Welcome 2021.

Everyone was delighted to turn the page on 2020. Whew. It seemed it would never end. So, while there is overhang we will continue to deal with, there is also room to imagine moving on. Figuratively and literally. For our part, we will double down on business retention and expansion – COVID made the importance of BR|E obvious even to the most jaded. Business engagement in it’s many form will be the focus of development professionals as economic development transitions out and our continued work with Synchronist software and economic development consulting.

Eric~~~Meet Eric. You will be seeing him around more this year! For example…

~~~Worth repeating… “I never learned anything in life when I was talking.” Larry King, acclaimed television and radio host.

~~~Passing through a transitional space… Much of 2020 was about transitioning. Overnight, COVID taught us our BR|E interview was tone deaf and too narrowly focused. The special COVID surveys are now redundant. Executives are tired of guessing about the future. Therefore, moving forward with a strong BR|E strategy means a) crafting relevant interview tools to build on your understanding of those businesses in BOTH segments of our community (Prime and Main Street) with a sensitivity to COVID; b) moving beyond the one-on-one interview model to extend your reach; c) documenting your record of service; and d) making visible the HUGE value you and your team brought to individual companies, the community, your investors and community leaders in 2020 – just like every previous year. In short, the new normal must emphasis documenting and demonstrate VALUE. That is our mission with the Synchronist Software. Schedule a review now.

~~~Investment Club for Economic Developers… Long-time readers will know that I have often recommended young economic developers join a BetterInvesting.org investment club. It is grad school approach to understanding your core client base – business. Plus, the side benefit is it can help you grow your retirement account. Now that my investment club – Market’s Edge Investment Club – has moved online, we can accept members from anywhere. If you are interested, let me know and I will send you details to explore the possibility. ecanada@blanecanada.com

~~~Bullwhip effect in manufacturing… Manufacturers are extremely busy right now. But, this is not a new reality. It is the “bullwhip effect” created by the manufacturing gap from the early days of COVID when work stopped. Now, playing catchup, manufacturers are pressing. Don’t be fooled. This is not real growth according to my colleague Derek Sherman. It is catchup. Stay in touch with your manufacturers through your BR|E effort to track the impact of the post catchup lag.
~~~Zooming… is our new way of life. Engagement now requires an online service to conduct meetings, workshops and etc. When recording the event, do you have a disclaimer or notification that you use to notify participants the meeting/event is being recorded? Sandy Ratcliff via Business Retention and Expansion Forum, LinkedIn. Share your disclaimer and we will pass it along. Thanks.

~~~Manufacturing Hub feasibility study… Having established 2 successful flexible manufacturing networks Blane, Canada is conducting the study/business plan/launch prep for a Metals Manufacturing and Manufacturing Equipment Hub in Chicago’s Southland in partnership with the Southland Development Authority, Cook County’s Office of Economic Development and the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center.​

EconomicDevelopmentFortheTeam​~~~Fundamentals… are critical, especially in times of transition like today. Pick up a copy(ies) of Economic Development for the Team for yourself, for your team, for key influencers, for your Board, or for strategic partners. Build your base with a common frame of reference. Move the dial for your community!

JimVinita~~~Take it from Jim… Vinita (OK) City offices, Mayor Chuck Hoskin and EDC executive Misty Bingham were given a copy of “Economic Development for the Team” by Jim Fram, CEcD, Community Growth Strategies, LLC, who worked with them on their new economic development strategy.

~~~Online Presentation Tips…

~~~Full nostril view… When you are on camera, if you can see the seam between the wall and ceiling, you are in “full nostril view”. Bad. Very bad. The simple solution, find a small box to elevate your laptop so you are level with the camera for a clean head/shoulders view.

~~~Test, test, test… If you plan on having people chime in on a Zoom meeting or video chat, don’t just test when the room is empty. Things can go wonky as people are added to the conversation.

~~~Engagement… requires your full attention. I have found sitting forward on my chair helps keep me from leaning back. When you ease back in your chair, it looks to others that I am not engaged. This is not the image I want to project when meeting with a business executive. Share your favorite online meeting tips or pet peeves and we will share with our readers. ecanada@blanecanada.com

~~~Be prepared… Just like a face-to-face interview, do your background research. Visit the company website. If public, look at the stock performance and analyst evaluations. Check LinkedIn for personal background and recent releases. Review notes from your last interview. Mark up the current interview form based on what is learned to demonstrate you did your homework.

~~~Passwords are annoying… but essential. Everyone struggles to keep up with them. We have researched password management apps and highly recommend LastPass. It has a stellar reputation as a password manager or just a vault for storing the unique passwords you craft. We have successfully used LastPass, to synch passwords across desktop and mobile devices which is very convenient. There is a free version, pro, and family plans if you want to add even more features. Have a favorite, must have app? Share so others can benefit from those you have proven valuable. research@blanecanada.com

Be safe. Be generous. Be kind.

​​​​​​​Eric Canada
630.462.9222 | ecanada@blanecanada.com