“Knowing How to Grow”

On the campus of Florida State University, there is a building called Dodd Hall. With its beautiful Gothic architecture and tall stained-glass windows, this building that once housed the university library is one of the more recognizable at FSU. Above the main entrance of Dodd Hall is an elegant inscription that reads, “The half of knowledge is knowing where to find knowledge.” That phrase, while intended to be a signal to students seeking to advance their studies, could also fit well above the door of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce. In many ways, the Chamber is a place where businesses come to seek knowledge on how to grow and prosper in our community.

Providing knowledge to our members is paramount to our success as a Chamber. This is a major consideration for every program, event and gathering that we produce. Some of the best examples of our knowledge sharing strategy at work are our quarterly forums held every few months at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center. If these in-depth forums aren’t part of your regular Chamber event schedule, they should be.

Our quarterly forums are aimed at providing valuable information to our member businesses and each time we host them, members walk away learning something new. The topics may vary but no matter the subject, the goal of each quarterly forum is to create a more knowledgeable business community. This week, we held our final forum for 2019. Our guest speaker was Michael Kramer, a successful business analyst who has worked through the dollars and cents of deals ranging from $1-$150 million. Once again, those in attendance were rewarded with a variety of important lessons on how to improve their bottom line.

With a crowd of over 100 members in attendance at this week’s forum, Kramer gave a talk on how companies can better value their business by gaining a stronger understanding of the work they do. One of the great takeaways from his time on stage was the idea that all business owners should work on their companies as if they were going to own them forever. This seemingly came across as a bit of a wake up call for some in the room. Like forums in the past, the audience became engaged in the discussion once they began to see how the information being shared could apply to them. This is a familiar pattern at Chamber events.One of the most interesting things to observe as Chamber staff is who shows up to certain events we host. Each of our regularly scheduled programs has members who never miss a date and our forums have a crowd of regulars as well. The fascinating part is to see who shows up that hasn’t been in a while or perhaps never at all. When we see a new face walk in the door, we know we are doing our job. It means that a member saw something about the event that looked intriguing. Better yet, it may mean that the programming is in line with an issue they are facing or challenge they have found in their business. To us as staff, new faces are a sign that people are still coming to us for knowledge about how to better their business.

At this week’s forum, we saw Michael Kramer’s talk about his business expertise transition into a conversation about how members might apply that knowledge in their own companies. Hands went up in the air and numerous questions were offered as part of a highly engaging dialogue. There was a mixture of both familiar members and new ones in the crowd, but they all came for the same reason. They came to learn how they might be able to do what they do better.

As the forum came to an end, we staff members watched to see numerous conversations occurring on the way out of the room. It was easy to see that Michael Kramer’s talk got them thinking. Some members surely found what they came for and others likely left surprised to discover more than they thought they would. Either way, there was plenty of evidence that once again our members were leaving satisfied that knowledge was being shared that might benefit their business.

Much like the phrase inscribed above the door to Dodd Hall suggests, our members continue to seek out the Chamber because they know it’s a place where they can find answers. Events like our quarterly forums are an important part of maintaining that relationship. As staff, we strive to present programs that offer value to our members that comes in the form of knowledge. The reason we encourage members to attend our events is because each one is curated to offer a different set of information and attract a diverse crowd. You never know which event may introduce you to a new idea, a creative concept, or even a potential client. Any given Chamber gathering may have what your need to change the trajectory of your business.

Thanks to all our members who continue to attend our events and programs. You are a big part of our success as a Chamber. The calendar year may be winding down, but there are still numerous opportunities for members to discover something new at an upcoming Chamber function. After all, the best way to grow your business may just be the topic of our next forum or event. We hope to see you there.

To view Michael’s presentation, click HERE.

Jay Revell
Vice President