Area chambers to host marketing clinics

Generally speaking, it’s not easy for a small-business owner or manager to free up an hour of time at the drop of a hat. 

Even something as compelling as refreshing and expanding one’s grasp of pivotal marketing concepts might sound like a luxury one can’t afford.

Local chamber of commerce organizations understand this. A new educational program called “The 5 Disciplines of Marketing” might have your name all over it. 

Even the “busiest of the busiest,” so to speak, should be able to attend a handful of the 15 workshops that are scheduled over the course of the next two months.

The chamber organizations in DeWitt, Maquoketa and Clinton are joining forces with the Small Business Development Agency to create a multi-market series of workshops that is as close to an “excuse-proof” opportunity as possible.

For example, another possible “excuse” that might prevent a business owner or manager from wanting to attend one of the workshops would be the distance one would have to travel. 

That consideration also is addressed. The 15 workshops are divided up into five uniquely themed workshops that alternatively will be held in three nearby cities. The DeWitt Chamber and Development Company (DCDC), the Maquoketa Area Chamber of Commerce and the Clinton Area Chamber will take turns hosting each of the five workshops.

The workshops have value to those who are starting a business, working to grow a business or even considering selling a business. They are meant to keep any “guessing” that comes with a business to a minimum.

The first workshop topic is titled “The Opportunity (Identifying the Need).” It wades into a discussion on demographics, a fundamental marketing consideration that identifies the number of potential customers in a particular area.

The first “Opportunity” workshop took place Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Maquoketa Chamber, 124 South Main, from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. If someone missed the Maquoketa workshop, he or she still could attend today’s workshop at the DCDC, 1010 6th Ave. in DeWitt, from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m. 

And even if someone misses the second workshop, another “Opportunity” workshop will be held Thursday, Oct. 3, from 7:30-8:45 a.m. at the Clinton chamber, located on South Second Street.  

The second workshop theme, entitled “Your Money Maker (Having the Solution),” will be presented from Oct. 15-17. It will hold to the same schedule: Tuesday at 8:15 a.m. in Maquoketa, Wednesday at 8:15 in DeWitt and Thursday at 7:30 a.m. in Clinton.

“We want business owners to have ample opportunity to attend these events,” said DCDC Executive Director Angela Rheingans. “If one date doesn’t work for them in their market, there are two other possibilities to attend that workshop in another market. The markets are close enough together that most people probably won’t think twice about it.”

The third theme, “Marketing Triangle (Position in the Marketplace),” will be presented from Oct. 29-31, again holding to the same Tuesday through Thursday morning schedule at the three chambers.

The fourth theme, “The Pie (Understanding Your Customers),” will be presented Nov. 5-7. The fifth theme, “Marketing Message (Connecting with Customers)” will take place Nov. 12-14.

One-on-one appointments to discuss the individual needs of a business can be scheduled immediately after each session by calling (563) 336-3401 or by emailing sbdc@eicc.edu. All consultations are free and confidential. They are being organized by the Small Business Development Agency, which is a federal government agency affiliated with Eastern Iowa Community College. Its primary focus is to give businesses tools to be successful. 

Local chamber officials say all five sessions are equally informative and valuable, and they recommend that small-business owners attend all five sessions. However, participants also can choose to attend fewer than five sessions.

All businesses are welcome to send representatives. Each workshop is free of charge to members of the chambers, and each workshop will cost $10 for non-members. 

Space is limited, so those interested are required to reserve a seat at the chamber location they plan to attend, which can be done via email or phone. Email the Maquoketa chamber at director@maquoketachamber.com or call (563) 652-4602. Email the DCDC at admin@dewittiowa.org or call (563) 659-8500. Email the Clinton chamber at chamber@clintonia.com or call (563) 242-5702.