Tuesday, August 18, 2009

NWA Businesses Poised for Success

One of the most exciting abilities of a chamber of commerce is the capacity to affect positive change for businesses and the community. It sounds a little corny, but it is what we do on behalf of our members, and the primary reason we exist.

In the coming months as businesses continue to lift their heads and raise themselves out of the actual and perceived affects of the economic downturn, we see dozens of exciting things happening - some of which we've implemented, others we've just been fortunate to observe.

One such example is the overwhelming attitude of enthusiasm and promise at the NWA Business Conference & Expo earlier this month. The theme of the day was thriving rather than simply surviving, and participating businesses radiated a desire to thrive and an eagerness to absorb resources and information throughout the day.

A room-capacity luncheon crowd hung on every word from Cindy Davis, EVP membership, marketing and e-commerce for Sam's Club, and celebrated as a peer and deserving business (Rick and Naomi McLeod from McLeod Insurance Agency/Farmers Insurance Group) was honored as Small Business of the Year. Many seminars (particularly those related to marketing, sales and growth themes) were standing-room only, and dozens hung on every word as Clyde Fessler delivered a keynote address on the innovative take-no-prisoners approach of Harley Davidson Motor Company's success during an economic downturn two decades ago.

While the event can certainly be judged an overwhelming success and we'd love to rest on those laurels, what matters to us is not whether the Chamber pulled off a great event, but rather how many businesses were positively affected and will take away at least one, great applicable idea to grow their own business.

Watching the crowd, mingling with the attendees and seeing dozens of businesses connect with one another in the Expo, it was evident that Northwest Arkansas businesses are indeed ready to thrive rather than simply survive. At the end of the day, that's what Growing Business, Building Community means for us at the Chamber!

Give us your input for next year - a number of sponsors and exhibitors have already committed for a bigger and better than ever 2010 NWA Business Conference & Expo!

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