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

Hound or Hare?

A hound spotted a hare and gave chase. After some distance the hound began to gain, but then gave up the chase. As the hound returned home the farmer commented that the little hare had been too much for the hound, who replied, “It’s one thing to run for your dinner, but quite another to run for your life.”

What does this amusing little story about a lazy dog have to do with our economy in Tama County? Everything!  We need to wake up and realize two things: the critical nature of where we are at, and that the economy is our responsibility, not someone else’s.

Since I have taken this position I have been asking a lot of questions and I have found that there are three schools of thought on handling our current economic “sea of change”.  1) The academic approach which I believe will struggle to apply logic to the circumstance and simply forecast “the end” (happy to be proven right). 2) The creative and/or artistic approach will seek to make peace with the current situation and wait patiently for a resolution to just happen all by itself. 3) The action-based approach works to realign interests and act within the flow of the current times.

Based on my informal polling, it seems we have a lot of passive artists in the economic development field. The majority of economic development marketers I talk to have retreated to hoping a 10-15% decrease in revenue will be the extent of the pain. In other words, they plan to just wait it out. Personally, I believe this “waiting it out” approach (same as the hound) in our current situation – an extended economic downturn – could be disastrous. We need to act with the urgency of the hare!

How do we start putting ideas into action and growing our economy?  Here are 6 ways you can begin to grow the action habit:

1. Don’t wait until conditions are perfect – If you’re waiting to start until conditions are perfect, you probably never will. There will always be something that isn’t quite right. Either the timing is off, the market is down, or there’s too much competition. In the real world there is no perfect time to start. You have to take action and deal with problems as they arise. The best time to start was last year. The second best time is right now.

2. Be a doer – Practice doing things rather than thinking about them. The longer an idea sits in your head without being acted on, the weaker it becomes. After a few days the details gets hazy. After a week it’s forgotten completely. By becoming a doer you’ll get more done and stimulate new ideas in the process.

3. Remember that ideas alone don’t bring success – Ideas are important, but they’re only valuable after they’ve been implemented. One average idea that’s been put into action is more valuable than a dozen brilliant ideas that you’re saving for “some other day” or the “right opportunity”.  Unless you take action it will never go anywhere.

4. Use action to cure fear – Have you ever noticed that the most difficult part of public speaking is waiting for your turn to speak? Even professional speakers experience pre-performance anxiety. Once they get started the fear disappears. Action is the best cure for fear.

5. Live in the present – Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow. The only time you can affect is the present. If you speculate too much about the past or the future you won’t get anything done. Tomorrow or next week frequently turns into never.

6. Call our office 641-484-3108 and get an appointment to discuss your growth idea. Written applications are due Tuesday, August 14 at 5:00 p.m. for the Tama County PITCH & BUILD business plan competition.

Are you a hound or are you a hare?



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