Where do business leads come from?

Every day I am asked what's happening - are business inquiries up? Are more California companies moving to Nevada? The answer is yes and no.

Gone are the days when economic developers would receive 35 to 40 business inquiries each month from Nevada's Commission on Economic Development.

Now that California's business climate has completely gone sideways, major issues with budget, taxes, regulations and overall cost of living have inspired more California companies to examine Nevada as a possible relocation.

First of all, we never kick California while it's down. California still is the Golden State. However, its business environment is the worst in the nation. Nevada's current government leadership is questionable and unrealistic at times too, so we have to be careful when criticizing our neighbor.

"Our state (Nevada) is at a crossroads requiring leadership and planning, driven by a sense of urgency. The old way of doing business won't cut it for the rest of the 21st century. Nevada must reinvent itself economically," says Guy Rocha, Nevada state archivist emeritus.

With more than $750 million in additional taxes passed during the last legislative session, many potential new businesses are examining the Silver State much more closely - and, much more seriously.

Nevada Business Connections receives leads and referrals from many sources. Our 170 members provide the most leads and referrals, followed by existing companies who have moved to Northern Nevada during the last 15 years. The chambers of commerce in our service area also forward industrial leads to us.

Today, 55 percent of our clients are inquiring from California. Ninety percent of our clients are mom-and-pop operations employing 10 to 80 people. This compares to 80 percent of all clients coming from California six years ago. Of that 80 percent, 80 percent of those were from Southern California. Seventy-five percent of our clients are manufacturers and the remainder are from back office industries and warehouse/distribution companies.

A few of my current favorite referral experiences in business recruitment include a backpack manufacturer from San Diego who we lost to Sacramento because of California's incentive programs - tax breaks, loan discounts, moving expenses, etc. I called the client in Sacramento and asked him if he knew of any companies who might consider relocating to Nevada from San Diego. He gave me the name of his San Diego Mercedes mechanic, who provided me with several great leads. A concrete contractor from San Jose turned us on to a commercial bakery who is in a major growth mode, and an electronics firm who already does business in Carson City. David Toll with Gold Hill Publishing received a serious inquiry from one of his monthly subscribers from The Nevada Travelgram. Our observation tower manufacturer referral came from a restaurant/bar in Lake Tahoe.

Leads and referrals come from everywhere. If you have a friend or relative who is involved in business who may be interested in Northern Nevada, please let us know. We will be happy to follow up. "We're not the experts, but we know who they are" is our slogan.

• Kris Holt is executive director of Nevada Business Connections, a private, non-profit business recruitment and development organization based in Carson City.


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