SHERIDAN – Members of the Greater Ruby Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture gathered at the Philanthropy River Building in Sheridan on Thursday evening to welcome president elect Mike Bronner and discuss efficient strategies for local community businesses.
Following a brief reception with cocktails and hors devours, the group received a presentation from Jumping Rainbow Espresso owner Sarah Miller on the Buy Local program.
GRVCCA advertising and public relations representative Debra McNeill also gave a presentation on the importance of chamber members being included in the business directory located on the chamber website. McNeill explained often times the Internet is the primary source of information visitors to the Ruby Valley go to for looking up local businesses. By participating in the getlostMT.com advertising campaign, visitors to the website get access to information about where to stay, where to eat and what to do.
“I expect that we’re going to have a lot of long term benefits of people coming back and looking at our chamber website that wouldn’t have otherwise if they hadn’t seen it through this campaign,” McNeill said.
After McNeill’s presentation, current chamber president Carol Delisi opened the floor to discussion about what makes a business run efficiently. The group was presented with three basic questions about their businesses: What has made them successful, what challenges they have overcome and how they hope to attract new customers.
Several insightful responses came from the group’s discussion. One local business owner suggested the key to a successful business is giving the customer what they want, even it means providing a service or product they wouldn’t ordinarily offer. Some of the basic business practices that chambers found successful from first-hand experience were maintaining a level of professionalism and going out of one’s way to treat potential customers as friends and neighbors, not just a source of income during business hours.
Others simple suggestions ranged from offering a smaller product for a smaller community and including information about the business in the product’s name, to using word of mouth to advertising, running a business by the book and talking about customers within the community.
“Here, that’s how we build our businesses and how we build those relationships that we need,” Delisi said. “Part of our organization is to say ‘How can we leverage each other in understanding how we can create more business in the valley, bring more people in and show that we are thriving and growing and that its really a dynamic place to be?’”