Sonoma County: News and Notes

To start, I want to let everyone be aware of the upcoming of Small Business Week. This is a nationwide event set up by the Small Business Agency. The Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce is having several events to coincide with this. There is a Business Expo on May 8th at the Wells Fargo Center from 4 - 7 PM. There is a Breakfast with Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom on May 13th from 7 - 9 AM. Finally, there are a series of workshops that are being done. I am presenting one on May 12th from 9:30 - 11AM. This is a joint session with Cyntha Riggs aka The Biz Diva of Women Building Business. Cynthia's part of the session will be on a "One Page Business Plan". My part is "The Way to Wealth Formula." For more information about these events, contact the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce.

As we head into earnings season, I will be updating what I have seen out of Cyan, Calix and Enphase over the next few weeks. Today, I want to update folks on what I am hearing about the two trouble spots in the economy.

The first of these is Water. The good news is that over the first quarter we have had more rain. It looks like we will have some more later in the week. However, this is going to be a long term challenge for Sonoma County (and Napa County as well). The core growth businesses that we have are all water based: Vineyards, Wineries, Breweries, Distilleries and Food Manufacturers. My suggestion is that all businesses look into ways of saving water. Not only will reduction in water usage save money, but it will allow for headroom in our local economy. That is good for all of us. One resource available to all of us is Kevin Kumataka. He is the head of the Green Business Program at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. He works to make businesses more green and can help point all of us in the right direction.

The second challenge is Real Estate. It is interesting to see how this year is going to play out. I am not concerned about Commercial Real Estate. That business seems to be continuing on quite nicely. I think our current issues are with residential real estate. The primary issue is inventory. Where are the home coming from that will get sold this year? How is the short inventory going to impact pricing? Will higher prices drive more people out of the market? All of this should keep everyone on their toes. There is not a lot of new single family home construction yet and so it is unclear how this will all evolve.

Well, have a great week. Hoping that the Warriors bounce back after being drubbed by the Clippers on Monday.

Jim Sackman
FocalPoint Business Coaching
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