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Outdoor Economy

Climate Change Discussions Distract from Simple Facts

Discussions on climate change often miss the point.  People are already set in their biases and will believe anything that confirms them and reject anything that does not.  The conversations usually deteriorate into either often ridiculous evaluations of scientific evidence or political bickering.  These digress from the clear, simple facts that clean air and clean water are a good idea and benefit people and the economy.
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Saving Energy Saves Money

There is no need for a climate scientists, mathematician, politician or talk show host to point out that if you use less electricity and fuel, you do not have to buy as much.  This means more money in your pocket. It also means that there should be more energy available, which should help the supply side.   You do not have to care about the fact that by saving energy you are burning less fossil fuel and producing less pollution.  You can do it just for the fact that it is good for you and your family.  A lot can be done by just simple behaviors of turning off the lights when you leave a room, keeping your door closed when the HVAC is on, turning down the thermostat at night, and others.  This does not raise taxes or require an act of congress.  A simple caulking gun can do wonders for your electric bill and you don’t even have to care that you are also helping the environment.  More money in the pocket of the common person is more money they have to pay their utility bills.

Industrial Air Pollution Beautiful Nature Home

Where would you rather live?
Less Pollution and Natural Areas Improve Local Economies and Quality of Life

Would you rather live next to a smokey industrial site in a place that is completely covered with concrete or near a place with trees and natural areas?  Where would you rather visit?  Where would you want your children to play?  Natural areas have been known to increase real estate values from nearly 20-40%, which creates more equity for homeowners. Natural areas provide places for people to explore and recreate which raises the quality of life and improves health.  A walk in a natural area can reduce stress level up to 50%.  People are more productive when they are healthy and miss less time at work due to stress related incidents. Outdoor play is good for child development.  There is also an opportunity to build an outdoor recreation industry.  It is also a lot more pleasant to live in a place where you can safely drink the water and breathe the air.

When I played soccer as a kid in Los Angeles, my teammates and I would often find ourselves bent over, grabbing our knees and coughing uncontrollably after a short run because of the smog.   Regardless of what you think about climate change, it is worth cleaning up the air just to help residents breathe better!

The Effort for Energy Efficiency Inspires Innovation

One of the easiest and most effective ways of reducing pollution is through energy efficiency.  This is good for everyone. Wouldn’t you rather heat and cool your home with minimal electricity, reduce your water bill, drive a vehicle that gets over 100 miles to the gallon and still enjoy your lifestyle?  The quest for efficiency inspires scientists and entrepreneurs to create new products and systems that lead to new jobs and businesses. There is some great work being done by many different groups around the world to find cleaner fuels, more productive agriculture methods that use fewer resources, create better building designs that use less energy while maintaining comfort, services and structural integrity, as well as a host of other innovations.  These have created businesses, jobs, and services that improve the economy while helping the world.

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Efficiency Helps Ordinary Citizens

Products, systems and services reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and lower the cost of living. As transportation becomes more efficient and less costly, so does the price of food and products that are being transported. Reducing the demand for fuel means that there is more of it available. That should have as much of an affect on prices as drilling for more fuel.  More efficient vehicles help put more money in the pockets of ordinary citizens.  Of course, this is all good for the environment, but it is good for you also whether that matters to you or not.
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Clean Energy is Safer Clean energy creates jobs that pay well and do not have the types of risks that come with fossil energy. When is the last time you heard of the solar and wind power plant that exploded killing thousands of people and polluting waterways, destroying homes, and threatening to destroy tourism and fishing industries?  Ever heard of a geothermal plant incident that trapped hundreds of victims beneath the earth?  Like every industry, as the technology improves, the costs should go down. A diversified energy sector is safer and more resilient in uncertain times.  Energy that is produced locally means more money goes into the pockets of local workers instead of sent off to foreign countries that are not necessarily friendly which helps national security. At the same time, the locals do not run the risk of their town being crushed under coal sludge, destroyed by fuel fire and explosions, air pollution, or oil spills threatening their livelihoods.  You don’t even have to care that there is also less carbon emitted in the atmosphere.I have been inspired by the ability of human kind to fly and go to the moon, to speak to people around the world on a hand held device, to explore the deepest parts of the ocean, and to reach for the stars.  We can overcome the challenges of the future if we have the will.

