Small business owners engage their chamber of commerce at various stages during the life cycle of their business.  In serving this community, I’ve found many are seeking some sort of silver bullet (if you will) of assurance that success is in the cards for their business, and by joining the chamber they insure this outcome.   Naturally, everyone’s idea of success is different, so this becomes a tricky undertaking.  In a word, chambers have found themselves in the fortune-telling business, totally by accident of course.  In spite of this, I believe chambers have been missing a real opportunity to capitalize on what really insures success – change.  

Now, I’m sure there is a Dummies version for Owning a Business, but no one can accurately predict all the variables that have the potential of impacting a business during its lifetime.  What is clear from my experience in owning a business and working with countless small businesses over the past three years, is that change truly is the key to success.  If nothing else, the economic roller coaster of recent years has taught us this.  While I see some wrestling with things with an almost doomsday approach, others are leveraging change and not only surviving, but thriving.  I happen to be an example of one who did not anticipate or embrace change among other things when it came to my business and closed after seven years despite mind-blowing growth. 

Chambers have long been focused on two areas of what the small business needs – network building and marketing.  Both of these are critical to any success plan, but instead, what is more important is instilling the inspiration and guidance to make the changes that will insure success.  From where I sit, some businesses need to reassess their overall business concept.  Is it struggling because it has out last the client’s need for its products or services?  Is the business employing costly procedures that are eating into revenue that would otherwise make it successful?  Or my favorite – has the business cut back on marketing to conserve funds? ( Side bar:  In THIS economic climate, why would any business pull back on this essential business expense? After all, its competitors are likely doing the same thing leaving the door wide open to increase business.  And with all the free options in this world of social media, may I just say it – duh?)

So, what am I trying to say exactly?  I thought you might ask that.  So, here it is. Businesses need to embrace this idea of change as we move into 2012 now more than ever.  Current predictors don’t show the economic climate looking any different in the coming months, so what change are you going to adopt in 2012 to insure your business is poised for the inevitable upswing, and we party like its 1999?  Whether you work with your small business administration, business coach, or chamber/association – make the commitment to deploy the changes that will inevitably catapult your business to the next level.  

As far as chambers are concerned, we have to finally realize that the business world is not business as usual, and that change applies to us as well.  Generation X, Y and Z are whole new breed of business owners and they need our economic, community and business development chops. 

Change is in the air!


Adrian Brown

Connector, Durham Enthusiast, Downtown Resident