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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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

8 Success Secrets For Businesses At The Lake

As a business owner, few things matter as much as the continued growth of your company. It's your passion as well as your livelihood, and its success is integrally linked to your own. As active supporters of businesses at the Lake, Lake Area Chamber of Commerce is here to explore with you some tried-and-true secrets for entrepreneurial success.


1. Believe In Your Brand.
First and foremost, it is critical that you believe in your business and in what you can offer to the community. When you believe in your company and your product, it's not only easier to sell your services - it's also easier to muster the motivation required to continuously grow your business.

2. Think Long-Term.
Ideally, your business will be a part of the professional community at the Lake of the Ozarks for many years. In order to survive, you have think long-term. That means that you take time to plan and prepare before launching new products/services, expanding, hiring new employees, or taking other big steps within your company. Don't leap before you have evaluated whether or not you will be able to sustain your jump.

3. Make Cash Flow Your Priority.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of a successful business. In order to survive, your business must have enough money coming in to support its expenses, both fixed (rent, electricity, employee wages) and adjustable (marketing, new business cards, office decor). Since your fixed expenses are non-negotiable, make sure you have enough cash flow to cover them before spending money on the extras.

4. Network, Network, Network.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - people want to do business with people. One of the best ways to ensure success for your company is to build a strong network with your local community. Ideally, this network will not only buy your products/services directly - they'll refer your business to their friends, families, and coworkers. Traditional advertising methods have their advantages, but they can't compete with the marketing power of face-to-face networking.

5. Cut Costs Wherever Possible.
Even if your business is thriving, you can increase your company's bottom line by not spending more than necessary. There are any number of different ways to lower your costs. You could shop for pre-owned office decor instead of buying brand new pieces, for example, or you could consider hiring outside contractors/agencies to perform certain jobs on an as-needed basis (rather than hiring a full-time employee to manage them). 

6. Overestimate Expenses And Underestimate Revenues.
Building a budget for your business is essential, and so is the way you go about it. When estimating your budget, round up how much you think you will have to spend and round down how much you think you will earn. Hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised, but this way you'll be prepared in the event that the cash doesn't flow as you'd hoped.

7. Get Involved.
Your company's reputation is its most valuable asset. Of course, reputation can't be built in a day - it takes an ongoing investment of time and energy to build a strong reputation that will help you earn new and repeat business. One of the best ways to improve your company's reputation is to get involved and to give back to the community. If people see that you are committed to your local community, they will be more inclined to support your business.

8. Don't Do It Alone.
The most successful businesses have a strong support system. No entrepreneur can do everything alone - in order to help your business truly succeed, embrace the collective power of building a strong, underlying foundation of friends, family, and community professionals who are dedicated to your company's success.

If you are looking for a community of like-minded professionals committed to helping your company succeed, look no further than Lake Area Chamber. We are committed to supporting local businesses through a variety of benefits and involvement opportunities, and we would be honored to do everything we can to help you grow your business at the Lake of the Ozarks.

To learn how Lake Area Chamber of Commerce can help you, check out our member benefits. As always, feel free to call us at (573) 964-1008 with any questions you may have!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Friday, May 26, 2017

SAVE THE DATE - Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show 2017

It's Not Your Average Trade Show!


At Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, we are always looking for ways to further enhance and support our wonderful community at the Lake of the Ozarks. We recently introduced a new annual event to the community calendar - the Lake of the Ozarks Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show. Hosted by Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, this unique and varied trade show offers something for everyone. The event itself is still a few months out, but it's not too soon to reserve a vendor booth for your business!

Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show

This one-of-a-kind event is best described as three trade shows in one. Specifically, we are looking for vendors in the following overarching categories:
  • Home
    • Real estate, home improvement, home services, and trades such as plumbing, roofing, landscaping, heating and cooling, etc.
  • Lifestyle
    • Health, wellness, beauty, entertainment, business, personal services, etc.
  • Sport
    • Boating, golfing, fishing, hunting, water activities, etc.

Outdoor living, recreation, business and professional services, health and wellness, home remodeling, and everything in between - this diverse show promises to have something for everyone! If you are interested in getting your business, products, and services in front of hundreds of attendees (plus all the other vendors), the Home, Lifestyle, & Sport Show is one you won't want to miss!

Big Exhibitors Welcome! There will be an opportunity to display boats, campers, all-terrain vehicles, and other large exhibits outside.


2017 Event Information
  • Date:  Friday, October 13 & Saturday, October 14
  • Time:  4:00 PM - 9:00 PM on Friday, 9 AM - 5:00 PM on Saturday
  • Place:  Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO

Local musician Shawn C will provide live entertainment on Friday night! There will also be three live segments throughout the day on Saturday (the schedule will be released late this summer).

KRMS News/Talk Radio will be conducting a live broadcast at the show which will be aired on 1150 AM, 97.5 FM, and 104.9 FM.

Reserve Your Booth Today!

It's not too soon to start preparing for this year's show. Booths are available to all businesses at the Lake of the Ozarks, and members of Lake Area Chamber receive exclusive discounts on booth prices. 

Get the early bird discount ($25 off per booth) by reserving and paying for your booth by July 14th! Click here to download the general vendor application.

As always, feel free to contact our Lake of the Ozarks Chamber of Commerce with any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lake Chamber At Work: Speed Leads Networking Luncheons

At Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, our mission is to support the business community at the Lake of the Ozarks. We strive to do everything we can to support local companies and business professionals so that together, we can contribute to an ever-improving business culture. We host a variety events to give professionals an opportunity to come together for this purpose. This week, we're taking a closer look at one such event - our Speed Leads Networking Luncheons.


