Economic Development & Entrepreneurship Strategies and Tactics

Through our work over the past 20 years, we’ve learned many different ways that cities, counties, states, governments, and countries chase entrepreneurs to attract them to their region. While many focus on the tactics of how to do it, some of the time the strategy is missing.

Strategy plays a big part in the tactics chosen and how they are are played.

I liken it to a chess game. The strategy of a chess game is the big-picture plan of how you will overtake the other player. The tactics are individual segments of the game, such as moving a particular pawn one square forward, or the l-shaped movement of a knight/horse. If you don’t have a strategy, the tactics may be worthless, and you could be overtaken by an opponent with a better strategy. Without a strategy, you are playing to play, not playing to win.

In the economic development world, a tactic might be to attract more entrepreneurs by offering tax breaks or free building space. The strategy, on the other hand, might be focusing on bringing in businesses in a particular industry or service.

The strategy guides the tactics.

We’ve seen beautiful things happen when they work hand-in-hand, although it can sometimes be a bit messy! There will always be ups and downs, things might turn in a different direction. When that happens, it’s important to remember that even though the tactics change, the strategy stays the same, unless something truly major happens.


We see our blogs as opportunities for dialogue. Please share your thoughts as comments.

1. What strategies do you want your region to be known for?

2. What are some of the tactics you will need to make your strategy a reality?

3. What tools or resources have you already utilized along your way?


Faris Alami is Founder and CEO of International Strategic Management, Inc. (ISM). He works internationally, presenting Exploring Entrepreneurship Workshops and other entrepreneurial ecosystem — related ventures.

Faris Alami