Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tips to Gear Up For a Networking Event

Whether you network frequently or are less familiar with this activity, it’s an important skill to help your business blossom. With a number of networking events at the Lake of the Ozark, it’s best to be prepared before attending the next event. The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce provides a number of opportunities to meet and get to know fellow business owners and employees in the area. Our goal is to always provide a welcoming environment for ALL networkers. If you’re getting ready to attend an event, check out the tips provided below to help you succeed at your next event.


Plan Ahead

Before you walk into your next networking event, think about what you want to accomplish. Whether you are looking to expand your acquaintances in the area or build upon exiting relationships, it’s best to set a goal and keep it top of mind when networking. Along with planning ahead, it’s best to arrive as soon as a networking event begins. This can help ensure you get to meet everyone as they enter the room and can help ease any intimidation that may be lingering in your mind.

Bring Your Smile

A smile is a great ice breaker and allows you to welcome fellow networkers in a non-verbal way. When someone is smiling, they seem more approachable for others attending the event. A new networker may be drawn to someone with a welcoming smile and may lead to meeting more people.

Don’t Forget Your Business Cards

Business cards are a staple for any networking event. When you meet new people, it’s best to exchange cards to help reinforce the new acquaintance. This is also a great idea to have business cards of fellow business owners whom you’ve met at local networking events. Although you may not need their service right away, if the opportunity comes up, you are more likely to choose to do business with someone you have met… and now you have their card handy!

Dress to Impress

Before heading out to your next networking event, do a double take at the mirror. While it’s not necessary to wear a suit and tie (especially at The Lake), it is still important to give off a professional appearance. This can help you be taken seriously as a business owner or employee and fellow networker.

Relax

If you aren’t completely comfortable networking, take a deep breath! Once you enter a networking event and start meeting new faces, your worries will likely fly out the window. Don’t get worked up about attending an event, everyone is in the same boat and it’s important to get to know others in the area – especially if you’re looking to grow your business!

Our June Networking Event


Give it a Whirl at our July Social!

Our next networking social is tonight! Join us July 18th at the Inn at Grand Glaize from 5:00-7:00 pm. Networking, free appetizers, and a cash bar will be available for your enjoyment. Get to know other business owners at the Lake of the Ozarks at the social tonight. We look forward to providing the ideal environment for getting to know your fellow networkers!

Now that you’re more familiar with these networking preparation tips, you can be confident when attending your next event. Whether you choose to join us this evening (7/18) at the Inn at Grand Glaize or have another networking event in mind, we hope you can put these tips to good use soon! With a number of networking events throughout the year, there are plenty of opportunities to get familiar with and polish up your networking skills with the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. We hope to see you on July 18th from 5:00-7:00!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Friday, July 14, 2017

Reasons to Start Your Business at The Lake

Are you looking to relocate your business or start up a new venture all together? The Lake of the Ozarks offers a great location for businesses. The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is here to help new and existing businesses expand to their fullest potential. We are dedicated to getting new and existing businesses involved in the community! Take a look below to see just a few of the reasons why starting a business at the Lake of the Ozarks is ideal.


A Wide Range of Opportunity

No matter what type of business you're interesting in starting, there are plenty of opportunities at the Lake of the Ozarks. From rural space for a production plant to high traffic retail locations, we have the best of both worlds!

High Quality of Life

Our region has all of the essential ingredients necessary to provide a high quality of life. With natural beauty surrounding the Lake of the Ozarks and many opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy it - many residents love living here! With a comprehensive health care facility locally and a wide range of housing opportunities, it's a great fit for many families. Low crime rates are a big draw to the area, as well. There are also plenty of educational opportunities in the area - from elementary to high school to college, our area focuses on education!

Improving Economic Development

A local council, Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council, is dedicated to bring new businesses to the area. With a large highway system and five local airports easily connecting businesses to larger cities, the Lake of the Ozarks is a great place to house your business. The transportation options help to bring customers IN and allows access for your product to go OUT. 

Community Support Options

There are a number of organizations that provide support and a great outlet to meet fellow business owners. Our chamber helps facilitate this by providing monthly socials and a number of other events throughout the year. Getting involved is a great way to help your business thrive at the Lake of the Ozarks. 


Did We Mention The View?

If you've been to the Lake of the Ozarks, you know what we mean! With breathtaking views from morning to night, from summer to winter - it's a great place to relax and unwind. Whether you plan to live on the water or visit waterfront venues with your family, there are a number of ways to enjoy the natural beauty our area has to offer!

