Business Retention and Expansion Manual Feb 2010


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Business Retention and Expansion Manual Feb 2010

  1. 1. The South AfricanBusiness Retention & Expansion Manual Version 1.2 February 2010
  2. 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis manual draws on experience gained since Trade & Investment KwaZulu-Natalpiloted the first South African Business Retention and Expansion visitationprogrammes in 2003. It and the Durban Investment Promotion Agency programmesthat followed from 2005 onwards both relied on an adaptation of the Bank ofI.D.E.A.S. handbook for BR&E facilitators in Australia written and generously madeavailable by Peter Kenyon. This is turn had origins in North American experienceand particularly the booklets by George Morse and Scott Loveridge published byNortheast Regional Center for Rural Development at Pennsylvania State Universityand used in the Business Retention & Expansion International training programmefor many years.More recent Business Retention & Expansion International training material togetherwith advice and suggestions have been made freely available by Henry M Cothran ofIFAS Extension, University of Florida.Preparation of the manual was generously funded by the GTZ Strengthening LocalGovernment Programme: Local Economic Development Componentimplemented by ICON-Institute Private Sector and Swisscontact.This Manual was written by Gerry Delany and Claire Patterson. This manual is the primary resource for the South African BR&E Training Course approved by Business Retention & Expansion International for certification purposes for courses conducted in South Africa by BREI recognised trainers.DisclaimerThe information contained in this document is for guidance and does not take into account everypossible factor that needs to be considered in implementing a BR&E visitation programme. It shouldtherefore be used in conjunction with appropriate research and specialist advice. The intent of thisstatement is to exclude liability for any opinions, advice or information expressed in this document. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License. See for details.
  3. 3. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual HOW TO USE THIS MANUALThis manual aims to assist anyone directly involved in setting up or runningconducting a locally driven business retention and expansion (BR&E) visitationprogramme in South Africa. It was designed on the basis that the person most closely involved in the running a local programme, i.e., the local co-ordinator, should attend a recognised training course based on this manual. Any BR&E facilitator supporting a local programme should have been similarly trained and be experienced in the use of this material. The manual should be used in conjunction with the accompanying Volunteer Interviewer Guidelines which contains material not included in the manual. Additional material such as sample surveys and editable resources can be provided during the training course. The manual is in seven sections corresponding the stages of a typical BR&E programme. The first section, the Introduction is designed for awareness raising – to get BR&E on the agenda. The next section, the Overview, aims to brief anyone who might be considering a programme and provide the key points of what is involved. The remaining sections provide details of how to conduct a BR&E visitation programme in five clearly defined stages. For each stage resource materials such as worksheets, guidelines and examples are provided at the corresponding section. 3
  4. 4. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual CONTENTSSection 1 IntroductionSection 2 OverviewSection 3 Stage 1: Setting upSection 4 Stage 2: PlanningSection 5 Stage 3: VisitationSection 6 Stage 4: AnalysisSection 7 Stage 5: Implementation
  5. 5. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual INTRODUCTION In this sectionWhat is BR&E?Why is BR&E important?Approaches to BR&E.Which approach is best? THE GOLDEN RULE Business stays and expands where it is well treated and appreciated
  6. 6. The South African BR&E Manual IntroductionINTRODUCTIONThe Labour Force Survey released by Statistics SA in August 2008 revealed thatroughly one in every four South Africans available and willing to work could not findemployment. More specifically it recorded that 4,1 million people were unemployedand described another 1,1 million as “discouraged work-seekers”. That is amounts toa total of 5.2 million jobless people.It was still an improvement on the situation when unemployment peaked in 2004 asnearly 2 million new jobs had been created since then. Unfortunately while that wastaking place about 200 000 newcomers were entering the job market each yearwhich meant that the total number of people without work was actually being reducedat the rate of 300 000 a year. It was progress, but was clearly going to take a longtime to bring unemployment down to a reasonable level.Now even that progress has been stopped in its tracks by the world economic crisisand the hard won gains of the last few years are being reversed. That has veryserious implications for the country as unemployment is already responsible for anenormous amount of poverty and creates the conditions under which crime and othersocial ills flourish. To stop or slow job losses and start creating new jobs again willrequire a massive national effort. One in which all reasonable options must beconsidered.How can sustainable jobs be created? Reduced to the basics one can grow theeconomy by:- creating new enterprises- attracting investment and new enterprises from elsewhere- retaining and growing existing enterprises.In doing so opportunities for employment are also created in government, theacademic world, NGOs and so on.Much has been written and said about helping people to start new businesses.Perhaps even more attention has been given to attracting investment. On the otherhand relatively little mention is made of the possibility of creating jobs by growingexisting businesses or the fact that a job saved is as good as a job created. Thismanual will focus on this third, rather neglected possibility, commonly known asbusiness retention and expansion or BR&E.What is BR&E?Any strategy or programme designed to help existing businesses to grow or preventthem from shutting down falls under the broad definition of business retention andexpansion. Turnaround Solutions implemented by Productivity SA as part of theDepartment of Labour’s Social Plan is just such a programme. Through itenterprises that employ 50 or more people and are in danger of closing down orshedding jobs may seek technical assistance to regain competitiveness or to reducepossible job losses. 2
  7. 7. The South African BR&E Manual IntroductionIn fact there are many programmes and initiatives that directly or indirectly helpexisting businesses to grow. They range from infrastructure improvements like theDube Trade Port that will create opportunities for businesses in KwaZulu-Natal toskills development and learnership programmes, business development centres andadvice and assistance with exports. Since most of these initiatives are equally usefulto new businesses or in helping to attract investment, they would not normally bedescribed as BR&E.Business retention and expansion is more usually defined as any local, national orregional strategy specifically designed to help existing businesses to surviveand to grow. In practice most BR&E initiatives take place in a local or perhapsregional context and are usually seen as an element of local economic development.Why is BR&E important?Actions to retain and expand existing business are important for eight very goodreasons.1. Top of the list by far is the fact that most new jobs are created by the growth of existing business. International research shows that 60-80% of all new jobs are created in this way. 1 In contrast attracting investment from outside accounts for perhaps 10-20% of new jobs2 while starting new local business makes up the difference – somewhere between 15-25% of new jobs. Sources of new jobs The tendency to focus attention almost exclusively on investment attraction and creating new businesses is rather like concentrating on the icing and the cherry while forgetting to actually bake the cake!2. A job saved as good as a job created. In fact it is usually easier, cheaper and quicker to save an existing job that to create a new one from scratch. Existing businesses do not have to be attracted to the community, they are already there. New start-ups are much more vulnerable to failure than existing firms, especially in the first year of operation. 3
