Cristy Morrison

Most individuals, businesses, and other organizations comprehend and value the concept of partnerships.

There are many advantages, benefits, and increased potential for success to virtually any project when partnership relationships are established and maintained. If economic development entities work together to provide services and market a community, the partnership will inevitably benefit each entity.

However, the benefits to the community as a whole are immeasurable.

Brad Rickelman, Assistant Director of the Meridian Technology Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Services, hosts entrepreneurial networking meetings and classes throughout the year.

During the events, he outlines the resources entrepreneurs have available to them in all stages of business development.

Attendees will learn about common pitfalls, market development, financial estimates, and more.

Entrepreneurs describe quality of life as one of the major determining factors when deciding upon a site location. When a community presents a positive image it can provide dramatic positive influences on decision-makers.

One may wonder why a tourism organization representing the hospitality industry would be involved in local business assistance efforts. Veteran economic development professionals recognize the efforts of a local destination marketing organization are typically the first contact in the economic development process. It is on the very rare occasion an individual would decide to attend a university, move to a community, open a business, relocate a business, or host an event in a community without visiting it first.

The ability for a community to establish an effective partnership culture exists when small businesses, large corporations, service agencies, and governmental entities, recognize the importance of combining efforts toward a common vision.

Successful partnerships hinge on clear and consistent communication, a mutually agreed-upon division of responsibilities, and concise expectations of all partners. Many times, goals that are unobtainable working independently are reached surprisingly quickly and with ease when working as a group.

The ability to establish effective partnerships and the resulting benefits may not be recognized immediately. However, a partnership structure that establishes an all-inclusive framework with an open line of communication can garner measurable results in a short amount of time.

Consistency, follow-through of responsibilities, ongoing evaluations, and review of strategic goals, combined with the ability to prioritize what is in the best interest of the community as a whole, will ensure a long legacy of economic development success for any community.

Most of Visit Stillwater’s visitor development successes are rooted in long-lasting partnerships which ultimately provide visitors an enjoyable and memorable experience, motivating them to consider repeat visits for business and leisure travel.

To contact Brad Rickelman, call 405-377-2220, or email him at bradr@meridiantech.edu. For more information about Meridian Technology Center, go to meridiantech.edu.

For the most current and up-to-date information regarding the Stillwater hospitality industry, go to VisitStillwater.org, “Like” Visit Stillwater on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter at @VisitStillwater. Cristy Morrison, Visit Stillwater President and CEO, can be reached at Cristy@VisitStillwater.org or by calling 405-743-3697.

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