Best Practices for the Brevard Business Environment

My editor encouraged me to focus on best practices, so I researched the topic. WOW! A gazillion guides in cyber-world and print-world both. Best practices for governors, mayors, web designers, energy users, nonprofits, education, e-commerce, dieters, cat lovers, etc. Whatever your interest, there’s a best practice out there for you.

But what is a best practice? Straight from Wikipedia, a best practice is a “method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.”

Great, but now let’s bring all this lofty theory down to earth for Brevard; here’s my baker’s dozen Best Practices for the Brevard Business Environment:

  1. Don’t start from scratch. Look at what’s already successful. The good fundamentals you see are always best practices. Look at what your competition is doing that works and make it work for you.
  2. Get out more. Network, network, network. Woody Allen once said that showing up is 80{099636d13cf70efd8d812c6f6a5a855fb6f8f27f35bea282d2df1d5ae896e2c2} of success. Show up. Electronic media is wonderful but it will never replace face-to-face connections.
  3. Market smart. Best practices change constantly, especially in marketing. Social media, print media, broadcast media, even giveaways have changed. Reevaluate your market and how you approach it regularly. This doesn’t mean redo your marketing plan every quarter, but do look at it often and integrate it into a single, linear plan. If you have a great company and nobody knows it, do you have a great company?
  4. Puff yourself up; appear big. Although small businesses can’t be everywhere, they can appear to be everywhere. Buff up your website (and keep it absolutely up to date). Use the tools of modern infotech to make your image be what you want others to think it is.
  5. Don’t ‘do it this way because we always have.’ Times change, people change, markets change. Change is good; it pumps new life into organizations and businesses. Who would have thought twenty years ago that you could communicate with distant customers by talking to a computer screen? Times change, people change. Businesses need to also. Change is fuel. Embrace change.
  6. Attend to basics. Make your business plan accountable, current, and attainable. Develop a Continuous Improvement plan. Develop your people too. Add a professional development seminar to your calendar.
  7. Buy Local! Darn it, buy local. It’s easy, it’s logical, and it’s really good for everyone.
  8. Get with the times. The old economic giants aren’t what they used to be. Where space used to be numero uno, we now have the Port, the military, tourism, services, high-tech manufacturing and other new engines driving us forward. These areas are growing, producing new economic growth and development.
  9. Ecotourism. Brevard County owns eco-tourism. This may be the world’s best place to experience nature in all its wonder … and it’s our home. A professor once pointed out that a square yard of the Banana River holds more species, plant life, and just plain critters than nearly any other place in the world. That’s a notable testament to the wonderful natural resources we have here … which can be a market draw or even a new line of business for you.
  10. Get your money’s worth. Use those organizations and their already-available services to which you pay dues; they are eager to improve your business. Need examples? Try SCORE, LEAD Brevard, Chambers of Commerce, and many more. Force yourself to stretch professionally and use the best tools available for your budget – the ones you already have in reach.
  11. Volunteer. It’s good for you and good for us. Just a little of your time means a lot. And there’s no better team-building for your people than a joint volunteer effort.
  12. Draw strength from organizations with missions overlapping yours. Empower your business by joining forces with outfits like the EDC, TDC, League of Cities, CRA’s, the zoo, HUB-zones, Free-trade Zones, nonprofits, and of course (drum roll here) your very own Chamber of Commerce. You’ll find multiple organizations you can team with on issues, on training, and on a myriad of other tools they have for your business.
  13. Promote our home when you travel. Word-of-mouth is dynamic! Tell everyone you meet how great Brevard is, for people and for business. Be a booster.

Melissa Stains is the CEO of the Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce.