January 2021

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: John McCann, Lisa Sulka | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Welcome 2021: Town Council Workshop Kick’s Off New Year
Welcome 2021. I say this with an abundance of caution after the year we had in 2020 and with hope that this year will be better for all of us. As we continue dealing with COVID-19, I’m hoping that the vaccines now available will bring the level of protection we need for our health. It would be great to return 100 percent to the normalcy we had before COVID-19 entered into the picture.

This will be another busy year for the Hilton Head Island Town Council. We’ll kick-off the new year with our annual workshop on January 28 and 29. This two-day gathering will take place locally at the Westin Resort. Because of COVID-19, we will have to limit the number of attendees from the public. We are planning to broadcast the meeting live through the Beaufort County Channel and on the town’s Facebook page. As we get closer to the date of the workshop, we’ll share more details on how you can view Town Council’s discussion around various topics. Julia Novak, the consultant who led last year’s workshop, will again facilitate this gathering.

At the workshop, we plan to focus on our recently adopted 2020-2040 Comprehensive Plan. This blueprint for our island’s future is filled with myriad ideas for sustaining our quality of life. We now have to dig deep into the plan and decide as a council how to prioritize these ideas, pay for projects and measure our performance in carrying them out. We also plan to revisit the hiring of a permanent town manager.

We also will use our workshop as a time to discuss and determine our top goals for the year—the things we want to make the center our attention over the next 11 months. Last year, our three areas of focus included exceptional quality of life, prosperity and innovation, and best-in-class services and facilities. Our successes in these categories included adopting amendments in our land management ordinance for zoning related to the development of workforce house and protection of family land in the Island’s Gullah Geechee neighborhoods.

Along with adopting the comprehensive plan, we completed and adopted a master plan for parks and recreation.
As for best-in-class in facilities, we were so excited to open our Lowcountry Celebration Park last month. This amazing 10-acre park is a nod to our history, our arts and culture, and our environment. It is a well-planned park with a playground including the re-imagined Adventure Ship, designed after the ship Captain William Hilton was on when he discovered Hilton Head Island; the Sandbox Children’s Museum that will open in the spring; a pavilion and lawn for events and festivals; a perimeter walking path; Wi-Fi, lights, security cameras, restrooms and more. It is truly top-notch.

I hope our list of priorities for 2021 will yield more successes for our community

Secret to Success
Have you ever noticed when someone paints a house, the actual painting doesn’t seem to take very long? What takes the most time is getting ready to paint. We call it “the story of the blue tape.” You know that blue tape that comes off really easily? When someone is going to paint a house—if they are going to do it right—they spend a lot of time with that blue tape. They put that tape everywhere. They cover up everything that could cause a problem down the road. Every window is wrapped in plastic and taped with that blue tape. I bet if it takes a week to paint a house, five of the seven days are spent on the prep work. That’s where the time is spent.

If you like to paint, you’re anxious to get to the painting portion. You don’t really want to do the prep work. But doing all of that prep work makes the painting so much better. It goes so much faster, and the job has a much better chance of turning out like you want it to. Plus, you don’t have to go back later on and fix mistakes where you didn’t do the prep.

It’s like that in business too. At the Don Ryan Center, when we’re working with the companies in our Startup and Growth programs, we spend a lot of time at the beginning doing the prep work, using our own type of “blue tape.” We tell entrepreneurs that they may get frustrated in the beginning because it might not seem like we’re making a lot of progress in our first few meetings. But what we’re doing is the prep work. We’re thinking ahead of where we want to be, of where we want to paint, of how we want to paint, and of how we want the job to turn out.

But new entrepreneurs are anxious. They want to get that product out there. They need to start generating revenue. They want to see the marketing materials and the website, and so do we. But none of this matters if you haven’t prepared for it.

It’s not just about releasing the product or service. It’s about knowing what your product really is and if the market wants it. What is the vision three to five years from now? It’s about knowing your strengths, and weaknesses. What are the first big opportunities you have to capitalize on to get going? How is the organization going to be structured? Who is your customer? What is your beachhead market? This is all part of the preparation.

Now don’t get us wrong. We are not saying don’t try to get the product to market as soon as you can so you can find out what works and what doesn’t. Just don’t launch blindly. By doing this work at the beginning, we are setting companies up to be more successful and to be able to scale faster when the eventual growth comes. Doing all of this prep work is almost a self-fulfilling prophecy, making the company’s chances to succeed that much better. So, when you are thinking about starting your own business, don’t skip on the preparations. Better yet, contact us. We have boxes of tape….

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