All businesses in your market area are not created equal. A small number of these companies are providing a disproportionate return on investment (ROI) to your entire market area.


business retention and expansion

should be conducted using Darwin’s model...survival of the fittest. Instead of trying to mitigate at risk companies or entire industry sectors, you should focus on those companies and industries that can seize upon and leverage opportunities.

Here are some questions to answer when stratifying client firms:
  • Does the firm sell goods or services outside the market area? Are these goods or services proprietary?
  • Does the company aggressively incorporate technology into products and processes?
  • Does the firm regularly innovate?
  • Does the company pay family sustaining wages and provide commensurate benefits?
  • Does the company have a track record of investment in the community?
  • Is the company locally owned or controlled?
  • Does this company have affinity for the local market?
  • Is this firm willing to ‘partner’ with local government, economic or

    workforce development

    officials to achieve its objectives?
In many instances, the definition of a ‘best customer’ will vary by market area, stakeholder organization and situation. An large urban downtown improvement district organization will define best customers differently than a traditional

economic development

organization (EDO) in a manufacturing-based economy.