Did you know that each and every successful small town has their own strengths and weaknesses? In addition, they all share a few common traits. For example, all thriving communities involve a wide range of residents when planning for the future. They’re also good at capitalizing on their distinctive assets such as town history, architecture, nature and the area’s surroundings. The vast majority of successful small towns also take part in both market incentives and the private sector in order to stem the flow of new development, in addition to relying on government funding and regulations. Here is a breakdown of the things that small towns do to succeed….

You need to have a solid plan in place and follow that plan in order to succeed from a personal level. The same holds true for a business or organization. Just imagine a business that doesn’t have a business plan. It would certainly have a difficult time attracting new investors. Without a business plan, the company would probably not have the ability to stay competitive within its own marketplace. Small towns are like a business. They must follow a plan in order to survive let alone thrive. In fact, there are a great deal of small towns across America that are failing simply because they lack a solid community plan that provides a clear-cut vision for the future. 

In essence, the community plan should be utilized as a blueprint for the future of the town. People will certainly have various opinions regarding exactly how to achieve the ultimate vision for the town but following the community plan should be something that everyone agrees upon. The bottom line is that it can be used to bring certain leaders back down to earth so to speak. Although most people who live in small towns do not embrace change, it must take place in order for the small town to avoid falling by the wayside. 

Changes in technology, demographics, the economy, population growth or loss, and the attitudes of the residents are constantly changing and evolving. That means small towns can either grow by change that is planned or change that is not planned. Small towns that have a clear vision for the future will be able to properly plan that change, adapt to it, and succeed through it. 

Successful small towns also have the ability to inventory their community-based assets. In fact, that’s where creating a vision for the future starts. 

In essence, successful small towns take stock of what they have available to them including architectural assets, natural assets, and human assets to name a few. A successful small town will then build their plan based around those assets. For example, Union, CT is famous for our natural surroundings.  Bigelow Hollow State Park is a significant attraction for people, so Union features it as part of our tourism plan. The bottom line is that economic development in the 21st century needs to focus on what a small town has instead of what it doesn’t have. Far too many small towns spend their valuable resources on business recruitment.