We hope you have been finding the content in our Strengthen your Region series valuable. Below is our fourth blog and it focuses on the importance of BRE. Feel free to peruse other content of ours by checking out the Related Content section at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
Business Retention & Expansion (BRE)
BRE isn’t a fancy French cheese, it’s the economic development equivalent of customer retention in the private sector. BRE activities serve to reduce defections and enhance a region’s ability to attract new companies. And given that up to 80% of net new jobs and capital investment in any economy are generated by existing firms*, it’s mighty important! A solid BRE plan represents your first and best line of defense against competitor’s business recruitment program.
Why do companies leave a region? When they don’t feel the love!
BRE used to be an afterthought. Typically EDOs allocated no more than 15%-20% of overall budgets for retention and expansion. This is no longer the case. The recession of the early ‘80s led to a recognition of the importance of existing firms and things started to change. If states, regions, and communities are going to compete, they must dedicate resources to engaging existing businesses. Although the economy is currently flying high, that is cyclical and eventually, conditions will become tougher again. And when that downturn comes, a strong BRE strategy will ensure you’re prepared.
Drumroll: Introducing BRE 2.0
For today’s leading EDOs, BR&E spending is now on par with recruitment. BRE isn’t just about sending a few surveys into market anymore. Today’s winning BRE strategies are all about continuous communication and action via social media, business walks, focus groups, high-value content, and traditional outreach. When EDOs take the time to talk with businesses, to understand their concerns, risks, opportunities, and challenges, it builds their understanding of what it takes to improve the business environment and keep those companies at home.
And as a bonus- the best way to recruit is having satisfied customers to sing the praises of your region.
Getting the BRE ball rolling
Creating a successful BR&E effort begins with an analysis of your region. A thorough understanding of your industry sectors or clusters, identifying emerging industries with dynamic growth potential and finding other “hidden gem” companies are all necessary activities. Identifying companies with growth potential in your region and understanding their needs is critical in crafting a winning BRE strategy. And if one or more industries in your region are trending downward, there could be a need to be more proactive and support them through difficult times.
Plenty of self-assessment information is available through government-generated data (e.g. Dept. of Labor, Census Bureau, Dept. of Commerce, Reference U.S.A. Hoovers, etc). However, if you are serious about strengthening your clusters, stopping dollar outflow (leakage), building more stability and creating more wealth, you’ll find the next section interesting.
Gazelle.ai is the ideal platform to support the development of your data-driven BRE strategy. It’s powerful, AI-driven analytical tools can crunch vast amounts of data and provide actionable intelligence. Some of these features include:
- Heatmaps that show top regions in your target clusters, so you can see how you stack up
- G-scoreTM, an AI-powered metric that indicates how likely companies are to expand. This will help you prioritize outreach and support to local companies with the greatest growth potential.
- Industry Finder provides access to trends and news in your targeted industries and both rising and declining industries
- Value chain snapshots identify key suppliers and potential buyers to strengthen your clusters. By flagging suppliers and buyers of your targeted industries, it becomes easy to identify new niche sub-sectors to pursue based on your region’s strengths.
- Occupational profile to examine job types, demand trends, and average salaries.
- And much more.
To see how Gazelle.ai can enhance your BRE strategy schedule a demo today.