  8. 8. The South African BR&E Manual Introduction3. Even when the economy is growing communities lose jobs each year 3 when businesses close because, for example, they are no longer profitable, the market changes or the owner retires. It not only affects people directly employed in such businesses but also has a “knock on“ effect on other jobs. This is much more pronounced in times of recession and not only will the loss of a key employer have an impact on their local suppliers but it may also be the last straw that closes a bank branch, retailer, engineering shop or dentist. In the USA it is estimated that for every 100 direct jobs lost in this way another 140 to 286 jobs will be lost in other areas of the economy as a result.44. Conversely the growth of existing businesses creates markets and opportunities to start up and to grow other local businesses. Sometimes the solution to the problems of one businesses may be to start up or recruit another such as a key supplier or a particular service.5. A community that supports and encourages the growth of its businesses is likely to be attractive to outside investors. Local business people who are positive about their business environment make the best and most credible ambassadors.6. Over 70% of South African small business owners have had a formal sector job before starting their own business. Only 5% do so without prior work experience.5 Yet most unemployed people are young and have never had a job. Where are they to get the experience to start a business of their own if the growth of existing business is neglected?7. Existing local business people are a rich source of new business ideas. They are also the most likely ones to do anything about it to judge by Australian experience where local businesses account for 70% investment in a region. According to McKinsey & Co “a regions number one lever for encouraging growth is its existing people and businesses”.68. Locally owned businesses, some of which may have been in the same community for generations, are more likely to remain in hard times than those attracted from outside. Firms attracted by incentives may well move on as the value of the incentives declines or they get a better offer from somewhere else.Approaches to BR&EMost formal business retention and expansion programmes are based on thepremise that to help existing businesses to survive and grow, the best way to start isby listening to the ideas, suggestions and concerns of business people themselves.There are two broad approaches to how this is done. In the continuous approach professional staff are employed by an economic development agency to systematically interview business in their area. . Interviews are conducted throughout the year and may be face-to face or by telephone. The staff member is in a position to respond immediately to requests for information or to act as a broker between the business and various resources to address particular problems. 4
  9. 9. The South African BR&E Manual Introduction Although the focus tends to be on individual businesses rather than the environment in which they operate, there is nothing to prevent the economic development agency from convening workshops or initiating action to solve common problems. In the locally driven or “traditional” approach management and implementation of the programme is in the hands of the community in which it takes place. The community is normally defined geographically but it may also mean a community of interest such as tourism or motor manufacturing. It is also known as the “volunteer” approach because it uses local volunteers to implement much of the programme and emerged from programmes pioneered by New Jersey Bell in the 1970s. In 1986 a model was developed in Ohio that combined this approach with good practice from elsewhere in the USA and eventually became the basis for a training and certification programme for Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI), the professional association for BR&E practitioners.7 In this model a BR&E visitation programme is initiated and managed by a task team of local leaders who recruit businesses to participate in a survey conducted by a team of volunteers. The results form the basis for an action plan to improve the local business environment which is then implemented over the next 2-3 years. Outside resources may be used to assist at various stages, e.g., preparing the survey, analysing the results or implementing specific proposals. Although the main focus is on common issues and the local business environment, the concerns of individual businesses are also addressed.Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages as follows.Continuous Locally drivenConducted by paid professionals Conducted by local volunteers, may be assisted by professionalsSurvey firms throughout the year Visit 50-100 local firms in 2-3 weeksShows broad regional trends Snapshot of local issuesUsually targets specific industries Usually targets specific localitiesTends to focus on larger firms Usually visits cross-section of firmsAction plan for individual business Action plan for business environmentCan address common issues over time Can respond to needs of individual firmInput to regional policies, programmes Input to LED strategiesCan broker resources quickly May have difficulty accessing resourcesDoes not attempt to build local capacity Builds local capacity and social capitalLittle local buy in Local buy in usually much higherDepends entirely on professionals Robust process, minimises use of professionalRelatively costly Relatively inexpensiveIndefinite life Limited life, 2-3 years 5
  10. 10. The South African BR&E Manual IntroductionBoth are already in use to some extent in South Africa. The Wesgro BR&Eprogramme in the Western Cape is an example the of the continuous approach butused on a limited scale. The BR&E programmes supported by Trade & InvestmentKwaZulu-Natal and the Durban Investment Promotion Agency programmes haveused the locally driven approach for a number years.One could perhaps identify a third approach which in South Africa at least is rarelytermed BR&E, but nonetheless aims to assist existing local businesses to surviveand grow. In this case an economic development expert is appointed to survey localbusinesses and to develop proposals for action to improve the business environmentor perhaps address the problems of a local sector or even specific firms. The extentof interaction with local role-players varies considerably, local buy in is oftendisappointing and access to resources to implement the recommendations can be aproblem. Despite good intentions all too often the main outcome is little more than areport.Although it has many of the disadvantages and few of the advantages of either thecontinuous or locally driven approaches, this “expert-driven” approach to BR&E isprobably more widely used in South Africa than either of the other two!Which approach is best?For a formal BR&E programme the choice is essentially between the continuous orlocally driven approach. Both have their virtues as can be seen from the table on theprevious page. In certain circumstances, e.g., where it is limited to the clients of aninvestment promotion agency like Wesgro, the continuous approach may well be aviable option. In practice, however, the cost and the scarcity of skilled professionalswould usually rule it out in most South African situations where even the betterresourced metropolitan councils might have difficulty maintaining a continuousprogramme.It means that the locally driven approach is a far more practical option for SouthAfrican conditions. It is the most widely used approach internationally and is easilyintegrated into a local economic development strategy. The fact that it builds localsocial capital is a particularly attractive extra given the low levels of trust and co-operation that exist in many communities and without which economic developmentis very difficult.For these reasons the locally driven approach is strongly recommended for SouthAfrica and is the approach employed in this manual. 6
  11. 11. The South African BR&E Manual IntroductionReferences1 Study after study has shown that existing businesses are responsible for creating anything from 40% to as much as 90% of new jobs. See, for example, David Birch, Job Creation in America, 1987 or David Kraybill, Ohios Challenge, Retention and Expansion First, 1995.2 “80-90% of jobs are created from within the community” says Mike Stolte in Tools for Building Strong Communities, CEIL, 2007.3 Up to 10% according to Henry M Cothran quoting Kotval in Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Programs: Why Existing Businesses Are Important, University of Florida, IFAS Extension, 2006.4 Kentucky Economic Expansion Program (KEEP), 1998.5 Chandra, Moorty, Nganou, Rajaratnam & Schaefer, Constraints to Growth and Employment in South Africa; Evidence from the SMME Firm Survey, World Bank, 2001.6 McKinsey & Co, Lead Local Compete Global: Unlocking the Growth potential of Australia’s Regions, Final Report to the Commonwealth Department of Housing and Regional Development, 1994.7 For many years the BREI training programme was based on Implementing Local Business Retention and Expansion Visitation Programs, by George Morse & Scott Loveridge, North East Centre for Rural Development, Pennsylvania State University, 1998. 7
  12. 12. The South African BR&E Manual IntroductionSome AbbreviationsBEE Black economic empowermentBR&E Business retention & expansionBREI Business Retention & Expansion InternationalBREV Business retention & expansion visitation (programme)CCTV Closed circuit televisionCI Confidence intervalDCCI Durban Chamber of Commerce and IndustryDIPA Durban Investment Promotion AgencyDVD Digital versatile (or video) discFET Further education and trainingIDP Integrated development planKm KilometresKZN KwaZulu-NatalLED Local economic developmentNGO Non-governmental organisationPASTA Popular, affordable, short term, achievableSA South AfricaSEDA Small Enterprise Development AgencySETA Sector education and training authoritySMME Small, medium and micro-enterpriseTIKZN Trade and Investment KwaZulu-NatalUSA United States of AmericaVIP Very important person 8
  13. 13. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual OVERVIEW In this section Common terminology Goals and objectives Role-players Programme stages TimescalesThe goal of BR&E programs is to stimulate local economic development by helping existingbusiness increase their sales and employment, through a combination of programs that not onlyincrease these firms competitiveness but also improve the communitys quality of life. George Morse
