Contact: Charles Ross, President and CEO, InBIA

[email protected]



Community Huddle: Leveraging metrics to amplify the work of ESOs

Huddle occurred on May 30, 2024

Our huddle was focused on the discussion topic of leveraging metrics to amplify the work of ESOs. During the huddle we focused on the following framing questions:

  • Considering the current challenges of measuring and communicating impact (such as lack of standardized metrics, short-term vs. long-term impact, etc.), how could we develop an evaluation and communications strategy that effectively conveys our impact in a way that is both compelling (inspires stakeholders) and comprehensive (provides a holistic view)? What specific new and existing metrics, narratives, and communication channels could we leverage to achieve this? What processes or capabilities might we need to build or enhance?”
  • How might we work collaboratively to better use data and metrics to increase the impact of our work? What opportunities would this enable? How might we incentivize other ESOs to participate in data sharing and collaborative benchmarking efforts?
  • Envision a future where our key stakeholders have a deep, visceral appreciation for the impact of our work – not just an intellectual understanding. What might this enlightened stakeholder perspective enable us to do differently or achieve at a greater level?

What we found:

  • Standardization is very important when collecting metrics
  • The ‘big 3’ metrics to track are economic impact, how many businesses formed, and how many jobs
  • The effectiveness of the programs can be measured by surveys, however surveys tend to be the #1 challenge. Participants found that metrics are driven by the funding given, amplifying the importance of reporting to the legislator annually. They found shifting storytelling from numbers only to the stories of entrepreneurs, businesses, youngest talent that stayed/relocated to their state could be impactful.
  • To tackle the challenge of collecting information from startups, members have used a formula based on dollars raised for jobs.
  • Conveying to businesses the services and benefits they can enjoy for free are better provided when we are telling the story to the funders.
  • Benefits in working collaboratively with others who are gathering the same metrics. How to leverage other ESOs to share more broadly. Several of the participants said they use Sales Force for quantitative metric collecting, others used Legacy, Soho, Hubspot, and Zoho.
  • Depending on the mission of the organization and how they are funded, they are reporting out different metrics. How do we bring those things together to tell a good story but also to provide our stakeholders with what they need.
  • Different stakeholders want different metrics.
  • If you are just approaching clients and pitching what you offer, they may not care. You need to understand your client’s needs. If you have a customer find out their needs, then your metrics should revolve around that. First comes listening, then comes mission then comes metrics.
  • Site shared:

In conclusion

Recognizing the fact that our work is more than just job creation. That our stakeholders understand all that we do around economic development, community development, improving quality of life, that just allows us to have a more sustainable future as new programs come along that might do a part of what we do, the extent that our stakeholders know we are covering those bases as well and keep us in the minds of key decision makers.

Story telling is continuously important across the board for the metrics opportunity. When we talk about story telling we are always looking to tell the success. But the same metrics that we want to collect, are the same that the client wants. We are better able to provide services to our entrepreneurs when we are better able to tell their stories, and we are better able to tell those stories when we have their data. So, it is in everyone’s best interest to share that data.