Proven Strategies for Local Businesses’ Success

Chamber-Staff-Dixie-Johnson-CEOby Dixie Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce

[This article originally appeared as a “Community Perspectives” column in The Sheridan Press, April 16, 2016.]

We all know we’re facing some extremely difficult times ahead, with seemingly recurring news of layoffs, closures and bankruptcies impacting our state and its economy. And we know the trickle-down effect is beginning to pose significant challenges for the Sheridan County business community. As the proactive voice of local business, the Chamber continues to work on behalf of, and advocate for, area businesses.

Some ways we do that is by lobbying for all types of business in our area; acting as a bridge in our community and helping people connect with one another and necessary resources; presenting a pro-business platform and business needs to elected officials and candidates; providing professional development opportunities and learn sessions; actively participating in economic development efforts; helping entrepreneurs and small businesses gain a strong foothold in Sheridan County; encouraging and aiding with the attraction of a high quality workforce; and providing programs that are important for business retention and growth.

One of our longstanding programs takes place the second Wednesday of each month at our Chamber luncheon. During our most recent luncheon this past week, we were honored to have a top-notch panel of local business owners share their own insights, lessons learned and strategies in operating their businesses. The program focused on how these business owners held true to traditional business values, all the while staying aware of, focused on, and even ahead of, business trends.

The program kicked off with Flood Marketing’s Josh Law, 2010 founder, co-owner and director of strategy, who advised those in the audience to “move quickly and reduce barriers.” Gina Donnor, owner of two businesses in Dayton – The Beauty Bar for more than 20 years and The Gallery on Main for one year – shared what she long ago learn in her business and urged others to “be consistent and deliver great customer service.”

Dick Hammer, a civil engineer by training who returned to take over the family-owned business Hammer Chevrolet in 1983, told the audience, “Traditions alone won’t sustain business. You need to follow trends and you need to have the strength of good employees.” And Dixie See, broker-owner of ERA Carroll Realty, who began her real estate career in 1977 and ultimately purchased the business in 1990, emphasized, “It’s important to give back to your community.

Rounding out the panel was Ron Kensey, founder and president of Kennon Products, who moved his innovative manufacturing company to Sheridan from Los Angeles in 1989. For his business, Ron told the group that failure is a fact of life when running a business, and when he fails he tries to “fail fast, fail first and fail cheap.”

“In my business, if we’re following trends,” he said, “we’re already behind.”

Most spoke of their own experiences sustaining their businesses during other challenging economic downturns. We thank you, Josh, Gina, Dick, Dixie and Ron, for sharing you time and business lessons learned. The message that resonated with the audience and most definitely with me was you adapted, survived and even flourished by holding true to proven strategies when challenges did arise.






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