Welcome to Ask an Expert Business Series with Misty Lambrecht, the owner of Webfoot Marketing and Design, sharing valuable insights based on her extensive 15 years of experience in business startups and advising in Lincoln County.The importance of local expertise is paramount when living in a rural area surrounded by well-established businesses that have thrived here for generations. These local experts possess an invaluable understanding of the unique dynamics that come with coastal living and seasonal industries.
They have navigated the challenges of hiring, grappled with the housing issues tied to employee recruitment, and harnessed local training opportunities available in our area.
While I have invested significant time and effort in attending various training
sessions and classes offered by experts from across the county, I have found that, though much of the information has been beneficial, a substantial portion of it has been irrelevant to my business due to my distinct location and customer base. The Oregon coast presents its own set of challenges and advantages, and to not only survive but thrive, I believe
that building strong local relationships is absolutely critical.
From my perspective, the businesses I have reached out to have overwhelmingly exhibited a community spirit rather than a competitive attitude. I have witnessed restaurant owners willingly sharing employees, small strip malls collaborating to provide internet access, and businesses referring clients to one another when they could not fully meet the clients'
needs. The knowledge shared by local business owners has proven time and again to be indispensable for the growth of our local enterprises.
Organizations that unite for a common cause, such as the local home builders' association, realtor associations, main street organizations, and art associations, have provided excellent examples of how local businesses can come together to share their invaluable insights. I have had the privilege of sitting on informational panels alongside fellow local business
owners, even extending the invitation to what might seem like competitors, as well as representatives from news outlets, banks, and contractors, for open and candid discussions.
I cherish the local feel of our community and the friendships formed through people knowing not just my name but also my kids'; names. I've been moved by the tremendous support our community offers when we come together. Recently, while traveling, I encountered a sign in another small community that read, "Do not Bend our Prineville"; I'd like to propose that
we adopt a similar sentiment: "Let's not big city our rural businesses" If you wish to learn how to run a local coffee shop, I'd encourage you to have a conversation with a local coffee shop owner. A New York coffee shop may offer insights, but it can not provide the local wisdom and foster the sense of community your local business needs to not only survive but
In conclusion, collaboration among small rural businesses doesn't just enhance the sense of community; it fortifies it. When businesses unite, they forge stronger bonds with each other and with their customers. Customers are more inclined to support businesses that actively contribute to the well-being of their community. Additionally, collaboration leads to cost reduction and heightened efficiency, as businesses can pool resources, share
knowledge, and stimulate innovation, all of which are essential for rural businesses to flourish.
As a business owner, I recognize the significance of buying local and becoming an integral part of the community that our children will grow up in, sharing schools, sports teams, restaurants, and the very places that may become their future employers.