Nominate your favorite small biz for Small Business of the Year

We are currently accepting nominations for our 2017 Small Business Awards through Friday, Dec. 15! The program, now in its 14th year, offers well-deserved recognition to small businesses for their achievements and contributions to our community and provides owners and employees the opportunity to showcase their company, share their story and be rewarded for their efforts.

The Monarch was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier One.

Nominations take less than a minute and can be made online at wichitachamber.org/awards. Please help us honor the small businesses that make our region unique and vibrant by nominating them for this award.

Business Criteria for Participation

  • Headquartered in Wichita metro area
  • Employ between 1-25 FTE for Tier One, or 26-100 FTE for Tier Two
  • Have been in business for at least three years
  • Demonstrate a commitment to good business practices
  • Maintain good employee relations
  • Contribute to the community
  • Have primary source of revenues from business operations, rather than grants, donors, or governmental funding (not-for-profits may be eligible to apply if they meet this criteria)
  • Be a member in good standing of the Wichita Regional Chamber at the time of application

Mahaney Roofing was the recipient of our 2017 Small Business of the Year Award in Tier Two.

Companies nominated will be invited to attend a complimentary nomination reception at the Chamber on Thursday, January 4 to learn more about the awards process and application materials.

Then in the spring, one business from each tier will be selected as the 2018 Small Business of the Year, which will be announced at an awards luncheon.

Connections Made at Exposure 2017

Another rendition of the region’s premiere business-to-business trade show is in the books, and what a wonderful day is was! You could feel the energy in the air in Century II Expo Hall during Exposure, and with 215 exhibitors and 1,700+ attendees, it was the place to be in Wichita business. Below is a recap of some of the day’s highlights.

Making Connections, Growing Business
First-time exhibitor

The Hairy Sofa’s four-legged exhibitors were popular with other exhibitors and attendees alike.

Julie Breault with Heartland Animal Hospital and The Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming Boutique said participating in Exposure was a positive experience for her company. “I was very impressed with the number of exhibitors and attendees. I enjoyed meeting my fellow Chamber members and making connections with people I would not normally be exposed to. Thank you Wichita Chamber for making this a super successful event for my businesses.”

Reverie’s coffee catering bar earned their team an award during their inaugural year.

Reverie Coffee Roasters became a quick favorite on the show floor, even winning the Best Biz Bite Award. Kaitlyn Wall, Reverie’s Operations Manager, said, “We loved participating in Exposure 2017 because of all the new and familiar faces we met and look forward to working with. At Reverie, we try to find and create ways to connect with the community; this is a great event for getting out and making those connections with other local businesses!”

We love hearing success stories like these, and invite you to consider participating in next year’s show!

Award Winners
The Exposure Awards have become highly sought-after and the exhibitors listed below took home the titles.

  • Best Biz Bite: Reverie Coffee Roasters
  • Best Branded: K. Lane’s Boutique
  • Best In Show: Hyatt Regency Wichita
  • Best Spirited: Auto Craft Collision Repair
  • Best Tabletop: Personal Touch Events
  • Best Technology: World Studios
  • Rookie of the Year: Shaken or Stirred Bartending

Post-Event Content
Several exhibitors and attendees shared their Exposure experience after the event via blog and video. Thank you to these companies for taking time to create content from the show!

Thank you to the sponsors, exhibitors and attendees who helped make Exposure what it was, and a special thank you to the show’s Presenting Sponsor, Cox Business!

See photos from the event on our Facebook page, and save the date of Thursday, September 27 for Exposure 2018.

 

10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Time at Exposure

We hope you are planning to join us tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 28 at Exposure for Wichita’s largest business-to-business trade show and networking event. Here are some helpful tips to prepare to make the most of the day.

Event Details: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28 at Century II Expo Hall. See #5 for parking info.

