For the seventh consecutive year, and the ninth time in the last 10 years, North Carolina ranks number one in Site Selection magazine’s list of states with the top business climate. You can read the article here.

However, one area of the article may hold a key as to why North Carolina has spent so much time on top. And it is summed up nicely by Keith Crisco, NC Commerce Secretary:

“We work just as hard on a project with 42 jobs as we do on a project with 860 jobs… That’s how you do well… They’re all a big deal these days. It’s like the Johnny Cash song ‘One Piece at a Time’ — he built that car one piece at a time, and that’s how we’re going to transform the [circumstances] we’re in right now.”

Could this be the difference maker in North Carolina’s economic development efforts? That local and state organizations exert every bit of effort to make expanding or relocating to NC as attractive to smaller businesses as it is to the big boys?

To understand why NC leaders take this approach, think of the suppliers that typically follow a major manufacturer into a new location — smaller companies that, when combined, can add up to a major lift in employment, among other areas. Also, consider what, in part, makes a state or local community less sensitive to economic ups and downs — a diverse range of industries and sizes of business.

Success by association?

Naturally, with the Southeast dominating much of the top 10 spots, NC excels in part because of its location, infrastructure, available workforce, relatively low cost of living, and excellent quality of life. But when a business knows that a state is going to go the extra mile to help your business succeed in its new home, that could be all the incentive a business needs.