  14. 14. The South African BR&E Manual OverviewCOMMON TERMINOLOGYThe following key terms used in this manual are consistent with those used in trainingresources accredited by Business Retention and Expansion International (BREI).1Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E)Includes all programmes and initiatives aimed at helping local businesses to surviveand grow.BR&E Visitation Programme (BREV)A locally driven initiative that uses a structured interview process to learn about theconcerns ideas, and priorities of local business and initiates specific action plans andlocal economic development projects to address them.Local Economic Development (LED)A sustained effort by community stakeholders working together to make use of localresources, advantages and opportunities to create sustainable jobs and economicopportunities and improve the quality of life for all, especially those who are mostdisadvantaged.Sustainable JobsEconomic and employment opportunities which are not just economically viable butalso satisfy local environmental and social norms. It includes new business and selfemployment options.CommunityCommunity is used in the dictionary sense of "all the people living in a specificlocality".1 Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI) is a non-profit association of economic development practitioners formed to promote BR&E, to share knowledge through research, publications and meetings and to train and accredit practitioners. See 10
  15. 15. The South African BR&E Manual OverviewOVERVIEWGoal and ObjectivesThe goal and objectives of a local business retention and expansion visitationprogramme are as follows.GoalTo stimulate local economic development and create employment opportunities byretaining and expanding existing business.Objectives To identify the ideas, concerns and priorities of local business and the obstacles that prevent them expanding. To respond immediately to urgent concerns. To develop an action plan to assist business to solve problems, improve performance and explore opportunities. To enhance the relationship between local business and the wider community. To establish a partnership of local role-players to implement strategic actions for sustained economic development. Where possible to inform provincial and national business development policies and programmes. 11
  16. 16. The South African BR&E Manual OverviewRole-playersImplementation of a BR&E programme involves a number of local and external role-players. Local host partnership (local sponsors). Task team. Local (project) BR&E co-ordinator. Volunteer interviewers. Local action teams. Trained BR&E Facilitator (BR&E professional). BR&E Programme Manager.For a local BR&E programme to succeed it is essential that all roleplayers are clearabout the part they are expected to play and fully committed to playing it.Local host partnershipThe local hosts initiate and support the local programme and are ultimatelyresponsible for its success and ensuring it takes place as it should. For this reasonthey may also be referred to as the local sponsors. Their task is to: Promote the concept and programme locally; Recruit and participate in the task team; Secure or provide adequate funding; Provide administrative support.Although a single organisation could undertake all of these responsibilities,experience has shown that a partnership has greater credibility and is much morelikely to succeed. The partnership might be an existing local economic coalition orLED partnership or could be formed specifically for BR&E by two or more of thefollowing. Local and/or district municipalities; Local business chambers or associations; Regional or local economic development agencies, investment promotion agencies or local development companies; Business Development Centres and SEDAs; Institutions for tertiary education and research; Community development organisations and NGOs; Service clubs or faith based organisations.Task teamThe task team is a group of 6-8 credible local leaders who have the time, enthusiasmand commitment to take responsibility for promoting and implementing the local 12
  17. 17. The South African BR&E Manual Overviewprogramme. Although members do not take part in order to represent any interestgroup, the team should nonetheless broadly reflect the main role-players in the localeconomy, e.g., municipality, business associations, local tourism body, agriculture,emerging business, business support organisations and so on. Members should be: Credible and influential champions for the programme. Respected for their knowledge of and contribution to the local community. Able to think and act strategically. Enthusiastic about the programme and prepared to commit the necessary time to attend at least six meetings and to take part in the survey as a interviewer. Able to respect and exercise confidentiality.The size of the team is determined by its role and responsibilities. The temptation toconvene a large body representing every interest group in the community should beresisted. It should be small enough to ensure efficient decision making, encouragecommitment and guard confidentiality, yet large enough to generate ideas andinformation and to undertake all its responsibilities. The recommended size istherefore 6-8 people, perhaps 10 at the most.The task team is responsible for promoting and managing the BR&E visitationprogramme and implementing the plan of action that emerges from it. Collectivelythe task team is responsible for: Setting the key dates, determining the overall programme and timing, monitoring progress. Selecting a local co-ordinator. Reviewing key information about the local economy, Determining the scope of the business survey. Design of the survey questionnaire. Recruiting participating businesses and volunteers. Taking part in the survey as volunteer interviewers. Reviewing the survey questionnaires between them. Developing proposals for action based on the survey findings. Presenting results and proposals to participants and the wider community, Setting up teams to implement the agreed programme of action.In addition individual team members will take particular responsibility for one of thefollowing. Chairing task team meetings. Promoting the programme locally and working with the media Responding to “red flag” issues Developing a business information kit, responding to requests for information. 13
  18. 18. The South African BR&E Manual Overview Preparing and managing the launch and feedback events.Local co-ordinatorThe local co-ordinator provides hands-on capacity for the day to day managementand implementation of the visitation programme. This involves the following. Providing a secretariat function to the task team, arranging meetings, initial briefing and results workshop. Working with the appropriate task team members to develop and disseminate promotional and publicity material. Working with the whole task team to identify potential participants and volunteers. Arranging launch, volunteer training and feedback events. Preparing survey forms, information kits and the survey database. Identifying business to be visited, arranging and managing the interview schedule. Collecting and monitoring survey results and entering them in the database. Initiating responses to “red flag” issues and requests for assistance or information. Organising the survey analysis and the preparation of the feedback report. Facilitating the establishment of teams to implement the agreed action plan.The task of local co-ordinator is a critical one. It could either be assigned to a staffmember employed by one of the local host partners or someone might be contractedspecifically for this purpose. Either way it is absolutely essential that they are in aposition to devote an average of 2-3 days a week exclusively to the task for theduration of the BREV programme.Such a person does not need to be highly qualified but should certainly have thefollowing skills and qualities. Excellent interpersonal skills; Proven organisational skills with a concern for detail and accuracy; A professional approach with the ability to maintain confidentiality; Sufficient language skills and understanding of the subject to be able to extract and summarise survey results for entry into the database; Reasonably familiar with the area to be covered by the survey.Volunteer interviewersThe survey interviews are conducted by volunteers all of whom are trained in the useof the survey questionnaire. Working in pairs they will normally undertake two to four(and certainly no more than six) interviews which, on average, means recruiting onevolunteer for every two businesses to be interviewed. 14
