The Madison County Chamber of Commerce held its first Zoom meeting since COVID-19 caused it to put all in person meetings on hold, July 2.
"I want to put a plug in at the beginning of this for all the people who have been working so hard in so many ways to help our businesses and our citizens through this whole COVID thing," Department of Economic Development Southeast Region Project Manager Sandra Cabot said. "I also want to put a plug in for our local health departments because they have really, at the community level, been like the backbone and the core of keeping us all in line and keeping us sane and keeping us informed with data and information and sending that up to the state level."
Cabot said Governor Parson and Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon have emphasized health has to come first and we don't have an economy if we don't have a healthy population.
"So please continue to regulate your own activities and those of your families with social distancing and masks whenever you think it's important," Cabot said. "I think it is going to become more important, you are going to see more communities going back to required masking because they are having spikes."
Madison County Chamber of Commerce President Tessa Rehkop started the meeting by welcoming everyone and saying how much she misses seeing everyone.
"Welcome, it's so good seeing everyone," Rehkop said. "It's been a weird time. I have been sad not being able to have any chamber stuff, but I'm glad that we kind of figured out the Zoom thing."
Rehkop announced Harps Food as a new chamber member. The store would like to hold a ribbon cutting once the new signage is in place.
Owner of Bellona Solutions, Alicia Hill gave a presentation on how to market a small business with a story and the three most common mistakes that small business owners make.
"Stories, everyone loves stories and when we, as business owners, realize that marketing is nothing more than selling with stories, then we can do big things," Hill said. "I've worked with my fair share of small business owners, and I will tell you this most of you are afraid of marketing."
Hill said in order to sell a story you must make competition irrelevant, make price irrelevant and make them remember you. She used an example of a $210 polka dot dress in the J. Peterman catalog.
"A simple, silk, button-down dress, with a story that sells," Hill said. "Stories are the vehicles that drive your audience to trust and believe in you, and crafting a story will draw people to you time after time, after time."
Hill then went on to share the three most common mistakes business owners make when it comes to marketing their businesses.
"One, your message is boring," Hill said. "I'll let you in on a little secret. Everyone is selfish. We are naturally inclined to be interested in ourselves and how things affect us first. That, my friend, is the number one reason your customers will think your message is boring because it isn't about them."
Hill said the second mistake is "your home isn't prepared for guests." She said wherever your customer lands when they come looking for you, three targets should be met.
"They should feel welcome, they should feel like everything is congruent and they need to know what to do next," Hill said. "A confused mind never buys."
The third mistake Hill discussed was "you think 'if I build it, they will come.'"
"The movie Field of Dreams, while the concept made for a great film, in business just because you open up shop doesn’t mean that people are popping out of the cornfield ready to hand you their dollars," Hill said. "That just isn’t the way it works."
To see what Hill has been working on find Bellona Solutions on Facebook.
The next meeting off the Madison County Chamber of Commerce is at 11:30 a.m., Aug. 4 via Zoom.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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