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Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: NH should be proud of Amazon proposal

By CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON
January 20. 2018 4:41PM
 (REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo)



Last week, Amazon released its short list of 20 cities it's considering for its second corporate headquarters. The company chiseled down the list of 238 proposals to get to the 20 potential locations. Unfortunately, New Hampshire didn't make the cut.

I've spoken to a lot of people about Amazon's announcement, and there's mixed feedback. A lot of people are very disappointed. Some people I know are shocked at the news and seriously expected New Hampshire to at least make it to the finals. Others thought it was for the best and didn't think the project was a fit for us in the first place.

I think it's safe to assume there are some pretty smart people at Amazon who are working on this project and considering a lot of different factors. But I was shocked to see Boston on the list of finalists over New Hampshire

I'm not exactly sure how they made their decision, but I have to wonder if they really analyzed some of the factors associated with a new headquarters in Boston versus New Hampshire. Take the cost of living as an example. By taking a quick ride up Intertate 93 and crossing into our great state, the average cost of rent is nearly cut in half. And I won't even get into quality of life and all of the other major advantages New Hampshire has over Massachusetts.

Being born and raised in New Hampshire, I recognize my bias, but some of it is really common sense. Why would you want to put your headquarters in a city that people can barely drive into? Getting into Boston is a miserable experience, and that's just making it there. Now try navigating your way around the gridlocked streets and getting to work on time. Good luck with that.

Even though New Hampshire won't be considered for Amazon's second headquarters, the process our state leaders went through putting together the proposal was well worth it. In business, there are deals you win and deals you lose. Sometimes when you lose, it's due to factors that are completely out of your control. And our loss is certainly an example of that. However, there are a lot of positives that are important to focus on. And everyone in business can learn from the experience.

Collaboration: If you haven't seen the proposal New Hampshire put together for Amazon, it's a must read. The document is packed with all of the great things our state has to offer and really shows how unique and special our state is. There was serious collaboration amongst state departments as well as people from the private sector needed in order to produce a compelling document like that.

It's evident a lot of time, effort and brain power went into producing it. And I'm sure the collaboration was healthy, productive and appreciated by those involved. Everyone who worked on it should be extremely proud.

Publicity: As I'm sure you've seen since New Hampshire submitted its proposal, there has been a lot of media coverage on this topic. It's created a platform to talk about the New Hampshire difference and a way for other companies to learn about what the state has to offer.

Sure, there are other cities that have that same opportunity, but for New Hampshire, it's a unique opportunity to spread the word and expose others to our state that otherwise may not have ever learned about its advantages. We've already heard officials report that other companies have expressed interest in moving to New Hampshire as a result of the proposal we submitted to Amazon.

A Chance to reflect: One of the most important things to do after you lose a deal is to take a step back and reflect on what you could have done differently to change the outcome. In our case, losing allows us to really drill into the what and why we need to recruit large companies like Amazon to our state. We can identify our shortcomings and find ways to make changes and increase our odds.

Rail is a perfect example. Although we don't know for sure, lack of public transportation in New Hampshire could have been a strike against us. And we're already seeing dialogue and stronger interest in rail as a result.

In the end, our odds of closing the Amazon deal were pretty long. But we absolutely put our best foot forward and did the best job we could trying to sell New Hampshire to Amazon.

Regardless of whether you win or lose, doing everything you possibly can to win is what's most important.

Christopher Thompson (chris.thompson@talientaction.com) is the vice president of business development at Talient Action Group in Manchester. Closing the Deal appears weekly.


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