business retention and expansion

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

Be Alert to BRE Red Flags

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Imagine that you’re a Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) professional. You target certain businesses locally to get to know, develop good relationships with them, and yet “things happen” with them that catch you off-guard. They announce they’re leaving, they’re downsizing, or they won’t renew their lease.

You wonder “Why didn’t I know about this sooner?”

Part of being great at BRE requires that BRE professionals get to know what’s going on OUTSIDE the area that can affect local industries. For example, CSS monitors business intelligence for BRE organizations, and noted below are examples of information that applies to our clients’ industries. Assume that “Company ABC” is one of your key local businesses:

  • Company ABC Appoints Two Key Executives to New Leadership Positions
  • Company ABC recalls key product
  • Company ABC Completes Purchase of Key Competitor
  • Company ABC expands its campus with purchase of 16 acres…in another State
  • Company ABC to close plant (in a different region of the country)
  • Company ABC starts hiring freeze after slower sales
  • Company ABC cuts hundreds of jobs, pays millions in dividends
  • Other jurisdiction approves incentives to help lure Company ABC
  • Company ABC to be purchased for about $229 million
  • Competing jurisdiction to sweeten the incentive pot to attract Company ABC.

A strong BRE professional will know how to utilize information about what was taking place outside his/her region.

With this business intelligence, would you be able to be proactive in communications with local constituents? Would you be able to predict risk and opportunities earlier? Would you be able to impact business decisions?

Your answers should be Yes, Yes, Yes!

An important part of any BRE strategy is to be able to predict what could happen with your local businesses by staying abreast of what factors OUTSIDE your jurisdiction could be impacting your clients.

Be Alert to BRE Red Flags.

Check out our BRE intelligence-building service at http://brebuzz.com/.


BRE a Matchmaker for Your Customers

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

If your customer is a business, remember that that business wants customers. But just as importantly, that business wants high quality employees to serve those customers. This is a key that any Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) executive knows – if you want to keep your local businesses, their local life blood is often their employees.

The article NKY Boost promotes employee retention notes how the local BRE personnel worked with a large food processing firm to improve the transportation options for staff to get to/from work. But later on in the article, a broader and equally important point is made – Sales are growing, “but it doesn’t do much good if the employers – manufacturers, in particular – can’t find qualified people to hire. More than 40 percent of companies told Tri-ED they face recruiting issues, and 57 percent said they have workforce training needs.”

I’ve heard these stories and related statistics from other BRE professionals as well, so it begs several questions:

  • How are you identifying employee needs and job openings at your local businesses?
  • How are you identifying high-demand skill sets at your local businesses?
  • How are you identifying people with those skills in your community?

And maybe – most importantly – What are you doing to be a matchmaker between local employers and prospective employees?

Is there a jobs clearinghouse, a web portal for exchange of job listings and resumes, or training partners in community colleges and elsewhere tailoring programs to meet those high-demand skill sets?

Your businesses need high performing employees to ensure efficiency, quality, customer service, and growth.

Make sure you’re being a matchmaker.

Interested in a site just for BRE professionals? Check out http://brebuzz.com/ 


Compete for Businesses by Making Them Competitive

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article Lakeshore and Crossroads chambers collaborate on economic development, it’s stated that “The LCEA’s short-term objectives of the business retention and expansion surveys are: 1) to demonstrate community support for local businesses by conducting personal interviews, and 2) to assist with any immediate business concerns. Long-term objectives include: 1) build capacity to sustain business growth, 2) increase competitiveness of local businesses, and 3) establish and implement a strategic plan for economic development.”

To interpret these objectives, in the short-term get to know your businesses well, get them to know you, and help them resolve problems. Be the group that breaks down barriers to local success. In the long-term, there has to be a little of a “build it and they will come” mentality, where there has to be community capacity of people and facilities for expansion. At the same time, local communities need to help local companies be competitive. And that’s where we dig deeper…

What can you control? What can you impact that makes your businesses more competitive?

Keep in mind that Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) executives can’t personally make their local businesses’ equipment, man their call center, or work on their assembly lines. When companies try to be more competitive, they want to manage costs, improve productivity, reduce throughput time, improve the work environment for their employees (since they compete for personnel), become more nimble when expansion opportunities arise, and be able to more easily work with suppliers. So how can your BRE program impact your businesses?

  • Manage costs? Think about taxes and fees, roads and infrastructure, technology needs.
  • Improve productivity? Consider workforce training resources, job postings, etc.
  • Reduce throughput time? Streamline permitting functions or – again – look at the infrastructure.
  • Improve the work environment? Improve the quality of life in the community, schools, parks, etc. Share best practices from other employers.
  • Become more nimble? Identify facilities that are currently vacant or are soon-to-be, and create strategies to match them to employer needs quickly.
  • More easily work with suppliers? Identify needs for suppliers, and develop a local business environment (and local businesses) that can provide those needed materials, products, and services.

To keep local businesses, you have to compete for those businesses. Compete for businesses by making them competitive.

Interested in gaining intelligence on your local businesses? Check out http://brebuzz.com/