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

Big Hat

A young businessman had just started his own firm. He’d rented a beautiful office and had it beautifully furnished with very rare and expensive antiques. Sitting there, on the first day in his over-stuffed chair he saw a man come into the outer office. Wishing to appear busy, the businessman picked up the phone and started to pretend he had a big deal in the works. He threw huge figures around and made giant commitments.  Finally he hung up and asked the visitor, “Can I help you?”  The man said, “Sure. I’ve come to install your phone!”

The story reminds me of the expression you hear every now and then– “He’s big hat and no cattle”. Basically, it describes someone who’s more image or projection than actual substance. In doing some research I found that the phrase dates back roughly to the 1940s when Texas’s traditional, agricultural/ranching economy was being tilted on its head by oilmen and an influx of Northerners. These people invested in ranches as part of a personal fortune but were not real cattle ranchers by trade. These imposters wore all the big hats and belt buckles, and talked all the right talk. Many put on all the traditional Texas affectations as an entertaining hobby, which native Texans perceived as patronizing. In return, they had great scorn for these amateurs.

Being “big hat” works great when you are trying to impress friends, family or the Jones’ next door, but when all the flash is stripped away it just won’t pay the bills. Tama County’s economy needs to be built on substance (cattle) instead of fluff (hat). The good news is Tama County Economic Development is here to help you turn dreams and talents into substance.  Don’t think it will work for you? Read on.

You have heard me say this before but it deems repeating – The 3 basic building blocks of a business – you just need a product or service (a talent), a group of people willing to pay for it (a customer), and a way to get paid. Put the three together, and congratulations— you’re now our latest entrepreneur.  THIS IT WHAT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DOES – we help people validate and grow business ideas. Often when I explain our method to people the reaction is (with a dropped jaw) “I just never even THOUGHT about doing it like that!” I LOVE that reaction because it means a HUGE light-bulb has turned on inside their head.

With today’s technology in place, it is the cheapest and fastest time in our nation’s history to be become an entrepreneur. So get your idea scratched out on the back of an envelope and call our office 641-484-3108 and get an appointment to start validating your business idea.  If your idea passes validation then you can enter our PITCH & BUILD business plan competition.

Working together we can become known as the county of countless cattle and a few small hats. ;)


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