We can all agree that the year 2020 was one for the books! The year was filled with challenges: redefining businesses and healthcare delivery, adapting to tele-everything, and social distancing and isolation. The Randolph County Chamber of Commerce experienced these challenges right along with the businesses and members that we serve. So, in late 2020, we decided to solicit feedback from our membership on how we could redefine our own position and become more relevant for businesses today.
One of the ideas born out of that feedback was a referral networking group, now known as Chamber Links. Chamber Links is an optional program available only through the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, for members in good standing who are interested in a structured referral networking group. The purpose of Chamber Links is to enhance business development and personal growth opportunities for members. The group provides the opportunity and setting for leads exchange and business advice in order for participants to strengthen their business and expand their individual network. Chamber Links members commit to increasing each member’s business. This is accomplished by developing strong relationships and exchanges of ideas, resources, and referrals among members.
Randolph County is known for its’ rich history in economic development and commerce. As a Leadership Randolph County graduate, I learned so much about how much business experience in Arkansas has origins right here along the banks of the Black River. Many of those businesses were built through strong relationships, whether through family connections or over breakfast at a local diner. Unfortunately, even pre-COVID, those common pathways for building relationships have changed. Newer generations and new business models that incorporate social media marketing, online retail, and a lack of a brick-and-mortar storefront create new challenges for making those connections.
This referral group is our answer for that! We want to create a friendly, but structured, environment for increasing referrals and building those necessary relationships. So, how does this work? Chamber Links meetings will be held every other week and will include a structured session providing the opportunity to give and receiving referrals. Meetings are formatted to allow each member to give a brief “commercial” about their business. In addition, one member is spotlighted by giving a 10 minute presentation.
Several metropolitan areas have similar groups. They typically limit members by profession, specialty, or other characteristics. As this is a new group for Randolph County, we are currently only limiting the total group size. As interest grows, the Chamber will create additional groups as long as there continues to be a need. If you would be interested in learning more about Chamber Links, or the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, please contact the Chamber at 870-892-3956.
Are you the missing Link in our Chamber?
Sydney Stevens, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC
Chief Nursing Officer