There are literally hundreds if not thousands of books published each year telling communities and economic developers the best way of how to grow their community. Recruitment, retention, expansion, entrepreneurship, exporting, oh my….Plus, with the internet and print on demand capability anyone can be an author. I should know because I am one of those authors.
There are many excellent books written by practitioners on the landscape. The following are some links to the ones I have written or edited which the Washington State Department of Commerce has generously published. Some are free and can be found in their entirety on this page while others can be purchased and go to support Amazons building empire in Seattle. I hope you find these books to be of value and also explore other ideas by practitioners who may just have a better idea.
Noah’s Town: Where Animals Reign
Noah’s Town: Where Animals Reign tells the story of how the descendants of Noah’s Ark have integrated themselves in society and have formed a sustainable and growing community. That is until the never expected, once-in-a-lifetime storm causes havoc among residents and tourists. It is up to Maya Morton, a proud and stubborn donkey and the newly appointed economic developer, to rescue her community and guide them to recovery. This fable illustrates that there is nothing more powerful than a community working together to prepare for a disaster before it happens.
The Wit & Wisdom of an Economic Developer
The Wit and Wisdom of an Economic Developer is a compilation of articles and blogs written by Maury Forman, over his 26 years with the Department of Commerce. The book is a clever and poignant commentary for community and economic developers that includes at least 300 ideas, many of which are written as Top Ten ideas for communities. The book is complemented by about 50 original illustrations by Milt Priggee, an award-winning editorial cartoonist for numerous publications. This book is a great read for both humor and ideas for practitioners that want to stimulate their economy and have fun doing it.
Washington Dollars, Washington Sense
A Handbook for Local Investment
A growing local economy movement is putting down roots in Washington as people work to strengthen local businesses, promote “buy local” campaigns, and end subsidies and other unfair advantages given to nonlocal businesses. Washington Dollars, Washington Sense profiles dozens of local investment tools for grassroots investors, businesses, and finance professionals,
Journey to Jobs
Techniques for Successful Recruitment and Retention
Business recruitment and retention begins by discussing the assessment of a community and working its way through specific activities such as site development, targeting, marketing, due diligence, and economic impact analysis. Eleven site selectors and business relocation experts take the smoke, mirrors and mystery away from the process and provide practical advice on how a community can take the journey to create jobs in this updated version of Race To Recruit.
The Race to Recruit
Strategies for Successful Business Attraction
The economic development industry has become more competitive than ever. This primer details the recruitment process by some of the most highly regarded experts in the field. Whether you are new to the profession or an experienced practitioner, this book will provide new ideas on how to win the race for recruiting businesses to your community.
Learning to Lead
In the competitive world of economic development, success is directly related to the understanding of issues, recognizing the options and preparing a community. It is therefore necessary to devise flexible strategies so that small and rural communities can make choices that will enhance their own quality of life through achieving self-sufficiency, economic viability, and the delivery of appropriate services for their residents. Citizens holding diverse points of view are going to be looking to their leaders to provide solutions to achieving their community vision. This book identifies the most essential issues facing communities today and will help economic development decision makers focus on and decide which strategies will work best for them. Communities will then be able to go from solving problems to capturing opportunities.
The Community Wisdom publications are an educational project produced in partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce and the Bonneville Power Administration. These books employ lighthearted sayings, (“The best way to communicate with a fish is to drop them a line ”) with practical advice for economic development strategies that provide tips, ideas, and thoughts on a variety of subjects for community success.
Community Wisdom 2
Tips, Ideas, and Thoughts for Community Success
The followup to Community Wisdom, the sequel is an educational project produced in partnership with he Washington State Department of Commerce and the Bonneville Power Administration. These books employ lighthearted sayings, (“Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just stay there”) with practical advice that provides tips, ideas, and thoughts on a variety of subjects for community success.
25 Immutable Rules of Successful Tourism
The title says it all as this best-selling book reveals what communities need to do in order to have a successful tourism program. From chapters like “Relationships Require More Than One Person” to “Parking is Not Just For Lovers” to “Sell the Rapids, Not the River”, this publication includes ideas, examples, and pictures of what success looks like. This book is a must for communities wanting to improve their tourism attractions and revitalize their downtowns.
Other Great Reads
These two free publications are about as good as it gets for resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Even though I didn’t offer them, I did have a hand in reviewing the content and offering up some suggestions for improvements. Needless to say, they were ignored. Still, these are terrific resources, courtesy of the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Office of Economic Development & Competitiveness.
The Small Business Playbook
From our good friends at the Washington State Department of Commerce comes this great resource for those wanting to start a business. Unlike some of the more formulaic works, this one has really great advice, lessons learned and tips from people who have actually started and operated a business. It’s all in a fun football themed format that is easy to follow along with regardless of the stage your business is in.
When Disaster Strikes
A Crisis Planner for Small Businesses
As anyone who has weathered a recent wildfire or flood know, being prepared for the worst can save you a lot of time and money when a disaster strikes. This easy to follow guide will help you prepare for a variety of business interruptors, from natural disasters to hostage situations. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this planner is worth its weight on gold in that regard.