Whether or not you believe in climate change, there are many reasons to take the same steps towards preventing it based on commonsense.

Massive Opportunity for Conservation and Business, Will They Miss it?

 

On top Rock Arms Open

There are major opportunities in the outdoor economy that have often been overlooked.

The disconnect between conservation and economic growth comes as a result of misunderstandings and misrepresentations of social and political groups that are either focused on protecting the environment or on building the economy. The truth of the matter is that
there is opportunity for both economic growth and conservation. This becomes clear when one does a proper analysis of the situation and removes all political biases. In fact, you cannot have one without the other. Ecological sustainability will never be achieved through a focus on environment and biodiversity alone.
Social and economic values and needs must become an integral concern of nature conservation management (TNSW p5).
Well managed natural resources have tremendous benefits to human health and quality of life as well as economic, education, and scientific advancement. This is a theme throughout this website and multiple reports.

The business sector does itself a disservice to try to demonize the conservation community as standing in the way of economic progress. Clean water, clean air, and attractive natural beauty are huge drivers of economic growth and social well-being. Denial that there is any need for conservation will only harm the economy in the future.
Entrepreneurs and conservationists who work together in a purposeful, ethical way using common sense can achieve great social and economic progress that is sustainable and beneficial to the people and the planet.

The Power of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism

Many conservation organizations see tourism as one of the sectors with the greatest potential for linking conservation to economic development. ( IUCN-Kouni Group) Tourism is the largest industry in the world and growing fast. “For wealthy westerners, travel is now an addiction” (The Economist).
Tourism generates over $2 trillion in spending, $730 billion in earnings and 6.5 million full-time jobs while growing 4-5% annually regardless of war, disease, or terrorism. ( Needham, RRMP at OSU).

Tourism can also be harmful. Mass Tourism can lead to overcrowding, congestion, and overuse causing pollution, waste and degradation of natural resources.

On the other hand,
carefully developed sustainable tourism and eco-tourism can empower local people while providing financial and conservation benefits. In fact, the outdoor recreation industry can provide much greater employment and economic opportunities to a community and have a much lighter impact on local environments than industries that focus on extraction of natural resources. Employment related to recreational activities can exceed employment related to resource exploitation by more than 5 times (Kuenzi and McNeely) . Wildlife related recreation (fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing) on National Forest lands provide a significant benefit to state and regional economies throughout the nation. In 1996, wildlife related recreation created 238,800 full time jobs and generated $21million in state sales and income taxes (USFW).
In 2012, outdoor recreation contributed $646 billion in consumer spending to the US economy and more than $39.7 billion in tax revenue while creating 6.1 million American jobs(OIA 2012). Outdoor recreation contributes nearly twice the positive economic impact than the automotive, pharmaceutical and oil industries.

How to build a sustainable outdoor recreation industry

In order to build a successful outdoor industry there must be a focus on customer satisfaction as well as environmental conservation
. “Satisfied customers are believed to affect the long-term viability of the organization in the competitive business environment and also for enhancing experience of visitors with attraction.” (IJMMR, Vol. 4, No. 1) The integrity of the facilities and natural resources are crucial to customer satisfaction. The Association of British Travel Agents found that
one in three travelers now believe that vacation products should have an environmental rating. ABTA’s study also showed that 19% of these travelers were willing to pay more for it.
Nature-based businesses are dependent on clean water and untrammeled natural landscapes(CNBT-BC).