  1. First, be sure to pre-register at no cost (click here)! This will expedite your check-in process and leave more time for exploring the show floor.
  2. Don’t forget the Exposure essentials: plenty of business cards for all the connections you’ll be making and comfortable shoes for all the ground you’ll be covering.
  3. Focus on leads, not sales. Use Exposure as an opportunity to meet people, make an impression and share knowledge about your company. Don’t be pushy – instead be friendly and comfortable.
  4. Stop by the Chamber booth on the red carpet aisle to test your hoops skills and pick up a Gregg Marshall/Dick Vitale basketball in anticipation of Annual Meeting on Nov. 7.
  5. Concerned about parking? Don’t be! Wichita Transit will be providing complimentary shuttle service from Lawrence Dumont Stadium to Century II every 10 minutes.
  6. Post to Twitter using #ICTExpo about your experience at Exposure to see your tweet on the big screens around the show floor.
  7. Practice your right to vote for the new “People’s Choice” award for your favorite booth or table display.
  8. Check out the live art demonstration by Mark Arts, which will take place from 11-3 at the end of the red carpet aisle.
  9. Think about what you would do with all the great prizes up for grabs at the show, like:
  • Massage and facial from Healing Waters
  • $100 gift card from K. Lanes Boutique
  • New FitBit from P1 Group
  • Wichita flag wall hanging and mugs from Pass It On Purpose Coaching & Training Center
  • Golf and carts for four players from Rolling Hills Country Club
  • Click here to see a full list of door prizes.
  1. Have fun – LOTS of fun!

See you tomorrow!

Do nonprofits benefit from Chamber membership?

The answer is a resounding yes. And the business community definitely benefits from interacting with and supporting nonprofits who are providing needed services for the region. Your Chamber currently consists of 179 nonprofit members and seven of our board members represent nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits use Chamber membership to increase community awareness, develop professional staff and improve operations.

One of our new nonprofit members recently asked for some tips for maximizing her organization’s Chamber membership so that she could connect with other Chamber members who “are looking to do some community givebacks through sponsorships or donate their time.” Here are the tips we shared with her:

  • List your upcoming events on our Community Calendar. Do you have an upcoming fundraiser or community event? Log in to the Members Only page of the website to list your upcoming events on the Chamber’s Community Calendar, and receive FREE promotion in our weekly digital newsletter. You’ll find the Community Calendar on our website. For instructions on how to post events, and your login credentials, contact nrobinson@wichitachamber.org.

    Envision participated in the Social Services Nonprofit Showcase at the December Sunrise Scrambler in 2016.

  • Plan a table display for our December 6 Sunrise Scrambler—Social Services Nonprofit Showcase.
    The holiday season is the perfect opportunity to devote to elevating the visibility of our social service nonprofit members and the way they improve our community. Follow this link for more information about how to get your organization’s mission in front of 160 breakfast attendees. There’s no charge for your organization’s table display and it comes with one complimentary attendee registration. The deadline for Social Services Scrambler participants is Wednesday, Nov. 22.
  • Offer a discount. Are you selling tickets to an event or fundraiser? Chamber members can offer a discount and publicize products and services to other Chamber members on the Chamber website. Your online coupon includes a link to your website. For instructions on how to utilize this benefit, and your Members Only page login credentials, contact nrobinson@wichitachamber.org.
  • Attend and participate in Chamber events. It’s all about relationships, so it’s definitely worth the time and effort you put into participating in events and committees. This is a great way to seek out new members for your Board, promote your events, find volunteers and sponsorships. Two of our nonprofit members received funding last month from one of our members as a direct result of discussions and business card exchanges at Chamber events. Our for-profit members often base their community givebacks on the relationships they’ve established. Some Chamber events do have an admission charge, but there are also free events like the Business Exchange, Small Business Owner Roundtable for your CEO or Board President to attend. You can also attend our B2B trade show called Exposure on September 28th for Free. Better yet, purchase a low-cost tabletop to display at Exposure, and give out materials about your organization’s mission. Visit our website to subscribe to our newsletter to see all of our upcoming events.

    Chamber President and CEO Gary Plummer attended a Milestone event for Wichita’s Littlest Heroes in July.

  • Request assistance with a Milestone Event. If you have started a new non-profit, if you are moving to a new location, celebrating an expansion or re-brand, our staff will assist you with planning a promotion of a Member Milestone event such as a Ribbon Cutting or Open House.
  • Connect with our Young Professionals group.  Young Professionals of Wichita (YPW) can be a resource for your organization in three major ways: 1) providing connection to ambitious young leaders through our Board Placement Program; 2) providing leadership and professional development opportunities for your young employees through membership at a discounted rate; and 3) promoting your events and volunteer needs through the community calendar. For more information, contact YPW Program Coordinator Alejo Cabral at 316-268-1171 or via email.
  • Submit a Member Minute profile. Help our members to get to know you and understand your mission and services. There’s no cost to participate and your profile will be published on our Chamber blog. A link to that blog post will be published in our weekly digital newsletter which has 4,500 subscribers. Contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber for the questionnaire you’ll need to complete so that we can feature your organization.
  • Connect with us on Social Media. We utilize Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  We utilize all three channels to keep you updated on relevant issues and events.

