Posted on 03/15/2016
One of the primary goals of any business alliance should be to help its members build their businesses by helping them increase revenue and control expenses. To this end, the SHBA has assembled a highly-talented team of Board members and supporting resources.
The SHBA maintains an ever-growing calendar of events for members. These events balance a mixture of educational and social activities. Key to these activities is the monthly member meeting (which is also open to perspective members). This meat & greet event generally features a great mix of food, refreshments, and social interactions between the members. These meetings are a member's best opportunity to learn about other members while offering them information about the products/services that their business provides. New members and guests also have an opportunity to address the membership group as a whole to present their business and the unique value proposition that they offer.
By establishing regular monthly meetings that emphasize a non-formal social environment for members, the SHBA has created a environment where members are free to interact when and how they feel comfortable. Many members find ways to for their businesses to work with each other in such a way that adds value to their business and keeps their investments in the local community.
Beyond the monthly member meetings, the SHBA is implementing educational meetings that focus on particular topics that are relevant to a broad range of members. This includes everything from how to market their business, how to do more with their websites (or get started with a website), best accounting practices, etc. These meetings are structured to provide concise, insightful information that is relevant to members' businesses so that members can learn how to manage and grow their businesses.
All members of the SHBA are enrolled in the SHBA email and newsletter lists. The SHBA sends regular email communications to keep members updated with activities of the SHBA and the SHBA is working to broaden these communications to include information about featured members and activities outside of the SHBA that may be of interest to members. SHBA members can manage their subscriptions to these communications, electing whether to receive these regular updates. The SHBA recognizes that members' time is precious as they look to manage and grow their business and, as such, the SHBA's goal is always to provide informative, relevant, and timely information to members.
While the monthly member meetings create a great in-personal social environment for members, the SHBA also offers a powerful online community tool that fosters intra-member communications for introducing new member business, discussing issues that affect their members, asking other members for assistance, etc. This online community is power by the popular Slack online communication service. The SHBA operates its own Slack domain (http://shba.slack.com) with multiple channels/forums dedicated to particular topics that cover everything from giving members a change just to introduce themselves and their businesses to asking for assistance with common business issues and soliciting feedback/support from the other members. As a business alliance, the SHBA recognizes the value and experience of its membership. This intellectual capital is invaluable in supporting the members as many business face the same struggles and can learn from each other. Since the members are all regional/local members, often many of the same resources are used by multiple members in supporting their business needs. The SHBA Slack community provides an excellent way for members to learn and share whatever and whenever they want.
The SHBA enjoys a unique relationship with the City of Sugar Hill, uncommon to most business alliances. The SHBA is well connected to City staff - from City Management to individual departments, such as the City's Economic Development Department. The SHBA holds its monthly meeting for members in Sugar Hill's City Hall and Board meetings are held at the old City Hall that the City has repurposed into a business incubator and co-working facility (The "Suite Spot"). City officials and supporting staff members are regularly in attendance at the SHBA monthly member meeting to update members on activities taking place within the City and the City dedicates a staff member as a liaison to the SHBA Board Meetings.
With all of the involvement and support from the City, members of the SHBA are afforded a unique opportunity to not only stay informed of City activities, but also to interact with City officials and staff to discuss their business concerns and value to the community.