  19. 19. The South African BR&E Manual Overview The primary task of a volunteer is to use the structured questionnaire to obtain the views, concerns and priorities of local business with regard to the local business environment. They also need to be able to recognise and bring to the attention of the task team any instances where there is a need for urgent action or assistance. Their responsibility is to listen and record. It is never to defend local institutions or programmes, offer suggestions or make promises.Volunteers have an opportunity to make a contribution to the economic developmentof their community while taking part in an interesting and stimulating programme. Itoffers useful insights, learning and contacts but is not an opportunity to promote apersonal agenda or interest.Volunteers will typically have the following qualities. Enthusiasm for the programme. Good communication and listening skills in the language of those being interviewed. The ability to record information clearly and accurately in the language of the survey form. Reliability in keeping appointments and sticking to deadlines. Commitment to maintaining confidentiality.The programme relies on volunteers treating the information they receive during theinterview in the strictest confidence. It is strongly recommended that all task teammembers and volunteers sign a code of practice and confidentiality agreement beforethe survey begins.Why Volunteers?The use of volunteers is central to this approach to BR&E and plays a key part in itssuccess. Volunteers by definition are interested in the outcome and have a stake inthe success of the programme. They form an important part of the audience whenthe findings and recommendations for action are presented and are potentiallyvaluable and informed members of action teams.The involvement of volunteers sends a powerful signal to local business that theircommunity is genuinely interested in their well-being and what they have to say. Inturn the knowledge and experience that volunteers gain makes them more aware oflocal business issues and the part they play in the community.None of this can be achieved by hiring students or unemployed people to conduct thesurvey. This is sometimes proposed in the mistaken belief that volunteers are usedsimply to save money and that they may be more difficult to recruit and control.Most importantly, experience has shown that the use of local volunteers to conductthe survey makes it more likely that the outcome will be action rather than justanother report gathering dust on a shelf. This is because people believe what theydiscover for themselves and are therefore more likely to take action as a result. 15
  20. 20. The South African BR&E Manual OverviewLocal action teamsLocal people must take responsibility for initiating action or implementing it directly ifthey are to ensure it delivers what they hope to achieve or indeed that it takes placeat all. In a typical BREV programme this involves the formation of small action teamsto address each of the priorities, typically 3-6 people who are passionate about aparticular issue and committed to doing something about it. They often includebusiness people who have taken part in the survey or volunteer interviewers. Theydo not have to be experts in the subject they are dealing with as their task is tomobilise the necessary resources and expertise to address the problem.This implies focussing on short term achievable actions in the early stages in order todevelop the skills and confidence to tackle more difficult issues later.BR&E FacilitatorAlthough it is important that ownership and control should remain in local hands, it ishelpful to make use of a trained BR&E facilitator for advice and information and tofacilitate certain stages of the programme. This is particularly necessary when thelocal co-ordinator and task team are running a BREV programme for the first time.With time and experience they will rely far less on external resources. An externalBR&E facilitator may assist in the following way. Briefing the local host partnership and task team on how to run a BREV programme. Facilitating decisions on the scope of the survey and the questionnaire. Acting as a source of advice and information on the running of the programme. Training volunteer interviewers. Providing a quality check on the completed surveys and database entries. Analysing survey results and preparing findings Conducting a task team workshop to develop recommendations for action. Facilitating the community feedback event and the formation of action teams. Advising on monitoring and reviewing progress.In certain circumstances the BR&E facilitator may be asked to provide additionalassistance such as capturing survey results in a database.BR&E Programme ManagerBR&E Programme Managers are the organisations that initiate and host theprogramme at provincial, regional or metropolitan level. They are responsible for thefollowing. Promoting the concept and raising awareness of the potential benefits of running a BREV programme. Arranging and possibly subsidising the training of local co-ordinators. Promoting the development of BR&E practitioners. 16
  21. 21. The South African BR&E Manual Overview Providing resources such as BREV programme manuals, sample surveys, databases and information kits. Subsidising the cost of local programmes where appropriate. Facilitating access to resources for implementing action plans. Monitoring trends in order to recommend improvements to business support policy and programmes.A word of cautionBR&E Programme Managers and other champions may be tempted to see a BR&Evisitation programme as the solution to the problems of every ailing local economy.This is definitely not the case. It is not a just question of how much a communityneeds to retain and grow its business. What matters is whether a sufficient numberof local people actually see that need and want to do something about it. 17
  22. 22. The South African BR&E Manual OverviewProgramme stagesThe programme may be divided into a number of stages each separated by a keyevent or milestone.Stage 1: Setting upThis typically begins when potential local hosts are briefed about the benefits of aBREV programme by the BR&E Programme Manager or a BR&E practitioner. If theydecide they want to proceed, the next steps are as follows. Form the local host partnership, Identify potential task team members and gain their commitment. Obtain or provide all the necessary funds and in kind resources. Recruit and if necessary arrange the training of a local co-ordinator. Acquire suitable office accommodation and services for the co-ordinator. Secure the services of a BR&E facilitator to the extent necessary.Only when all of these are firmly in place can the next stage begin.Stage 2: PlanningStage 2 begins when the task team meets for the first time; it includes the followingactivities. Conduct a task team briefing on the BR&E programme and the part they are expected to play. Review the main features of the local economy as input to the task team. Determine the scope and form of the visitation programme. Agree the programme steps, budgets and timelines. Promote and publicise the programme. Identify and contact the businesses to be visited. Recruit volunteer interviewers. Launch the programme publicly.Stage 3: Visitation Train volunteer interviewers. Conduct the survey and capture the data. Respond immediately to “red flag” issues.Stage 4: Analysis Analyse the survey results. Respond to requests for information. Task team members workshop results and prepare recommendations for action. Identify potential resources and partners. 18
  23. 23. The South African BR&E Manual Overview Present findings and proposals at stakeholder feedback event, set priorities, form action teams.Stage 5: Implementation Convene action teams, initiate action plans. Monitor progress. Task team review results after six months Conduct report back meeting, set new priorities.TimescalesTimescales can vary significantly but normally it should be possible to set up aprogramme from scratch, conduct the survey and start to see tangible results fromthe programme of action all in the same year. A diagram of a typical programme isshown overleaf.The starting date is very important as once the launch at the end of Stage 2 is held, itis essential to continue without interruptions – such as the December holidays – untilthe action teams have begun their work and Stage 5 is firmly under way. Stage 1: Setting up the programme rarely takes less than two months and it frequently takes quite a bit longer to get all role-players on board and secure all the necessary resources. Stage 2: While planning and preparation takes a full six weeks, there is rarely good reason to extend much beyond that. Stage 3: Volunteer training, interviews and data capture, should be completed in three to four weeks. Any longer and the programme can suffer a serious loss of momentum. Stage 4: In order to maintain stakeholder interest it is important to be able to feedback results and recommendations as soon as possible after the survey. Two to three weeks should be quite sufficient. Stage 5: Action plans should be selected and structured to yield tangible results within six months in order to build capacity and maintain enthusiasm. The task team review and report back event at the end of this period is an opportunity to decide whether to continue the implementation as a BR&E programme or to integrate action plans into a broader LED programme. 19
  24. 24. Programme Stages and Timelines All visits Feedback Resources completed event securedConvene task Six month team Launch Report back 1 Set up 2 Planning 3 Visitation 4 Analysis 5 Implementation 2-3 months 6 weeks 3-4 weeks 2-3 weeks 6 months (Feb – Mar) (April – May) (May – June) (June) (July – Dec) 20
  25. 25. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual STAGE 1: SETTING UP At the end of Stage 1 A local host partnership to initiate and support the programme will have been formed. Task team members will have been identified and will have agreed to serve. Local and external resources in cash or kind will have been secured. A local co-ordinator will have been recruited and trained. Office accommodation, equipment and services for the co-ordinator will have been acquired. To the extent necessary, the services of an external facilitator will have been engaged. The host partners will then have taken a final decision to proceed. The wisdom of the community always exceeds the knowledge of the experts. Harold Flaming, Ontario BR&E Programme.
