Conference takeaways from a new Economic Development Officer

By Tara Levick, Economic Development Officer

The Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) Conference comes around every spring and is something I very much look forward to. At this conference, economic development professionals from all over Alberta come together to share best practices and network. As a new Economic Development Officer, I find the conference very useful and I takeaway a lot of great information. My mind is usually running wild throughout the week with exciting ideas and I can’t wait to get back in the office to figure out how I can implement them in Airdrie.

While I took away something from every session I attended (14 different presenters or speakers over 2.5 days), below are my key takeaways and many of them are relevant to running a business:

Evolve, Adapt, Adjust

  • Question everything in your organization, be thrilled about finding the solutions or making small improvements
  • Don’t get stuck in the sea of sameness; it’s boring
  • Try new approaches to old problems; think differently
  • Create a vision and follow it
    • Too often we write this amazing vision in a business plan and then never follow it. Be true to your vision!

The Power of Data

  • Easy tips on how to enhance your website with just a few minor changes
    • Ensure your website:
      • Is accurate and updated
      • Customize to your location
      • Has relevant content which is easy to find as well as interactive and dynamic
      • Can easily be exported and shared
      • Can easily be tracked and analyzed
      • Is mobile responsive and your homepage should be the first search on Google

The Future of Workers

  • Freelancers cover the 18-30 age gap in our workforce and will make up 40-60% of the workforce in the next 5-7 years
    • Communities (businesses) need to be freelance friendly
  • Look at your community (business) as a thermostat, not a thermometer
    • Don’t set something and then leave it, constantly move the needle to ensure the best possible outcome
  • Co-working facilities are driven by millennial and freelancers
    • Is your business ready for the next wave of workers?

How to Wow and Thrive on Social Media

  • Use the Know, Like, Trust factor (learn more)
  • Find your WOW factor
    • This factor can help you tie all your social media back to you vision
  • What platform should you be on?
    • LinkedIn is for thought leaders and great writers
    • Facebook is for engagers and influencers
    • Instagram and Twitter are for trend setters and storytellers that want to share current happenings
  • Amplify your genius
    • Stop posting fluff (no one cares what you’re eating, unless you’re a restaurant!)
    • Expand influence through engagement
    • Use ‘edutainment’ to own your space
      • Make everything you do fun and inviting all the while educating or sharing knowledge
    • Share each and every win; educate with the fails