July 21st, 2019

Business Beat: Fueling business growth through connections, support and influence

By Lisa Kowalchuk on July 10, 2019.

My activity over the past couple of months has been primarily focused on building our connections, while enhancing our supports and building our influence. It has been rewarding to see how a strong network with both breadth and quality of connections compounds our influence, effectiveness and success in the business community and fuels business growth.

We’ve invested more than 250 hours over six days to building our connections during our biennial Chamber Connect business visitation program. We visited with more than 1,375 businesses, investing the time to connect with our business community to let them know we are here to support and partner with them, as well as to answer any questions or help with their concerns.

We’ve also dedicated time to agribusiness initiatives through our agriculture advocacy session and task forces to ensure we are connecting with this key sector of our economy. Whether discussing issues of trade, agriculture education, irrigation, risk management or labour challenges within this industry, we are working to make connections and gathering research and data to help us work towards our common objectives.

The Alberta Chambers annual policy conference in May gathered together Chambers from across the province, as we connected with colleagues and business leaders to discuss issues of importance to our economy, to share ideas, resources and best practices, as well as to be ambassadors for our community and discover ways in which we can work together to advance our common goals.

My journey then took me to Iqaluit to attend my Canadian Chamber Board of Directors meeting, taking the opportunity to connect with other directors and industry leaders from across the country, while also learning about this remote Arctic region. These connections allowed us to gain a new perspective and understanding of the vast array of business challenges across our country and gain an understanding of our northern economy and the supports needed, along with how they are working to establish connections and partnerships across the nation. At this same meeting, we also had the opportunity to discuss our federal Vote Prosperity election campaign, while working on a new three year strategic plan that will bring even more supports for all businesses and particularly SMEs, offering greater connections and relevance to our network into the future.

This has been in addition to my involvement in a national benchmarking initiative to provide data connectivity across Chambers nationally, as well as investing in office renovations to provide a space that will ignite more connections amongst our members. We’ve also been working on a communication and marketing strategy to help us better connect with our business community and we’ve continued to invest time in establishing connections and furthering our research to advance our advocacy work.

These have all tied together the common element of building our connections, support and influence locally, provincially and nationally in order to fuel business growth into the future. This provides the opportunity to put our Chamber and our region at the forefront of the issues, while allowing us to build opportunities for our business community, to profile the great work within our region, to offer up solutions, support and strategic direction and to contribute to the ongoing partnerships with our business network across this country.

As business owners and employees, you need to build your network of connections, support and influence in order to elevate your success. Your connections act as your referral network and support system – either bringing you new customers, retaining existing ones or building up your business support system of advisors, consultants, contractors, mentors, resources and business partners. These connections add to your level of influence, helping you build your credibility, reputation, trust and ultimately, success.

As a Chamber, we are able to leverage these types of connections and better connect your business because of the breadth and quality of connections within our network. From new startup businesses that are taking the risk to build their future; to the small businesses who have long stabilized our economy through their fortitude and commitment to our community; to those businesses who are connectors and relationship builders; to the business leaders who have and continue to be influential in making our community what it is today, along with our promoters who are focused on establishing strong brand profiles and our community builders who heavily invest in our community to continue to build our region and contribute to our success – all businesses have invested within our region and have contributed to our success as a community, while growing their own network to help build on their success and our collective network of influence.

We know the value of having a network of influence and connections and we want to partner with you to help fuel your business growth.

Lisa Kowalchuk is the executive director of the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce. For more information on this column or the Chamber, contact 403-527-5214.

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