BR|E Strategy

Develop This! Podcast

If you are one of the 70.6% of economic development executives looking for more from BR|E, Blane, Canada can help!

Business Retention & Expansion Defined

In economic development, business retention and expansion is a program designed to strengthen the connection between companies and the community while encouraging each business to continue to grow in the community.

Through direct interactions, events, and research, the program seeks to gain insight into business practices, planned future actions, as well as the challenges of targeted companies. Then, to turn this “business intelligence” into value added services, programs, and/or products that address individual and shared company opportunities and problems.

BR|E & Executive Interviews

Enlightened economic development professionals view business retention and expansion (BR|E) as their Competitive Intelligence operation. In this view, the information gathered through executive interviews fuels decisions and resource allocation across the organization and throughout the community.

In addition, the collective mix of companies in a community is the community’s portfolio. A portfolio is more than the simple collection of company information. The Portfolio Model, adopted from the world of financial asset management, understands that:


  • Each company is an economic asset.
  • Each asset has a relative value that can be compared to the value of other assets.
  • Each asset has a relative risk that it will or will not perform as expected.
  • Value for each asset in an individual portfolio investment class (primary sector) can be compared to any other asset within that class regardless of industry.
Combining business intelligence and the portfolio models creates a structure for informed business retention strategy. Only then, is the true potential of BR|E unlocked. And, identifying companies with plans to expand, community problems, and establishing relationships are by-products of a broader strategy.

By applying a 3rd business model, Lean Process Mapping, Blane, Canada helps clients evaluate and re-tool their BR|E executive interview program. The average executive interview program has 18 design gaps. Gaps can be a skipped step or an alternative method unseen by the program designer. Most gap presents multiple opportunities for dramatic improvements. Filling these gaps can increase effectiveness, improve results, and boost impact.

The classic Economic Development view of BR|E likens to a telescope – allowing only a one-dimensional view of BR|E. But, by combining effective business models with economic development, Blane, Canada generates the 3d effect of binoculars. This view creates the potential to accelerate return on investment (ROI).

Our BR|E advisory services are not limited to Synchronist users. Taking what we have learned from business and economic development, we can help any economic development organization jump BR|E to the next level.

Step up now. Let Blane, Canada show you how you can get more for your BR|E investment.

Business Retention vs.
Existing Business Strategy

An Existing Industry Strategy is the umbrella covering BR|E and other economic development programs designed to support local employers. It is a fallacy to think that company decisions to stay or go hinge only on awareness tapped through an executive interview. The executive interview is just one element of a comprehensive Existing Industry Strategy. With a strategy, the components work together to tie companies to the community and the organization. Talent/Workforce is all the rage now. Organizations are adjusting staffing and budgets to address this important problem… to help secure existing employment. But, to effectively retain these jobs, BR|E, talent/workforce, and other programs must be joined at the hip to work seamlessly for the benefit of companies.

A holistic view of business retention within the context of an existing business strategy greatly enhances the “stickiness” of the economic development organization and the community while maximizing the return on investment.
“I work with business retention every day, but my eyes were really opened by the discussion of the failure of the weakness question. Adding a business perspective really has a huge impact on importance. I will have to think hard about the implications of this.”

“The light bulb moment for me was the introduction to portfolio assessment. As a local chamber we focus on product and policy. It never occurred to us that understanding our portfolio could dramatically change our priorities!”

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Blane, Canada’s 13 Tips delivers the storyline, the insight, the ah ha and the source link to go deep if desired. A six minute read draws widely from the environment influencing successful economic development and leadership in a changing world to keep you ahead of the game.