That happened this week with some promising results when the Ashe Chamber of Commerce organized a brainstorming session to attack needs for small business owners in the slow economy we are facing.
The impetus behind the meeting was a request from chamber member Maria Whaley of Ashe Woodworking.
She is representative of the kinds of businesses that make up 80 percent of the chamber’s dues-paying members. She needs some quick answers and quick action.
Some help exists now in the form of mentoring and training on business management practices.
One clear signal from the brainstorming session is the difficulty in helping business people to understand the resources available to them.
That seems to be a place where the Jefferson Post can play a role. We can help you understand the resources available.
The resources include an organization called SCORE, a group of mostly retired business people who meet one on one with business owners to talk through what is beneficial to operation of their businesses. A key element is confidentiality of the session. Owners need to be careful sometimes with who knows what about the way they operate.
Look to the Jefferson Post business page each Friday over the coming weeks for a description of some of these services
Another need of small businesses is a low cost vehicle that lets people know what you do.
We’ll do what we can to help with that also.
One little known service that we have provided small business since summer is space on our business page to describe a new employee, new service a new element of what you do. Write it yourself in about 300 to 400 words and, as space allows we will put it on the business page for no charge. You need to email that to email@example.com.
You can do so as often as once per month.
We should be able to look around and notice that a huge part of our economic base comes from small business. Knowing that 80 percent of dues to the chamber comes from small business quantifies for us that businesses employing fewer than 10 people make up a huge portion of the wealth that pays for county services.
We all need to pay attention to the health of those businesses for our own good and the community good.
The other thing we need to do is to keep smiling. It may seem a simplistic attitude, but negativity can drag us all down by itself. We need a dose of realism to know how to attack the problem, but all the information in the world won’t save us if we fail to act because we see no hope.