In this episode, Christina Munoz talks to Jesse Purcell, director of the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance in Kenton, Ohio about how businesses need to pivot to be successful without the benefit of face-to-face networking and in-person events. It’s important that an organization gets value from professional associations and Purcell shows how her team has developed new programs to support businesses, including virtual networking and collaboration events.
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Munoz: Generally speaking, tell us about the mission and the goals of your chamber.
Purcell: We've always had a tagline that weighs join, engage and thrive. And we were very event based prior to COVID-19. So that meant we were really encouraging and providing content that is related to networking and collaboration and seeing each other face to face, and really looking for those components that would contribute to our businesses and help to make them be successful. It really did center on that engagement piece. And so we have really, really worked on making sure that the things that we provided were really tying all of those elements together and helping our businesses to thrive on a day to day basis.
Munoz: Join, Engage, and then Thrive. I love that because I do think there's some notion out there that I'm gonna join some organization and I'm magically going to take off.
Purcell: That engagement part is so huge. And there is, you know, something on behalf of the member that they have to be the one doing the engaging, but you guys are also trying to make them engaged. So how do you do that? How do you run that balance between, yes, they are a member and that's great, but you need to engage and we need to be engaging.
Munoz: So how has your mission and goals changed as you look forward to 2021?
Purcell: So as we're moving into 2021, we're still maintaining our focus and have found a niche in being the advocates for our businesses. So we're going to continue to move full forward with the advocacy piece. We're also really going to continue to communicate. As new things come out, as things change, we're gonna continue to create those pieces, but we're still going to be providing content to our members. And so that might be tricky. You know, as we know right now, we're still not allowed to meet in person, and so how do you provide
Those virtual events that are engaging, that people want to participate in, and maybe that looks a little bit different? So honestly, 2021 has no huge game plan other than remain flexible, keep trying so that you can keep going forward. And it's okay if we fail, we're going to learn from it and we're going to pick something else up and we're going to continue to move forward. But as long as we are staying in communication with our members, as long as we are creating opportunities to alleviate their pain points, I think we're going to stay right on target.
Munoz: So I'm looking for some advice for those that are participating here today, because hopefully, there are organizations, chambers, private, public, lots of different options for you as a business owner. And there is a cost associated with it, and you know, money is not infinite. So when you're looking at what organization to join, what's a good way to evaluate what's a good organization for you and your business?
Purcell: Absolutely. So when I first thought about this question I was thinking, return on investment. Everybody wants to see the return on their investment. But sometimes when you're thinking of return on investment, it also means self-reflection. And within that self-reflection, you're really starting to look back and see, you know, what did I put forth in this investment in order to get a return? And I compare this to your gym membership. So, you know, if you are paying monthly for your gym membership, but you're not going to the gym. You're not going to see a return on your investment.
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