Archive for the 'State and Local' Category

2009 is the year for small business “Positive Reality”

Well, it’s over. You know – that other year that will live in infamy – 2008.

It’s true that, technically speaking, 2008 is over. But alas, as we enter the New Year trying to muster up the primordial feelings of hope humans are known for when contemplating a fresh start, 2008 won’t go quietly into that good night. Indeed, we’ve only just begun to pay for all of the chickens that came home to roost last year.

If you know anything about me, you know what a pathological optimist I am. And while I’m convinced that the sun will come up tomorrow, metaphorically speaking, the facts on the ground demand a realistic assessment of what our marketplace and our businesses are up against in the next 12 months.

The term I’ve coined for this perspective is “Positive Reality.” I’m just as positive as ever about our possibilities for the future, while simultaneously recognizing the reality of the challenges we face in the near-term.

The opposite of Positive Reality is another term I’ve coined lately, “Negative Hysteria.” That’s what happens when we get caught up in the mainstream media’s one-trick-act of “Breaking News! We’re doomed!”

Negative hysteria is often produced by a new term I learned in 2008, availability cascade. Availability cascade is what happens when we hear something in the media so much that we begin to believe it to be true, even if it isn’t, and consequently begin taking actions based on that perceived truth. Sound familiar?

This New Year’s Day, on my small business radio program, with as much positive reality as I could muster, I kicked off 2009 with a segment about the task ahead of us. Take a few minutes to listen, and let me know if you think my 2009 perspective is too hot, too cold or just right.

Small business support in New York City

In 2007, I met Rob Walsh, newly appointed Commissioner of the Department of Small Business for New York City. I was impressed with his vision and plans for helping the 200,000 small businesses that are domiciled in the five boroughs of NYC.

One of the projects on Rob’s plate is to make sure that the community is turning out the educated and trained workforce that local businesses need to hire. I like this one because it’s so important to the competitiveness of any country. And we’re seeing more of this kind of coordination between the marketplace and education. Chambers of commerce have made this kind of coordination a major part of their value proposition to their stakeholders.

Recently I talked with Rob Walsh about how things are going in NYC a year later, especially in the wake of so much economic upheaval in his world. Rob is a very impressive individual, and I think you’ll learn something from what he has to say.

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