SBC releases guide for success in Sierra Nevada Business | SierraSun.com

SBC releases guide for success in Sierra Nevada Business

Scott Hess

The Sierra Business Council, a non-profit organization that looks after the financial health of the Sierra Nevada region, has published a self-proclaimed “Blueprint for Rural Prosperity in the Sierra Nevada,” called “Investing for Prosperity.”

The book, which is subtitled “Building Successful Communities and Economies in the Sierra Nevada,” attempts to encompass all aspects of business as it pertains to the Sierra Nevada region. It includes guidelines and tips on how to create or deal with economies, diversity, capital (including social capital) and investing in the community.

The three big objectives, SBC President Jim Sayer says, are to “share information,” “help rural areas realize they can compete, in many sectors, with metropolitan areas” and “to find out what kind of on-the-ground projects might emerge when communities know what options are out there.”

It also points out the advantages the Sierra Nevada has to offer and why people come to the region. “When businesses can offer an employment package that includes superb quality of life, they can attract top-drawer people without paying top-drawer prices. The Sierra Nevada, renowned for world-class recreation, has a competitive advantage other places cannot match at any price,” Investing for Prosperity states.

The SBC’s publication also offers 44 different case studies interspersed throughout the chapters, providing examples of existing businesses and explaining the challenges of business and how they have prospered in the Sierra Nevada region and beyond.

In the “Investing in the Cultural Life of the Community” section, the book tells of a study of HandMade in America, a company based in western North Carolina. Becky Anderson, the economic development director for the Asheville Chamber of Commerce at the time, said she was told to look at what her community had to offer.

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She did just that, and made handmade crafts a huge industry in North Carolina. In fact, Investing says, “An economic impact survey conducted for HandMade revealed craft to be a $122 million industry in the 20-county region they studied.”

Sayer said he has had interest from individuals and communities from around the United States and they are “already getting some sizeable orders.” He said, “This book is going to have a life of its own beyond the Sierra Nevada.”

Also added throughout the book is the “Tool Box,” which brings up typical questions and gives the reader ideas about how to deal with those questions. For example, one Tool Box asks, “How can you establish forums for developing a collective vision for building overall wealth – your social, natural, and financial capital?”

As a part of the Tool Box tips, the publication gives suggestions and lists resources that are available. There is also a list of resources in the appendix that, when combined with the Tool Box, accumulates “hundreds of resources.”

Simply put, Sayer said they didn’t want “prescribe” anything, they just wanted to “let people know what is happening.”

Investing for Prosperity is available for $25 through the Sierra Business Council. Investing can be ordered by calling 582-4800, or by visiting the SBC Web site at http://www.sbcouncil.org/publications.