Earlier this month, the Arizona Rural Development Council traveled to Pinetop-Lakeside to teach a series of seminars to empower local business owners. The two September workshops, focused on social media and “leveraging your localness,” were a followup to two previous seminars that AZRDC led in July on customer service and tourism strategies. These four workshops were offered as a package to the Pinetop-Lakeside local business community as a way to encourage them to work collectively towards promoting and marketing their region to a wider Arizona audience.
These four workshops together offered local businesses a complete set of tools to sustainably run their business. The Tourism Strategies workshop discussed different options for the region to draw tourists to the region from Arizona and beyond, focusing on what makes the White Mountain region different from other popular destinations. The Customer Service workshop was important to ensure that business owners properly trained their staffs and employed best practices to encourage repeat visitors and customers to the region and their businesses. The Leveraging Your Localness workshop taught businesses specific ways to draw customers in by focusing on their roots in the community. And the Social Media seminar for small businesses taught business owners the benefits of a well-maintained social media presence to attract visitors and locals to their businesses and promote the region as a whole. Together, these workshops offered business owners a complete set of skills to best run their businesses.
The Arizona Rural Development Council has consistently promoted collaboration as a main theme in both rural and urban communities. When local businesses collaborate with one another, they can combine their resources to reach a wider audience, which benefits everyone involved. Possible collaboration strategies were discussed in the Tourism, Leveraging Your Localness, and Social Media workshops.
“I’m envisioning an ad,” mused Arizona Rural Development Council Director Kimber Lanning during the Leveraging Your Localness Workshop, “it has a mountain in the middle, with a ski shop on one side and a brewery or pup on the other, and the ad says ‘We got you coming and going.’ This full page ad, targeted at ski visitors from the Phoenix metro area, will promote specifically two local businesses at half the cost, plus draws attention to what the whole Pinetop-Lakeside community has to offer.”
This is just one example that came up of how local businesses in a rural community can really come together in a collaborative effort. For each seminar, the room was buzzing with interesting ideas for local business collaboration, we are excited to see what the Pinetop-Lakeside region comes up with!
Are you interested in hiring the Arizona Rural Development Council to teach workshops in your community? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-956-0909 ext. 1.