NEWBY: Leaders should always look for new opportunities | Local news
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban once said, “Creating opportunity is looking where others aren’t. “
Whether you are a community, business, or media company leader, you must constantly seek out new opportunities. We cannot rely on their current business model in these rapidly changing times.
Last week it occurred to me that over the years of writing this column, I tend to focus on harnessing internal community resources to achieve our goals and objectives. I still believe this is the safest way to achieve your goals, as these internal resources are usually predictable and consistent. That said, last week I was able to get a taste of the importance of the external resources available, which, while not always predictable and consistent, can nonetheless be a game-changer in your local community.
What caught my attention? I was able to attend a House function in Pineville, MO. unbeknownst to me, they were receiving a $ 50,000 grant from T-Mobile to help with a county-wide project. It was during this awards ceremony that it occurred to me that there were so many resources like these that are available for those who are willing to seek such grants, awards , awards, etc.
It turns out that T-Mobile has had this program for some time and awards 24 communities $ 50,000 each during this award cycle. T-Mobile has committed approximately $ 25,000,000 to this program over a period of a few years, and I suspect or would not be surprised if this continues beyond the program’s original expected duration. I applaud T-Mobile for its concern for small communities across the country, devoting time, money and, must I forget, hiring 7,500 employees specializing in helping small local communities.
For a community like Pineville, which is part of a larger county chamber, these types of grants can be a game-changer. Like many other local communities across the country, quaint McDonald County lies in the shadow of the larger community, Bentonville, AR. It can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, even if the distance is not far, it provides an escape from the hustle and bustle, crime and congestion of the larger market. On the other hand, sitting in the shadow of a larger community, the money flowing out of these smaller communities to the larger neighboring community can be a huge obstacle to increased economic development in these small affected communities.
Small communities need to find ways to defend themselves and keep their money. This is done in two ways. First of all, as we’ve seen through T-Mobile, tackling those kinds of dollars is essential and can change the course of a community. I have seen communities hire someone whose only role is to apply for grants full time. A price is enough to justify this position. There are literally hundreds of grants and award opportunities to research and apply for.
The second way communities can fight back is to adopt a truly local campaign to educate their community about the value of thinking local. I have over 100 columns discussing ways to do this. Being truly local involves more than shopping locally. It is the local government that commits to spending its money locally as much as possible. He builds a local marketing program that brings money to the community instead of companies spending marketing dollars on off-market, less effective products. So easy to do, but few try to do it. Those who do this make great progress in a short period of time.
Small communities must understand that their problems are theirs, there are no big brothers to save the situation. The saying “put your money where your house is” has never been truer. With every dollar spent locally having 3 to 7 times more impact than dollars leaving the community, small communities must find ways to keep as much dollars as possible locally. With rapidly changing micro-economic conditions, the key decisions made today may very well determine your long-term survival as a community.
John A. Newby, of Pineville, MO. is the author of “Building Main Street, not Wall Street,” a weekly column published in communities across the country. He is CEO of Truly-Local, dedicated to helping communities build enthusiasm, energy and combine synergies with their local media to become more vibrant and competitive. His email is: [email protected]