Major projects often involve tens of millions of dollars in investment.
To justify such capital investments, this obviously involves much larger flows of revenues
and costs over a period of many, many years. The time value of the
revenue and cost
differences between investment alternatives can be great, and the choices
can have a major impact on the success of the company in markets of
strategic importance. Business location choices have a high value.
In short, it is very important to get the investment decision right.
It can also be very difficult to find reliable information, or professional
services which are well-matched to the needs of a specific project.
The ability to offer creative, independent suggestions based upon
knowledge and contacts developed through the support of other companies can
obviously deliver high value.
Our feedback process among investors is intended to proactively gather
knowledge about "proven solutions" and "lessons learned" which can be
applied to the challenges of future investors.
Our local research, such as the various GUIDE services, is designed to
focus upon practical issues which can help to differentiate among location
alternatives more effectively than through simple data screening. The
process is designed to develop valuable "off the shelf" knowledge which
remains timely through the work of local contacts. Unlike general
statistical databases and other sources which are compiled for other
reasons, the information is focused on the typical interests of potential
investors in an area.
Relevant introductions can shorten a project timeline dramatically, and
improve the prospects of success. What is the value of developing a
project rapidly? In some industries, it can make the difference
between a successful project and one which misses the opportunity.
The benefit therefore isn't simply the fact that we do this work for
free. The benefit is the high value which the work can offer.
Professional Service Providers
This is uncomplicated. Sales. Profits. What is the
value of reaching one executive who is actually seriously interested in your
Once again, we don't push any one service. We work together to
understand capabilities so we can make relevant introductions quickly.
A well-qualified introduction is beneficial to both the service provider
and the corporate executive, because it cuts through all the potential time
and effort to find a good solution to a real need.
A less obvious benefit is that, if we can create a better flow of good
opportunities among potential new clients, that frees the professional to
invest more time and effort on the relationships with existing clients.
We certainly do not expect to replace the sales function, but we can
minimize the time and resources which are typically spent on less effective
marketing activities to identify and reach new clients.
Very few investment promotion organizations have the resources to identify
and attract major direct investment projects from around the world.
Indeed, it can be very difficult for them to even get in the door to meet
with top executives. As a shared service, however, it is possible for
us to do this very efficiently. We also have far more to offer to any
executive than just the attractions of one specific location.
What is the economic impact on a community of attracting one major
investment project? How will potential investors learn about what the
area has to offer? How will the executives find the right contacts?
The benefits of participation should be pretty self-evident.
Although we are not pushing any one location, the creation of a far more
efficient marketplace is in the interest of many areas, and especially those
which have a hard time getting noticed by investors, or getting past
outdated assumptions or stereotypes about business conditions in their area.
Through processes such as GUIDE, we can make it much easier for executives
to identify and consider locations which they might otherwise ignore or
screen out for the wrong reasons. Simplistic data screening can be
Consider the two examples of GUIDE Area Profiles which we have chosen to
illustrate our potential services. In the case of County Durham,
England, a data screen for population centers could be very misleading.
County Durham is very large, with a lot of open country, but the urban areas
are densely populated and located between two larger cities. Within a
25 mile radius, the population is therefore roughly 2.5 million people, even
though a database search at the city or county level might screen out Durham
as a small city or a county with a low population density.
Similarly, the Tri-Cities region of Washington covers nearly 3000 square
miles, most of which is very sparsely populated because of the vast
government-owned Hanford Site. A data screen based on the county level
population density could be very misleading, as could data on any one of the
three cities. The metro area, with a 200,000 population, has more to
offer than a raw statistical database search might ever suggest.
It requires local market knowledge to differentiate one community from
another as a place to do business. If such knowledge is not even
applied until the very end of a search, rather than at the exploratory or
"long list" stage, many good locations may never get serious consideration.
The benefit of our approach is simple. We focus on making local
knowledge readily available in a consistent way to top executives so that it
is easier for them to evaluate any participating location which might be of
potential interest. We can't guarantee how that will affect the flow
of projects to any given location, but by working together to share greater
knowledge of the area, all participants should benefit.