Newsletter Archive

The value of newsletters has diminished dramatically with the advent of broadcast email and blogging software. Delete, delete, delete is the typical reaction. When we styled Blane, Canada newsletter 13 Tips—formerly Economic Development Marketing Letter—in 1994 we focused on pointed 4-5 lines (Twitter copied this style from us!), providing information that adds value and broadened perspectives.

Economic Development Marketing Letter

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 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.

~~~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.

~~~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.

Be safe. Be generous. Be kind.

​​​​​​​Eric Canada
630.462.9222 |

March 2019 – Speaking Assignments

~~~Upcoming speaking assignmentsÉ New Castle EDC, Annual Dinner Keynote, Indiana. Peterborough Economic Development, Annual Meeting Keynote, Ontario, CANADA. Iowa Smart Conference, Business Retention & Expansion Best Practices Workshop, Des Moines, Iowa. Business Retention and Expansion International Annual Conference Keynote, Jackson, Mississippi. Economic Development Council of Colorado, Annual Conference, Colorado Springs.

March 2019 – Belief

~~~ÒBelief is aboutÉ collecting ideas and investing in them. Faith is about having your ideas obliterated and having nothing to hang onto and trusting that itÕs going to be all right anyway.Ó Source: Barbara Hall

March 2019 – Staying Relevant

~~~The hard work required to stay relevantÉ My keynote address to the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO), in Toronto, CANADA focused on the connection between our sense of client, our tribe, and living at the edge (of change). Operating at the intersection of these 3 practices allow our economic development organizations to remain relevant. Here we can live up to the ideals that made our organizations successful and evolve them, remaining relevant as the world changes.

March 2019 – Synchronist 20th Anniversary

~~~The little experiment that DIDÉ 23 years ago, a small, international band of visionaries quietly came together to reimagine the business retention interview. As they worked, they challenged old assumptions and traditional perspectives. In the end, they successfully 1) Applied competitive intelligence (psychology, question design, information outcomes, analytics) to the BR|E interview; 2) Demonstrated the importance of context to analysis of local findings – national and regional benchmarks; 3) Evaluated company risk from 3600 perspective instead of the classic 1200 view (community), and, 4) Calculated an asset value of each company interviewed to aid in resource allocation. It is not about the data. These visionaries were focused on getting more from the process of BR|E. These goals form the backbone of Synchronist Suite and are still at the cutting edge of applied BR|E strategy. If you are among the 73% of economic developers looking to elevate your BR|E program, call Eric: 630-936-8078.

March 2019 – Leadership style and success

~~~Your leadership style and successÉ in keeping your organization relevant is determined by your answer to a single question: I was hired to; a) to lead the economic development program (or department) or, b) to grow the local economy. So, what is it?

March 2019 – Cell phone crimp innovation

~~~Cell phone makes you dumbÉ to extend the thought broached in the last edition of Tips; If you always have your cell phone at the ready, the mindless activity can suppress the sense of boredom which is the mother of innovation. Walk away from the phone. Embrace boredom. Open yourself to innovation.

March 2019 – Director of Business Intelligence

~~~JAXUSA PartnershipÕs Senior Director of Business IntelligenceÉ Melonie Moore plays a similar role in Jacksonville, FL. We hope this is a new trend. Knowledge of the client(s) is a key element of keeping our organizations relevant when technology and communications eliminates historic roles. It must be noted that a true business intelligence function is not just a rebranding of the economic development research function which is all about fluffing up demographic data for prospects and prospecting. Business intelligence can be an engagement strategy. Think BIG! Think LOCAL!

March 2019 – Business Intelligence Scope

~~~Business Intelligence note: To be effectiveÉ this emerging trend (the business intelligence department) is not just a rebranding of the research department. It is an arm of the CEO suite as practiced by Greater Dubuque Development Corp for over 15 years.

December 2018 – Strategic Doing News

~~~Strategic Doing News If you are frustrated with the limitations of strategic planning, you may be interested in the Strategic Doing approach which presents an alternative for economic development organizations. For more information follow the LinkedIn Group “Strategic Doing” or connect with the Agility Lab or Ed Morrison directly.

December 2018 – Curse of Expertise

~~~Curse of Expertise Too much invested in expertise creates an unintentional bias, limiting innovation. (Psychology, Behavioral Economics); Experts are at the bottom of the hole frantically digging to maintain the “advantage” of their expertise, limiting innovation (Ed DeBono); Cartoon, Job applicant “12 years of experience, blah, blah “. Executive thought bubble 1 year of experience 12 times

December 2018 – Where is the innovation?

Where is the innovation in your economic development effort? Here at Blane, Canada Ltd., we thrive on “lateral thinking” and have a history of innovation in economic development marketing and BR|E. Check the evidence or call for information on the next trend we will be starting (Hint, Existing Business Web Presence!)

December 2018 – The Elusive Pprogressive Economic Development Strategist

~~~Looking for the elusive progressive economic development strategist We have been working a fascinating manufacturing project over the last six months. Looking for the person who can handle a high-impact, blue ocean strategy. A similar hunt years ago took 18 months to find a small group of progressives. What we find is an abundant supply of traditionalist who use their mission statement as blinders blocking peripheral vision and true opportunity. Who are you? The traditionalist or the progressive. Is your style holding you and your organization back?

December 2018 – Debunking Trade Myths

~~~Debunking trade myths For at least the past 20 years, policy makers, politicians, pundits, and voters in mature markets have worried that their countries are losing groundÑabove all, in manufacturingÑto emerging economies. It’s important to ground the debate on the impact of trade in the truth. A 2012 report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) examined conventional wisdom surrounding globalization: for example, mature economies are losing out to emerging ones in trade and therefore face rising trade deficits, manufactured goods are mainly responsible for them, and trade is the principal reason for the loss of manufacturing jobs in developed economies. False, false, false. See through these widespread misconceptions about how economies create and destroy manufacturing and service jobs. Read “Trading myths: Addressing misconceptions about trade, jobs, and competitiveness”

December 2018 – Mix-up Your Play List

~~~Mix-up your play list check out Gulch radio, Jerome, AZ. Gulch radio has become a late-night favorite here at Blane, Canada. Where we appreciate “Mountain Stranded Time.” Recommended by friend Peter Myall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.