“For nearly five years I have had one of the most exciting and rewarding careers that a person could ask for. As President and CEO of the Broomfield Chamber I was able to help organizations thrive in the north metro area by introducing them to potential customers and vendors, elected officials both local and state levels, and even helped them make new friends. During the pandemic the chamber was there for our businesses to promote them, let people know what was open and how to support local businesses, and even helped companies navigate the various funds that came from the federal government as well as state and local governments.
I’m proud of the work I was able to accomplish, and now it is time to move on to the next chapter in my life. My last day as CEO of the Chamber is May 6th, and I leave behind an amazing staff that won’t miss a beat in supporting our businesses, nonprofits, and the entire community. I appreciate all the support I have received from all aspects of community, and it really made a difference in my recovery over the last few weeks. There are a few last events I will attend as CEO: the After Hours tomorrow at the Hilton, Suds with Sam on Friday, and the Coffee and Conversation on April 26th. I hope to see many faces that have thought about going to one of them but need an extra reason. Now you have one!
My last request of all of our members? Support your local chamber and make a difference in your community! Thank you for your personal support, and of the chamber over the years.”
Brownie Wise (the saleswoman behind the success of Tupperware) said, “If you want to build a business, build the people.” This is incredibly important but now more than ever. With the hiring shortage going on, you must do something to make your business stand out and helping potential employees understand they can have a career with you (or at least feel valued while they are there) can be the difference between going with you or deciding to work elsewhere.
But how do you “build the people”? Training can be costly and who has the time or money for that? Believe it or not, there are a lot of free resources out there. Here are just a few:
7 Avenues for Free (or almost free) Training for Employees
To the best of our knowledge, each of these options is free. However, there may be a minimal cost with some specialized trainings.
If you want to check out a subscription course offering, there’s LinkedIn Learning. After your free month trial, there’s a $19.95 per month fee for unlimited access to their courses. Courses include advanced work on popular software like Office and Google as well as technical things like learning coding languages such as Python.
Assuming you want free (or nearly so), here’s a great list of options:
The Broomfield Chamber
If you belong to the Broomfield Chamber, your member benefits extend to your employees. The chamber offers webinars, educational seminars, meet and greets, and lunch and learns. You can (and should) encourage your employees to attend these free or very low-cost ways to learn and get to know others in the community.
SBA and other Business Groups
The Small Business Association and other local business groups offer free training periodically. Sign up for their newsletters or check out their website to see what webinars are available. SBA also has free business counseling for you if you’re a small business owner. You can also check out the North Metro Denver Small Business Development Center.
You may assume that the courses on YouTube would be conducted by fame-seeking teenagers but that’s simply not the case. There are a lot of good resources available on this channel. You could create a playlist of videos and share it with your marketing team/person, for instance.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
You probably knew by now that MIT offers free online classes but what you may not have realized is that it’s not all science related. They have plenty of business courses too. Check out the ones on entrepreneurship.
University of California has some solid offerings as well. Also, check out Open University for even more.
You might be surprised the kind of things you can learn in a TedTalk. While they may not teach direct skills, they teach ways to think and reframe problems that can be advantageous in a lot of roles. Your employees may also learn stronger empathy through watching a few of these.
Make a list of what you’d like your employees to learn and then set them free to find no-cost instruction. For instance, there’s a course on supply chain management, corporate finance, and digital marketing. Some even come with certifications.
Lots of great courses here including SEO for Beginners (who couldn’t use that?) and several marketing courses. Good information that every business can use.
There are plenty of free training options out there for your staff. The difficulty is in giving them the time for professional development. Offering the courses won’t do you any good if they don’t take them, so make sure you communicate that this is an important part of your business. Your best employees will appreciate the challenge and the additional training. And best of all, it won’t cost you a thing!
Businesses join the chamber of commerce for several reasons. Years ago, it may have been expected; just something you did when you opened a business and wanted to be in good standing in the community.
But these days it’s more likely a business joins because there is a direct advantage to them personally. Maybe they wanted a ribbon cutting or need the advocacy or wanted a marketing opportunity that membership allowed them.
Yes, there are many reasons to join the chamber and tons of benefits your business can receive from membership. But aside from simply writing a check and receiving a set of benefits, there are reasons why you should become personally involved with the local chamber of commerce.
Plus, the chamber extends its benefits to all of your employees so you can use chamber membership benefits as employee benefits. Share this with them as well.
4 Reasons to Get Involved with the Chamber
Let’s place the advocacy, marketing, advertising, and public relations benefits of chamber membership on the back burner. This article is about what the chamber can do for you and your employees specifically, not the business. Yes, the chamber can bring more attention to your business, which can create more sales opportunities, but these benefits and this personal involvement are things that can help you outside of the business.
The chamber has a number of education opportunities where you and your employees can learn about important matters for free (or at a very low cost). Chamber webinar topics may include things like diversity, how to excel in social media, and economic interests in your area. They can help you become a more well-rounded professional, change careers, or get up-to-date on important topics in the community.
The chamber offers a lot of opportunities to volunteer for different committees or events. You may find a volunteer position in a subject that interests you like women leaders, diversity, workforce development, or marketing. Not only can these volunteer positions be added to your resume, but volunteering could also help you meet people with similar interests and help you grow your professional network. Speaking of…
Getting involved with the chamber can help you meet more people and grow your professional network and make friendships. Even in communities where social gatherings are still mostly virtual, chambers have networking sessions to help you stay connected.
Business Expansion and Hidden Opportunities
As you grow your network, you may learn of additional business possibilities that you could add to your business or you could use to launch a new one. You may learn of seed money, grants, SBA funding, or private opportunities. Often business deals get made before anything is formally published or requested. Being personally involved in the chamber may help you be a part of those types of discussions and make you aware of opportunities before they become public. The same may be true of the hidden job market. A contact may tell you they’re looking for someone before posting it on a job site, giving you the advantage.
Chamber benefits for your business are amazing. They can really help you increase your number of customers and get your name out there. But those aren’t the only benefits. If you get involved individually, there are many benefits to your professional growth and career. Plus, those benefits can be given to all of your employees too. That can be a real selling point for someone looking for a great company culture.
The Broomfield Chamber of Commerce is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 class of Leadership Broomfield.
The goal of Leadership Broomfield is to build a sense of community by identifying individuals with the passion and commitment to become personally engaged in issues, programs and activities aimed at building a better City and County of Broomfield.
The program is designed to help attendees:
• define and enhance leadership abilities
• connect with local leaders in a variety of areas
• be exposed to the challenges and opportunities that face the city and county
• determine how to become more involved in leadership roles in the community
• build lasting professional relationships with community leaders
Leadership Broomfield features six monthly sessions plus a December mixer, running from November 2021 to April 2022. Each session focuses on a different aspect of the community, including quality of life, the nonprofit community, local government, and much more.
The Broomfield Chamber has created some images and signage that we our offering to local businesses to utilize in their re-opening efforts, and in their efforts to communicate mask requirements. Please feel free to use these in social media, or print for your windows or store-fronts. If you need PDF versions of the posters, please reach out to email@example.com.