Speed Leads Networking Luncheons

Twice per year, we collaborate with the other local Chambers (Lake West Chamber and Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce) to host our famous Speed Leads Networking Luncheons. Fast-paced and fun-filled, these events provide a great opportunity for local professionals to meet new people, exchange ideas, and generate new leads for their businesses. These events are exclusive - as an added benefit to our valued members, only Chamber members are welcome to participate!

How It Works

It's like speed dating for business professionals. Our Speed Leads Networking Luncheons are structured so that all participants will have a brief time to tell new contacts about their business, followed by another brief time to listen to their new contact share about their business as well. Participants rotate through the event so that everyone has the opportunity to meet as many new people as possible.

Since space is limited, we request that companies send no more than two representatives each. If you plan to send two representatives, we recommend that you have your team members collaborate ahead of time so that they can each plan to pitch different aspects of your company.

But First - We Eat!

Of course, we won't send you out to network on an empty stomach! These networking events are hosted during lunch hour for a reason - we begin each of these events with lunch provided by the chosen location for that day's event. Past locations include Li'l Rizzo's, Lake Valley Country Club, and Osage National Golf Course. Once we're finished with lunch, we dive into the networking event. 

What To Bring

Participants are encouraged to bring lots of business cards to pass out to their new contacts. Since your time with other participants is limited, it is also best to come prepared with a brief "elevator speech" you can deliver to your new contacts. Practice this speech in advance so that you are well-prepared for the big day!

We ask that general participants do not bring additional marketing materials, as this privilege is reserved for the sponsor of that particular event.

Mark Your Calendar!

These fast-paced, high-energy events are held only twice per year, so it's important to take advantage of the opportunities they present! Our next Speed Leads Networking Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. Location and additional details will be announced later. Mark your calendars now so that you can plan to join us!

If you'd like more information about our Speed Lead Networking Luncheons, call Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at (573) 964-1008. In the meantime, be sure to keep up with everything happening at the Chamber by liking our Facebook page!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

5 Success Tips For Nervous Networkers

Networking is the art of expanding, building, and strengthening your network of business professionals. In addition to furthering your connections with people you already know, networking involves approaching strangers so that you can forge new relationships with new opportunities. For some people, networking comes naturally and easily. For others, the concept may seem intimidating (to say the least).


The Importance Of Networking

Here at Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, we are huge believers in the power of networking. People want to do business with people - one of the best ways to help your business grow is to build a strong network of people who will not only use your products or services personally, but who will refer your business to their friends, families, and coworkers.

In order to help our members take advantage of the potential that networking has to offer, our Lake of the Ozarks Chamber of Commerce hosts monthly networking socials for both existing and prospective members. These socials are designed to give individuals a chance to come together and share business ideas, goals, products, and services with local like-minded professionals.

However, we recognize that the idea of networking may not be everyone's cup of tea. For some, the idea of approaching new people and striking up conversations with perfect strangers may seem like a daunting prospect. In an effort to make networking less intimidating, we've compiled a few simple tips and suggestions to help people get past their hesitations so that they can take advantage of all the benefits networking has to offer.

5 Tips For Nervous Networkers

If the idea of approaching strangers at a networking event puts a knot in your stomach, these tips may help you overcome this hurdle.

1. Use The Buddy System.
If networking seems scary to you, it's probably not because you're afraid of talking about your business - it's more likely because you're afraid of talking to people you don't know. You can ease this transition by going with a friend who can introduce you to their contacts. Having a friend along is also a helpful way to foster new relationships altogether, since the two of you can approach strangers together. Just be careful that you avoid giving in to the temptation of squaring off and exclusively speaking with your friend all evening.

2. Look For Small Groups
If you're trying to join a conversation with people you don't yet know, you'll likely have an easier time joining small groups of two, three, or four people. Groups of five or more tend to be harder to break into (and much more intimidating).

3. Ask Questions
Asking questions is the secret to networking success. Not only does it provide you with a valuable opportunity to learn about your new contact's business - it takes the pressure off of you from having to talk about yourself while you get your bearings. Once you have broken the ice, you can share some information about your own company in return.

4. Practice Breaking Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
Sometimes, taking an indirect route may just as effective. Rather than psyching yourself up to talk to a stranger at a networking event, start by tackling a different one your fears. Once you've learned (or at least attempted several times) to talk on the phone, deal with spiders in your house, or face one of your other fears, talking to new people at a networking event may seem much less intimidating in comparison.

5. Wear A Name Tag & Bring Business Cards
Name tags and business cards are networking staples. By wearing a name tag, you will automatically make yourself much more approachable. By bringing business cards, you will be able to easily exchange contact information with people you meet. You can also use them as a cheat sheet for yourself by scribbling impressions and other notes about your conversation on the back of your new contact's card.

Hone Your Networking Skills At Our Next Social!

Ultimately, all the preparation in the world can't possibly compare to the act of actually putting yourself out there. It might be scary at first, but as with everything else, it gets easier the more you do it. All it takes is a little practice.

Our next networking social is coming up on Tuesday, May 16th from 5:00 - 7:00 PM. The event will be held at Camden on the Lake, which is located at 2359 Bittersweet Road in Lake Ozark, Missouri. Specifically, the social will take place in Toad Island, a new Jamaican-themed restaurant at the resort. Free appetizers will be served, and a cash bar will be available.

For more information, contact Lake Area Chamber of Commerce by calling 573-964-1008. You can also RSVP to the event on Facebook.

See you there!

Contact Your Lake Area Chamber Of Commerce!


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