    Jennifer Keller of KPTS recently added the #ILoveWichita decal to the station’s front door.

  • Add the #ILOVEWICHITA decal to your organization’s front door. This is an easy way to familiarize the Chamber’s social media followers with where you’re located and how the community benefits from your services. Just let us know the date/time that works for you and we’ll bring out a decal and take a quick video of you applying it and giving us a sentence or two about why you love being part of the Wichita community. We’ll post it on our social media accounts. Some of our nonprofit members who have participated include KPTS, Alzheimer’s Association and ICTSOS. Contact Courtney Sendall at the Chamber to schedule a decal application.

We look forward to working with you!

 

 

 

Marshall, Vitale to headline Annual Meeting on Nov. 7

Gregg Marshall, head coach of the Wichita State University men’s basketball team, has been selected as the featured speaker for the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Heading into his eleventh season as head coach of the Shockers, Marshall is the winningest head coach in WSU history. During the event, Marshall will speak about the school’s entry to the American Athletic Conference, as well as his personal perspective on why Wichita is the best place for him and his family to call home.

Joining Marshall on stage will be college basketball’s top analyst and ambassador Dick Vitale. Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season—just after the network’s September 1979 launch—following a successful college and pro coaching career. In 2008, Vitale received the sport’s ultimate honor when he was selected as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“The Chamber’s Annual Meeting is an opportunity to celebrate wonderful stories about our city,” said Scott Schwindaman, 2017 Chamber Chairman and President of Lubrication Engineers. “We’re continuing that tradition this year by hosting a dynamic discussion about Team Wichita: the impact of sports on our region and the positive outcomes that occur when sports put Wichita on a national stage.”

“The Wichita region has a lot to be proud of when it comes to the athletic arena,” said Gary Plummer, President and CEO of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce. “From events like the Prairie Fire Marathon and hosting the first round of 2018 NCAA tournament, to producing Olympians and investing in new athletic infrastructure, we have earned the right to call ourselves a ‘sports town’.”

The 2017 Annual Meeting is presented by INTRUST Bank. General admission tickets start at $35 and student tickets start at $20. Tickets can be purchased at wichitachamber.org. Formal invitations will be sent to Chamber members soon, and the general public is also invited to attend. Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be secured by contacting Rachel Douglass at 316-268-1127.

Web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan coming to Wichita

Author and web marketing expert Marcus Sheridan will be speaking in Wichita on Oct. 27. His speech is titled “The Digital Consumer: How Today’s Buyer Has Changed and What Your Business Must Do About It” and is specifically designed for marketers and small business owners. The program, presented by Digital Wichita and the Wichita Regional Chamber,  will be held from 7:15 to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 27 at Abode Venue and includes breakfast.

Marcus is the author of the Sales Lion, a sales, marketing and personal development blog, and a partner in River Pools and Spas, which he is credited with saving during the 2008 economic crisis.

An internationally sought after speaker and strategic marketing consultant, Marcus brings clarity to what B2B and B2C companies must do to not only align themselves with the recent shift in buyer patterns, but take advantage of the digital age as well.

Forbes magazine named him one of seven “Best Speakers for Business Growth,” while Entrepreneur magazine last week named him among “11 Marketing Experts Whose Insights Could Change Your Business.”

Early-bird ticket are available for $40 through Aug. 31. A Social Host Package is also available for $375, which includes eight tickets and logo recognition at the event. Each ticket holder will receive a copy of Sheridan’s book They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer. Find more information register here before prices go up.

Event sponsorships are still available. Contact Rachel Douglass for more information.

Chamber Celebrates Wichita Flag Day and Abilene Trophy

This morning’s Sunrise Scrambler celebrated the awarding of the Abilene Trophy to the Friends of McConnell as well as the premiere of a new video for the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag.

Elected officials and military leaders helped the Friends of McConnell celebrate winning the Abilene Trophy award.

ABILENE TROPHY
The Friends of McConnell, an affiliate of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, was announced as the recipient of the 2016 Abilene Trophy on April 28. The award was officially presented today by Abilene Trophy representatives, Yvonne Batts and Scott Senter. It’s given annually to the community that demonstrates the most support of its local Air Force Base. Also known as the Air Mobility Command Community Support Award, this is the first time that Wichita has been selected for the award since it was initiated in 1998.

