories of people putting razor blades and pins into the popcorn balls and apples.  I was pretty young when I heard of these.  I don’t believe the stories were true.  It was probably the candy industry that spread these stories (okay, I have a cynical side).  But, back then people gave some thought to the treats.  They wanted to try to give more healthy treats.  The person giving out the chips and Sprite last night, was trying to be different.  They gave it some thought.  Much more thought should be given to incentives.  Develop incentives that are smart for you and the company.  If they can be different, that is even better.  But don’t just give incentives because you think you have to.  Give them because they will help you and the business.  One example of a good incentive that has been around for years is offering incentives in an area in your community that you want to stimulate growth and improvement.  Another idea is to have some cash on hand to help move a company’s equipment.  But require they contract with a local mover.  Always have a claw back and always be able to measure the success of the incentive.  Next:  When do you know you need to move on?

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