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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

Growing Tama County Column – Who We Are

The economic news this past Friday was not good. Unemployment ticked higher, fewer jobs were created, and the stock market plummeted.  So – what can be done to fix the economy? Let’s begin by asking some simple (who, what, how, & when) questions.


The Tama County economy is the real US economy. The hard truth is that the U.S. is a nation of small businesses.  99.7% of the ~6 million companies in the U.S. have less than 500 people and they employ 50% of the 121 million workers getting a paycheck.  They accounted for 65 percent (or 9.8 million) of the 15 million new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.  Simply put – WE ARE THE ECONOMY.


What’s the secret to building Tama County’s economy? Is it luck? Is it leadership? Is it education? Is it having the right resources? Is it being located in the right place? Is it picking a winning economic project that provides hundreds of jobs and saves the day? Each of these can be necessary components of development, yet without action – nothing will get done.

Often times the more difficult a problem seems, the simpler its solution actually is.  What it will take is for people to realize that they have to actually become involved.   We can either ride down the slippery slope while everything crumbles around us or we can take positive action to pursue a strategy that can help fix the problem. It is time to act, forget about Washington arguing over budgets and tax rates.  None of that means anything anymore.  It’s up to us in the small towns across the country to TAKE ACTION.

HOW (do we take action)

The secret of accomplishing big things is to break the big task into lots of small tasks. There’s an old joke that illustrates the point. Question: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.”

By breaking your “big things” into little action steps and doing at least one step a day, anyone can accomplish great things. Just don’t keep all your action steps in your head. I’ve met people who get the “baby steps” concept, but they still don’t get anywhere because they never get to the action part. They come up with action steps like “Thinking about the idea for a business” or “Analyze marketing options to improve my business.”

Those sound like action steps, but they’re not. They don’t result in real action. Real action is something out in the physical world that others can witness. Instead of “Thinking about the idea for a new business,” try “Drafting a business plan outline.” Instead of “Analyze marketing options to improve my business,” try creating several specific action steps. They might include: “List three sources of information,” “Contact source A,” and “Prepare a costs and benefits document. Make a call. Make a list. Send an e-mail. Do something. If you make it visible, you won’t fool yourself about whether you’re making progress. And to keep things moving, define action steps that are small enough that you’re sure to succeed.

WHEN (do we act)


To become involved . . .  Simply contact our office and we can provide more information on how you can start reinvigorating Tama County.  Contact us at (641) 484-3108.

We look forward to working with you!

Heath Kellogg
Executive Director
Tama County Economic Development Commission


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