Are you ready to relocate or start your business at The Lake now? From cost of living to the growing economic development opportunities, there are a number of reasons why this area is ideal for your next business venture. With learning about these great reasons, you're ready to start taking action. If you'd like to learn more about growing your business at the Lake of the Ozarks, we'd love to help you! Visit our website or give us a call to learn how we can help you and your venture thrive.


Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Tips for a Successful Networking Experience

One of the best ways to gain exposure for your business is to participate in networking events. Here at the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, we put on a number of various events with a focus on networking. Networking can be intimidating for many, if you are not properly prepared. Whether you're new to networking or want to polish up your skills, we've provided some helpful tips for you below!


Get There Early


While it may be easy to talk yourself into being fashionably late, arrive early or on time for your next networking event. You want to represent your business in a positive light and arriving at a professional time (on time) says a lot. It is easier to get involved in conversations if you are already at the event when fellow networkers arrive. 

Ask Questions


Open ended questions are a great way to get to know people. This technique allows others in attendance to talk, which in turn helps you listen and get to know your fellow business owners and employees. If you are not a fan of being in the spotlight, asking other people questions can help take the light off of you, if that would make you more comfortable. 

Focus On Building Relationships


Don't try to push your business or message on fellow networkers at the event. This can make others feel that you are all about making a sale and not interested in relationships. Focus on getting to know fellow business owners in the area - you will be amazed at what comes from such relationships. 

Make Eye Contact & Smile


Eye contact is a great way to build trust and show fellow networkers that you ARE interested in what they have to say. It's also important to smile when meeting and talking with new people. If you don't have a pleasant smile on your face, you may seem unapproachable and give off the wrong vibe. 

Think About Your Goals As A Networker


Before entering your next networking opportunity, be sure to evaluate what your goals are for the event. Whether you want to meet new business owners in the area or build further on existing relationships, keep focused as to why you are at the event. 

HAVE FUN!


While networking is something you should take seriously for your business, it's important to have fun. Fellow networkers can tell if you are having fun and this can help you seem more approachable, build more contacts, and meet more people. 

Often times the success of your business can go hand-in-hand with networking. While it's not always comfortable at first, it's important to keep working on your skills and making improvements at every event you can attend. With many skills in life, networking takes practice. Don't feel discouraged after your first event - you likely did better than you give yourself credit for! To learn more about upcoming events in which you can polish your networking skills, visit our website for upcoming networking events at the Lake of the Ozarks


Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

All About The Midwest Wine & Brew Fest!

It's that time of year again...one of the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's most recognizable summer festivals is quickly approaching! The 25th Annual Midwest Wine & Brew Fest is scheduled for August 19th, 2017 at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO. Come out and explore the tastes of Missouri wines and brews, all in one location. For an exciting afternoon of samples from wineries, breweries, and area restaurants, it's a great way to spend time with others at our annual Lake of the Ozarks event!




WHO: Any wine & brew lover in Mid-MO - you know who you are!
WHAT: 25th Annual Midwest Wine & Brew Fest
WHEN: August 19th from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
WHERE: The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO
WHY: An afternoon filled with wines, brews, food samples, and FUN!

COST: Tickets are $15.00 in advance and $20.00 at the door


Taste Samples

With a wide range of samples available from Missouri wineries, breweries, and restaurants, take advantage of this unique festival right here at the Lake of the Ozarks. Samples are provided from a variety of vendors - treats from restaurants included! You can taste test local products BEFORE deciding which one you want to add to your favorites list!


Buy Products

Don't worry if you fall in love with a sample... vendors will have products for sale, as well! Vendors allow you to taste test before making your purchase. Once you taste your new favorite wine or brew, you can buy a bottle right there to add to your own personal collection.


Indulge In Treats

With samples available from local restaurants, you can change it up a bit with some food samples! Indulge in some of the area's finest treats present by Lake of the Ozarks restaurant vendors. After all, it's great to pair some of these drinks with delicious food!

HAVE FUN!

While the wine and brew is an important aspect of the festival, it's more important to have fun with the entire experience. As you make your way around the festival, tasting samples from various vendors, you can also enjoy the sweet sounds from our live entertainment! Make an entire afternoon out of this unique and FUN event!

Now that you know all about the upcoming Midwest Wine & Brew Fest, you can mark your calendars today! Whether you're a wino, foodie, or brew master, you won't want to miss out on this FUN and TASTY festival. Join us on August 19th for our annual event in which you can indulge in wine, brews, restaurant samples, all while listening to live entertainment! We look forward to seeing you and your crew there!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Monday, June 26, 2017

How To Get MORE Out Of Your Chamber Membership

You’re a smart business owner. You know that in order for your company to succeed, you need to make wise investments of both your time and your money. You know that getting involved is a great way to help your company grow and succeed, but you only have so much time and so many resources at your disposal. That means that you’ll have to be strategic about which organizations you choose to join.





