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Friday, February 18, 2011

The Apex Chamber: The Peak of Great Opportunity

I was in a meeting recently, when the owner of a small business I often frequent complained to me about the lack of things her local Chamber does for her business. She also commented that being in the Chamber is not a great value to her and her business . She plans on leaving it when her membership renewal comes due. She stated to me that there are absolutely no benefits from a Chamber membership. Now, this is not the first time I have heard of unhappiness with one’s local chamber. But this is the first time I want to tell you about why she is wrong.

I respectfully and politely disagreed with her comments and I told her that the local Chamber of Commerce is often the best vehicle for business opportunity. This is what I said.

As a current four business member of the Apex Chamber of Commerce (Kiwanis Club of Apex, Woomer Insurance and Financial Services, T.O.P.S Club of Apex, and VTR Consulting LLC) I have a unique opinion of my Chamber, both as a profit-driven small business owner and as a non-profit organization member.

Without a second thought, my Chamber, the Apex Chamber of Commerce, is where my businesses need to be. The Apex Chamber offers many opportunities for growth. It offers continuing opportunities to participate in the community. It offers key opportunities for business success. With an outstanding website www.apexchamber.com and an excellent business public directory, the Apex Chamber is a continuing investment with very large professional and personal return.

Morning and evening networking events create even more opportunities for meeting the people you need to meet to help your local business grow. Joining the member supported committees within the Chamber give you not only a communal sense of accomplishment and participation, but a straight and true focus of making businesses better.

But it is up strictly up to you. You must make the most of what is offered. Opportunity is an action word. The Chamber is what you put into it. It is a conduit for so many things. And there are many additional byproducts that are benefits for growth. For example, the byproduct of an effective and well established Chamber is a stronger local economy. Another byproduct is having all of our businesses on the same page under the same umbrella moving forward in a tough economy in the same way. Success is a team sport. “We” are always stronger than “me”. An ancient African proverb states this: “no person is truly a person until they are with other people.” This is the true purpose of a Chamber filled with opportunity. The Apex Chamber of Commerce is the principal vessel of local business prosperity through participation.

Finally, here are some things I know the Chamber is not. The Chamber is not an extension of your marketing department. It is not an organization that automatically makes your business more successful. It is not a profit making apparatus. The Chamber is simply what you make it to be. The Chamber works full-time setting up success. But it does not create it. It puts into place the professional opportunities to help you grow. The Chamber is only as successful as the businesses it supports.

In my view, the best move any business can make is to be a visible and contributing member of the local Chamber. Let’s hope this business owner stays in her chamber and makes it a little better.

Friday, February 11, 2011

J.O.B.S.

Apex, NC

J.O.B.S.

Joy Over Budget Success! We simply need more JOBS!

Squeezing every dollar for value is central to getting our local and national economy back to even 2007 standards... Raleigh is now the 10th biggest coupon clipping city in the US. And it is no wonder. Gas is UP to three dollars and silly, up a little more silly each day. My favorite grocery store has all my regularly bought items like cheese, cream and cereal priced thirty cents higher than the prices in December. On the back of the grocery bill is a coupon for a $7.99 large extra cheese pizza; that coupon was $5.99 last year.

Have your pay checks gone up as well? Thought so...With confusing signals from the stock market and even more confusion with lower unemployment coupled with lack of job creation, it is indeed no wonder Dave Ramsey's show about personal financial strategy on the radio has a huge audience base.

Ahhh, but I am a crazy optimist first, well before my realist persona ever sets in. We are managing our household budget strategies very well as Americans. We indeed squeeze every dime out of that nickel.

Many of us are bustin' bugs to get our taxes done. We are assessing our financial and insurance profiles to see where changes can be made. This simple awareness is making us stronger. We no longer pound our charge cards with impulse buys. We are fixing our cars rather than buying them; and we are cutting our phone and cable bills at a furious pace.

Welcome to the New Normal. It is great to be back at our roots with real world, down home values again. Where a penny saved is indeed a penny earned. It is refreshing.

We now know, we can never return to mindless spending and speculation that created the collapse of the economy back in September 2008; that is pretty cool. You just cannot put a price on that.

Have a great weekend!