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Metaphor for knowing local

December 21, 2017

Space is the final frontier ... or is it?  

I would argue that knowing your own “patch” is a priority … and then getting to know the outside world and other areas next. How often do we find ourselves concerned or always looking beyond our own backyard? Certainly, space exploration is important and new discoveries are found all the time but in business and life, why not spend time on our regional areas and focus on local businesses and make family first?

We tend to look at business development as more of a global effort and there are some great European, South American and Asian companies in which to do business. From experience, if we could focus more on what drives our local economies and industry, we might find many opportunities right under our noses that are reaching out for support and assistance on many different projects.

In the Silicon Valley region many, many industries that represent small to medium companies co-exist and thrive but are often overlooked since bigger, more established companies are located here and out of the area too. Yes, many of these companies are Fortune 100, but hundreds of small, emerging growth companies need services and products and can be overshadowed by the big guys.

I maintain that by working “inside-out,” one can find businesses that are not only local but have the same needs as the big guys and often the same budgets for similar services. Building solid, long-lasting partnerships and relationships is really the objective, not just here but in a regional area. As a side benefit, spending more time at home and less travels can really pay off, not only in family life and business as well. As several of my frequently traveling counterparts like to say “Yes, I have many frequent flyer miles since I cover regions like Texas and Oklahoma, but because I live in the Bay Area, very often too tired or burned out on travel to use them”.

From a business perspective it is always a good idea to know your local area inside and out.

Looking local first, building on real deliverables that offer credible proof-points, and being involved in a community is a strong foundation for many businesses, including ours. This also points out that as a company we don’t spend all of our time chasing well known Fortune 100 product giants. We can always support those companies, but why not focus on helping local, smaller companies grow and succeed? This not only allows the region to have a more solid infrastructure, but often achieves the same goals and objectives without the travel, nights away from home, expenses and missing the kid’s soccer and baseball games.

The key attribute is knowing your “patch” first and then getting to know the outlying area second, third and letting counterparts handle the other areas.  As a regional director, I often feel it’s most important to know your local cities and industries first, maximize your time and offering while establishing new clients and revenue in the process. Certainly not all industries are geared toward a local approach, but many can benefit by spending time getting to know the local companies first…and then globally second. The infrastructure to support many of these growing local companies also tends to exist where the startups are first established. The service providers, consultants, machining operations, proto-labs and fabrication companies all can unite to work toward a common goal of supporting the smaller companies, assuming capacity and bandwidth.

Space is truly the final frontier and should be explored, but from a business perspective it is always a good idea to know your local area inside and out and then move outbound to explore new regions.