Elected officials and representatives of McConnell Air Force Base were on hand to congratulate the Friends of McConnell on the relationships they have built between the community and the Base. Colonel Al Miller from McConnell Air Force Base remarked during today’s ceremony that no other community that he has been assigned to comes close to the Wichita community in support of Airmen.

Please see our Facebook page and Twitter account for more photos and information.

The 80th anniversary of the Wichita flag was also celebrated today.

WICHITA FLAG DAY
Through the generosity of numerous sponsors and partners, the Chamber kicked off the 80th anniversary of the adoption of the city’s official flag this morning with a new video and free items that Wichitans can download to share their pride.

VIDEO

  • The Chamber partnered with World Studios ICT in downtown Wichita to produce a 3-minute video highlighting the history and symbolism behind the flag. The video, titled Your Wichita Flag, is posted on the Chamber’s Facebook page.
  • The video includes sixteen Wichitans who donated their time and talent to participate – Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell, Jamil Malone, Tammy Allen, Ben Jennings, Madison Harris, Paul Blissett, Angie Elliott, Jonathon Long, Jason Villanueva, Ellen Decker, Courtney Sendall, Royce Stevenson, Jackie Ebert, Jackson Ebert, Cassandra Bryan and Brad Painchaud.

DOWNLOADS

  • A website devoted to the promotion of the #ILoveWichita and @WichitaFlag campaign now has three printables that can be downloaded at ilovewichita.org.
  1. Coloring sheet with flag facts
  2. 11×17 two-sided printed flag with flag information
  3. Copyright information about using the flag
  • Special note:  The coloring sheet was developed as a result of a Chamber brainstorming session with communication students at Wichita State University’s Elliott School of Communication last fall. After learning about the Chamber’s grassroots pride-in-place initiative, the students recommended instilling community pride at an earlier age and focusing on preschool and grade school children.

Special thanks to our Wichita flag partners: World Studios ICT, The Wichita Eagle, VIP Wichita Magazine and Fidelity Bank.

And our sincere gratitude to this month’s Sunrise Scrambler sponsors:  Golden Plains Credit Union, Friends University, Burnell’s Fine Jewelry, Davis-Moore Auto Group and Together Wichita.

The Monarch, Mahaney Roofing Company named Small Businesses of the Year

Please join us in congratulating The Monarch and Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. on being named the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Small Businesses of the Year! Award finalists were divided into two tiers based upon number of full-time employees. The Monarch represents Tier One (businesses with 1 – 25 full-time employees), and Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. represents Tier Two (businesses with 26-100 full-time employees). Judges evaluated the finalists based on five key areas: leadership and performance, employee relations, entrepreneurship, diversity and community involvement.

The Monarch opened its doors in December of 2012 and currently employs twelve individuals in a full-time capacity. Owner Jennifer Ray has branded the establishment as a bourbon bar and has the largest craft bourbon and whiskey list in the state. Ray says the large majority of the business’ advertising budget is earmarked for donations to community organizations. “We have worked hard to build a business that adds value to not only the city of Wichita but also to the people who live here,” she said.

Founded in 1888, Mahaney Roofing Company, Inc. has a long history of growth in the Wichita community. The business currently employs ninety-three individuals, and the leadership is dedicated to delivering the highest quality product for their customers and providing a safe, fulfilling workplace for their employees. “We are never content to be ordinary,” Vice President Damon Young said. “As much as we have grown in the last three years, the next three years look even more exciting because we are growing through our people.”

The 2017 Awards program was presented ComfortCare Homes, Inc. and Occidental Management, Inc. Scott Redler of Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers gave the keynote address.

Small businesses are responsible for creating 2 of every 3 new jobs in the U.S. and make up almost 90 percent of the Wichita Regional Chamber membership. The Small Business Awards program, now in its 13th year, is designed not only to provide small businesses the recognition they deserve but to also give other small businesses a chance to learn from the best.

Carrie Rengers of the Wichita Eagle served as emcee of the awards luncheon, where she told the audience that she has attended all thirteen of the annual luncheons. “I truly believe that all the businesses who made it to this point as finalists are winners,” she said. (View the Wichita Eagle article here.)

Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and thank you for putting your time and energy into this program.

