Saturday, February 4, 2023

Rich Roots Help Grow Mississippi Businesses

We have all likely heard the famous phrase once penned by one of the State’s most beloved sons, William Faulkner, who once said: “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” The phrase “economic development” and the word “Mississippi” have never been synonyms, but as times change, views change as well. Recently, we have seen top rated companies look at Mississippi as a place to do business. Entrepreneurial endeavors are happening in the most unexpected of locations.

Quentin Whitwell
Quentin Whitwell

Understanding that Mississippi should be the first place companies look when wanting to learn develop business. The rich cultural roots and sense of community are an advantage to growing a prosperous venture in our society today. Consumers don’t just want to know what the company does, but always what the company is doing for others within the corporate structure. Better worded, they are asking businesses to show the public what they are truly passionate about and what they believe in.
In Mississippi, in order to thrive in business, there needs to be a connection between the business itself and the way Mississippians view the world. There are certain aspects of Mississippi that entrepreneurs must understand when starting a business, or thinking of starting one, in order for Mississippi’s economy to grow.
First, the leader of a company must identify the social responsibility portrayed by the entity as a whole. Manage the business so that employees are buying into more than just the product or idea, but rather the true identity of the business, the management’s relationship with employees and whether or not the business has developed a positive relationship with the local community.
A great place to visit to understand how to implement a vision for creating an economy can be found just a few miles from Nashville, Tennessee in the town of Leiper’s Fork. Just outside of Franklin, Aubrey Preston discovered this hidden jewel upon returning to his home State after a successful stint at real estate development in Denver. In the heart of Williamson County, growing at break neck speeds and with a top tiered school district, he found an old country store and a few wearing buildings. To the North was the flood plain and to the South the Natchez Trace. Quietly, he bought the strip of buildings and all the farm land that could be confiscated by speculating developers.
Then he began his mission. One by one, he restored the town to its glory and found proprietors to rent the spaces with antique shops, trinket stores, restaurants, art galleries, bed and breakfasts and more. Throughout the week, people come in droves to tour and shop, but mostly to get a feel of the nostalgia of days gone by. And all around the area, famous singers, song writers and the top executives of the healthcare community are snatching up land and moving in. This did not come without sacrifice. When the Department of Transportation slated an interstate ramp to access this town with ease, all the locals swept to action and stopped the project. For once, commercial buildings and large scale roof top neighborhoods were the enemy of progress.
This example provides a guide for some of Mississippi’s richest communities. Clarksdale has already taken the league with its refurbishing of downtown, local dives and live music culture in the heart of the Delta. Other businesses and visionaries are finding ways to create successful ventures and bringing tourists to them. In setting the stage for this new economy, Governor Haley Barbour said, “by understanding the creative economy as it exists in Mississippi today, we are better positioned to support and further develop this key sector.”
Even through devastating hurricanes and the economic recession, Mississippi’s creative economy of culture, food, music, arts, and entrepreneurship have continued to thrive. These qualities have long been ingrained within the hearts of Mississippians, their communities, and their entities. Continuing to make efforts connecting economic development with Mississippi’s established culture will allow for significant wealth and growth for the state’s economy.
In order to streamline the evolution of a company, business owners and their corporations must identify the social responsibility of the company’s mission. Companies may reach their peak potential concerning profitability by adopting socially responsible practices that inspire the community and the world.
Mississippi has long-since possessed an innovative and original culture that reflects the economy. To promote economic development and growth, entrepreneurs must focus on Mississippi’s strength in culture and determine how particular businesses can thrive under its influence. By combining participation in Mississippi’s thriving culture and their corporate personality, companies lay the groundwork for exponential growth in the future!
Written by Quentin Whitwell, Senior Partner at Gibbs Whitwell & Travis PLLC in Jackson, Miss.
For more information, you can contact Quentin by e-mail at qwhitwell@gibbswhitwell.com or on Twitter at @BusinessLawPro. Quentin will write a bi-weekly column for HottyToddy.com a

have a bi-weekly column on Inspiring Businesses in MS or by Mississippians

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