Customer service, empathy, and local knowledge are also extremely important
. Training is a key factor to the success of any organization and staff must be provided with proper training in terms of communicating with guests (IJMMR, Vol. 4, No. 1).
Enhancing quality of interpretation at visitor centers, attractions, and on tours is a major opportunity area for nature tourism. People learn better when they are using as many senses as appropriate. It is generally recognized that people retain 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, 50% of what they see, and 90% of what they do (TNSW p5).

Most of all, building a sustainable economy that will have long-term benefits for the people and the environment requires the cooperation and teamwork of the entire community. Every nature reserve needs a management plan and a dedicated community of volunteers to care for it.

People want to live healthy, vibrant lives in an area where they can enjoy themselves in the outdoors. This can be achieved through cooperation between both the business and conservation community.

Other Related Articles:

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/29/guides-are-portals-to-the-outdoor-world-lets-give-them-the-support-they-need/#%21

http://adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com/author/averystonich/

http://www.wengerna.com/blog/outdoor-recreation-americas-overlooked-economic-giant/

7 Essential Skills of An Entrepreneur

There are several important skills that entrepreneurs should cultivate to become successful .  Some entrepreneurs may already possess some of these skills. Most  entrepreneurs are good at a few and lacking at others. Savvy entrepreneurs are able to borrow the skills they need from a team.  All entrepreneurs should learn and improve their most important skills.

 

New  Research from the Harvard Business Review and quotes by successful entrepreneurs in Forbes, Inc., Under30CEO, Entrepreneur Magazine, and others have identified the following as essential skills for successful entrepreneurs:

Entrepreneur sunset

 

 

Leadership

Successful entrepreneurs must learn how to lead.  Successful leaders communicate compelling visions, are energetically self-motivated, goal oriented, and able to prioritize. There is so much that must be done in order to run a successful venture that the ability to manage time wisely, delegate and set the example for your team are extremely important. Entrepreneurs who try to do it all will never grow beyond themselves. The ability to build the right team, get everyone doing the right job, and give the team direction to do what is necessary in order to achieve a worthwhile vision is the most important role for the entrepreneur. Although it helps to already have some leadership qualities, many aspects of leadership can be learned. There are different leadership styles. Take time to study them and develop the style that is right for you and your enterprise. Lead by example and be a positive role model.

Persuasion

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of their time persuading others.  It is critical to recruit a team, raise money, and promote a product or service.  An entrepreneur will need to persuade the team, the investors, collaborators, regulators, and clients. An entrepreneur must know how to persuade their people to stay on task.  They must learn to persuade investors and bankers to continuously fund their projects. They must persuade collaborators to work together on a common goal.  They must be able to persuade their governing bodies to write favorable policies and show that they are following them.  They must persuade their clients to love their product and/or services and rave to their friends about it. They must perfect their negotiation skills to persuade vendors, clients, collaborators, landlords, partners, and others to agree to deals that are in the best interest of their company, employees, clients, community, and aligned with their core values.  All entrepreneurs should take time to master other the art of persuasion.

“The quality serial entrepreneurs displayed above others was persuasion, or the ability to convince others to change the way they think, believe or behave,” Bonnstetter, INC. Dec. 11, 2012

Marketing

An entrepreneur must learn how to market their product or service.  The landscape of marketing is constantly evolving but the basic principals still hold true.  An entrepreneur must learn how to market their product to reach their ideal customer and make sure they are aware of why their product or service is ideal. The entrepreneur must include a compelling reason for their clients to choose them over all other similar products and/or services available in the marketplace.  Marketing is incredibly important. Assembling a great sales and marketing team requires some knowledge of what it is you want to accomplish.  The entrepreneur must know what kind of results they are looking for in order to direct their sales and marketing team. The entrepreneur must be able to meticulously measure the results of every marketing campaign and be willing to experiment in order to get it right. This will save countless time and money and prevent one from becoming an advertising victim.  Either the entrepreneur or an excellent adviser will often make the difference on whether the enterprise will succeed. Entrepreneurs who understand and have the ability to effectively market themselves and their company have a distinct advantage over their competition.  Learn how to market and proceed with a clear strategy that is designed for measurable results.

