Is Your Business Prepared for Watertown’s $10 million revitalization project?
Yes, ladies and gentleman, major changes will soon be coming to Watertown, NY.
The city of Watertown will receive $10 million after being selected by the REDC as the North Country Region Winner of Gov. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. You heard right, ten million dollars, being put towards the transformation & revitalization of downtown Watertown.
The city is currently putting together a Strategic Investment Plan in order to figure out exactly what the money will be used for. Although, there is no definitive plan yet. However, the money will ultimately go towards new housing, transportation, community projects, and economic development.
So, what does that mean for the local business owners?
Perhaps you haven’t even thought of it this way. Maybe you aren’t worried about it because you’ve been around for years, or even decades. I’ve spoken with a few entrepreneurs who’ve said things like…
“I don’t expect it to affect me at all. My business will be just fine.”
“I’ve seen this town change a lot before, like the development of Arsenal Street, so I’m not too worried.”
“By the time we see any change downtown, we will have adjusted.”
It is no secret that Watertown has changed drastically over the past 20 years or so. The Square, Arsenal Street, Washington Street, and around the Fort Drum area are some of the largest examples of the area’s dramatic growth. However, here is the cold, hard truth: This city has never been through anything like this before.
The change that Watertown has experienced in the past has been slow & natural growth. Mostly due to the expansion of Fort Drum. In comparison, the coming revitalization will also take time, but not nearly as long. With 10 million dollars dedicated to the economic growth of downtown, the economic impact will be huge. Things are going to change!
When it is all said and done, a few years will have passed. Although, economically speaking, change will most likely be constant throughout those years. Growing and growing, hopefully even long after the money is gone and the project is over.
What change means for business.
Let me just say, I am not trying to sell you or intimidate you. As long as it’s done properly, this 10 million dollar project will do GREAT things for the city. Additionally, with the projected economic growth, comes more opportunity for your business. A massive effort such as this increases popularity of the area & increases population, leading to more business for you. However, it also increases competition. Sometimes big brand competition.
At the end of the day it comes down to the question of, how strong is your brand? Your business, no matter how big or small, is a brand. Your brand represents your company, products, services, and your reputation.
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Leave Your Mark
Build your brand! Improve your service & customer experience as much as possible! Get your community to trust your brand, and they will remain loyal no matter what.
As an area economically develops (like one that you pour 10 million dollars into), industry & competition grows. Big name corporations show up, and because of their trusted brand, they begin to steal away clientelé from local small businesses. The best countermeasure you can have against this is to leave your mark on your community.
Build relationships with your customers, not just sale interactions. That relationship could transform an average customer into a dedicated, lifetime customer. Often times a customer will choose the brand they trust. over the brand with the cheaper price or bigger name. When your clients trust your service or product and feel comfortable dealing with you, they will remain at your side even when the market explodes & their options multiply.
Grow your business locally and become a recognized brand. Make sure that the people in your area are well aware of your company so that they will remember you are an option. Make a splash and get noticed. Increase or diversify your local marketing campaign, offer big specials & discounts, give back to your community somehow, or find a new marketer that can help get you noticed. The more people that know of you, the better your chances of beating the competition.
Make Moves Now
If you had any plans for the near future, make it happen. Now is the time to take action if you are planning to move, open another location, rebrand your business, build a new website, or implement new strategies.
Soon enough new competition will be putting pressure on you, new customers will be coming to you, and the local economy will be a vastly different landscape. So put your plans in motion! This way you can stay ahead of the curve, leap to the top of your industry, and lead your business to a profitable future.
Maybe grab a location on the Square, where all of those empty & barely used buildings will soon become flourishing businesses and housing. You may not think much of the area now, but 3 to 5 years from now it should be a completely different place. People will be shopping, visiting, & living in the immediate area as it becomes the city’s new hot-spot. All in all, just think ahead!
Future-Proof Your Business
How does one “future-proof” a business? Of course, you can only prepare so much for the future. But in our business, future-proofing involves being up to date on all of the latest trends and technology in order to stay relevant for years to come.
Some ideas to future-proof your business:
- Assess your brand/image.
- Evaluate your marketing strategy.
- Grow your digital presence.
- Assess/update your website.
- Stay immersed in your industry.
- Create a modern customer experience.
- Update your print/promotional items.
- Utilize digital analytics and tools.
- Implement Inbound Marketing.
If your business has checked off all of these items and is up to date with everything, you’ll remain relevant in your market for years to come. As well as being suited to survive a dramatic market increase.
If you want to cement your place as the area’s industry leader, rev up your marketing. In fact, to be honest, I suggest you start or re-evaluate investing in marketing your brand either way. Which unfortunately means it’s time to spend some money. It doesn’t matter whether you have a decent marketing fund or you have never spent a dime on it before. Getting started now, before Watertown is a completely different economic landscape, will help place your footing in the community.
Do not let big corporations sweep in and steal your hard-earned client-base. Growing your brand now will ultimately set you up for success in a larger, more successful market.
Great Things To Come
Once the city’s developments are finished, or at least in full-swing, it will bring about wonderful improvements to the community and the local economy. Of course, before that happens, our elected officials must decide what to do with that ten million dollars.
For now, your business can be ready for what will come next. I would love to see every small and locally owned business improve as this project develops. Capitalizing on the city improvements and the attention it will attract. I’ve personally seen huge developments similar to this happen to areas in Massachusetts a handful of times. Developments that became extremely successful and transformed the areas they were placed in. Unfortunately, not all of the local businesses survived, and that is exactly what we do NOT want to see happen here.
So please, at the very least, assess your business. Do what you can to prepare for a rather large market increase, and grow your business instead of downsizing.
Leave your comments, or get in touch with us at Calinix! If you have any questions or concerns, we’ll happily answer them and advise!