A Message from Chelsey Bark

Hello all! My name is Chelsey Bark and I am more than excited to introduce myself to everyone as the Chamber of Commerce’s new Administrative Assistant.MecostaCountyis where I have resided my whole life and I am fortunate to know several things about the area. I graduated fromChippewaHillsHigh Schoolin 2011. I then moved on toFerrisStateUniversity, where I am currently attending to work towards my Bachelor’s Degree in Business. I am looking forward to meeting everybody and to see what the future, here at the Chamber of Commerce, holds for me.

“If ‘plan A’ doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 other letters” –Claire Cook.You should always have a strategic back up plan for your business that can be implemented at any time. The way I see it, businesses have their “busy season” and their “slow season”. Some common variables that have effects on the type of “season” your business is having are Ferris class schedules, the weather and Grade Schools’ Summer Vacations.

This year’s long winter put a huge delay on the opening of our local, seasonal businesses. There were Golf courses who weren’t able to open until almost a month after their normal opening date, and I’m sure they weren’t the only business who ran into this problem. Ice Cream shops may have been slow because who wants ice cream when it’s freezing cold outside? Generally, people don’t wants to be outside in the frigid temperatures, so I’m sure the downtown businesses saw a bit of an impact, also.

What happens to your business when Ferris lets out? Or when the grade schools start their summer vacation? I know I sure see a difference when Ferris’ spring semester ends. The time it takes to maneuver through town cuts in half. This means that there is that many less customers visiting our local businesses. Are you prepared for it? If you aren’t, you could see a huge impact.

Even though schools, weather and Ferris are a few obvious impacts, let’s look at the bigger picture. Have you ever thought that a natural disaster, miles away, could affect your business? Or even the road construction, miles down the road?

Oil spills, hurricanes, tornados and several other disasters that happen in our country have impacted several businesses. Even though it may not impact your business directly, it may impact your neighboring businesses in some sort of way. Our lumber, energy, delivery, restaurants and several other have been affected in ways you may not realize. The lumber companies are receiving more business for rebuilds. This may show more in their corporate office, but it could mean there is a less of a chance our local business will receive an item they ordered. Even your own business could find it harder to receive goods you ordered. The energy companies send several of their workers to an area where the disaster hit. If something were to happen while their workers were away, they could run into a shortage of help. Delivery companies see a change in the price of gas, which means that they are spending more for their gas. Restaurants may see an increase in their price of fish if there is an oil spill. The fishing industry is put on hold when there becomes less of a supply. This means supply and demand will increase the prices. These are just to name a few of the affected businesses because I’m sure there are several others who are affected that we wouldn’t even imagine could be.

Road construction is a huge inconvenience this time of year. You are trying to get some place in a hurry and BAM! “Road closed”. Even though it is obvious that it affects us as a driver, it also affects the businesses too. If there is a reroute, the businesses that are along the reroute will see more business. However, the businesses along the route that is being worked on are going to see a substantial amount of decrease in their business. They won’t have as many people driving by their business and the consumer’s will go to the business that is more convenient to them.

Anything can happen at any time which could have results that impact your business. This is why a strategic plan for your business is a necessity. When the price you have to pay for your goods goes up, you lose a big part of your clientele or the weather just isn’t cooperating, you may run into financial problems for your business. There is no way to predict when or what will happen that will have an impact on you and your business. Having an alternative plan will ensure that these unforeseen occurrences do not have a devastating impact on your business.

Quote of the Week #3

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
–Henry Ford

I feel like this quote speaks for itself. What does it mean to you? Leave a comment with your answer!

Every Tuesday, here on My Chamber Connect, you can look forward to the Chamber’s Quote of the Week. To contact the Chamber call (231) 796-7649 or send an e-mail to info@mecostacounty.com