Welcome to Cyburbia!
Most of the economic development experts that hang out here are enjoying the weekend, but I don't want to see your post sit unanswered.
Something to think about over the weekend: what asset does Bullard have that peer communities don't have? I just looked on the city Web site, where this was at the top.
"Bullard is a growing community with a rich history in the east Texas area. Our community reflects the friendliness of a small town yet it is a growing City with nearby access to our big city neighbor, Tyler Texas. Quality family values are the cornerstone of the City and help to create a warm and friendly place to raise children."
I knew what it was going to say before I visited the site: friendly, small town values, good place to raise kids. Just about every Web site of every small town in Texas will have a similar introduction to their community. All the references to "family" might scare off singles and childless couples, a growing portion of the population who make up the majority of all households in the US. Also realize that traditional families use far more services than the revenue they bring in, while for singles and childless couples it's the opposite. Same thing with the theme; an obligatory Texas flag or star incorporated into a logo, blue or red and blue being the dominant colors, and references to high school athletics.
Just being "pro-business" isn't going to be enough to bring businesses to town, where there are literally hundreds of similar small towns in Texas that are also "pro-business"? Some of those small towns have the advantage of being close to Dallas, Houston and Austin, not Tyler.
Also, many communities in Texas seek growth, but for growth's sake alone. Communities in Texas often boast about how they're growing, but are they also growing into better places to live? Too often, they're silent about that, aside from the expected "good place to raise kids" line.
A few more things to think about.
* What kind of business is best suited to take advantage of the available labor force?
* When children graduate from high school, do they stay in town or leave, to never return? Who stays?
* Will the educated and affluent proprietors of those businesses want to live in Bullard or Tyler? If the answer to the previous question is "yes", then why would it be different for a business owner?
* Are elected officials willing to say "no" to a business if they will have a negative impact on the community, even if they'll bring jobs and revenue?
* Are there small artisanel businesses in town that are ripe to grow, but lack the resources to do so?
Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey
My company does this work all across the US, and I have a partner down in Texas who does the implementation.
All of Dan's questions, and more, are ones you should be asking. It all gets down to "What are the best prospects for business development?" and "How do we build competitive advantage?" The normal process would be to do a readiness/competitiveness assessment, target industry analysis, and retail analysis (especially if you have opted for the ED sales tax). All of this would be followed by a action plan and marketing plan.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss.
Anyone want to adopt a dog?
In some ways, my comments echo Dan's.
I would start by cataloging your communities assets (strengths). Keep in mind that assets can be your citizens' skill sets, existing resources, and your built environment (buildings, infrastructure, etc.)
While it is a bit outside of your jurisdiction, I would check out the information on Asset-Based Development from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Over the years, I've worked with a number of rural communities and smaller towns/cities on developing long range plans. In nearly every case, they started with the assumption that they needed to bring businesses in from the outside rather than creating the businesses. The problem with the approach has been that if companies move once, they will often move more. At some point, another jurisdiction will offer them a "better deal" and off they go, leaving your town back at square one. Locally grown businesses are more likely to stay local and, in the long run, create better paying jobs and more positive economic growth than trying to bring in a company that may not value your community and your citizens in the same way.