South Dakota conference promotes businesses
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- "It's Showtime" was the theme for the 2016 South Dakota Governor's Economic Development Conference held April 13 and 14 in Sioux Falls. Attended by business and community leaders, the annual conference highlights South Dakota...
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - “It’s Showtime” was the theme for the 2016 South Dakota Governor’s Economic Development Conference held April 13 and 14 in Sioux Falls. Attended by business and community leaders, the annual conference highlights South Dakota businesses and strategies used to attract and retain good businesses in the state.
The conference began with a session from keynote speaker, Shep Hyken. A customer service expert and author from Missouri, Hyken talked about creating “Moments of Magic,” where a business person does better than the customer expected. The key is trying to make those moments happen with every customer.
Hyken said 40 percent of customers don’t return to a business, even though they claimed to be satisfied with the product or service. The challenge is the customer was “just satisfied.” People like to be around a business they know, like and trust, with trust being the hardest trait to attain. This is true across all industries, including ag.
Hyken’s message of catering to the customer by building a relationship and showing genuine appreciation hit home with the audience. Whether producing food or driving a truck, everyone has a customer to consider. Being able to communicate according to the customer’s needs and concerns, and delivering on promises, a business can stand out. Those are the experiences that cause people to return, he said.
As the conference continued, it became apparent that returning customers are also important for service providers, nonprofits and communities. Governor’s Office of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello’s report on the state’s business recruitment efforts and the progress on workforce development discussed the importance of “returners” to South Dakota.
Ag production and processing remain a top industry with inquiries and development in South Dakota. Half of those those and leads for other industries come from within the state. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development finds the most success with turning leads into jobs, when it can actually bring people to South Dakota and allow them to attend events, meet people and become familiar with the area.
Technology continues to play an increasing role in bringing business to South Dakota, and for existing businesses.
With unemployment low, the state’s social media and creative online advertising have helped encourage individuals to live and work in South Dakota. Highlighted aspects of the ads are South Dakota’s third lowest cost of living in the nation, the wealth of recreational offerings and short video testimonials featuring individuals who have moved to the state.
Breakout sessions during the conference focused on financing projects in communities, developing workforce across the state and the use of social networking to draw in economic development. Teams from communities around the state shared their experiences, resource ideas and guidance. As attendees networked and shared, it was easy to see how the conference spawned new ideas to take home.
Day two of the conference focused on rural community development. Three case studies were used to demonstrate best practices in the northeast region of the state. The use of resources in South Dakota, the ability to adapt and the tenacity of community builders were shown as key reasons for rural community success.
As South Dakota’s number one industry, ag production and business greatly influence the economic development of the state, and the growth of rural areas. The Governor’s Economic Development conference, while not specifically highlighting agriculture, hit on many aspects of business and economic success that are fueled by the success of agriculture in the state.