  26. 26. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upSTAGE 1: SETTING UPBringing local role-players on board and assembling all the resources necessary torun a local BR&E visitation programme requires patience and persistence. There islittle room for compromise as the difference between getting it right and getting itnearly right can make or break the programme.Forming the host partnershipA local programme typically begins when potential host organisations are introducedto the possibility as a result of a promotional campaign conducted by the BR&EProgramme Manager or perhaps at a briefing session by a BR&E practitioner.Bear in mind that a BREV programme is not the answer for every community (seeResource 1.1) and that more than one briefing session may be necessary to enablepotential host organisations to make an informed decision about whether and how toparticipate. To do so they need to be clear about the following. The goals, objectives, benefits and limitations of a local BREV programme. Why the locally-driven volunteer-based approach is recommended. The different role-players and their responsibilities. Programme steps and timing. The resources required and – where appropriate – available.Potential host partners could be any of the organisations listed in the Role-playerssection of the Overview but to date the most common arrangement is a partnershipbetween the local municipality and the local business organisation. South Africanexperience to date suggests that a partnership has important advantages and shouldbe regarded as the norm in all but the most unusual circumstances.Obviously partnerships can also have disadvantages such as the possibility that onepartner will find itself doing most of the work or providing most of the resources. Therisk of this happening can be reduced if all partners are quite clear about thecontribution each is expected to make and record this is in a simple agreement ormemorandum. Better still if they then publicise the details! Advantages of a partnership Any one of the potential partners could initiate and run a BREV programme provided it had the resources and capacity but even under these circumstances there are definite advantages to forming a partnership. A partnership gives the programme broader credibility and appeal. Signals joint local action, self reliance and co-operation. Brings in more resources, skills and contacts. Mobilises a wider network of businesses participants and volunteers. Increases local ownership, more people have a stake in its success. 22
  27. 27. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upIdentifying the task teamIn identifying possible members of a task team it helps to remember that they are notbeing selected to represent any interest group, instead their role is to plan, manageand take action. Obviously they must have the necessary time, skills andenthusiasm to do so. Time commitments? A task team member should be able to make time to undertake the following. Participate in about six task team meetings - particularly the initial briefing meeting and the results workshop. Help to identify and recruit participating businesses and volunteers. Take part in the launch and feedback events. Conduct at least two interviews. Convene the first meeting of one of the action teams. Spread over 3-4 months this is not as demanding as it might seem. When Step 5 is under way task team members may opt to join one of the teams implementing the action plan. It is also an opportunity for members who wish to drop out to be replaced by action team representatives. Thereafter task team members will: Participate in a meeting every 4-6 weeks to monitor progress. After six months take part in a short workshop to review achievements. Play a part in a report back event for local stakeholders.Task team members should have local credibility and influence. Who they are maybe just as important as what they say when it comes to convincing people to supportand participate in the programme.It follows therefore that task team should reasonably reflect the main interestgroups and role-players in the local economy including the host organisations.This is important not only for its credibility but to ensure a sufficiently wide range ofskills, knowledge and networks.For the same reason it is also necessary to be conscious of the gender balance.However it can a mistake to try and make a team more representative by recruitingsomeone who simply does not have enough time or interest to contribute fully.Indeed by not being up to date or missing critical decisions they can easily become ahindrance.The task team should be made up of local people. Augmenting it, for example, withrepresentatives of government departments and development agencies in the hopethey will offer access to resources is to misunderstand its purpose. Unless they tooare local people they are unlikely to have the necessary local knowledge, contacts orstake in the development of the local economy. 23
  28. 28. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upResourcesThe cost of a BREV programme depends on the willingness and resourcefulness oflocal role-players in begging, borrowing or adapting existing resources in order toavoid having to pay for them in cash. Indeed the extent to which this happens isoften a useful indicator of how well the rest of the programme will run.Local resourcesBoth local and external resources are required. Clearly offer the most scope for localrole-players to find non-cash alternatives. Local Co-ordinator. This is usually the biggest local expense unless a local partner can assign or second a competent staff member to the job. The co- ordinator must be available exclusively to the programme for roughly 50% of a normal working week throughout Steps 2 to 4. Where the co-ordinator has to be contracted allow a total of about 12 days a month for four months, i.e., 48 days. This can be reduced to about 42-44 days for the three month survey programme shown in Resource 1.2. Further savings many be possible by assigning specific responsibilities to members of the Task Team. Office. The local co-ordinator will need office space as well as access to a computer, e-mail, telephone, fax and photocopier. In most cases one of the local host organisations will provide this free of charge and even absorb the cost of phone calls and stationary. The cash value of these will have to be budgeted for if the co-ordinator works from his or her own home or business. Launch and feedback events. Local custom should dictate the timing and nature of these events. They should be designed to suit the target audience rather than the sponsors. Typical would be a simple breakfast or an early evening function at which light snacks are served. Finding a free or low cost venue is often possible but getting sponsorship for catering may be more difficult. Volunteer training. Volunteers must attend one of the two a half-day training sessions conducted by the co-ordinator and/or facilitator - this is non-negotiable! The venue(s) should be easily accessible, tea/coffee should be provided and video/DVD equipment is required. Volunteer expenses. Paying volunteers even a modest stipend can lead to all sorts of complications and is not recommended. On the other hand they should be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses such as travel and parking. This should be borne in mind when determining the scope of the survey and assigning interviews. In practice relatively few volunteers actually claim such expenses.External resourcesDecisions taken by local role-players also have an influence on the cost of externalresources. 24
  29. 29. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting up Co-ordinator training. The local co-ordinator must complete a BR&E co- ordinators’ training course before running a BREV programme for the first time. Currently no more than one or two such course take place each year, usually in the second quarter. The cost of training may be subsidised but the co-ordinators travel and accommodation expenses will have to be covered by the local budget. Facilitator time. This is generally one of the larger items on the budget and can vary considerably depending on the skills and experience of the local co- ordinator and Task Team. A newly trained co-ordinator would typically need about 14-15 days support. With experience this can be reduced significantly. A co-ordinator who has completed a couple of successful BREV programmes and is backed by good Task Team might need only 4-5 days of facilitator’s time to help with analysis, recommendations and feedback. (See Resource 1.5.) Facilitator expenses. While the analysis and report writing can be done electronically, the rest of facilitators input is generally made during short visits of a day or less at a time. Travel and accommodation expenses can therefore become prohibitive if the facilitator is not based within, say, 200-300 km. Database. A database package such as MS Access or even a spreadsheet can be adapted to record and analyse findings and it is not necessary to use a statistical package. The cost of customising costs will depend on the survey questionnaire being. A database customised for BR&E in Australia has been used in KZN For a number of years and should be available from the supplier for about R1 000. Although it is based on a questionnaire that can be used in most circumstances, the database itself is not easily adapted to other formats. A sample “first time” budget A budget for a three month survey with a newly trained co-ordinator might look like the following (see Resources 1.4 - 1.5 ). NB Facilitator and co-ordinator rates are illustrative! Local Co-ordinator R66 000 44 days at R1 500/day Office R15 000 Phone and consumables only Launch and feedback events R7 000 Venue (subsidised) and catering Volunteer training R3 000 Venue, catering, and video Volunteer expenses R2 000 Re-imbursements R93 000 External Co-ordinator training R4 000 Typical, depends on location Facilitator fee R42 000 15 days at R2 800/day Facilitator travel and accommodation R10 000 200km radius, 3 overnight stays Database R1 000 Minor customisation R 57 000 Total R150 000 The actually cash outlay may be a great deal less especially if the co-ordinator is seconded to the programme e.g., from one of the local hosts. External costs will be considerably reduced if the co-ordinator is already trained and experienced. 25
