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Getting Business Retention and Expansion Buy-In From Rural Council

When pursuing the right business retention and expansion (BR+E) program for your rural community, one of the most important steps you’ll take is proving the BR+E program’s value to Council.

How to Choose the Best Business Retention and Expansion Program


To help you decide on the best program for your rural community, there are a few key considerations in order to maximize your ROI and show Council the value of the initiative.

1. Should You Work With A Consultant?

The first major decision that you’ll need to make in choosing a business retention and expansion approach is whether you will undertake the effort yourself or outsource it to a consultant.

Analyze the time and budget that you have available. If your budget is small, but you have ample time to investigate the local business landscape, then you might be able to undertake the efforts yourself. Take into account the time you’ll need to get up to speed on how best to complete this task, as well as the travel time, interviews, documentation, and presentation preparation required. You might find that in the end, it’s actually much more affordable to hire a consulting firm that has streamlined approaches to make the process more efficient (and affordable). 

If you decide to hire consultants, make sure you do your research to ensure that at the very least they meet the following requirements:

  • Extensive experience in rural economic development
  • Good reviews from other communities
  • Case studies that you can read and share with Council
  • A breadth of experience across economic development, workforce development, and municipal services indicating that they understand how to work successfully with and strengthen communities in a holistic and integrated manner.

2. Communicate the Benefits of Your Choice to Council

After you’ve researched the available options and settled on the choice that is best for your rural community, the next challenge is communicating the value of your choice to Council. Often, in a rural setting, Council members are not career politicians, but residents or business owners in the community. While they may bring a breadth of experience, these Council members may not fully understand the impact of rural economic development, making it difficult to prove its worth. 

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When presenting your case to Council, you’ll want to simplify the explanation and clearly communicate the value of this essential investment. Be sure to describe the following benefits:

    • Affordability based on the current assessment
    • Capacity to assist any size community (i.e., small, rural)
    • Innovative features that set this program or tool apart, i.e. real-time data collection that allows you to get to work faster on strengthening the local economy
3. Provide Proof of the Process to Stakeholders

Your local Council may have limited experience with business retention and expansion programs and approaches. One way you can educate them is to show them exactly how your recommended approach will perform. Seeing truly is believing, so allowing Council a chance to see a demo and understand how it works will convince them of its value. 

MDB Insight’s Triage BR+ETM tool can be demonstrated at any time. The Triage BR+ETM demo showcases novel features such as real-time localized data collection, combined with reports on business priorities in as little as 10 weeks.

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