As I woke up this morning, I was thinking about the business climate in the San Diego, Ca area and the economy. Things in this state, city and region of the country are as scary, slow, and uncertain as I've ever seen it. Businesses, even long established ones, are slowing down, going out of operation and laying people off. The politicians and policy makers at any federal agency you can name, tell us that the economy and the business climate is making a comeback. California, has now one of the largest unemployment rates in the nation - at nearly 12% , making it to one of the top ten in the nation.
Despite being a leader in business and innovation - California is experiencing a downturn which it has not been accustom to in a long time. Faith in what we're being told is heard to generate or even stand behind. There are real problems happening to real people and employed workers living on what's left of our taxpayer money haven't convince the vast majority that things are getting better. It's been kinda like telling a drowning person, already submerged and fighting for air that help is 'only' 6 minutes away. Not comforting when blackout is only 3 - 4 minutes.
The remedy is going to be a series of small remedies. Small businesses are going to have to come together and support each other in a way that the state nor the federal government can match. At first blush, the businesses may not have a great deal to do with another. But every business is also a consumer; in order to operate, the business has to have supplies and services. California is also, one of the country's most expensive places to start up a small business. So, a first step is to cut down on overhead and increase capability in services or product. A co op may assist in this; however, I understand most people are resistant to the co op option for any number of reasons - some real and some imagined. But the benefits can be and are many. An immediate benefit is the reduction in cost of things like advertising, or getting group prices on local products while simultaneously increasing participation in the business community. In effect, the local community fights to keep each other afloat a little longer.
If you have a small business and are worried that you would be only using your dollars to support your competitor, I can't say that is not a real concern. However, in joining a co op, there are conditions that support the well-being and growth of it's members. Not only that, this arrangement does not have to be a binding contract that you must enter and stay with an agreed set of time of conditions. Your co op can be whatever you imagine it to be. Beltair Industries, Inc; located int the San Diego area, intends to initiate a co op of related but not necessarily the same businesses. Some may join when they see how it benefits other small businesses. Or the co op may become a competitor with teeth that they may feel. But, in any event, I put out the request that any business or person that may be interested contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit me at http://www.beltair.org/. Go to Facebook; there are all kinds of like ideas - they may not be called a co op, but the idea is virtually the same.
In addition visit the Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAEOTeht7-w. Some potential members: real estate agencies, construction mangement companies, state agencies like CALTRANS, environmental/conservation groups, litigation professionals, landscaping services, archealogical and agricultural firms may offer some idea I have not thought of yet. And the list is not limited to these suggestions I just put forth. For now, the sky's the limit on this efforts. Just spending a lazy Sunday thinking....