There’s a battle going on between U.S. states for international trade, investment and tourism. In the Western U.S., four of the leading states are California, Texas, Utah and Arizona. California and Texas are the big ones who have been around and doing it right for years, and Utah and Arizona are the upstarts.
The key to a successful growth strategy? Same as for companies – know who your targets are, and create value for them.
Rumors of the death of California were greatly exaggerated. The state has come storming back with economic development and economics overall – much like New York – despite higher taxes and cost of doing business than most other states. They’ve successfully countered the points of lower-cost states by explaining about the value they bring for the higher costs – including a strong workforce and better education systems.
Texas has an economic development system that focuses on lower costs, incentives and a personal touch. Like California, Texas has size and longevity going for it – and especially with international business, that’s a big advantage. Like immigrants following family into the U.S., foreign companies tend to follow other companies from their country.
If you are a small or mid-sized business, then Utah and Arizona are more like you. You need to truly understand you’re best prospects and be smart about who you can attract.
Utah has taken smart steps over the years since Growth Nation was formed there in 2001. Their successful approach has included…
- Leadership from the Governor’s office starting with Governor Bangerter
- Close connection between the Governor’s office and area international groups
- Close connection and cooperation between government and business leaders
- Supporting cooperation from the LDS church
- Leveraging the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics to rally the efforts
- Focus on education improvement at all levels including K-12 through higher ed
- Immersion language training offered to the community in local schools
- Ongoing workforce development especially for targeted industries like technology
- Having a plan to increase exports and rallying the key players to get it done
Arizona is starting later than Utah but has a higher upside potential. Here’s a summary of some of the recent developments at the Arizona International Growth Group blog <click here>.
States need to grow, too – and it helps to have… leaders who understand the importance of global success, a global business plan and well-coordinated execution.
It’s the state of growing globally!