Who do you call when you need to hear the voice of the business community? Answer: GSI.
Recently, we received a call from the Washington State Auditor office. It wanted to hear from Spokane area business owners about their experience with the permitting process in one of four focus groups it’s conducting around the state. Results of these focus groups are expected later this year.
Washington has approximately 1,400 permits, licenses and inspections managed by 26 agencies, not including federal and local municipalities (GSI continues to work on streamlining permitting on a local level). In this focus group, it was apparent that businesses have a unified voice on solutions to streamline permitting for all levels of government.
So what’s the solution? Businesses have consistently shared the following resolutions:
Provide predictability (and ensure that the process won’t change mid-stream)
All involved agencies need to be present at the beginning
Implement a “champion,” or one point of contact
Access to staff – shouldn’t have to wait a week or more for a response
Performance-based management for state employees
Accountability, giving consequences if the agency doesn’t meet the time frame
Cost/benefit before regulations are put out, since too often state staff write the administration rules and legislators’ intent not followed through (especially with commissions)
State agencies need to work more cohesively and accept each other’s data and research
Communication from agencies ahead of time rather than after the fact
Create a “Yes” culture
Sometimes it’s putting common sense back into the letter of the law. It shouldn’t have to cost $3,000 to, for example, dig a hole – believe it or not, it’s true in some cases. Businesses often hear from government staff that every situation is unique, but like a brain surgeon who figures out strategies to remove a tumor within weeks, it shouldn’t take six months to obtain a permit.
The end result is to increase business investment and job growth, which will ultimately benefit both business and government in saving time and money. We commend the State Auditor’s Office for taking the time to audit the process and make it easier for businesses to get to “Yes,” and we continue to applaud our region’s cities, Spokane County and various agencies for their efforts to make our region a great place to invest and grow business.
Time for another member web video! This week, Liz Nelson, the co-owner of The Steelhead Bar and Grille talks about how her membership helps Greater Spokane Incorporated work with the City of Spokane and other municipalities to streamline regulatory processes like the permitting process.
We posted new member web videos last week and this week as we continue to show how membership in Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) benefits member companies and the region.
Chris McFaul of Horizon Hospice talks about how his membership has helped his company gain visibility in the community, particularly after Horizon Hospice won a 2011 AGORA Award:
Tyler Lafferty of Seven2 talks about how he’s able to use his membership to work with GSI on attracting talent to his company and working with area schools to prepare students for work after high school and college:
Both member web videos were brilliantly produced by Corner Booth Media (seriously, the people there are incredibly smart!). Be sure to visit www.JoinGSI.org for more member web videos!
Delta Airlines announced yesterday new nonstop service from Spokane to Los Angeles and back. The flight will
leave Spokane early in the morning and return later the same evening, making business travel to the Los Angeles area a day trip. The nonstop service to L.A. is in addition to the nonstop service to Denver and Minneapolis that Spokane already enjoys with Delta Airlines.
For this blog’s purposes, this isn’t about getting to Disneyland or the Southern California beaches (though we all agree that both sound great). What is the benefit of nonstop service for businesses?
The old adage “time is money” can mean a lot of things for a lot of people. Being on the road for a long period of time – whatever a “long period of time” means for your company – can cost money. Hotels, rental cars, food – it’s not cheap.
Being able to fly somewhere in the morning and fly home at night is a luxury. Say, for instance, you were recruiting a new employee from Southern California. You might want as much time with that person as possible. If you had to stop in one or more places on your way, that takes up time. Getting a nonstop flight can work a lot better for you and your company.
Nonstop flights open the gates for new business opportunities. During the event to announce Delta’s new nonstop service for Spokane, Mayor David Condon talked about how this is a different kind of “North-South Corridor” for the region. So much business depends on transportation.
This nonstop service allows businesses in the Spokane region to be competitive with other, larger markets. It also makes it easier for Southern California residents to choose to visit our region, providing tourism dollars that impact our economy immensely.
Making it easier to do business is what everyone wants. Direct flights can make a big difference.
This week you might see a few of our members in TV commercials talking about their membership in our organization. You’ll begin to see more of our members featured throughout the next couple of months.
This week, Ellie Aaro, the owner of Beacon Hill Events and Terry Judge, the CEO of Hotstart, Inc., began popping up on your small screens. Here’s Ellie:
And here’s Terry:
We’ve got a microsite that features extended versions of the commercials, as well as a form for viewers to fill out if they want more information on membership in Greater Spokane Incorporated.
If you’re interested in the extended versions and learning more about our organization, visit JoinGSI.com.
So you’re thinking about starting a business or expanding your own. Congratulations, and welcome to entrepreneurship!
But then you learn that building codes require you to install fire sprinklers, which could potentially cost $120,000. The high cost “kills the deal,” especially for an entrepreneur or small business owner.