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Springfield is a great launchpad for business. Many great ideas and companies have come out of our community. We’re on the verge of being a breakthrough city – it’s just all secret. We have everything we need: education, strong workforce, health care, relative affordability, livability, great startup company resources and soon citywide high-speed internet.
Austin, Texas, is thought of as the most tech savvy city in the United States. Austin city leaders claimed it when being tech savvy was just an aspiration. They leveraged their cost of living, lifestyle and educated populace to attract tech companies. Sound familiar?
In fact, Austin is so successful in its pursuit that companies, like Tesla, are turning away from Silicon Valley in favor of the southern hot spot. Austin is about two to four decades ahead of us in this endeavor with companies like Apple having employees there for nearly 30 years.
Why shouldn’t we step up as the next great tech savvy city? We can start with our existing businesses becoming more technologically advanced and enabled. I look to companies like Prime Inc. and Creative Audio. Neither company could accomplish what they do without a tech-enabled mindset, which can be applied to any industry and any size business.
The new Mid-Missouri Bank on Independence Street is a leap toward being more technology enabled. If you go to downtown Austin, you can’t distinguish the banks from the coffee shops because that’s what they are. “Hey, I’d like a drip coffee, and deposit this check.” The atmosphere is welcoming. The traditional barriers of teller windows are gone, and customers can choose to conduct their business completely mediated or face-to-face.
For local retailers, the mindset shift is imperative. Consumers no longer have a need to look at and touch all of their options. Major retailers are quickly adapting their shopping experience to meet this shifting consumer demand with enhanced online inventory integration, curbside pick and door-to-door delivery and shipping.
The best news is retailers don’t have to match the deep pockets or buying power of major retailers anymore. Through technology, local small businesses can integrate distributor inventory with their client-facing websites and ship direct to the consumer. Adopting this tech-forward approach, not only serves the marketplace but also it reduces or even eliminates inventory-holding costs so the technology investment can quickly pay for itself. You can sell inventory that you don’t have to carry, and when integrated with an online e-commerce system, you can maintain real-time inventory direct from your distributor.
At Meridian Title Co., we strive to use technology to improve ease, efficiency and effectiveness. This does not come at the cost of customer service. Being able to automate notifications and other mundane tasks allows more meaningful, higher value human-to-human relationships.
Becoming America’s next great tech hub is an educational process, and it has to start with a mindset shift at the city level. High-speed fiber throughout the city is a great leap forward. When internet speed is virtually unlimited, so is our growth potential as a tech-savvy city.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.