It’s being called The Great Resignation, and even successful companies are being affected by it.
“The challenge in any business now is finding a skilled workforce,” says Mark Adams, president and founder of AHI Construction.
AHI Construction has been operating in the Sacramento, CA, area for nearly 20 years. In that time, they have gone from a small handyman service to a national contracting company working on government projects for the likes of the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force.
But despite the stability offered by such contracts, Adams recognized that in order to find and retain skilled employees he needed to focus on two things: marketing and employee training.
Enter Economic Gardening 2.0. A collaboration between Berkeley Strategy Advisors and the National Center for Economic Gardening, this project offers consultations, tools and funding for “second-stage” Sacramento companies. A second-stage company, in this case, is one that earns between $1 million and $50 million in annual revenue and employs between five and 99 employees. Along with five other Sacramento businesses, AHI Construction joined the first Economic Gardening cohort in 2020.
“It was pivotal,” Adams says when asked how Economic Gardening has helped his company and others in the cohort. “We’re small businesses trying to grow, but we don’t have access to the IT personnel or the consultants they do. So giving us access to their knowledge and the tools they use helped my business expand and get more people aware of it locally.”
One of the tools Economic Gardening gave AHI access to was analytics-driven marketing software. With the help of a specialist, he was able to enter keywords into a database and receive a list of people, organizations, and companies he should contact in his area.
“For the most part, on the federal side, I do a lot of work outside of Sacramento. And I was trying to get more work in Sacramento. So being able to get more exposure for AHI based on their recommendations was key.”
Another important aspect of the project is funding. In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars that companies can save on consultation fees by joining Economic Gardening, the program offers a matching grant up to $50,000.
“In my case, I needed to hire someone to do business development. Well, that’s a salary in itself. And I needed to update some of my software to implement some of the data analytics that I’m tracking on my website. The grant really helped with that.”
With this improved exposure, Adams has been able to make inroads locally and hire better and smarter. However, he hopes to improve his workforce even more through employee training. Economic Gardening has provided the strategies and stability for him to do that.
Adams says he would recommend Economic Gardening to any Sacramento business looking to take the next step.
“It’s right there in the name,” he says. “Economic Gardening. Plant a seed, water and nurture it, watch it grow.”
For more information, please visit: http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Economic-Development/Innovation/Economic-Gardening