Voice of the Practitioner
Prospects are firms that have expressed an interest in potentially investing and are actively considering an area. From the community’s perspective, prospects also have demonstrated some interest in looking more closely at the investment opportunities in the region, but the investor is not yet ready to commit to making the investment.
In essence, the region is on the company’s “short list” of options. At this point, economic developers hope to transform what is initially a lead to a prospect, and the region must be ready to act. So, resource-constrained regions must recognize their limitations and ensure that appropriate services are in place since generating prospects but not following up will likely be ineffective in converting prospects to clients.
Some services that the region should be willing to offer are similar or even identical to those that the company might receive after it makes an investment commitment. Once the investment decision is made, we refer to these as aftercare services, and their availability can be an important selling point to a prospect that wants to be assured that they will continue to receive attention even after they decide to invest.
The practice of FDI prospect support focuses on many of the same types of services offered to domestic firms, but frequently these services must be adapted to the unique needs of foreign-owned companies.