You must plant the seeds long before you enjoy the harvest.
The “chamber field” is ready for a lot of planting right now. Businesses are exhausted, fatigued, confused, wondering, questioning, unsure…and the list goes on. They’re looking to us, as Chamber professionals, to make sense of it all. If you actively spend time “sowing” into their lives and businesses now, they’ll be ready to engage with your Chamber immediately on the other side of this.
How many businesses do you know that were overnight successes? 100? 25? 10? None? None. That’s right. None. Because no one ever finds overnight success in business as business requires work.
Think through your career.
- Who served as mentors to you?
- Who helped you build your professional career prior to joining the Chamber world?
- Who built your confidence or gave you much-needed industry experience?
These ideas go together in the chamber world. As chamber professionals, it is our responsibility to the businesses in our community – both members and potential members – to join them in their vision for their future success and to either serve that mentor role for them or to put them in contact with people who can serve in that role.
You are in a position to plant seeds in new businesses that will yield growth in those businesses, in your chamber, and in your community for years to come.
Some Chamber professionals are well versed in the tactical aspects of business. Offer assistance to your businesses’ employee issues, their budget woes, their supply chain maneuvering.
Marketing, communications and social media might be your Chamber professional strong suit. Show companies how to tell their story, share their experiences and distribute their information.
Strategic planning might be your strength. Help businesses “see through” this season to the next.
As a Chamber professional are you good at matching public policy initiatives with financial relief opportunities? Some businesses still have not taken advantage of EDIL or PPP because it was too daunting for them. Consider lending a hand to make the haze clear for them.
Feel like you don’t have enough experience to offer suggestions? The adage that chambers serve as the dot connectors in your communities is true, but it is better if you are strategic dot connectors. You know the people in your membership who could help new businesses. Begin making introductions.
Still unsure of what you can do? We can all be encouragers. We can all show support. We can all push towards greatness.
Questions to ask yourself:
- With how many new businesses did you engage in some way this week?
- How many calls did you make just to check-in on a business and lend an ear?
- Did you randomly stop-by any businesses to say “hi” and share a hug?
- How many letters of encouragement did you pen this week?
- Were you active on social media offering positive reviews of your personal experiences with a company?
If you actively spend time planting seeds in their lives and in their businesses right now, they will be ready to engage with your chamber when the stress of this uncertainty ends.
Make a plan to work with business owners and chamber members. Plant those seeds intentionally. And then, continue to work strategically while you wait to see the fruits of the harvest, confident that your work will yield results.