  30. 30. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upLocal Co-ordinatorSelection of the right person for the task is an important early decision (also seeRole-players section of the Overview). For practical reasons it is generally taken bythe local host partnership before the task team meets for the first time but the taskteam should be given an opportunity to endorse it and where possible to be involvedin the selection process.A local co-ordinator might be an employee of one of the host organisation or could beseconded to the programme by a company, government agency or educationalinstitution. An intern, familiar with the subject and the area might also be an option orit may be necessary to engage someone specifically for the programme.Skills and qualitiesA good co-ordinator does not have to be highly qualified but is likely to have a trackrecord which reveals the following qualities and skills. Able to organise events and/or short programmes. Gets things done and delivers on promises. Methodical and organised. Thinks ahead. Pays attention to detail and is concerned about “getting it right”. Maintains confidentiality. Gets on well with people at all levels. Communicates well in writing, on the phone and face to face in the language of the survey. Understands enough about the business environment to be able to extract and summarise survey results for entry into the database. Computer literate – word processing, simple spreadsheets, email. Reasonably familiar with the area to be surveyed.AvailabilityIt is absolutely essential that the local co-ordinator is available to work exclusivelyon the BR&E programme for approximately 50% of the working week for the durationof Stages 2-4. There will be peaks which will demand significantly more than 50% ofthe working week but these should be offset by quieter periods.Clearly it is just as important that the local co-ordinator should be enthusiastic aboutthe BR&E visitation programme and having an opportunity to play a key part in it.TrainingA local co-ordinator without prior experience should have completed the BREIaccredited South African Local BR&E Co-ordinator Certification Course within fourmonths of the start of the programme. (N.B. This should be planned for well inadvance as courses are held fairly infrequently.) Experienced co-ordinators shouldbe able to produce evidence of a satisfactory track record; alternatively as BREIcertification of South African co-ordinators becomes more common it should serve asimilar purpose. 26
  31. 31. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upOffice accommodationThe local co-ordinator will clearly need some sort of office accommodation duringStages 2-4 together with access to computer, internet and email, phone, fax andphotocopying facilities. It should be preferably be located fairly close to the area ofthe survey and thus accessible to volunteers during the visitation stage.Office space is often made available by one of the host organisations and if so theextent to which they are willing to cover costs such as phone calls, printing andcopying should be clarified and recorded at the outset. Similarly when a local co-ordinator makes use of a home office or their own business premises it is importantto agree on a budget for such charges as well as how they will be claimed and paid.Payment should, of course, be made promptly. Failure to do so signals a lack ofcommitment to the co-ordinator which is hardly the best way to ensure theircommitment to the BREV programme!BR&E FacilitatorThe BR&E facilitator contributes to the local programme in three ways. The first is toact as a source of information and guide the task team and local co-ordinator throughthe various steps of a BREV programme. The need for this largely falls away whenthe co-ordinator is experienced. The second contribution is to facilitate decisionmaking at key stages, e.g., determining the scope, workshopping results, settingpriorities for action. Even with an experienced co-ordinator there are advantages inusing a skilled outsider for this task. Finally the BR&E facilitator analyses the resultsand is a valuable resource in developing proposals for action.Using a facilitatorThe facilitator’s task is not to run the programme but to make it easier for local peopleto plan, manage and implement a BREV programme themselves. It. One of thevirtues of this approach to BR&E is that it does not rely unduly on scarce and oftencostly expertise. Instead it makes use of the skills and knowledge of local peoplewho, if they follow the programme, should be able to achieve satisfactory results withthe minimum of outside help.However, a balance has to be struck. Minimising the facilitator’s contribution in orderto save money may put the programme at risk if the co-ordinator and task team lackexperience. On the other hand the more they ask the facilitator to do for them themore expensive it becomes and the less ownership, understanding and commitmentthey will have. This also puts the success of the programme at risk.Deciding how much support will be necessary depends very much on how familiarthe task team and co-ordinator are with how to run a BREV programme. TheResource 1.5 worksheet shows the normal minimum that an experienced team wouldcall on the assistance of a facilitator. It also recommends a number of additionalactivities where a team new to BR&E would need help. Finally, it identifies someoccasions where a facilitator might be considered in certain circumstances. 27
  32. 32. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upFinding a facilitatorWhat is a BR&E facilitator? Basically it is someone with an in-depth knowledge ofhow to run a BREV programme and who has good facilitation skills coupled with asound understanding of local economic development in general and businessretention and expansion strategies in particular.An initiative is under way to enable South African practitioners to obtain BREIcertification as BR&E Professionals. In the meantime it is a matter of consultingBR&E Programme Managers and looking at individual track records.The BR&E facilitator may be contracted directly by one of the host organisations. Inother situations the BR&E Programme Managers may make a facilitator available fora certain number of days. In either case it is important to agree and record inadvance both the number of days and the tasks to which they will be allocated. Anyvariation on this is should also be agreed and recorded by all parties.Final commitmentUp until this point the preparations have been largely low cost, low profile activitiesand a decision to delay or cancel the programme would not involve seriousembarrassment. All this will change from the beginning of Stage 2. It is thereforerecommended that having satisfied themselves that all the preparations have beenmade and the necessary resources are in place (see Resource 1.3 Assessingreadiness ) the local partnership ends Stage 1 with a formal decision to proceed withthe BREV programme. 28
  33. 33. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 1: Setting upRESOURCE 1.1 Do we really want a BREV programme?A business retention and expansion visitation programme is not the answer for everycommunity. Clearly if the local economy is booming, the business community will seelittle need for a business retention and expansion initiative and will be too busy totake part in it anyway.In contrast if the local economy is deeply depressed or has just experienced aserious shock such as the closure of a major local employer, it may be difficult tomotivate local people. They may well believe that their problems can only be solvedby a major intervention by government or big business. It would be better topostpone a BR&E programme until at least some of them start to believe that theirown actions can make a difference.What counts is not the local economic situation but whether local people want to dosomething about it themselves. If the answer is even a cautious “yes”, a BREVprogramme can be an excellent way to start as it is relatively easy to implement andhelps to build local confidence and capacity. Assess your communityStatus Characteristics RecommendationToo busy to Local economy is thriving, no NO GO BREV not needed or likelybother shortage of opportunity, everyone to win support . doing own thing.Centre of Big outside interventions or NO GO BREV unlikely to getattention investments taking place or planned. sufficient attentionStrategic Key stakeholders have a history of GO BREV should be successfulpartnership planning and working together.Amicable Local stakeholders sometimes work GO BREV should build together confidence and capacity.Directionless No one takes the lead or seems to GO BREV could provide the know what to do. framework for action.Finger pointing Local stakeholders see others as the MAYBE Proceed with caution, get problem. commitment of key players first.Non-co- Key role-players do not work together NO GO Identify and fix the problemoperation before considering a BREV.Conflict Serious disagreement or antagonism NO GO Get expert help to solve between key role players conflict! 29
  34. 34. The South African BR&E Manual RESOURCE 1.2 Typical BR&E Programme (timescale in weeks) January February March April May June July August September October November December January 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 1 2 3 4 Stage 1: Setting up Brief potential partners Partners commit to BREV Secure local funds -----> Roleplayers ready, Identify Task Team resources secured Select and train co-ordinators -----> Secure extenal funds (if reqd) - - - - - - - -> Appoint facilitators -----> Stage 2: Planning Convene and brief task team Baseline briefing - -> Public launch of Agree scope of programme BREV programme Identify & contact businesses to be visited - -> Recruit volunteers - -> Publicity, promotion & launch Step 3: Visitation Survey Train & assign volunteers complete Conduct BR&E Visitation interviews Prepare database, capture results - -> Respond to red flags Step 4: Analysis Analyse data Action agreed at Respond to requests for information - - -> feedback event Task team results workshop Prepare report Action reviewed at report back Prepare and conduct feedback event Step 5: Implementation Convene action teams Implement action Continues - - - -> Monitor progress Task team review Report back event
  35. 35. The South African BR&E Manual RESOURCE 1.3RESOURCE 1.3 Assessing readinessThe set-up stage ends and you are ready to begin a BR&E visitation programmewhen you can answer yes to all the following questions.1. Has a local host partnership been formed to initiate and support the programme? Have the contributions each will make been recorded? Input Organisation recorded2. Have 6-8 credible and capable local people been identified to form the task team? Have they agreed to serve and to make the time available? Name Agreed3. Has a budget been prepared? (Attach budget.)4. Have firm commitments in cash or kind been obtained for all the local cost items?5. Have firm commitments in cash or kind been obtained for all the external costs? (Attach details.)6. Has a local co-ordinator been recruited and trained? (Attach appointment letter.)7. Has office accommodation, equipment and access to office services been secured for the co-ordinator? (Attach details and terms.)8. Has a trained BR&E facilitator been engaged? (Attach appointment letter and schedule of days required.)9. Have all the host partners formally agreed to proceed with the programme? 31
