Many people rely on local businesses to live fulfilling, productive lives. The Columbus Indiana Chamber of Commerce was established with this in mind. Since its founding in 1890, the organization has been a valuable resource for local businesses across many different industries. Columbus Indiana Chamber of Commerce works notably hard to promote a sense of collaboration and entrepreneurship in the community with its 49 Fridays initiative.
With all that in mind, here is a breakdown of the 49 Fridays initiative, as well as some practical tips for creating a dynamic network of entepreneurs.
What Is the 49 Fridays Initiative?
The main goal of the 49 Fridays initiative is to highlight and promote local businesses. Every Friday, a local entrepreneur will be interviewed by a member of the Columbus Chamber. Due to current circumstances, interviews are held on Zoom at 8 AM and are free for all attendees.
The special program was kicked off by Ninebx Family Organizer founder and CEO Manish Goel on tailoring corporate management for today’s family through his app. On September 11th of 2020, the Chamber spoke with Content Cucumber founder Chris Chasteen about taking on the burden of business blogging and creating a much-needed service.
Along with interviews, the Chamber will have giveaways on occasion. While the program airs on most Fridays, it will not be available on major holidays (for example, Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving).
The Importance of An Entrepreneurial Network
Having an entrepreneurial network is a massive part of building a business – whether local, national, or international. Businesses that foster strong relationships with their communities endure, and businesses that foster a strong relationship with other entrepreneurs open the door for more opportunities.
These opportunities help a community’s economy grow stronger. When a community's economy is strong, it is better able to serve the people that keep it alive. As a result, money continuously circulates through the community. Furthermore, creating a wide entrepreneurial network expands your knowledge. This allows you to learn about trends, hear about what works and what doesn’t, and maybe even get a heads up on the latest product before anyone else.
Networking in the Community: A Key to Success
Networking allows you to build relationships that help you grow professionally. More important, though, involving your community in networking can get you the support you need for long-term success. This is especially beneficial when you first launch a business, as it increases community awareness. Remember: most business recommendations come from friends and family.
What’s more, customers are much more likely to frequent businesses they trust, both in terms of products offered and values upheld. One consumer survey revealed that 80% of respondents were more likely to patronize a business if they trusted the people behind that business to promote values they also believed in.
Beyond the Community
As customers come to trust you more, your good reputation may blossom beyond your community. With more and more people relying on the internet to find excellent products and services, you do not want to underestimate the power of a few glowing online reviews. In fact, it is estimated that 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as word of mouth recommendations. Additionally, anybody passing through your area will likely look at reviews, meaning you will have the chance to impress outsiders. Impressed outsiders are likely to spread the word of their wonderful experience, which keeps your reputation flourishing.
How Do I Network?
Too often, people think they have to be a natural social butterfly to succeed at networking, but that is not necessarily the case. Networking happens any time you communicate with someone at a trade fair, share contact information at a party, post on mailing lists, or even just talk to people in your community. Just remember to be friendly and to get your or your business’s name known by as many people as you can.
Community networking events give small businesses the opportunity to show locals not only what they have to offer but also what is important to them. This helps them instill trust in potential customers, which in turn promotes a more dynamic community and a more robust local economy.
At the end of the day, networking and entrepreneurship go hand and hand when it comes to building and maintaining a booming community in Columbus, Indiana.