Chamber News

The value of intangible assets? "PRICELESS"
Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015
By: Gregg Bexten

From the Chamber Chair - April 2015

What do you think of when you hear the word “priceless”?  Many of us may “flash back” to a favorite Mastercard commercial such as the one depicting a man and his son at a baseball game.  “Two tickets- $46; two hot dogs, two popcorns, and two sodas - $27.  Autographed baseball - $50.  Real conversation with your 11-year old son – priceless!”

For more than 17 years, these commercials reminded us that the tangible things in life (easily measured in dollars and cents) don’t matter as much as the intangibles.  The thoughts, beliefs, and emotions we have within us every day are what will motivate us and carry us, regardless of what has happened on that particular day.

Although this is a simple concept, it’s not an easy one to wrap your head around.  The commonly accepted way of going about our daily lives is to measure progress, analyze data, track statistics.  Our society is driven by holding on to tangible outputs and results.  We set benchmarks and goals and formulate strategic plans.  All of these are necessary to achieve our goals, but it’s often the intangibles that help us achieve true success.  How do you measure talent, teamwork, determination?

Remember the 2011 World Series?  There’s no doubt the Cardinals won that series because of the intangibles – the desire, the never-give-up, come-from-behind and win attitude.  You can easily come up with a list of sports champions, entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and other leaders who became champions because of something deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision!

In today’s information age, successful businesses and organizations are placing more emphasis on intangibles.  We no longer live in a world where physical assets are more valuable than intangible assets.  High levels of business performance are more dependent on intangible characteristics such as the ability to innovate, ability to change, speed to market, developing & retaining the best people, creating a one-to-one customer relationship.

Since the beginning of the year the Chamber, along with its Economic Development Partners, have been able to “land” two important projects that will bring new jobs and make a positive economic impact on our community:  Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) Training for Life Campus and Continental Commercial Products (CCP).  Our community was in competition with other communities for these projects.  The organizations considered all the “tangibles” in the communities (infrastructure, incentives, workforce, sites & buildings, etc.), but in both cases, it was the “intangible” that made a difference in their decision.  Both SOMO and CCP executives noted that it was the TEAMWORK and community support that Jefferson City brought to the table that helped determine the final decision to locate in our community. 

The support of our economic development team (City of Jefferson, County of Cole, Jefferson City Public Schools), and partnerships with entities such as the Jefferson City Convention & Visitors Bureau, State Technical College, and local developers was critical to both projects.   I am proud of the way our community has come to the table, setting aside politics and personal gain for the good of the community.  This teamwork is an intangible of which the Jefferson City area should be proud.

The Chamber recently presented its annual report to the City and County as part of our economic development contract with them.  (The annual report is given in addition to quarterly reports.) In this month's issue of Chamber TODAY, you will see a few portions of that report.  The report lists measurements of tangibles such as numbers of jobs created & retained, economic impact, workforce development, attraction projects.  Those numbers will show the ROI (return on investment) of the Chamber’s contract with the City and Council, but I want to stress the fact that ROI should also include intangibles such as teamwork, vision, leadership, trust, and passion for our community.  And I have one word for that – “PRICELESS”.

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