  36. 36. The South African BR&E Manual RESOURCE 1.4RESOURCE 1.4 Budget working sheetBR&E Budgeting Cost SourceLocal Co-ordinator Rate x no of days/weeks Office cost Accommodation Rate x weeks/months Phone and fax Monthly cost x months Internet and email Monthly cost x months Photocopying and printing Surveys, info kit, reports Events Launch Venue and catering Volunteer training x 2 Venue, tea/coffee Feedback event Venue and catering Volunteer expenses Reimbursements Other (specify)External Co-ordinator training Course fee Travel and accommodation Depending on location Facilitator Fee See Resource 1.5 Travel and accommodation See Resource 1.5 Database software Software, customisation 32
  37. 37. The South African BR&E Manual RESOURCE 1.5RESOURCE 1.5 Budget working sheet – facilitator days Add if Add No of No of Normal Budget new to optional return overnight minimum days BR&E extras trips staysBrief local partners ½Assess readiness ½Brief task team 1Baseline briefing ½Determine scope ½Identify who to visit ½Publicity and promotion ½Launch ½Volunteer training 1Check first surveys 1Database prep 1Red flag response ½Data capture 3Analyse results 3Results workshop 1Prepare report 1Prepare feedback event ½Feedback event ½Action planning ½First follow up ½Mid term follow up ½Six month review 1Report back ½Other Min 5½ Add 9 Add 5½Fees: No of days _____ x R _______ per day = R _________Travel: No of return trips _____ x distance _____ km = ______ total km Total km _____ x R _____ per km = R _______Overnights: No of overnight stays _____ x R _____ allowance per night = R _______ 33
  38. 38. The South African Business Retention & Expansion Manual STAGE 2: PLANNING At the end of Stage 2 The task team will have been convened and briefed on the programme and the part they will play. The task team will have reviewed the main features of the local economy in a “baseline briefing” session. The scope and form of the survey will have been determined. Programme steps, budgets and timelines will have been agreed and recorded. A promotion and publicity programme will have been initiated. The businesses to be visited will have been identified and invited to participate. Volunteer interviewers will have been recruited. The programme will have been formally launched. I always wondered why somebody doesnt do something about that. Then I realised I was somebody. Lily Tomlin
  39. 39. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningSTAGE 2: PLANNINGThis stage encompasses all the activities from the first meeting of the task team tothe formal launch of the programme at which point everything should be in place forthe visitation stage to begin.Convening and briefing the task teamThe local host partnership is responsible for convening and hosting the first meetingof the task team which should be chaired by an appropriate representative of thepartnership. The purpose of the meeting is to: - introduce team members to one another and to the local partnership, the co- ordinator and the facilitator; - explain why the BREV programme has been initiated and what it might achieve; - describe the programme steps and possible timing for each; - explain the responsibilities of each role-player and the task team in particular; - use a sample survey and mock interviews to illustrate how the survey is conducted; - deal with any concerns or misconceptions and ensure all team members are fully on board; - agree a draft schedule of future meetings and key events.After representatives of the host partnership have explained why they have initiatedthe programme and what they hope it will achieve, they would normally hand over tothe BR&E facilitator to continue the meeting as a short orientation workshop orinduction programme. See Resource 2.2 Task Team Meeting Plans.Time should be allowed at the end of the meeting to set tentative dates for futuremeetings and key events and to make firm arrangements, including the election of achairperson, for the baseline briefing in Meeting 2.Even an experienced team and co-ordinator will benefit from an orientation“refresher” at their first meeting but this can be kept appropriately short. It may evenbe possible to combine the agendas of Meeting 1 and 2 in a single session byincluding an update on the state of the local economy.Baseline briefingThe purpose of the baseline briefing is to give the task team a broad overview ofwhat is already known about the local economy including any initiatives andinvestments in the pipeline. The purpose of this is to: - enable the task team make more informed decisions about the scope and nature of the survey; - reduce the risk of duplicating previous enquiries; - provide the background against which the survey results will be examined and recommendations drafted; - act as a reference point against which progress might be assessed.The local municipality and other member of the host partnership will almost certainlyhave in their possession a number of reports and analyses containing useful andrelevant information. They may also contain much else and simply giving the task 35
  40. 40. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: Planningteam copies to read is unlikely to be welcome or a sensible use of their limited time.Instead it is recommended that people familiar with the context and contents of suchdocuments make short presentations on the key information to the task team.The presentations would normally draw on documents such as the IntegratedDevelopment Plan (IDP), Spatial Development Framework and related land useschemes, local economic development strategy as well as analyses anddevelopment strategies for various economic sectors. Previous business, consumerand visitor attitude surveys could be useful if any are available. Backgroundinformation and key features of major economic or infrastructure investments likely totake place in the next few years should also be included.Ideally the presenters should also be task team members or at least available to actas an information resource when key decisions are being made, e.g., whendetermining the scope of the survey or when analysing the survey results.When the presentations are complete the task team should identify what theyconsider to be the key issues as well as any obvious information gaps and theimplications this could have for the survey.Before concluding the task team should prepare for the next meeting at which keydecisions will be taken on the scope of the survey, work-plan and the responsibilitiesof individual team members. Task Team Responsibilities Responsibilities all task team members have in common: Review existing information. Set the direction of the programme, take key decisions such as the scope and timing of the survey, monitor progress. Recruit participants and volunteers. Volunteer! Review surveys (shared). Develop proposals for action. Manage the launch and lead the feedback event. Convene action teams. Specific roles for individual members. Chair: a good facilitator, organised, committed and available. Publicity: 1-2 people to brief role-players, deal with media, acknowledgements. Red flags: 2-3 people with a bias for action, able to respond to urgent situations. Information: 1-2 members to respond to requests for information. Events: 1-2 people to prepare and manage the launch and feedback events, mobilise participants. Also see meeting plans in Resources 2.2 and 2.3. 36
  41. 41. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningScope and form of the surveyThe first major decision facing the task team is where to conduct the survey and howmany businesses should participate in it. As with any decision is it important toagree on the objectives or criteria before trying to evaluate the alternatives, otherwisethe task team may get bogged down in futile discussion without a clear means ofresolution. Key considerations in deciding where to conduct the survey are asfollows.Where What the businesses to be surveyed have in common, e.g., locality, sector, size, value chain or cluster. Alternatively they might be emergent or BEE enterprises or located in a disadvantaged community. Unless participating businesses are bound together by a shared interest they will be difficult to mobilise. Moreover the results of a survey of businesses scattered over wide area and in different sectors would have little meaning and result in few useful conclusions unless focussed on some particular feature they had in common. The extent to which a particular business community is likely to respond. This will be more difficult where there is conflict, a history of failed initiatives or where businesses are simply too busy to spare the time (also see Resource 1.1).How many Whether the business community to be surveyed is big enough for the outcome to have a significant impact on the local economy. If the number of businesses being considered is not so large that it difficult to survey a reasonably representative sample. This will be determined by the number of volunteers available and the degree of precision required (see Resource 2.4 Sample size). It will rarely be fewer than 30 or more than 85 in any one business community.What degree of precision is required? No more than strictly necessary is the shortanswer, bit it does depend on the questions being asked and the use to which theanswers will be out. In general BR&E surveys focus on the broader trends and thequestions are rarely framed so that a variation of a few percent makes muchdifference. It is quite good enough to know, for example, that “most” businesses in aparticular area think that parking is a problem - it is far more important is to be able toidentify clearly where that area actually is!If a particular issue does require a precise answer for some reason, it may be betterto obtain it at a later stage through a separate, more statistically accurate exercise. How many volunteers? Volunteers work in pairs. Each volunteer is expected to interview 2-4 businesses and certainly no more than six. If, on average, each pair of volunteers is to visit four businesses, then the rule of thumb is simply one volunteer for every two businesses to be surveyed. 37
