LAKE FOREST Ronnie Kovach, a TV and radio host and former CEO, was the featured speaker during the Lake Forest's Chamber of Commerce fifth business seminar on Friday.
"He's very motivating, inspirational and fun," said Mike Brenhaug, the chamber's president. "At our past events we've always had internal people. This is the first time we're bringing in a professional speaker."
Secrets to Small Business Success, is one of the chamber's two annual signature events. More than 100 small business owners attended and listened to panel discussions by successful local business leaders who gave business tips and networking opportunities. The event held at the Lake Forest City Hall was hosted by the chamber and the city of Lake Forest.
Mark DeBellis, president of PSB marketing kicked the morning off by inspiring people to think outside the box.
"What do you have in your basket that you can tweak?" asked DeBellis, a Lake Forest businessman. "People want authenticity. Buckle up, it's time to grow. Every big company was small once. Have you lost some of the dream? It may be cloudy but you're still in the fight. Look for new ways and opportunities. They're out there."
Other speakers included Lorraine Conaway, a financial strategist, Anthony Nitz, a self-proclaimed geek who has 25 Facebook pages and 45 websites, and Jayson Duncan, who leads a video production company that has created campaigns fro companies like Microsoft and Nestle.
Nitz introduced participants to QR codes and their uses. A QR code (Quick Response) is a two-dimensional code that can be read by camera phones and barcode readers. Nitz provided examples to use them as URLs, send emails, prompt someone to dial a number and send a text.
"Ninety-nine percent of businesses do business exactly the same way they've always done it," he said. "You have to stand out."
He pointed out a recent ad by Calvin Klein undefined a full-page ad that simply had the two-dimensional box and the words 'Calvin Klein."
"That was their single biggest ad," Nitz said.
Many participants left the expo recharged and hopeful on making their small businesses successful.
"I've been to all five panels the chamber held in recent years but this one has been the best of all," Jim Blackburn, who owns Lake Forest's Minuteman Press, said.
The city also announced a new marketing program planned for August undefined Shop Lake Forest Week, which will be part of the city's Shop and Dine Lake Forest.
The week-long event will feature citywide promotional deals and discounts from Lake Forest businesses. During this week, restaurants, shops and hotels will be encouraged to participate with promotional offers.
Lake Forest businesses wishing to participate in Shop Lake Forest Week should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lakeforestcachamber.com
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