This Land Was Made For You And Me, And Her, And Him, And Us ...

I know plenty of people within CRN's own audience claim some sort of diversity status. But what niggles at me is how the complexion of your customer prospects will change in the next few years. And, yes, I do mean literally.

How closely are you following, for example, the rise of the Hispanic population?

Earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses grew 31 percent between 1992 and 2002, reaching nearly $222 billion in revenue.

Here are some other demographics:

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As of 2002, approximately 30 percent of the Hispanic businesses were involved in construction, repair and maintenance.

Retail and wholesale trade accounted for about 36 percent of the revenue generated by Hispanic-owned businesses.

The states with the fastest growing rates of Hispanic businesses were New York, Rhode Island, Georgia, Nevada and South Carolina.

The highest concentrations of these businesses were in the following counties: Los Angeles County in California; Miami-Dade County in Florida; Harris County in Texas; and Bronx County in New York.

If you dig deeper into the personal habits of this community, Forrester Research reported earlier this year that Hispanic-Americans tended to gravitate more toward portable technology than the larger community. They also were bigger into culturally relevant music and less into PCs and video games.

Here's some more information on various minority constituencies.

And while we're on the topic of studying different cultures. I want to direct your attention to a terrific story by CRN's very own Scott Campbell, who visited Beirut late last month.

Whether or not you plan to look to markets outside the United States, his tale of how this solution provider is surviving (if not exactly thriving) amid turbulent times includes observations that could apply to anyone's business.

Send your ideas and feedback to [email protected].