"Elk Grove's business philosophy centers on our long-standing vision of being 'The Exceptional Community'. There is no other community quite like Elk Grove Village." – Ray Rummel, Village Manager
It's not uncommon for a business to have a business philosophy set in stone, but what about a municipality? Ever since the "Beyond Business Friendly" message was developed, the Village has seen a significant impact within the business community.
Just last year, Elk Grove Village won an award for being one of the top 10 business-friendly communities in the US by Global Trade magazine. But the Village isn't slowing down anytime soon. This month, The Village launched a new Makers Wanted ad campaign to increase its exposure of EGV's active "Beyond Business Friendly" economic development programs, which began in 2012.
We sat down with Ray Rummel, Village Manager of Elk Grove, for a deeper look inside the "Beyond Business Friendly" message, and why it's so important to both the Village and its businesses.
Q: The Village has adopted a tagline for its philosophy. Can you briefly define "Beyond Business Friendly"?
A: "Beyond Business Friendly" is a customer service philosophy. It is centered upon the 4Ps:
Polite and Respectful Treatment
Professional Knowledge and Expertise
Proactive Problem Solving
Partnership with Business
We don't treat businesses like customers. We treat them more like partners.
Q: What specifically initiated the "Beyond Business Friendly" philosophy?
A: It had developed during the economic downturn. At the time, we asked ourselves a simple question: What is the one thing Elk Grove Village can be the best in the world at?
The answer was simple: No other community knows the wants and needs of businesses like Elk Grove. We have what it takes to be the most business-friendly community in North America. Based around this belief, we started building a platform for business success.
Q: What are ways the Village runs like a business more so than a municipality?
A: Our leadership teams have been trained using High-Performance Organizational models that were developed in the private sector. We strive to innovate, learn from after-action reviews, make data-driven decisions and focus upon the needs of our business customers.
We recognize that 85% of our revenue is derived from the business community, and we do everything we can to attend to their needs.
Q: Since establishing a "most business friendly community" mindset, have you seen a positive change in how the Village runs internally?
A: Absolutely! The 4Ps are the backbone of being "Beyond Business Friendly". This attitude keeps our staff positive, and it's been well received in the community.
Just last week, a local architectural firm serving a redeveloping business in Elk Grove told us that we have the smoothest processes he has ever witnessed.
Q: Do you believe the Makers Wanted campaign will help strengthen the "Beyond Business Friendly" message?
A: Yes. Elk Grove Village was built upon an industrial base with factories running 3 shifts, 24 hours a day. We have the infrastructure in place to handle the needs of manufacturers. In fact, we are the largest Industrial Park in the U.S. and continue to be the second largest base of manufacturing in the state of Illinois.
Today, manufacturing has changed. It is precision-oriented. However, we still want the industry to know that Elk Grove is there for them. That's why we invest so much time in communicating this business-friendly message, along with consistently communicating the values of having a business in Elk Grove.
Q: When it comes to developing a business philosophy, do you have any advice for EGV business owners?
A: I think every business owner should ask the question: What can we be the best in the world at doing?
When you have an answer, focus your efforts on doing just that.
About Ray Rummel
Ray Rummel currently serves as the Village Manager for Elk Grove Village. He is responsible for the general day-to-day operations of the Village, which include attending and hosting official Village meetings, overseeing the Village Board, preparing the annual budget and additional financial statements, issuing licenses and permits, economic development, community development and human resources.
Questions for Ray? You can reach him via email at RRummel@elkgrove.org