Starship is a good example of a business with a specific "Point of View." Paul and Henry believe that quality catering can be had at every budget level. Their service, menu and pricing creates a differentiated product that results from that point of view.

My favorite part of reality tv show “Project Runway” is Tim Gunn’s exhortations to budding designers that they find their “point of view.”

One fashion designer might believe the world needs more beauty. Another’s perspective could be there should be no gender differences.  Designers refine and communicate their individual points of view throughout the series until eventually you can identify who made what just from the finished clothes.  Some call this “style” or even “brand.”

Businesses have points of view as well.  Their unique perspectives provide a lens through which they identify opportunities and fill gaps with new products and services.  Nike views the world from the perspective of an athlete.  Amazon sees a world augmented by convenience.  Starship believes that budget isn’t an obstacle to quality catering and service.

Your local Chamber also has a very specific point of view.  We believe that small business is hard.  We believe that today you need more than great product and great service to succeed.  Marketing noise, customer lifestyles, technology, politics and national competitors are too challenging too overcome without some extra something.

Given our point of view, we create a community that provides the “extra something” through support systems, mentoring, programs, promotional opportunities, information and resources.  We offer a platform for small business people to step out of their storefronts, offices and virtual workstations to engage in whatever way gives them that something they need.

Using our platform, business owners establish themselves as leaders, making a name for themselves and their businesses.  They learn new skills to keep pace.  They promote themselves and their businesses through targeted marketing opportunities but also through relationship and trust building.

Some businesses prefer to go it alone and have the capacity to develop that “extra something” themselves.  Others prefer the to use community platform the Chamber provides.  The latter group represents our core members.

We’ll be celebrating our members this coming month as we ask them to renew their membership in the Chamber.  We appreciate those that share our point of view and support the platform we created.  Small business is hard, but, to paraphrase Tim Gunn, together we can “make it work.”

Join the discussion on social media!

Cathy Yen

Cathy Yen is the Executive Director of the Oak Park River Forest Chamber of Commerce.  She has lived in Oak Park for 21 years and done business locally, first as a retailer and then as a small business...