To be competitive, governments must reach out to their communities – and, even, past international borders. Maureen Krauss, director for the Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs for Oakland County, discusses the role of events and the county's overseas trade missions in business development.
Post 2: Talking Points
What are your talking points about our region? When you meet someone who is not from here, what are the key things you want them to know about Oakland County and metro Detroit? One issue that I am very passionate about is how we talk about ourselves. Think about it, if you were a car dealer and all of your employees bad mouthed the cars that you sold, you would have a large image problem. So when Oakland County has a national or international company in town that is looking to invest in our area, what will they hear?
We have some amazing assets in our region. Our work force is skilled, smart, hard working and available. The infrastructure is here. No need to build brand new roads, water and sewer lines, or power grids. We have ample real estate at amazing prices. Our future work force is trained through our community college and university network that are quick to evolve to the needs of new technology businesses.
In the past two years, Michigan lost a large investment from an international company because, as we learned in the exit interview– "They are all fighting there, the communities, the politicians, and the employees/employers." The winning state greeted the company at the airport with statewide officials and businesses that were eager to get the spin off from suppliers, new jobs, and more money circulating in their local economy.
From the time someone arrives in town what do they hear? Does everyone leave an impression that Michigan has great opportunities for their business? These people influence the visitor before we even have a chance to make our pitch.
You may have been taught that if you do not have anything nice to say about someone, say nothing at all. It is a lesson that we need to remember. It can make my job a little easier.