Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Embrace Your Strengths

We've discussed in this forum the upsides and downsides of starting a business in a remote area. Your mission is to focus on the upsides.

The world is changing. The current recession was caused by political maneuverings, banker greed, personal irresponsibility, and global shifts. Because we want to assign blame, we focus on bankers as our scapegoat instead of taking responsibility. But we usually ignore the historic shifts now adjusting the global economy. Major shifts always cause major disruptions, and that is one reason for the current discomfort we are all experiencing.

We can't stop those shifts. Protectionism, stimulus, or applying for grants will not stop the march of history. We have to compete with Chinese workers. If we prohibit American companies from locating in China, then a Chinese entrepreneur will build the factory. We can keep borrowing millions of dollars every hour of the day from China to build roads and bridges and fund promising urban artists here, but those efforts won't halt the trend toward globalization.

So focus on what you do have.

Here are some of your strengths:

1) Location: the cost to transport goods will increase, so you have an automatic price advantage.

2) Services: a child working in a factory in Vietnam cannot repair HVAC systems in your town.

3) Relationships: you know the likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams of the customers in your region.

4) Infrastructure: today's pork barrel projects, paid for by the generosity of your children and grandchildren, are improving the roads and byways so you can get your stuff to market. Look on the bright side.

5) Food: people might get excited about whatever replaces the iPod. But they NEED food. And that is probably the big industry of your region. Are you letting mega-corporations take control of the production and distribution? Or are you grabbing a piece of the action?

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