Systematization

An entrepreneur must systematize the processes of their business. This is extremely important for growth.  A written plan, accurate customer records, updated books, technology process, policies and procedures are the foundations of your business. The systems allow new employees to seamlessly take over the jobs of others who have moved on or been promoted. It is the systems that allow a business to duplicate itself in different locations and markets. It is the systems that help a business become profitable and marketable.  Systems are key for dealing with the day to day operations and making sure everything goes smoothly.  Systems improve safety and help avoid fatal mistakes. Communicating those systems clearly and following them religiously is what helps an operation function like a well-oiled machine.  Systems help the operation do things better in less time with fewer resources being wasted.  Create systems, analyze, improve, test, and communicate them on a regular basis.

Finance

An entrepreneur must know how to manage the life blood of their business.  The entrepreneur must be capable of generating revenue, managing cash flow, keeping accurate books, controlling profit and loss, and creating protection.  Cash flow is key for buying inventory, paying for services, marketing, and repairing or replacing equipment.  Poor money management is one of the most common reasons businesses fail.  An excellent, trustworthy accountant as well as a competent attorney are invaluable.  Your reputation depends on getting people paid in a timely manner and having the resources to do so.  You must be able recognize where to direct the money to the highest priorities in order to keep your business in operation.  You must also create a series of checks and balances to ensure you are able to make adjustments before things get out of control. Learn to understand finance, create a solid cash-flow management system, and build a team of  trustworthy professionals.

Ability to learn and adapt

It is not the fastest, strongest, or best company but the one that is able to adapt quickly to meet the demands and changes of the landscape that will survive in the long-term.  An entrepreneur must be an avid learner.  They must be constantly willing to educate themselves and their team about changes in their industry and their marketplace.  Entrepreneurs spend their time educating themselves while others spend their time entertaining themselves. Read marketing books, magazines, reports, journals, newsletters, websites, and  industry publications and apply what you learn. Network and emulate successful entrepreneurs.  Join associations and build mastermind groups. Take small steps, learn, improve, and then take another step.  Repeat that until you are successful.

Self awareness

An entrepreneur must be in control of themselves.  They must be clear thinkers. They must make goal oriented, results-based decisions regardless of the emotional influences of their personal and professional circumstances.  They must know where their strengths and weaknesses lie and be able to ask for help when needed. They must have a clear vision and relentless work ethic.

Be persistent and unstoppable but know when to take a break and recharge.  Above all, have fun and build something great that is good for the world!

These are just a few of the essential skills that an entrepreneur must have to be successful.

 

Here are some more related articles:

http://outdooreconomy.com/resource-guide-entrepreneurs-entrepreneurship/

http://under30ceo.com/5-critical-skills-for-entrepreneurs/

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/12/new_research_the_skills_that_m.html

http://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/5-essential-skills-of-an-entrepreneur.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/06/14/how-to-raise-an-entrepreneur/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/actiontrumpseverything/

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/207488

 

 

 

 

 

Top Scientists, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs look to Nature for Inspiration and Guidance

 

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Who is the most influential educator in the world?

There is no one who has taught more people or created more things that we often take for granted. She has taught every one of the greatest scientist from Aryabhata to Albert Einstien. She showed André-Jacques Garnerin how to make a parachute and taught the Wright Brothers how to fly. She showed Ben Franklin electricity, taught Alessandro Volta how to harness it, and showed Nikola Tesla how to transport it. She has been responsible for the first sparks of fire to the modern match. She is the mother of all inventions from every industry from agriculture to drinking water.

 

Yet she has often been ignored, taken advantage of, and abused.

Now, top scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs are once again looking to her for guidance.

Even billionaire, Sir Richard Branson looks to her for advice on how to direct the many companies of the Virgin Brand. He calls her the “Original Entrepreneur” and insists that it is crucial we learn from her if we are to continue to enjoy the wealth that we have derived from her for hundreds of centuries.

