So Mrs. GrassLands and I headed wayyyy out to the east coast last weekend (Amelia Island, just north of Jacksonville) for the annual Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce event. The event gets hosted by Destin, FL one year, then Amelia Island the next. Both locations are freakin' beautiful for any event, let alone one celebrating small business in the state's capital!
Anyways, this was our first year going and representing GrassLands. Last year, I went on behalf of my day job and as a result, learned a ton about people's businesses. What we found out this year was that beer, or at least a company in the business of brewing local beer, is a desired and intriguing commodity. We barely could find out about others' respective businesses because we kept on answering questions about GrassLands before getting introduced to someone else! I swear we heard the phrase "This is Gabe & Saralyn and they're starting a brewery!" sooooo many times; only to be followed by: "Oh, I heard about this, tell me more!" From a pure networking standpoint, the Chamber of Commerce presented an awesome opportunity for propelling GrassLands into the local marketplace.
As such, our social networking/email/website has gone bonkers this week - so much so that we can barely keep up. As much as we want to stay on top of things, it's definitely a challenge to recognize each new follower, follow up with the dozens of new folks we met, stay on target with regard to budgeting our time, etc. Oh yeah, we've gotta keep brewing pilot test batches somewhere in there, right? However, these are all good and welcomed "problems" to have. If others' enthusiasm showed us anything, we're right on track to where we need & want to be...if not accelerated!
The Chamber is an awesome thing and I implore any small business in any economy (especially Tallahassee's) to join their respective chamber of commerce. Seriously, aside from the networking, there's just a level of support for business success and innovation that you cannot attain by sitting at your desktop PC at home or in the office. Heard me say the term: "A rising tide floats all boats?" Well, if businesses in a city/town are succeeding because of their mutual support and advocacy for one another, the local economy becomes that much stronger as a result. Additionally, you get into a loop of information that you weren't in before. The simple information sharing/presenting is awesome! It's cool to be in the know about your hometown!
I don't want to keep going on & on about our own personal experience, it's just tough to let go of all the enthusiasm, encouragement & confidence that's built up over the past week. We're really excited about what the next few months will bring to GrassLands, if that wasn't too obvious! It all starts with our participation in the Economic Development Council's Entrepreneurship Excellence Program at the end of this month. Remember me saying that as non-traditional entrepreneurs, we wanted to be as prepared as possible before launching this shindig? We mean it. It's time to get serious!
Lots of things coming up!! With that, I'll let you get to it for now. We've got a jam-packed week ahead of us (meetings tonight, NFBL Summer Party Saturday, brewing again next week - never-ending!). Enjoy your weekend, my dear readers, because you definitely deserve it!