I grew up in an entrepreneurial environment. Our family business was the grocery store in the small resort town of North Conway, New Hampshire.

Dinner table topics ranged from the creation and marketing of the new wine room to the best way to promote the annual mid-summer lobster sale.

My Dad was always looking for better ways to “tell the story” about Hill’s I.G.A. Often, the ideas he came up with were not original. He would observe or read what someone else was doing and would figure out a way to apply it to his business.

I can still hear him saying these words: “The key is not to think of a new idea to use, but to use a good idea again.” He was always keeping his eyes and ears open for better ways to effectively deliver a business message.

Throughout my 35-year business career, I’ve learned to refer to that concept with terms like “repurpose” or “best practices.” Some people might even call it “stealing” someone else’s idea.

With all that being said, one of my chamber of commerce peers is John Wright of the Punta Gorda Chamber. Just as I do each week, John writes a weekly column for the Sun newspaper. I especially liked one of his recent messages. I contacted John and asked him if I could “repurpose” his thoughts as part of the Englewood Chamber column. John graciously granted me permission to do so. Here it is. Thank you John.

“Is the chamber right for you? Operating any small business can be lonesome, scary and unpredictable, as well as invigorating, exhausting and hopefully profitable. A good chamber will be there to be your business network, to connect you to fellow business owners with whom you can both do business and gather support and information. The business-to-business connections that are generated through chamber networking can be invaluable.

“The chamber will also promote any and all information you share with them to its very wide network of connections, through social media, email marketing, the office and the WWW. If you are looking to widen your network and generate new business, a chamber should be your very first port of call to see what they can offer you. However, don’t expect your doors to burst open with new business if you have no information to share.

“Those who engage will for sure reap the benefit many times over. It takes only a little financial investment and a couple of productive hours of your time each week to make sure you are benefiting from your membership to its fullest.”

The Englewood Chamber enjoys a vibrant and strong network, so don’t be a naysayer without knowing what we have to offer. Call us on 941-474-5511 to set up a time we can meet you and discuss what we do and how we might help you. Membership costs are as low as $23 per month.

Join us to honor our veterans

Did you know that March 29 is National Vietnam Veterans Day?

The chamber invites everyone to help us Honor our Vietnam Veterans at a light breakfast and program. The event begins at 8 a.m., across the street from the chamber at Lemon Bay Cemetery. The activities there will honor all our military veterans who are buried there.

The affair than moves over to the chamber for breakfast and a brief program. A special thank-you goes out to our sponsors, Karin Dubbs of Keller Williams Realty Gold, Mason Financial Group and The Windsor of Venice.

Upcoming events

• Tonight, 4-6 p.m., new member reception and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kustom Firearms, 517 Paul Morris Drive, Englewood. Beverages and food being provided by Outback Steakhouse.

• March 13, 5-7 p.m., business card exchange at Southern Design Living, 2980 Placida Road, Englewood.

• March 14, 3 p.m., ribbon-cutting at Stumpy’s Free Ride Service, Chadwick Park, 2100 N. Beach Road, Englewood.

• March 21, noon-1 p.m., Biz@Noon, networking lunch at Lighthouse Grill at Stump Pass, 260 Maryland Ave., Englewood.

Ed Hill is executive director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reachedat ed.hill@englewoodchamber.com or 941-474-5511.

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