Site Selector Breakfast – Fam Tour
That was the final piece of advice given to a room full of business leaders and elected officials at the Garden of the Gods Club and Resort September 23. These local leaders had come to receive feedback from a group of site selector consultants and business executives visiting Colorado Springs for a “FAM tour” hosted by the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
The FAM tour familiarized site selector consultants and executives from businesses looking to expand with the business climate and culture of Colorado Springs. The last day of the tour, the consultants were given the mic and asked to share their insight on the industry as well as Colorado Springs as a business destination.
Here are five key takeaways that they shared:
1) The site selection industry is changing
Years ago, before the internet, site selectors held the “black box” of data about different communities. Now, in the age of Google, data is cheap and ubiquitous. This has caused a major shift in how site selection works.
The most notable change is in the speed a project moves from inception to completion. Projects that originally would take 6-12 months are now targeting completion in 3-4 months.
2) In a connected world, site selection is getting more competitive
Colorado Springs is no longer competing solely with similar sized U.S. cities for business. We are competing internationally with cities in Europe, China, Japan, and other international regions. Companies are beginning by looking at dozens, if not hundreds of locations on paper. Many times communities are considered and eliminated without ever being notified.
3) External communication and positioning is more important than ever
Projects are moving at an ever-increasing rate and many times communities aren’t notified that they are under consideration until the third or even fourth round of vetting. Now, more than ever, it’s important for communities to remain top of mind and communicate their value as clearly as possible.
Site selectors are also looking at communities’ websites and social presence. While a strong web presence may not get a place added on to a site selector’s list, a poor showing can definitely take them off of one.
4) Workforce tops the list of concerns for companies when choosing a location
Payroll is one of the largest budget items for the majority of companies and that is reflected by the emphasis placed on available workforce when choosing a community to move or expand into. Multiple site selectors shared firsthand stories of deals they saw fall flat due to a poor workforce pipeline.
5) Colorado Springs has a lot going for it
Every site selector had many good things to say about our community. They raved about the quality of life, cost of living, municipal utilities, and true spirit of collaboration. The audience was told multiple times to keep the momentum going that the community had displayed through the week.
“Step back periodically, plug new people in, see opportunities for growth, and don’t lose momentum” one consultant shared. “And, don’t suck!” another finished.