As an economic development leader, you have a responsibility to attract new companies to your community. This fosters an environment for more revenue, jobs, and overall growth. However, all the work your teams have done to recruit these businesses could all be in vain without the other piece of the puzzle. That piece is business retention.

The main goals of business retention are to provide assistance to your communities existing companies to help them on the path of growth and to develop strong relationships. All of these efforts should help prevent companies from relocating outside of your community.

Businesses leave communities for lots of reasons. They may need more room to expand that their current community can't give them. They may find a community with a better financial market or incentives. They may find a better employee pool elsewhere. Some of these factors you can't control. But you can make it harder for those companies to leave your community providing them the best environment you can for them to operate, expand, and evolve.

You've all heard the common complex sales statistic that existing customers are a much larger percentage of your revenue stream than new ones. This holds true in terms of existing businesses in your community.

Creating and maintaining relationships with established local business owners is all about building trust and collecting information. Giving them what they need to thrive in your community.

How do you do that?

Communicate: You should be actively invested in the growth of these companies. Meet with these company leaders often, ask questions, and assess needs. The more information you have, the easier it is for your team to recognize opportunities to add value. If these leaders feel like their needs are being heard, they will turn to you for help instead of turning to another community to solve their problems.

Collaborate & Share Data: Conduct business satisfaction surveys. Share resources, connections, insights. Some businesses are so focused on the day to day bottom line, they don't have the time or the resources to keep up with trends or tools that would help them grow.

Execute Project Plans: Look at major employers whose loss to the community would be greatest. Based on all this data you are collecting, you can identify if and where these businesses need help from you. From there, you can create mutual action plans towards solutions that are actionable and achievable. Address concerns and any "red flag" issues that could influence the retention of the business.

How Engage Can Help

Economic development is a vital part of community wellness. The challenge is effectively executing various engagement activities on a consistent basis. Engage helps economic development teams and community chambers by providing an environment to communicate, collaborate and partner with community stakeholders via secure digital workspaces.

These workspaces combined with proven processes and tools drive economic development activities and success. Your community is about relationships, Engage empowers your team to build these relationships at scale. 

About ProteusEngage

Engage: Simplifying Complex Onboarding for SaaS, Tech, and Professional Services. Discover cutting-edge digital workspaces and smart automation that ensure successful customer onboarding experiences. With Engage, unlock a consistent and repeatable onboarding process.

Proteus Insights Team

Post by Proteus Insights Team

With over 25 years in operation, Proteus has built strong connections with industry leaders across various sectors, products, and services. Our experienced team and loyal clients have enabled us to gain valuable insights from these interactions.