By Brian Bearden, TSB Contributor
First of a two-part series on how to quickly and consistently help your community and business by shopping local first and taking an active role in chamber of commerce events in McKinney.
McKinney has become one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and every month more new businesses open. Opening a business can seem like a big climb in a tough economy, but getting to a place in town where everyone knows your name can be as easy as climbing one hill in Eldorado.
The McKinney Chamber of Commerce, located up on Summit Office Park overlooking Eldorado Country Club, provides plenty of ways to break the ice.
Those new in town or just starting their careers can start by plugging into the McKinney Young Professionals and LINKS events.
“There are many benefits associated with being involved with the McKinney Young Professionals,” said Taylor White with Turrentine Jackson Morrow. “We strive to provide our members with valuable tips and skills that will help them in their professional life, along with the opportunity to network with peers to make business and/or personal connections.
“Personally, my biggest gain from being involved with MYP is the variety of people I have had the opportunity to meet,” said White, the Chairperson for McKinney Young Professionals. “Due to the diversity of our group, I’ve made connections that have helped me with my career, my personal life and have made some great friends along the way.”
The McKinney Young Professionals gives those between the ages of 21 and 40 a chance to network with up and coming young business professionals, White said.
Chamber President and CEO Jodi Ann LaFreniere said that through networking, professional development and volunteer opportunities, the program’s mission is to attract and retain a young, talented workforce by empowering young professionals to get connected with their community and grow their professional network to achieve success.
In short, a place such as “Cheers,” where everyone knows your name.
Business people of every age can make connections through LINKS, LaFreniere said.
“LINKS is part of our programming options for our business members,” she said. “More than 100 business professionals attend each week to promote their business with a 30-second introduction and develop a strong network of professional contacts. All area businesses are welcome to attend as a guest and experience the value of LINKS.”
The Chamber’s LINKS meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at Saltgrass Steakhouse along U.S. 75 at 2801 Craig Drive off Eldorado Parkway and southbound Central Expressway.
“LINKS is a way for new and existing businesses to develop a face-to-face relationship with fellow Chamber members,” Kerry Cassuto with Advanced Embroidery and Pro Marketing Links. “A venue to discuss business issues similar to your own. [Even with] my 25 years as a business owner, I still get great information I can use every day to improve my business habits and skills.”
Cassuto said LINKS can help you grow your business by improving visibility as you give “your 30-second commercial” in front of 90 to110 small, medium and large businesses that attend regularly.
“Where else can you find a better deal for a buck and a business card, you get Informed, connected and breakfast,” Cassuto said. “LINKS is my equivalent to ‘Cheers;’ it is a place where everyone knows your name, provided you attend on a regular basis. As we all know, we tend to do business with who we know and trust.”
LaFreniere said the Chamber can help each individual map out a path to gain new business in McKinney.
“Our members get the most value from their membership when they set a plan of action as to how they will engage with the chamber and have a clear understanding of their expectations and how they will measure success from their involvement,” LaFreniere said.. “We offer a Benefits and Breakfast program once a month on the third Thursday for members and prospective members to learn about the many benefits of the Chamber and develop a plan for getting the most from their chamber investment.”
TownSquareBuzz.com will take a closer look at how the Chamber works with small business next week when we have a Q&A with the chamber president and CEO. The Chamber office is situated between Valley Creek Drive and Country Club Drive at Summit Office Park 1, 2150 S. Central Expressway, Suite 150 McKinney , Texas 75070.