Spring snow didn’t deter more than 70 business owners from attending the Plumas Business Summit held March 26 at Nakoma Golf Resort.
And those who braved the weather weren’t disappointed. Audrey Ellis, executive director of the Eastern Plumas Chamber of Commerce, one of the event’s co-sponsors, said attendees gave the event high marks in their exit surveys.
“We were very pleased; we got very good feedback,” Ellis said. On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, those responding gave perfect marks to the location and the food, as well as some of the speakers and a presentation by Feather River College students on marketing.
Along with Eastern Plumas, the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, Feather River College and SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) hosted the event. SIFE advisor Amy Schulz said she was very happy with the large turnout.
“It’s really important for business people to have the opportunity to network with each other and learn about the resources available in the community,” she said.
Kirk Lambert, co-owner of Lambert & Lambert Insurance, said he hadn’t realized that the chambers provided technological expertise. “We just paid to have a website designed and didn’t realize that there was assistance available from the chamber and SIFE,” he said.
Lambert was impressed with the presentation made by Richard Scully, the founder of Chamber Nation, an organization that helps chambers of commerce automate their functions with technology. During the summit, Scully talked to business owners about maximizing online traffic and increasing sales through social media and mobile applications. “Restaurants benefit greatly from mobile apps,” Scully said, showing how menus, specials, directions and reservations could be made accessible.
Gina Prince, co-owner of Cuccia’s in Graeagle, attended the summit because she was interested in learning more about promoting her restaurant online and on mobile devices. She also attended Scully’s presentation.
In addition to sessions on technology, attendees learned about management and sales strategies, proper financial management, customer service and ways to boost profits.
State Sen. Ted Gaines, who was described as a “fighter for business” by Plumas Bank Executive Vice President B.J. North during her introduction of the senator, gave the keynote address. Gaines, who owns an insurance agency, told those gathered that he could relate to their experiences, because he had just recently opened a new office. “It was a great reminder to me of how difficult it is to start a new business,” he said, and then added that it is his job to make it easier for businesses by eliminating unnecessary regulations. He cited regulation reform, regulation of government and tax reform as areas that need to be addressed.
Gaines also fielded questions involving the state’s high-speed rail system, workers’ compensation, the cost of higher education, home foreclosures and the problems unique to rural California.
Tim Rhode, a local resident and CEO and founder of 1 Life Fully Lived, spoke to the attendees after lunch. Ellis said Rhode’s presentation was well received by those attending, earning the highest marks possible.
While there were concurrent sessions to attend, SIFE students were also available for marketing consultation. “People could see what we do,” said Schulz.
Both Schulz and Ellis said that there would be another summit next year. “They definitely want us to do this again,” Ellis said of the business owners. “This will be an annual event.”
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