BIZTIPS - December 26, 2004

Biz Tips: A Year Ago and the Year Ahead
Sunday, December 26, 2004
By Art Hill

This year, we'll expand our list of recommendations. First, take care of your Spanish-speaking customers. According to U.S. Census data, Oregon's Hispanic buying power grew to $2.6 billion in 2001, the eighth highest growth rate in the nation. Stay tuned for a new program "Spanish for Personal Business" for business owners, managers, and employees. Blue Mountain Community College and your Chambers of Commerce will have details.

Second, keep your eye on the Legislature. Key issues of education, healthcare, and our state's economy are in their hands. But they donít know what's important to you unless you tell them. Check the editorial pages of this newspaper for phone numbers and e-mail addresses, and take advantage of weekly videoconferences live from Salem with your state senators and representatives hosted at BMCC campus locations.

Third, stay on top of regional economic development events. Oregon Employment Department economic reports are among the best in the nation. You can see view them at News like the expansion of the Tillamook cheese plant in Boardman is important to our whole region. Understand what these events mean to you.

Finally, put your priority on the most important resource in your business -- your people. During the past year, companies throughout our region have invested in training programs to develop the skills of their employees. In some cases, we've been able to double that investment with state and federal grants. This year we're introducing the "Company Campus" program to help employees pick up where they left off in their education. Support them. More than any other single factor, they will shape your year ahead, and every year that follows.

Best wishes for continued success in 2005.

Content © 2004 East Oregonian