Why a good land use campaign plan is like a good business plan

The Saint ReportNIMBY, Planning and Zoning, Politicians and Planning, saintblogLeave a Comment

By Owen Eagan,
Senior Vice President, transportation, The Saint Consulting Group  

angry_neighborsIf you’re a successful entrepreneur, you’re likely adept at drafting a strong business plan complete with your market research, pro formas, etc.  That is, your business plan likely consists of a bottom-up model.  You don’t start with the idea that there are X number of people that match the demographic and psychographic profile that you could potentially reach.  You start with the number that you can reach.  As Guy Kawasaki says in his book, The Art of the Start, to accurately forecast you shouldn’t start with the potential market size and work your way down.  You need to start with how many sales you can make in a year and work your way up.

The same bottom-up approach applies to developing a land use campaign plan.  If you’re a developer seeking either legislative or electoral approval for your project, your campaign needs to identify and motivate a critical mass of voters who will demonstrate support for your project in the face of likely NIMBY opposition. 

So how do you identify which voters to target in the vast universe of a community totaling perhaps several thousand or hundreds of thousands of people?  This is where you need the expertise of political professionals who can target your vote and determine the most efficient voter outreach methods for educating the community on the merits of your project.

However, identifying your vote is only half the battle.  You also have to motivate your voters to demonstrate support for your project.  As the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden has said, 90% of success is just showing up.  Mr. Wooden would have made a great land use political consultant because your chances of success are not very good if your supporters don’t show up.

Owen Eagan is senior vice president for transportation for The Saint Consulting Group, email eagan@tscg.biz phone 818.827.7127

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