 

Depending on how you choose to structure your involvement, joining Lake Area Chamber of Commerce can be a valuable investment of both your time and your money. Keep reading to learn how you can maximize the benefits of a Lake Area Chamber membership.

 

What A Chamber Membership Offers You

 

At its most basic level, a Chamber membership offers you two primary advantages:

  • Increased visibility
  • Enhanced credibility

 

The amount of visibility and credibility you can get from a Chamber membership will depend on how you choose to handle your involvement. The more ways you participate, the more visibility you’ll get and the greater credibility you’ll earn. Below are some of the different ways you can maximize your Chamber membership.

 

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Chamber Membership

 

  1. Have A Ribbon Cutting. Ribbon cuttings are available to all new Chamber members, as well as existing members who have a new location or are celebrating a milestone in their business. Ribbon cuttings are powerful ways to get more foot traffic at your location and increase your visibility.
  2. Display Marketing Materials In Willmore Lodge. All members are to encouraged to display marketing materials in the Willmore Lodge Visitor Center. Willmore Lodge welcomed over 11,000 visitors in 2016, and over 90% of them left with a brochure, map, or other information.
  3. Sponsor Events. Lake Area Chamber of Commerce promotes community involvement and attracts visitors to the Lake Area by hosting four major events throughout the year: Cocktails & Caddies Golf Tournament, Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals, Midwest Wine & Brew Festival, and the Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show. By sponsoring these events, you can get your business name in front of the thousands of participants that attend these events.
  4. Volunteer For Events. Volunteering is a powerful way to build credibility for your business, as it requires a personal investment of time and energy solely for the benefit of others. Since they recognize and respect the investment volunteers make, most consumers are significantly more likely to support businesses that they know support the local community.
  5. Get Involved. Volunteering isn’t the only opportunity to increase your company’s visibility through involvement. The Chamber hosts several other opportunities for you and your employees to get in front of potential customers, such as our Eggs & Issues Breakfast Forums, Speed Leads Networking Luncheons, and Monthly Networking Socials. Remember, the more easily accessible you are to the community, the more credible you’ll be.
  6. Advertise Online. Since many consumers make purchase decisions based on the business information they find online, improving your online visibility can be a powerful way to grow your business. We encourage members to advertise via the Chamber by purchasing a link to their own website from the Chamber’s site (which can benefit your site’s search engine optimization). Members can also advertise via the Chamber’s e-blasts, vacation mailing program, Fort Leonard Wood program, and event sponsorships.

 

Let Us Help You GROW Your Business!



 

Lake Area Chamber of Commerce makes it our mission to improve the economic community in the Lake Area as a whole, but we focus our primary efforts on supporting our member businesses and professionals. If you would like to learn more about how a membership with Lake Area Chamber can benefit you, don’t hesitate to call our team at 573-964-1008. We look forward to helping support your business at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks!


Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Monday, June 12, 2017

What NOT To Do At A Networking Event

Networking is one of the most powerful tools in your entrepreneurial tool belt. When done well, networking can (sometimes single-handedly) lead to exponential growth of your business. In order to support our existing and prospective members, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to host monthly networking socials at the Lake of the Ozarks.


A week prior to the event each month, we write a blog geared towards helping participants get the most out of these events by offering helpful tips and tricks for the upcoming social. This month, we're switching things up a bit - instead of focusing on what to do to get the most out of your networking night, we're going to look specifically at some of the things you should not do at a networking event.


What NOT To Do At A Networking Event


(Don't) Go With Friends.

The biggest networking mistake people make is spending the whole event talking with friends and colleagues they already know, rather than taking the opportunity to meet new people and build new connections. If you go with friends, you'll be more likely to make this mistake. Going by yourself may be a much smarter move.

(Don't) Try To Meet Everybody.

While meeting new people and fostering new connections is important, it's also important to avoid overwhelming yourself by trying to meet every person there. Instead, take the time to build meaningful connections with the people you meet. The old saying "quality over quantity" applies to networking, too.


Photo from last month's social
at Camden on the Lake
(Don't) Scout Your Next Contact Prematurely.
There is nothing wrong with making a mental game plan of who you'd like to talk to at your networking event, but it is rude to take your focus away from the person you're talking to. Wait until your current conversation has finished before you scan the room to identify your next contact.

