Where will the next decade take your business?

December 13, 2019Doug Peters, President and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

If you’re like many business owners, you’re more likely thinking about where you’ll take your business than where your business will take you. As you should be.

This time of year always makes me think about the Chamber and the work that we do every day on behalf of our members and the economy. A new year – and a new decade to boot – are always a great time to think about how we’ll position ourselves and our businesses to do great things.

For the Chamber, we’re working at becoming brilliant at the basics. We want your business to thrive, and we want to be the best we can be in that effort. Whether its business advocacy and serving our members, recruiting new jobs and capital investment to our community, the next convention or travel group, advancing the arts, protecting and promoting the mission at Dyess AFB and supporting our airmen and their families, well – we’re on it.

If you recall, we’ve already been named by way of accreditation as one of the top 200 best performing Chambers in the country, out of more than 7,000. We have a plan, we have great leadership in our elected board, we have the world’s best volunteers (thank you sincerely for sharing your company’s talent with us) and we have a member retention and engagement level that far exceeds the national average.

But we’ll keep focused, and working to get better at what we do.

How about you? Where are your sights set for the coming year?

Here are Doug’s Top Tips to think about as the new decade approaches:

  1. Schedule a break – Has it been a while since you’ve slowed down and taken a break from your business or career? Consider scheduling some time off in the new year. Not only can time off help to reduce stress and prevent burnout, but it can also give you a fresh perspective that you can use in your business when you return. Taking a break – even a short one – is easier said than done. Consider taking an afternoon off to explore the city you live in. Visit Abilene can help plan your staycation.
  2. Increase traffic online – Digital media is only increasing. Are you up-to-date on the 2020 digital marketing trends? Read up on ways you can increase your online traffic and rest assured that your Chamber membership helps automatically increase your SEO score. That’s right – joining the Abilene Chamber gives you a ‘dofollow’ backlink from our website. Meaning, Google and the other search engines look to you as more favorable from an SEO standpoint. If you have a link from us, and your competitors don’t, you’re more likely to show up in Google searches.
  3. Find new opportunities for networking – If you are not actively networking, set a goal this year that gets you in front of more people and expands your business network. The Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council is bringing back monthly networking lunches which gives you a total of five monthly networking opportunities from the Chamber alone to help you make connections including a new event you can look for in 2020 called 1 Millions Cups. In partnership with McMurry University, Chamber members can now take advantage of this new networking opportunity for entrepreneurs. It will take place the last Wednesday of every month at McMurry’s innovation room. Look for more info on those events on the Chamber’s calendar.
  4. Learn something new – You’d think that after all these years in the Chamber and economic development business, I’d be pretty set on the “know-how.”  Truth is, I usually learn something new every single day.  And, the days I don’t pick up something that makes me – and by extension the Chamber  – better, is a day that disappoints me.  Invest a little time in identifying and participating in seminars, look into the Chamber’s online Tools for Business resource (I’m telling you, it’s awesome), make it a point to learn from others (my favorite part of networking) or however you get your learning on. And, don’t forget about the people who work for you. They need education and inspiration, too.
  5. Take your business Back to Basics – Remember why you started. Remember why you enjoyed your job in the first place. Think about all the blessings that come to you. It’s easy to focus on the minutia and the challenges. Don’t overlook the opportunities to grow – to broaden your horizon. Force yourself to think of all you’re grateful for. Consider forcing yourself to write one thank you note each day. Doing so forces us to really think about all we have to be grateful for. The “good stuff” often gets lost when we constantly focus on the hard stuff.
  6. Engage in the Chamber (my favorite) – Your Chamber is driven by the leadership of its investors. Yep, that would be YOU. A good friend of mine wrote a book that chronicles the history of Chambers of Commerce and their major achievements across the US. It’s worth the read – look up Magicians of Main Street by Chris Mead.  The cool thing about that book is that every major achievement (the Golden Gate Bridge, the St. Louis Arch, Lindbergh’s flight and many, many more) were thought of and implemented by people just like you, in a Chamber just like ours, in a community much like Abilene as solutions to challenges facing their respective business communities. And, while you’re at it, invite a local business to join the Chamber movement. Think of all we can do – together.

I could go on, but you get the point. A sunsetting year is always followed by the dawn of a new one. And in this case, that new year just happens to be the start of a brand new decade. Let’s both pledge to work closely together to not only better your bottom line, but to position our thriving city for continued greatness.

I hope that 2019 is all that you’d hoped it would be, and that 2020 exceeds your wildest expectations – with good health, success, unmatched prosperity and personal and professional growth.

Merry Christmas from your team at the Chamber,
Doug

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