This study confirmed the hypothesis that Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) is now conducted in a continuous manner. It describes contemporary professional practice of BR&E in Minnesota. Extensive interviews were conducted with 23 economic development officials (EDOs) across the state in April 2017. Far and away, the positive theme (i.e., things that are going well) described most often in the interviews was relationship building with businesses (15 respondents). Among the things that could use improvement, however, interviewees most often mentioned the need for more staff time and larger budgets. Other concerns about activities not going well in communities included: multiple EDOs/organizations visiting the same businesses, a need for more consistent visits and follow-ups, and a lack of coordination with partners. There was a notable variation among the EDOs in terms of data collection and aggregation. Most respondents utilize some type of software program for data collection. In fact, a third of respondents use Salesforce, a customer relationship management (CRM) software system. However, another third don’t use any software for data collection and aggregation. In terms of data analysis, few respondents discussed data aggregation and analysis. The author discusses the findings and makes a few suggestions for EDOs to consider for their BR&E professional practice. For instance, EDOs who do continuous visitation without periodically pausing to look at the big picture may miss an opportunity to convert BR&E data into strategic opportunities.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||32|
|State||Published - Feb 15 2018|
- Economic development
- Business Retention & Expansion