Recently, I was visited by a man who works for an organization that promotes and develop businesses in the Colorado Springs area. He asked me what the local and state government could do to help businesses in Colorado, and we started talking about how I felt that in general that the government doesn’t come across as pro-business, or, especially, pro-manufacturer, in its policies.
This isn’t just a government thing; the media doesn’t always help. In their January 27 edition, Businessweek printed an article called “Factory Jobs are Gone; Get Over It.” In the article they quoted a Brookings Institute economist who asked “What’s with the political fetish for manufacturing? Are factories really so awesome?” To which Businessweek’s response was “not really… at least not in the U.S. for 2014.” They went on to say how “rich countries,” have experienced growth by a decline in manufacturing and a rise in service jobs.
China, the world’s second largest economy with 9+ trillion dollars in GDP, has been growing like a weed on steroids for years. They didn’t become #2 on the back of service jobs, but by becoming the world’s manufacturer. There’s not a nation on earth that wouldn’t love to have a trillion or so of China’s manufacturing work and the jobs and capital equipment investment that comes with it.
The man from the Colorado Springs business development group asked what I’d do if I had to promote manufacturing in Colorado in general. Here were a few of my thoughts:
I’d have a trade show in Colorado Springs that would focus on manufacturing and promote it throughout the entire state, especially in the Denver area where there is a large base of manufacturing. I’d hit the west side where Grand Junction is too. I’d invite factories from all over Colorado to exhibit and would have a low booth cost to attract as many manufacturing companies as possible. Then I’d market the trade show all over the media; TV, radio, etc. Most people here aren’t aware of the manufacturing base we have here in our backyard.
I’d find ways to give manufacturing companies and other businesses tax incentives for new hires and making capital investments. I’d find out what training and other assistance Colorado businesses needed and do what I could to provide that training at no cost. This would include marketing, operational issues, accounting and finance, and more. I’d do whatever I could to help them succeed.
I’d hold networking events that catered to manufacturers and distribution companies in Colorado. Often the local networking events that a Chamber of Commerce might put on are attended only by service businesses. I might look into printing or emailing business directories and mail them out to businesses all over Colorado, especially in the Denver area.
I’d promote Colorado and it’s manufacturers to other states, especially California, where that state is doing everything in its power to drive them out.
You might be asking “what does this have to do with importing from China?” Many of our customers are American manufacturing companies. We get requests for quotes from manufacturing companies, OEM’s, and distribution companies in Colorado, all over the U.S., Canada, and even Europe . Part of what we do is help manufacturing companies source parts or products they don’t want to tool up for here in the U.S., or, if it’s an item they can’t make competitively. Anything that helps manufacturers in Colorado or the U.S. can increase the need for our services.