Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been to several events hosted by Southern Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SSCCI) which has given an insight into the efforts that are being made to keep businesses going during the downturn.

The first event was an open evening at the new SSCCI offices, very smart they are! It was great to meet the staff and to be reminded of the benefits of Chamber membership. I also got an insight into some of the Chamber’s plans and met up with some of the other regular networkers. Peter Ralphs, CEO of SSCCI, has some great plans and ambitions which was uplifting to hear.

The next day I attended my first SSCCI networking breakfast of 2009 – a bit of a shock to the system as it was a cold morning! The general feeling from the consultants I talked to was that winning business was hard, companies were reluctant to spend on anything but necessities. However, several people were involved with providing training through Business Link West Midlands and they are obviously going to be the spenders of the government money promised for training. All very useful information and I’m now part way through the process to get registered as a supplier to Business Link West Midlands.

The next day I attended a 1 day workshop at the SSCCI meeting room, designed to put delegates in the right frame of mind to start 2009. The morning was led by Dave Lees of Integritus Ltd, who explained how we could create an opportunity mindset and grow our business. Dave also stressed the importance of having a plan, a subject dear to me, and took us through a planning exercise. This really helped me to put things in perspective and give me some definite goals to aim for.

In the afternoon Hannah Sookias of The Write Solution imparted some of her knowledge of PR and marketing, giving out lots of tips and hints on how to market a business. We’re all surrounded by marketing and it was valuable to take some time to think about how it impacts and what impressions we form. As Hannah proved some of the most irritating adverts really stick – remember the Shake and Vac lady? Most people of a certain age can still sing the jingle!

All in all, the day was really inspiring and had the desired effect of motivating me to make a success of 2009. From my point of view SSCCI are keeping the wheels on BMCL, lets hope this becomes a more widespread effect

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