(Don't) Sell Your Product.

Of course your ultimate goal is to grow your business and sell more of your products/services, but your initial meeting with someone is not the time to do that. For now, focus on building connections and establishing rapport. If you push sales messages on people you've just met, they may be likely to tune you out.

(Don't) Focus On Yourself. 

A networking event is your opportunity to get to know the other professionals in your community. Asking your new connections open-ended questions about themselves and their businesses is a great way to get started. While you should of course answer any questions they ask you in return, try to avoid focusing too much on talking about yourself.

(Don't) Drink Too Much.

The cash bar is a staple at our (and many other) networking events. Alcohol helps many people unwind in the evening after a long day at work and may help ease the nervousness many people feel at the prospect of meeting new people. However, it's critical that you avoid drinking too much - becoming intoxicated (or even slightly "buzzed") at a networking event will likely cause new contacts to form a negative impression of you. A good rule of thumb is to only drink half (or less) of what you would normally have under different circumstances.


Photo from last month's social
at Camden on the Lake

See You At Our Next Social!


The networking events hosted by our Lake of the Ozarks Chamber of Commerce are great opportunities for meeting new contacts and honing your networking skills. Make plans now to join us at our upcoming social:

  • Date:  Tuesday, June 20, 2017
  • Time:  5:00 - 7:00 PM
  • Place:  Redhead Lakeside Grill

Redhead Lakeside Grill is located at 1700 Yacht Club Drive in Osage Beach. Free appetizers and a cash bar will be provided.

Don't forget to bring plenty of business cards! If you have any question about the upcoming event, don't hesitate to reach out to Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. We look forward to seeing you there!


Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

How The Chamber Supports The Lake Community

At Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, we do everything we can to support local businesses, professionals, and the fantastic community we are blessed to call home. As dedicated supporters of our local business community, we do a number of different things that contribute to the continued success of (and quality of life at) the Lake of the Ozarks. 


Keep reading to learn more about how Lake Area Chamber of Commerce benefits the local community. You might be surprised by what you learn!
Mission Statement: The Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is committed improve the economic prosperity and quality of life in the Lake of the Ozarks area, and to be the principal advocate for and a provider of services to its business community. 
Our Vision: Be the foremost voice and partner for business, economic development and community enrichment.

Building The Lake Community's Brand

Many people don't realize this, but the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce pioneered the initial installation of the iconic Hollywood-style "Lake of the Ozarks" sign that welcomes visitors as they enter the Lake community while traveling eastbound on Highway 54. The sign just celebrated its 5th anniversary. We are honored and proud to maintain this now nationally recognized landmark, and hopes that it continues to serve as a warm welcome to all who visit our beautiful Lake of the Ozarks.

In addition to the iconic Lake of the Ozarks sign, we are also responsible for maintaining the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks welcome garden (located at the intersection of Osage Beach Parkway and Bagnell Dam Boulevard. Finally, we also help build the Lake's brand as a go-to vacation destination by staffing the Willmore Lodge Visitor Center. It is our privilege to welcome tourists, answer questions, and help them find the resources they need to have a wonderful vacation.


Drawing Visitors To The Lake

Not only do we welcome and support vacationers once they are here - we make a point to jump-start our local economy by drawing visitors to our beautiful area. We host a several large community events that attract spectators and participants from all over the region:
  • Midwest Wine & Brew Festival
  • Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals

We donate some of the proceeds from the Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals to the Lake Ozark Police Department and the volunteer organizations as a way of saying thanks for the hours they put in to support this event. We also host the Cocktails & Caddies Golf Tournament and the Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show, which attract many second-home owners as well as local residents.

Chamber Committees

Lake Area Chamber of Commerce also staffs several standing committees that work on a variety of different issues throughout the year. Specifically, these committees focus on:
  • Economic Development,
  • Legislative / Government, and
  • Helping build a better business climate for members through economic development as well as governmental affairs and issues.

Executive Director of Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, K.C. Cloke, also serves on the Lake Race committee as well as LOREDC (Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council).

Help Us Help You!

We consider ourselves truly fortunate to get to support such a beautiful community. We take great pride in helping local businesses and professionals reach their full potential. Of course, none of it would be possible without the continued support and involvement of our valued Chamber members.

If you are already taking advantages of a Lake Area Chamber membership, we thank you for your support and look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come. If you are not yet a Chamber member, we hope you'll reach out to us to learn more about what Lake Area Chamber can offer you. We promise to do all that we can to support your continued growth as a company and/or business professional at the Lake of the Ozarks!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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