Originally the “Think globally, act locally” slogan was used to get people to consider the health of the planet and take action in their own communities.
These ‘grass root’ ideas were originally suggested in 1915 by Patrick Geddes. Geddes was a Scottish biologist, sociologist, philanthropist, and pioneering town planner. He was responsible for introducing regional architecture, and made significant contributions to working with the environment.
Geddes basic concepts can be used to think about building regional economic capacity. For instance, considering how economic (versus environmental) changes can impact the health and vitality of local communities, the value of planning concepts, and the need to consider the whole environment when making changes. It would be easy to imagine that he even considered what we now consider to be Business Retention/Recruiting and Expansion (or BRE) activities in his town planning.
Think globally, interact regionally, and act locally. 
For instance, in a plan, we might compare the risks of having only one large employer in a rural community versus several medium-sized employers. In total, there could be the same number of jobs, income, and other measures. The potential impact of losing the one large employer could be devastating compared to the loss of one medium business. Many of us have seen this scenario play out as the forestry industry slowed down and mills closed in the early 90’s. The risk of failure is still very real with only 4 percent of U.S. businesses surviving beyond 10 years. 
Having a diversified group of employers reduces the potential impacts and may increase the possibility of growth and expansion over time. For instance, each of the medium-sized companies could potentially grow larger over time and employ new recruits.
Building economic capacity is more than just recruiting/retaining employers. It is also about helping communities become more competitive. The process of being more competitive may include infrastructure improvements, attracting skilled workforce, networking, networking, technical assistance, and much more.
If a community lacks something....they will need to compete with other communities to get those services...
Why is this important? Because if a community lacks something, say medical services, they will need to compete with other communities to get those services. The likelihood of success is greater when an entire region, and not just one community, can network and leverage their resources and thus be seen as ‘greater than the sum of its parts.’
New businesses and workers will look beyond a rural community to nearby regional resources. Demonstrating a strong level of collaboration, coordination, and support across our region can do a lot to mitigate what our individual communities might currently lack. At this point, building economic capacity is one of our best strategies for creating and building a thriving and diversified business environment--exactly what we need to protect and sustain our high quality of life.
1 Wikipedia, “Think globally, act locally” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_globally,_act_locally)
2 “One minute guide to economic development for remote and rural small towns” (http://www.globenet.org/archives/web/2006/www.globenet.org/horizon-local/perso/guiderur.html)
3 “10 Reasons Why Good Customer Service Is Your Most Important Metric,” (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/284799)
Business Recruiting Retention, & Expansion
We are all about Business recruiting/retention and expansion. But like any other topic, economics has some unique language such as Multipliers and Unicorns. The purpose of this Blog is to help clarify that language and concepts.