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

A Jumping Competition

A new rider is about to enter a jumping competition on a new horse. The international field is stacked with world-class equestrian jumping champions from around the world. The horse’s trainer meets him before the race and says, “All you have to remember with this horse is that every time you approach a jump, you have to shout, ‘ALLLLEEE OOOP!’ really loudly in the horse’s ear. Providing you do that, you’ll be fine.” The rider thinks the trainer is mad but promises to shout the command. The race begins and they approach the first hurdle. The rider ignores the trainer’s ridiculous advice and the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump. They carry on and approach the second hurdle. The rider, somewhat embarrassed, whispers “Aleeee ooop” in the horse’s ear. The same thing happens – the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump. At the third hurdle, the rider thinks, “It’s no good, I’ll have to do it,” and yells, “ALLLEEE OOOP!” really loudly. Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump with no problems. This continues for the rest of the race, but due to the earlier problems the horse only finishes third. The trainer is fuming and asks the new rider what went wrong. The rider replies, “Nothing is wrong with me – it’s this bloody horse. What is he – deaf or something?” The trainer replies, “Deaf? Deaf?! He’s not deaf. He’s blind!”

What is Tama County’s economic takeaway from this story? This new rider points out that you cannot simply rush through things – we need to pay careful attention to the DETAILS. This is especially true when running or starting a business; DETAILS are paramount to getting and keeping customers.

Attention to Detail (ATD) takes many forms and functions. In most conventional everyday cases, ATD means paying attention to ALL of the factors that impact your business and its many operational facets.

Take a good look at your store, office, warehouse, work area. Does it look neat, clean, well-organized, and professional in appearance? If your answer is NO, what do you think that your customer/client thinks? Dusts, dirt, unrepaired walls, facilities in need of a can of paint are all detractors from both the customer as well as the worker perspective. People like to shop and work in facilities that are neat, clean, well-organized, bright and cheery. If your facilities are not that way, that perhaps, is a partial answer to why you are not attracting the volume and quantity of clients/customers that you think that you deserve. I toured a processing business last week. Although the facility was old, the floors were relatively clean, the facilities well organized and the office was spotless. The business manifested solid evidence of the pride of the workers and the management team. Your facilities should do the same.

As we begin to re-build Tama County’s economy let’s all embrace the heart surgeon’s attention to DETAIL so we can build successful companies and a winning economy.


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