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Bringing it all Together: The 4 Point Approach

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | July 8, 2014
Bringing it all
2012- 2013 Membership Photo     
Different points provide better results

Every business or organization has to ask themselves a series of tough questions to achieve success.  What makes you different?  What makes you special?  How are you different from your competition?  The answers to these questions often make up a large portion of a business plan or brand analysis.  In an organization like Main Street, we sometimes get asked if we are just like other agencies and we are not.  Main Street focuses on a four point approach that brings different elements of economic development and community development together.  Each of our points (Design, Promotion, Business Enhancement and Organization) by themselves have limited impact on a community, but when combined, they create a sustainable economic plan.


Design refers to the physical environment.  Main Street doesn't view developments as independent of one another because we see the impacts of both negative and positiveCity Core Numbers  design on surrounding businesses.  Uniform set-backs, quality materials used, appropriate design aesthetics and a pedestrian/bike friendly environment can encourage growth within an area (beyond a single property).  A refurbished Granada Theater leads to a series of positive developments.  A chronically vacant large corner property with a bad integrated design makes development in an area difficult.  However, a "pretty" building won't guarantee success without help from additional points.


Promotion encourages traffic and recognition for an area or a community.  Letting people know what makes you unique, special and "better" helps drive traffic.  Events that bring people to an area can drive sales, which produces profitability and sustains the local market.  But, promotions without ties to businesses, the ability to create repeat traffic or a message that actually resonates with the public through branding research will ultimately fail.


Business Enhancement studies the market to identify gaps that can sustainably support businesses.  We create support for starting and growing businesses by developing financial tools and other resources.  Research and funding assistance can help new entrepreneurs and existing businesses improve their bottom line.  However, there are a lot of businesses that start with a good concept but fail to exercise good promotion or design strategies that struggle over time.


Organization promotes an overall brand or concept while diversifying income streams and labor through volunteerism.  Through organization we stabilize an entity while providing a solid base for growth.  A properly designed organizational structure should constantly challenge itself to change, improve and grow rather than simply focus inward.  It allows an organization to build a better environment and to partner with others to embrace change. 


Independently, the four points (or any such narrow vision) fail.  Collectively, they give us an ethos, a vision and sustainable bench marks to move a community forward.  Below is an example of how the four point approach was used in one event to achieve maximum impact for the community and our members.



Four Point  

The four point approach isn't just about events.  We can point to successes thatMain Street Logowere initiated in each point (Design- the Historic District, Business Enhancement- the Start Your Own Business Class, Organization-this newsletter) for examples of how an integrated four point approach moves Emporia forward.  We are unique in our approach and understanding of sustainable and successful development, one in which the community and an individual entity share a positive impact.   When asked what makes our organization different….Main Street four point approach is our answer.

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.