Business Owners Forum Offers Support, Guidance to All Types of Business Owners
For all the struggles of being a business owner, Andrea Fox, the owner of the Tempe hair salon Beauty by Andrea, is grateful that she has a cheering section behind her.
And it’s not just the support of family and friends that keep her going. Fox has the decades of business ownership experience from the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s Business Owners Forum to guide her through the hard decisions of keeping and maintaining a business.
“There’s not a time when I go to the Business Owners Forum where I don’t leave inspired or encouraged or with a list of notes of ‘do this, just do it already’, or ‘try doing this,’” said Fox. “As a business owner, you don’t know what’s going to work until you try it. Yes, it’s amazing.”
Beauty by Andrea started seven years ago after Fox ventured out on her own and moved her business from a corporate salon to establishing a space at Total Image Beauty Mall on McClintock Drive and Warner Road. Two years later, at the suggestion of her husband and mother, she became a member of the Tempe Chamber and soon discovered the Business Owners Forum.
“The Business Owner’s Forum is to help business owners drill down into their business and find out what they’re doing right and doing wrong,” said Glen Hayward, chair of the Business Owners Forum and the 14-year owner of Good Works Auto Repair on Broadway Road and the Loop 101. The Forum offers insight and advice for business owners in a confidential setting; only business owners are allowed to attend.
Business Owners Forum meetings can encompass just about anything, ranging from shipping concerns to work-life balance. (“What is balance?” Fox asks exasperatedly).
“We have all types of businesses and industries in the group,” said Hayward. “There are common threads that transcend every business; employee turnover, hiring employees, letting employees go, even firing clients. Everyone can give food for thought.”
At one meeting last summer, Fox had been contemplating about raising her rates for the first time since she opened her business.
“A price increase was something that I knew I was supposed to do as a business owner, but as me loving my clients it wasn’t something that I wanted to do,” she said. "I brought the topic up to the forum a few times and it was just incredible, the support and encouragement I received.”
Since the summer, Fox reports that she had since been very pleased with her decision to raise her rates for the first time and credits others in the group for encouraging her to go through with it.
“I don’t ever feel judged or [feel like] I can’t bring something to the table and not find some sort of support,” Fox says. “It’s just refreshing to know that I’m not the only one. I can calm down, I can get through it.”
Hayward understands and relates with sole proprietors like Fox who face making hard decisions on their own. He worked in the auto industry on his own for nearly 30 years before opening his own shop. Years later, it was the forum that was among the first people that he thanked when receiving the Chamber’s Business Excellence Award in 2015, recognizing advancement of responsible business leadership in the community and publicly honoring local businesses that demonstrate a passion for excellence.
“[The Business Owners Forum] gives food for thought,” he said. “You give and get help and support, and I’m happy to be giving back.”
The Business Owners Forum meets monthly on the fourth Thursday of the month. For more information about the group, contact the Chamber office at (480) 967-7891 or by emailing email@example.com.