The Business Improve District industry is renowned for it’s diversity when it comes to the variety of stakeholders that contribute to the BID levy. The broad range of businesses can be anything from retail brands to shopping centres, office blocks to small commercial businesses, industrial units to small F&B operators – the list goes on! The real challenge that is apparent in the sector is ensuring that ALL listed contributors pay the levy and pay it on time so the question is – how can we ensure this?
- Relationship Management – speaking with a number of professionals working within the industry as well as Chairs and Board members, it is clear that the biggest emphasis on any BID Manager or team is stakeholder engagement. Alongside a solid combination of a dynamic set of skills, stakeholder engagement is the priority for BID Managers AND levy payers. BID professionals have explained that it is often difficult to obtain contributions from individuals and the most successful way to ensure the BID operates in a financially sound fashion is to have regular, relevant contact with all stakeholders!
- Follow Up – it is important that there is the man power in the BID team for there to be follow up messages and meeting for “serial offenders” with the objective to alleviate any concerns or reservations and work in collaboration with them to ensure they pay the levy.
- Delve Deeper – try to understand WHY they aren’t paying/paying on time, is there any support needed by the business? Is there any additional help that can be offered?
- Be Empathetic – ALL stakeholders have the ability to determine whether the BID is a success or not by their contribution both financially and commercially. If a business is going through a tough time when it comes to cash-flow, BID teams need to empathise and offer extensions (where permitted) and help them to make commercial decisions. Offering this empathy and extended service to businesses where levy might not be a priority, will demonstrate to them the importance and significance of having the BID in the area and encourage them to move it up the priority list and get contributing!
- Offer Rewards – whether it be extra marketing space on the website, further support on social media, special mentions etc. it is important to reward your levy payers and offer them an additional incentive for their timely contribution!
- Processes and Procedures – be organised! Having clear and concise processes and procedures will set the tone and provide levy payers with the knowledge of how to pay and when.
The invested interest of all levy payers is key for any Business Improvement District as it has a direct effect on the level of success the destination will have in achieving it’s business objectives. The BIDs that are seemingly successful in obtaining contributions have Managers and teams that are proactive in building relationships, understanding their levy payers and their businesses, offering feasible additional services and incentives and following a simple process!
Get out there, build relationships and bring home the bacon!
Alex Rowbottom, Divisional Head – Destination Retail, Aviation, BIDs & Facilities Management, Foundation Recruitment