2017 Small Business Awards Finalists
Tier One (1 – 25 full-time employees)
McCurdy Auction, LLC
Reverie Coffee Roasters
The Monarch
The Workroom

Tier Two (26 – 100 full-time employees)
Builders Plus Construction
Mahaney Roofing Company
Elite Staffing Solutions
Fiber Dynamics Inc.
The McGinty Machine Co., Inc.

Visit the Chamber’s Facebook page to see videos of the live award announcements and more photos from the event, and visit the Chamber’s YouTube channel to see videos highlighting each of the finalists.

Conference topics help your small business achieve big success

Interested in leading-edge ideas and enlightening discussions about the fundamentals of running a small business? Then you’ll want to attend the Chamber’s 2nd annual Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference on Wednesday, May 24.

The Details
9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24
Hyatt Regency Wichita
Choose three of nine breakout session topics (listed below).
Register here for only $15 per person.

Rachel Douglass, Manager of Membership & Engagement for the Wichita Regional Chamber, says the success of the 2016 conference made hosting a second rendition an easy choice. “The best part of the Engage & Ignite Small Business Conference is that it is the brainchild of the Small Business Awards planning committee. All the sessions are planned specifically by small businesses, for small businesses.”

Ed O’ Malley of the Kansas Leadership Center was one of our 2016 presenters and is returning this year with “The Experimental Nature of Leadership.”

The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. Three sessions are available for attendees every half hour with a short break in between. Topics range from social media marketing to optimizing HR and hiring practices. Douglass said the Small Business Awards committee worked to keep the conference cost affordable at only $15 per person. “We’re hoping that businesses will send more than one person to the conference since we have so many interesting speakers who are focused on providing valuable take-aways that attendees can immediately implement in their operations.”

The Schedule | Register Here

9 to 9:30 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • The Power of Listening and Saying Thank You | Damon Young, Charles E. Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Stories from a Serial Networker, Not a TED talk, but Close | Brad Painchaud, Squid Ink Creative
  • The Experimental Nature of Leadership | Ed O’ Malley, Kansas Leadership Center

9:45 to 10:15 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Boosting Team Morale | Ashley Thill, Zernco, Inc.; Scott Ludwick, Builders Plus Construction; and Heidi Perez, Mahaney Roofing Company
  • Interviewing Techniques for Optimized Retention | Shawne Boyd, ARSI
  • Social Media Success In Just 3 Minutes a Day  | Tim Fruits, Malibu Creative, LLC

10:30 to 11 a.m. Breakout Session Options:

  • Redefining and Prioritizing Sales Activities for Small Businesses | Allen Clouse, Star Lumber & Supply Co. Inc.
  • Unique Employee Benefits Small Business Can Offer | Carrie Cox, Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.
  • Telling Your Why | Brandy Willett, e2e Accelerator, Inc.

The Awards
The Small Business Awards Luncheon will begin at 11:15 a.m., where two businesses will be named the Small Business of the Year. Scott Redler, co-founder of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, will deliver the keynote speech. This luncheon always sells out, so get your tickets today.

Find more information about all the activities schedule for May 24 at wichitchamber.org.

Managing Underperforming Employees

By Rachel Douglass
Membership & Engagement Manager

Last week’s Small Business Owner Roundtable with Newman University Business Dean Brett Andrews was insightful – to say the least. It had attendees reflecting on not only how keyed into work their employees are, but also evaluating their own performance.

According to a recent Forbes study, four reasons employees underperform include:

  • Instructions were not clearly understood
  • They don’t have the resources
  • They don’t have the ability
  • They just don’t care


Can you tell which of these bullets are a leadership issue versus an employee issue? If you guessed the first three bullets as leadership issues (with the last bullet being an employee issue), you’re right. The activity served as a friendly reminder to all: employee issues usually begin with the leader or management.

Employee performance issues can become toxic if they’re ignored. As Andrews said, “It’s important to understand the difference between misconduct and poor performance when evaluating employee issues.” Misconduct can easily be defined as willful disobedience, while a performance issue is categorized as the failure to meet minimum standards.

Andrews walked attendees through six easy-to-follow steps to help address employee concerns. Those six steps include:

  • Early recognition
  • Early notification
  • Continuous observation and documentation
  • Verbal warning
  • Written warming
  • Conclusive action

Whether you utilize these specific steps or not, Andrews encouraged attendees to strive to adhere to a consistent and trackable procedure to optimize workplace positivity and increased productivity.