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|Archives - July 2009|
|Wednesday, June 24, 2009|
No one loves Oregon more than my buddy Bill — it’s too bad he doesn’t live here anymore.
Bill moved here about a decade ago from the East Coast, and he fell for everything that is great about our state: camping in the summer, the friendly people, how easy it is to live here. The whole enchilada.
But then came 2002. You remember 2002, right? That was the last big recession and it smacked us hard, and Bill particularly hard. After losing his job at a small computer company and then looking for work for a long time, Bill reluctantly decided to move back East where his relatives still live.
He found a good job and comes back here now and then, and when he does, what does he say? “I want to retire in Bend.”
Sadly, at least right now, that’s not the best plan, Billy Boy.
Bend has the worst unemployment rate in the state, topping 18%. Its vaunted housing boom is now a vaunted housing bust and businesses are either closing or leaving.
So what do you do if you live in Bend or Roseburg or some other once-idyllic Oregon town that’s bad for business right now, and especially bad for small business?
You go online, that’s what. While there are all sorts of great things to be said about the Internet (and plenty of bad things, too, of course), one of the great boons is that we are no longer tethered to our region insofar as business goes.
Moving or growing your business online allows you to virtually leave your bad economy and go to where the customers are, even if they aren’t here right now.
That’s what Dan Hobin of, yes, Bend realized. Hobin started his small business, G5 Search Marketing, six years ago, when Bend was still Bend. His company specializes in helping businesses, especially real estate businesses, master local online search so that they end up on that much-desired Page One search result.
Hobin’s business has grown steadily for many reasons — a great service, results, a dedicated staff — but a main reason is that it’s not dependent on the challenging local economy to find clients. By aggressively practicing what he preaches and growing the online portion of his business, Hobin now has upward of 40 employees. (See related story on page 16.)
That such a smart strategy is not used more often is surprising, especially given the economy right now. Far too many small businesses think that their business does not lend itself to an e-commerce strategy, that a billboard-type website is all they need.
The Internet revolution is the biggest change ever in the history of small business, and that’s not just hyperbole, my friends. For eons, small businesses have had to sell in their neighborhood, whatever the local economy.
But no longer. If you haven’t figured out how to take advantage of this historic opportunity, there has never been a more important time to do so. Plenty of other small businesspeople have.
Another Oregonian who is reaping the benefits of a robust online presence is Scott Ankeny. His website, GoingGreenToday.com, is a personalized green coaching service that shows people both how to live a greener life while saving money.
Ankeny started out a few years ago with a business plan that was going to offer clients face-to-face green counseling services, until he realized that creating an online business that provided customized green living plans offered less overhead, scalability and “a much bigger market.”
Now that’s what we’re talking about. The lesson of these Oregonians is that a viable way to keep your small business alive in this challenging economy is to boost your online presence. Do that and you will be ahead of the game.
And Bill? He’s still back East, stuck with a house declining in value, and the ultimate irony: He now works for an e-commerce company.
Friday, October 31, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland? The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented. But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Monday, November 10, 2014
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY OB STAFF
Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR
We ask business and nonprofit leaders how they survive the season.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
How sports tourism is driving economic growth and making cities across Oregon a better place to live.
Port of Morrow's business-ready attitude has a surprising global impact.
Through its support of the arts, the Cultural Trust is strengthening the business community.
Amy will practice in the firm's Business, Real Estate, and Tax practice groups.
While the Bend City Council ultimately upheld the approval which enables OSU-Cascades to move forward with the 10 acre site, it did also thoughtfully consider the nature of its code requirements, resident concerns and OSU-Cascade’s efforts and suggestions and crafted conditions of approval to address potential impacts of the site in the area.
Is my drug-free workplace policy up in smoke?