Utah development leaders see potentially strong growth climate
Keeping your optimism high during trying times can be a challenge for anyone, let alone a business owner. Trying to predict the future of economic growth during a more unsettled period can be tricky, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for a potential upswing.
According to some Utah economic development leaders, rising economic growth is definitely in the cards for the state’s business climate. Recently, Utah Business hosted a roundtable of these leaders to talk about the current business world of the Beehive State and how they feel about the future of the state.
First Utah Bank is also dishing out the advice, and in a way that is straightforward and helpful. From loans to expansion plans, our staff can help you guide toward the future with confidence.
How remote work has changed Utah businesses
One of the biggest changes that most companies had to weather during the pandemic is the move to remote workforces. It was definitely a hot topic during the roundtable with Utah Business. Thomas Wadsworth, Associate Managing Director with GOED, sees it as a positive. “Due to this pandemic, I think everyone’s been forced to learn how to manage remote teams,” Wadsworth says. “I think individuals have developed a new skill set that will give corporations more confidence that they can manage remote teams around the country.”
Marlin Eldred, Director of Economic Development for the City of Lehi, had his own theory on the makeup of many companies right now: the third, the third, and the third. “We’re seeing businesses that are wanting a third of the employee base back in the office, a third of the employee base home and in the office, and a third of the employee base work from home,” Eldred explains, adding that this new normal has lead to more considerations of office space.
“We need to now provide a little more space, because if you look at some of the Class A office spaces, oh my gosh, they’re packed in there like sardines,” Eldred says. “Now we’re looking at how to open those spaces up a little more to provide more social distancing. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how things start getting sliced and diced here in the future as leases start coming up.”
Nick Norris, Planning Director for Salt Lake City, agreed with Eldred concerning altering of space instead of closing it down.
“What we’re hearing is that projects aren’t being canceled, they just have different expectations in terms of how their space is going to be used,” Norris says. “The other thing that we’re hearing too, is that there’s a lot more of a demand for public amenities and everything from wider sidewalks to bike racks, and micro-mobility things.”
Striking the all-important balances in growth
Another hot topic for growth is incentives, which were a common driver for bringing business to Utah during the tech boom. Derek Miller, President and CEO with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, says that incentives are the way you tip the scale for a company to move into the area, not the be-all-and-end-all for getting them here. “One of the things that I really like about the incentive programs, especially the way that it’s designed in Utah, is that it actually inserts competition into the process,” Miller says. “We were fond of saying, ‘We don’t incentivize water to run downhill.’ So there has to be competition, it actually has to make a difference.”
Wadsworth believes that incentives have been relatively conservative in Utah compared to other states. “Companies need to know that they’re welcomed, that Utah’s open for business, and that they’re wanted in the state of Utah,” he says. “So I think it’s only going to get more competitive as we try and come out of a recession in a number of states. I’d say they’re only going to become more critical in the future.”
As far as pacing that growth, Eldred believes the state should continue to keep its foot on the gas and try to attract new business and nurture what is already here.
“I do not want to see us put the brakes on or try to slow our economy down,” Eldred said. “But I think we could do a good job of coming together as a region, coming together as the state to say, okay, how can we effectively help manage the growth, and what mechanisms? And we’re going to have to plant the seeds today that we might not see come to fruition for five to 10 years. And that deals again with transportation, infrastructure.”
Direct answers and advice on your Utah business accounts
At First Utah Bank, we pride ourselves on offering straightforward packages for our business customers, with fees that are equally straightforward.
We work directly with our customers to explain what would work best for their business when it comes to checking, savings or treasury services. Our staff is also available to businesses in the Beehive State to explain any aspect of the bank’s services or the customer’s accounts, providing answers to help guide businesses along the best pathway for their own growth.
And, we can literally help you at every step of your business, whether you are at the point where you need start-up funding or a small business loan, or when you are at the point where expansion is needed to capitalize on your success. Answering your business needs – as well as anticipating them – is part of our role as your community bank.
To learn more about all the possibilities we offer to be your partner with solutions you can use, go to our website.