We have a theory at the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. Prepare yourself: it is a little bit Pollyanna-ish. We honestly believe that local action can affect big change. Take the economy as a starting point: can we change it across America tomorrow? Probably not. Can we stimulate positive changes that help local businesses and, in turn, serve as the first steps toward national (and international) recovery? Absolutely.
Step 1: Good news. It's out there, but you have to listen carefully to find it with all the rhetoric and background noise. Here's a start: mortgage rates are lower than the nation has seen in decades, and can potentially place dollars in consumers' pockets resulting in spending, which could in turn jump start the economy. Need more good news to get your motor running?
Try this: we are seeing significant inquiries at the Rogers-Lowell Chamber and throughout the community related to small business start-ups, job creation and economic development prospects. Our region's growth may have slowed with the housing market crisis and other economic stressors, but Northwest Arkansas is still a growing, nationally-competitive place to do business (and enjoy life and raise a family). Case(s) in point:
1. Cryovac, Inc. - a subsidiary of Sealed Air Corporation in Rogers - announced 21 - 24 new jobs thanks to a business expansion last month, with a total economic impact for our community of more than $1.5 million.
2. Don's Cold Storage and Transportation in Rogers is adding more than 20 competitive jobs with an expansion representing more than $7 million in economic impact for our community.
3. Enformix Technology Services will move 40 jobs to Historic Downtown Rogers upon completion of upgrades to its new facility. The company is expert in IT strategy development and information technology, particularly in the field of long-term care.
4. NWA ranked #4 on Forbes list of best places for business and careers: http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/25/best-cities-careers-bizplaces09-business-places-intro.html. Make no mistake: the heading is Fayetteville, but one glance at the population listed makes clear that these are accolades for Northwest Arkansas, and every one of our sister cities in the region has cause to celebrate!
Don't misunderstand - it's still tough in the current economic climate, and many businesses are struggling and will continue to struggle well into the coming months. But it feels good to dwell on the positive for a moment, doesn't it?
Step 2: Marketing. Whatever your position, whatever your business - it's critical. The best analogy would be Promote or Die, to adapt a line from a Chamber long-termer. When the economy contracts and things are tight, it's human nature to curtail expenses, but for the good of your business, don't irrationally cut marketing, promotion and advertising expenditures. It has often been said that those who strike while the iron is hot or, in this case, advertise in a down economy while their competitors are cutting back, have the best opportunity to thrive.
If you find yourself and your business in a situation where you have to cut back, by all means don't hide in your cave. As members of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce or any other good chamber, you can still capitalize on dozens of free opportunities to market your business at no charge through business-building networking events. It will still require an investment on your part, but of time and not cash. That's time well well spent if it helps your business, isn't it?
Thanks for reading - share your good news, and be sure to connect with the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce to share your comments and feeback. Find us on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=1823711) and Twitter (@RLACC) and give us your two cents!
Ready to stimulate the economy?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009on