  42. 42. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningForm of surveySurveys can be conducted in many different ways, e.g., phone, website, focusgroups or mini-workshops, email or postal survey and so on. However a keyobjective of a locally driven BR&E programme is to engages the community in aconversation with its business people. A very direct way of doing this is through faceto face interviews and it is one of the reasons why volunteer interviewers are soimportant. For consistency of information and because not many volunteers will havehad experience of interviewing the most practical option is to use a structuredquestionnaire.Survey designDesigning a questionnaire is not a simple matter. Research organisations andacademic institutions will certainly have the capacity to assist but would normally relyon the task team to brief them on what it needs to know. Unless the task team hasprior experience it may not be in a position to do this.Another option is to make use of one of several BR&E survey packages that areavailable internationally. These would still need to be tailored to local requirementsand are likely to be expensive in rand terms. On the other hand if a provincial orregional BR&E programme manager purchased a web based package the costscould be shared by a number of different users.Often the most practical option will be to adopt – and perhaps adapt – aquestionnaire that has been proved in a similar environment. This is not quite aslimiting as it sounds since many questionnaires follow a broadly similar pattern andthe differences tend to be in the detail. (See Resource 2.11 Survey Questions.)Changes or additions should always be tested because it is not easy to predict howinterviewees will interpret a question or if it will bring out the required information. The need to know A disadvantage of using existing questionnaires is that it can perpetuate bad practice. An analysis1 of over 50 BR&E questionnaires in the USA revealed that more than half the questions did no more than confirm information that was already known or could have been learned without troubling the owner or manager. The survey should focus on obtaining information such as the following. Opinions about the local business environment. Immediate issues and concerns – “red flags”. Opportunities for growth. Obstacles to expansion. Future plans. Particular needs, e.g., information, skills, services. Opinions about existing local services and support organisations.1 Canada and Rendleman, 1996 quoted by Henry M Cothran, BRE Programs: Developing a Business Retention & Expansion Survey, 2006, 38
  43. 43. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningProgramme steps, budgets & timelinesThe broad timelines and budget established by the host partners and at the firstmeeting of the task team should be developed into a more detailed action plan inwhich responsibility, timing and resources are agreed and assigned. Sub teamsdealing with publicity or events for example will prepare simple action plans andbudgets of their own. All it requires is list of action steps setting out the following. What will be done, i.e., the action step. Who is responsible for doing it (and where appropriate who else is involved)? When will it be done (start and finish)? What resources are required to do it?Resource 2.1 provides a programme master checklist which may adapted for thispurpose and for tracking progress.VisibilityMaking the plan and current progress highly visible helps to maintain momentum,focus and enthusiasm. It is particularly important when working with volunteers likethe task team as they spend a relatively small part of their time thinking about BR&E.It could be done, for example by a prominent display in the co-ordinator’s office aswell as the room used for task team meetings. This could be supplemented byregular updates emailed to members of the team. BR&E Plan and Progress at 22 April January February March April May June July August September October November December January 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 1Stage 1: Setting upBrief potential partners DonePartners commit to BREV DoneSecure local funds DoneIdentify Task Team DoneSelect and train co-ordinators DoneSecure extenal funds (if reqd) DoneAppoint facilitators DoneStage 2: PlanningConvene and brief task teamBaseline briefing - -> ProgrammeAgree scope of programme launch 15 MayIdentify & contact businesses to be visited - ->Recruit volunteers Bus Vol - ->Publicity, promotion & launch Target 60 30Step 3: Visitation To date 36 11 Survey deadline 6Train & assign volunteers JuneConduct BR&E Visitation interviewsPrepare database, capture results - ->Respond to red flagsStep 4: AnalysisAnalyse data Feedback event 24Respond to requests for information - - -> JuneTask team results workshopPrepare report Report back 11 DecPrepare and conduct feedback eventStep 5: ImplementationConvene action teamsImplement action Continues - - - ->Monitor progressTask team reviewReport back eventA bar chart such as the above is a useful means of showing the broad picture. Itshould be supplemented by key information on progress against the most importanttargets during the planning, visitation and implementation stages. 39
  44. 44. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningPublicity and promotionA publicity campaign to inform the local community about the BR&E programmeshould begin as early as possible. It could be initiated as soon as the local hostpartnership is formed and taken over later by 2-3 members of the task team once thescope of the survey has been determined.It should be designed to achieve the following objectives: - encourage businesses in the survey target area to participate; - recruit volunteers to conduct the survey interview; - keep the general public interested and informed.Local mediaAn effective campaign can be mounted at little cost. Local newspapers and radiostations are generally hungry for stories and willing to make use of well written pressreleases (see Resource 2.5), offer interviews and even cover the launch or feedbackevents. Other ways of communicating include background briefing sessions,invitations to meetings and events, phone in programmes and letters to the editor.Use may also be made of electronic and printed newsletters and newsflashesproduced by business associations, business support organisations and localgovernment, particularly those of the BR&E host partnership. .Information updates should be released at key points in the programme in order tostimulate interest in the findings, proposals and subsequent plan of action. Howeverit is important to make sure it really is news and not a just a rehash of earlierreleases! (See Resource 2.7 Publicity milestones).A word of warning, however. A locally driven BR&E programme is a still a little out ofthe ordinary in South Africa and may not be fully understood by the journalist writingor editing the story. Any consequent misinformation is difficult to correct and mayhave an adverse effect on the programme. Interviews and background briefingsshould always be backed by clear, well written press releases or information sheets.Some journalists will make it possible to check articles for accuracy beforepublication, others will not - especially with a deadline looming.BrochureA brochure providing basic information about the programme in plain straightforwardlanguage may be used to introduce the programme to the general public. It could besupplemented by information leaflets designed specifically to recruit volunteers or toencourage businesses to participate.AcknowledgementsIt pays to acknowledge contributions and achievements right from the beginning –better still with photos. Good quality pictures with captions of the task team, launchparticipants, volunteers in training or in action, feedback event and action teams willprobably be welcomed by local media and will maintain interested and enthusiasm.This becomes even more important once the excitement of the visitation stage andfeedback event starts to fade and when it is essential to publicise achievements andmilestones reached in the implementation plan. 40
  45. 45. The South African BR&E Manual Stage 2: PlanningIdentifying and recruiting businessesCompiling a list of businesses in a locality or sector is not as simple as it sounds.Local directories and the databases of business associations often depend for theirinformation on businesses subscribing, becoming members or registering in someway. Obviously those that do not do so will not be listed. Lists of property owners ortelephone subscribers may be more comprehensive but the name recorded may bequite different from that of the business – and they may not be up to date.The practical solution to combine two or three different types of lists and then pay avisit to the area to check for obvious changes and omissions. A representative sample? The statistical accuracy described in Resource 2.4 depends on obtaining a genuinely random sample. This might be done, for example, by making a numbered list of all the businesses in the target group and using the random function in a spreadsheet to select the ones to visit. It sounds simple, but – as described above – the first problem is to get a complete list! The next problem is how to deal with the wide variety of differences that exist within a business “community”. It is not up to a random number generator to decide whether to interview the 2-3 major employers in a small town. Their opinions and concerns are vital! On the other hand their perspectives may be very different to those of smaller businesses around them. One way around this problem is to stratify the sample into, e.g., large, medium/small and micro enterprises and then taking a random sample from each. If there are a small number of businesses in one particular group it will, of course, be necessary to interview them all. A stratified survey makes it easier to identify important differences within the business community as well as what they have in common.Getting them to take partOnce the target businesses have been identified it pays to take time to consider thebest means of inviting each of them to take part in the survey. This requires morethan just sending an invitation – most businesses receive a steady stream ofinvitations, promotions, offers and announcements.It usually means some combination of a personal approach or phone call backed upby a written invitation. The important point is to decide who is the best person tomake that initial approach or phone call in each case, i.e., someone the businessperson will listen to and respects and who understands and supports the BR&Eprogramme. Task team members will clearly have a major part to play in this regard.Once a business has agreed to participate they should be sent a confirmation letterand questionnaire and their details recorded in the survey database. This should befollowed by an invitation to the launch. Afterwards it is important to maintain theirinterest by keeping them informed of progress from time to time. 41