Chairman’s Message: The Future of Business in the Chino Valley

In January, 2012 I attended my first Business@Breakfast event on a Wednesday morning at 7:30am at the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce. The first person I met was Jim Keneaster, the owner of ABC Services, a computer repair company in Chino.

Jim was excited to talk about his business, it was clear he loved the work he did and he seemed genuinely interested in helping others.

The passion I saw in Jim that day is the same passion I’ve seen time and time again with many other business owners in the Chino Valley. Helping business owners like Jim is just one of the many reasons I’ve committed myself to helping our local business community grow.

My Vision for the Future of Business in the Chino Valley and Goals for My Term as the Chairman of the Board in 2015 – 2016

  1. Connect and Work with Other Local Business-Related Organizations
  2. Collaborate with Organizations That Work to Educate Business Owners
  3. Encourage and Promote the Involvement of Young Business Owners in Our Community
  4. Enhance Our Use of Technology
  5. Focus on Giving Back

Connect and Work with Other Local Business-Related Organizations

When I started my Internet Marketing business, I thought about the people I wanted to serve…passionate, hard-working people like Jim Keneaster. Our motto became, “Share Your Passion. Grow Your Business.”

Through networking at the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, I learned there are many local business networking opportunities in our community independent of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce. Groups like BNI, Christian Business Partners, the Real Estate Professional Group and service clubs like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis and the Lion’s Club all help promote business in the Chino Valley.

The chamber should work to assist these local organizations promote business, and hopefully, these organizations will also work with the Chamber for the benefit of all businesses in our community.

The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce should be the central hub of the Chino Valley Business Community.

Collaborate with Organizations Who Work to Educate Business Owners

Being a business owner is not easy. The Chino Valley has several great programs to help business owners become successful. It’s my goal to make the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce the go-to resource for information about educational opportunities provided to our business community.

In August, The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center has many free workshops on Internet Marketing Strategies, Home Based Food Operations, QuickBooks, Using Census Data for Your Business, Measuring Website Analytics, and Financing Your Startup.

San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board

The San Bernardino Workforce Investment Board is hosting free workshops on Internet Marketing, Turning Your Business into a Social Business, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Chaffey College put on a free Small Business Summit last year.

These organizations are working to support business growth and The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce should assist business owners by connecting them with the training and resources they need.

This past year, the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce started offering the Dream Team Review. The Dream Team Review is a free opportunity for Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce members. Chamber members can have their business reviewed by local legal, insurance, banking, marketing, small business, accounting and other professionals to identify opportunities where they can grow their business.

Encourage and Promote the Involvement of Young Business Owners in Our Community

When I began attending the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning meetings, I was one of the younger members. Since that time, many young people have come and gone from the Chamber for various reasons.

I feel very fortunate and grateful that the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce has been so kind to me. I remember attending my first Business Expo and Vicki telling my wife how valuable I was to the Chamber. As a business owner, it’s easy to get discouraged and sometimes we don’t know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In 2013, at the Chamber’s Installation and Recognition Dinner, Welborn Media was named the Chino Hills Business of the Year.

At the event, I remember the emcee saying something like, “This company is an internet marketing company that helps businesses with their social media and online presence to get more customers.”

I remember thinking to myself… “Who else does Internet marketing in the Chino Valley?”

Turns out, they were talking about my business.

I was shocked.

But the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized something in me that fired me up, I wanted to achieve even more. I’d like us to continue energizing and encouraging young entrepreneurs like myself in our community.

There are young entrepreneurs like Jenny Araiza who owns the Iza clothing store on the corner of Ramona and Philadelphia; Joe Estes, who owns his own internet marketing company, BufferNet; James Hoscyns, who is designing a role playing video game which also teaches the players a new language; and John Tomines who recently started attending the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce meetings to promote a variety of activities he’s involved in.

It’s young entrepreneurs like these who I’d like to see the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce support moving forward. It’s my intention to work on creating a dialogue between young entrepreneurs and the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce by creating a young professionals group within the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Enhance Our Use of Technology

The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce has made great steps to be more active online and use technology to help accomplish our goals. I plan to continue that momentum.

In our community social media has been a huge referral source to local businesses. Facebook groups like Chino Hills Connections and Chino Connects have led to referrals for my internet marketing and tutoring services and I know many other local businesses have benefitted as well.

Just last month, Steven Melo, a Chino Business Owner posted in the Chino Connects group. Check out the response he received:

Chino Connects Facebook Post by Steven Melo

He’s thinking of holding an event with small business owners where they can highlight their businesses. Most of the 92 comments on the post are people asking how they can get involved and assist in putting on this event (Business Expo Anyone?).

I propose that our members help the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce play a role in these conversations taking place in our community. When representing the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce online it is my hope that you all take it upon yourselves to promote business in the Chino Valley by using #CVCC whenever you post or see something that will benefit/promote business in the Chino Valley. Your involvement is critical to the success of our efforts to grow and support local business.

New Board Member Eric Hasanoff has agreed to head the Technology Committee. The Technology Committee will be in charge of making sure our website is up-to-date, ensure that we’re using social media effectively and will monitor our email correspondence all to make sure we’re serving our members to the best of our ability.

Focus on Giving Back

The last thing I’d like to make sure we do is create opportunities to give back to our community. As business leaders, it’s essential we discover ways to make our communities better.

I host a podcast called The Defining Success Podcast where I interview people I consider to be successful. Internet Marketing Expert, Chris Brogan was one of my guests. He said something which I now live by. He said, “When I think of ways to make money I fail. When I think of ways to be of service to others I make money.” Good things will come to the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce if we actively look for ways to give back to our community.

The Future of Business in the Chino Valley

While there are other things I’d like to achieve (like having better and more consistent monthly Networking Mixers, trying to work with local industrial/manufacturing businesses and having more organized events) these five things will be the emphasis this year.

Inland Empire's Largest Mixer 2012

Prior to becoming the Chairman of the Board for the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, I asked numerous businesses inside and outside of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce what they liked about the Chamber. Almost without exception they answered, “The people.” We have great people involved and associated with the Chino Valley Chamber. It is my hope that we can include more local businesses in the Chamber of Commerce moving forward.

I’m grateful to the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, my friends and my family who have been a tremendous support system. My wife Cindy in particular has been so amazingly supportive. And, on a side note, I’m excited to announce that Cindy and I are having our first child, a boy, in November.

I plan on raising my child in the Chino Valley.

Becoming the Chairman of the Board will give me the opportunity to make local business owners more successful. I’m excited at the opportunity to be this year’s Chairman of the Board because I can make a difference. I want to help build role models, like Jim Keneaster, and the countless other business owners I’ve met who love what they do, who are good at it, and who are using their talents to help others.

This year is my year of service to our business community. If there is anything I can do to help you, your business, or a local business grow, contact me or the Chamber.

The Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce and I could also use your help:

Get Involved!

Thank You All for Everything!

Zeb

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