A business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) team coordinates responses to individual business concerns, or warning flags (see Step 2), and develops strategies to improve the local business climate.
The committee should include four or five individuals with the skills and abilities to help businesses with common business challenges like marketing, accounting, or finance, as well as regulatory issues. Members of the team should be given a copy of the market analysis.  Supplemental information such as detailed demographic reports, lifestyle segmentation profiles, and consumer survey data should also be made available.
Warning flags or “red flags” are issues of individual businesses that are a cause for concern and targets of response from the BR&E team.
Other questions in the standardized survey ask business owners about their interest in receiving information resources and business incentive programs, and about challenges they face. A good process to identify warning flags includes setting aside a time in which the whole BR&E team can assess surveys together and discuss appropriate follow up. The worksheet contains two important columns:  (1) level of urgency and (2) organization or person responsible for follow up. A starting point for any BR&E team offering assistance to individual businesses is getting the market analysis data into their hands, and then helping them apply the information to their operations.
When reviewing business surveys, you will find some issues that cut across many businesses and call for strategies that will affect the whole business district. Needless to say, experts do not recommend developing business retention and expansion strategies in a vacuum. An action planning worksheet (see following figure) is a helpful tool the BR&E team can use to implement strategies and move from ideas to action. About the Toolbox and this SectionThe 2011 update of the Downtown and Business District Market Analysis Toolbox is the product of a collaborative effort involving University of Minnesota Extension, Ohio State University Extension, and University of Wisconsin Extension. This section includes new methods added by Ryan Pesch and Michael Darger of University of Minnesota Extension and Bill Ryan of University of Wisconsin Extension. These institutions have collaborated in the 2010 update of the DMA toolbox with assistance from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.
We teach, learn, lead and serve, connecting people with the University of Wisconsin, and engaging with them in transforming lives and communities.
Downtown Market Analysis is part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension For Your Information Network. Market Plan Template (16 pages) Use this template to capture Why You Need Research, Who You Want to Target, How to Plan, Collect Data, Analyze Data, Report Findings, and Make Decisions. Market Plan Brief Template (6 pages) Use this document to brief Consultants on your Market Research requirements. 10 Free Templates including Brand Loyalty Survey, Competitor Analysis, Demographic Comparison, Demographic Profile, Industry Analysis Checklist, Market Planning Checklist, Cost Analysis, Market Research Spreadsheet, Market Survey, and a Project Plan.
To do this you need to gather facts, examine opinions and organize them in a structure manner.


You can use these twelve templates (10 Microsoft Word and 2 Excel spreadsheets) to outline the specific goals for your Market Research Plan and then feed these results into your Business Plans, Marketing Plans, and product development strategies. Identify your Target Market – gather information about the age, location and number of people who’ll be interested in the product. The over-arching goal is to learn more about your customers and how their spending habits, preferences and knowledge of your brand will impact your company’s Sales and Marketing strategy.
You can also use the budget section and Project Plan (MS Excel template) to capture the costs associated with the Market Plan.
Here are screenshots of the templates you can download by clicking the Click Here to Purchase image above. Too often the sudden closing of a long-time business surprises residents and local officials alike who assume a business is doing fine simply because the doors remain open each day. The primary source of information to identify warning flags is the Business Survey (see Business Survey section of the Toolbox), which includes many questions to identify potential problems. The team can use the warning flags worksheet (see following exhibit) to organize its thoughts and keep good records to facilitate a timely response. Local university Extension educators, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) counselors, Main Street program business specialists, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), chamber of commerce and other public or private small business professionals can provide assistance.  Follow-up can take many forms, ranging from a mailing in response to simple information requests to individual consulting. Some strategies may be simple, such as hosting group workshops to meet community training needs. Instead, the BR&E team should put in place a process that allows businesses and other interested parties to review business survey findings and develop strategies that address issues common to many businesses in the business district.
The update was supported with funding from the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development.The toolbox is based on and supportive of the economic restructuring principles of the National Trust Main Street Center. You can use these templates, forms, checklists, and questionnaires to gather, record, and analyze data so you have the information you need to drive your Business Plan and Marketing strategies forward.
This lets you drill down and see what makes people want to buy – not just what you want to sell them.
The more you know about your customers, the more you can tailor your product to their needs, spending habits and in relation to emerging trend. Interviewing, running surveys and polls are different ways to get inside the head of your customers (or prospective customers) and see what they think.
Likewise, you may need to run different surveys or workshop until you begin to see specific trends emerging, for example, the price may be too high for customers in different regions or the user interface may confuse customers and cause them to leave the site. Instead, probing business owners about business challenges and future plans offers clues about possible future actions.  Through the market analysis process, and the business survey in particular (see Business Survey section of the Toolbox), you have the opportunity to indentify individual business needs you can act to fill, such as providing more space, addressing financing issues, or providing information resources.
A good practice is to have two team members review each survey.  A viewing by a second set of eyes may uncover issues the first team member did not notice.
A business indicating plans to move to another community in the next six months is clearly an urgent matter in need of immediate attention, whereas interest in historic preservation tax credits may not be as pressing.


Others may be more sophisticated, such as forming cooperative purchasing alliances or launching group advertising initiatives.
The process must allow participants time to learn about the business survey findings, brainstorm ideas, and prioritize and choose strategies. The Wisconsin Main Street Program (Wisconsin Department of Commerce) has been an instrumental partner in the development of this toolbox.
The BR&E team would identify this answer as a warning flag and follow up on details to determine if it could help by modifying an ordinance or zoning codes.
The worksheet refers to red, yellow, and blue flags to rate the urgency–standard language in a BR&E program.
The key is to develop strategies consistent with the findings of the market analysis data and business district activities already under way. This may take the form of a half-day retreat with a facilitator or a couple of smaller meetings. The more people are involved with developing the strategies, the more they will be invested implementing the plan to realize their vision.
The best people or organizations to handle follow-up are those who can retain the trust and confidentiality of the business owner.
Be sure to notify businesses of your intentions to hand off some issues to appropriate resource people or organizations. This is a very small percentage with only 1% of sales allocated to it but in a multi Billion dollar company that is a lot of cash and they hand it out as an annual bonus, all on one night. Of course nota€¦ but it stands to reason that if you cleanse your body and feed it the finest nutrition available, giving it everything it needs in balance, on a daily basis, that your body will do what nature intended, and give you the best possible chance to fend off sickness and disease. While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the web site subject matter herein. If expert advice or counseling is needed, services of a competent professional should be sought. The author and the Publisher assume no responsibility or liability and specifically disclaim any warranty, express or implied for any products or services mentioned, or any techniques or practices described. Neither the author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of these materials.



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