Companies like Boeing, have sent their top engineers to Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to study her in order to come up with solutions for better aviation design. Nike and General Electric have also looked to her to create more effective products and systems.

She is teaching scientists and engineers from the Sahara desert project how to harness energy from the sun and grow food using saltwater in one of the world’s most hostile climates. Projects like these could lead to reforestation of deserts and new ways of sustaining struggling communities.

Mother Nature has had over 3.8 billion years for research and development to come up with innovative systems and designs that are extremely efficient and create zero waste. She is open to teach anyone who is willing to take the time to study with her.

Are we taking time to study?

As people in developed countries spend more time in front of electronic screens, it becomes more important to find opportunities to help them learn from the great educator that lies right outside in the natural world. That is why it so important to create opportunities for young people to learn from her.

More companies are recognizing the value of studying nature as a means for developing systems and design even though it is often counter intuitive for their workforce. Not only can new products and services be developed, but also systems of building a more harmonious relationship between nature and business. As Branson puts it, “…we must recognize the value of the natural assets on our balance sheets” .

In addition to traditional education, we should encourage students to re-learn how to ask questions and look to the great educator of nature for answers. They can then use what they learn to develop new technologies and systems, learn how to profit from her abundance and at the same time find ways to take care of her as she ages.

These are the critical thinking skills that innovative companies will be searching for.  How we use what we learn from the lessons of mother nature will determine our future.

Pay attention because class is in session!

 

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 Richard Branson:  Mother Nature, the Original Entrepreneur

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/4282197

http://saharaforestproject.com/projects/qatar.html

http://www.edinformatics.com/inventions_inventors/

What Industries thrive in a recession?

Fishing Sunset

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT INDUSTRIES THRIVE IN A RECESSION?

Many would think of industries like healthcare, education, business services, and debt settlement.

When the going gets tough, the tough go camping.

I can remember when the stock market crashed in 2008.  It was clear that this was going to be serious and not some easy thing. I went into a reading frenzy to learn all I could about what was going on and how to prepare.  The bookshelves were filled with doomsday predictions calling for another great depression, inflation, unemployment and so forth.  I gave particular attention to the information that was backed by research and followed patterns of earlier recessions.  It became more and more obvious, that the years ahead were going to be extremely tough.

I called my friends in the outdoor industry to warn them about the predictions.

“This is going to be serious” I said “You better be prepared to tighten up.  It is not going bounce back any time soon.”

I had a conversation with one of the senior guides who had been through a number of recessions and worked around the world for many different companies such as biking, hiking, climbing, kayaking, and outdoor gear companies.  He was calm, and said it was typical for the outdoor recreation industry to do well in hard times.

To my surprise, after a brief lull, business picked up and even began to break records of the numbers of visitors even though the news was full of doom and gloom about the economies around the world.

He was right!

People are not willing to give up their vacations.  Travel and tourism continued to thrive.  We saw an increase in domestic travel rather than longer exotic trips. Studies showed that 72 percent of Americans preferred shorter trips

People seemed to look to the outdoors to sooth their souls.

More than 140 million Americans continued to make outdoor recreation a priority despite all the uncertainty according to the 2012 OIA economic report.

Outdoor industry gear sales came back strong and were up over 8 percent and product sales were over $120 billion in 2012.

A record number of travelers visited the US national parks even with the threats of budget cuts and layoffs looming ever closer.

Adventure travel boomed globally growing over 17% in 2009 and 2010. Adventure Travel accounted for about $89 billion in global spending making up about 16% of all departures from North America, South America and Europe.

There is a lot more to this industry.  Even with Europe facing increasing challenges in 2013 and the fiscal challenges in the US, people’s thirst for adventure in the great outdoors shows no signs of slowing down.

What was your experience with the economy since2008?  What challenges are you facing now?

 

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