Since the spring of 2020, many workers have realized that they can do what they do from anywhere, and remote work gives them the chance to choose a new place to live.
These workers want to move somewhere with a lower cost of living, lower taxes, and strong quality of life, but without the crowds and hassles of big city living.
Smaller, more rural communities have benefitted from an influx of these remote workers with disposable income to spend. But leaving the big city behind doesn’t necessarily mean these workers want to completely abandon the cultural benefits of big city living—they want to have those advantages on a more manageable (and less expensive) scale.
It makes sense that businesses, such as restaurants, art galleries, and bike shops, might follow these workers to the places they’ve chosen to relocate. But municipalities shouldn’t discount the other advantages this kind of renewal can provide. Consider these three ways to attract businesses to your city.
Attract and Retain Younger Workers
Smaller cities that have reinvented themselves found ways to attract and retain a younger workforce. Younger people want to work, play, and live all within walking or biking distance. Reinventing downtown areas to combine housing with restaurants, entertainment venues, and shopping can attract young entrepreneurs to your newly “cool” downtown.
Analyze Data and Highlight Community Strengths
When larger businesses look for a new location to establish a manufacturing facility or distribution center, they want to see data. Analyze the local population for factors such as education level, diversity, and spending power. Then, provide data about local school performance, including graduation rates and college acceptances. Finally, create reports on the availability and affordability of housing. Companies looking to commission new manufacturing or distribution centers want to show employees that the community has much to offer.
Invest in Infrastructure
Manufacturing and distribution depend on infrastructure. If your community is due for an upgrade in its water, sewer, power, or transportation resources, don’t skimp. Jump ahead a generation and make your community stand out as an early adopter of innovative, sustainable, and efficient energy, water, and transportation systems. Invest in solar and wind power, repave roads with recycled materials, and establish water reclamation systems that minimize waste and maximize quality. Sustainable, environmentally friendly infrastructure systems attract younger workers and entice employees who are relocating to your town.
These are just three ways to attract businesses to your city. There are many more, including involving state government to support infrastructure improvements, such as promoting airport expansion, providing tax incentives, and funding job training programs that will support businesses relocating to your community.