ST. GEORGE — A local business networking organization now meeting in Southern Utah is premised on the belief that when local businesses help each other grow, everyone profits.
Dixie Business Network – a Local Common Wealth, is a grassroots organization that brings business owners together with a focus on building wealth in the community by supporting each other through referrals, Keith Kelsch, a co-founder of the group, said. The group passes business referrals between members and focuses on building each other’s businesses instead of their own.
Kelsch, who became involved in a national business networking organization and realized it wasn’t as effective as he had hoped, said he studied various networking models before deciding he needed to do something different.
Realizing that individual wealth is fine but community wealth is even better, Kelsch launched a new networking organization in April. Called the Local Common Wealth, the business networking organization includes two groups: the Dixie Business Network and the Flagstaff Business Network.
“That way the wealth stays locally and is distributed locally,” he said, “and referrals come from one business owner to another – face to face.”
One member, Michael Allen, said his handyman business has tripled since joining the Dixie Business Network, attributing the growth to referrals made from other members. Allen said for one month the group focused on building his business and he experienced an increase right away, and the growth continues.
The support, ideas and referrals have helped him build his business in numerous ways, he added.
“I’m not a good businessman,” Allen said, “but I’m a good worker.”
The group is run by common consent – there is no structured leadership – ensuring that every member has a voice.
“By increasing innovation and the transfer of ideas, we are bringing the power back to the communities by increasing wealth through local businesses and keeping that wealth where it’s needed most, right here,” Kelsch said.
The organization holds biweekly meetings which allow members to meet and learn about each other’s trade or vocation, and engage in idea sharing that is focused on growing another group member’s business, as opposed to their own.
Then the group participates in an exercise through which they promote the shop or business of someone in the group with the same enthusiasm as they would their own.
“Instead of each member being focused on their own success” Kelsch said, “they are focused on building each other’s success.”
Once the focus changes from an individual goal to a common goal then things really start to change, he said, and each person begins to look at the bigger picture – the wealth of the group. This in turn materializes into bringing wealth to the community by helping each other succeed.
The networking philosophy is working, Kelsch said. In one group alone referrals between the members have brought more than $62,000 in new business, and that money trickles back into the local community.
The profits are driven by small business owners helping each other, Kelsch said, and the entire community benefits from that support.
“I started thinking about community,” Kelsch said, “and realized it’s all about community.”
Small business contributes more than its fair share to the overall U.S. economy. According to the Small Business Association, there are over 28 million small businesses in the country today that provide over 2/3 of the nation’s jobs. Small business accounts for 98 percent of the companies that export goods, according to a 2014 report from the Small Business Association’s Office of Advocacy.
For questions or to request membership information contact Keith Kelsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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