For the past year, your Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce these has been working hard to create many new products and services for its membership. Your chamber of commerce has geared up to assist small businesses in several key areas: businesses development, marketing, and technology.

For the past year, your Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce these has been working hard to create many new products and services for its membership. Your chamber of commerce has geared up to assist small businesses in several key areas: businesses development, marketing, and technology.

With the formation of "Ask the Expert" as the umbrella for business development, the chamber began offering seminars starting with technology. With the pullback in consumer spending, many business owners are more focused on reducing expenses and conserving resources than they are on seeking out technologies that might give them an edge in the marketplace. The chamber has partnered with TechColumbus and our TechUA Committee to provide a venue for members to have affordable access and gain knowledge to the ever changing world of technology.

"Anything like this is terrific for a small business with a limited marketing budget," said Becky Hajost. "The opportunity to 'Ask the Experts' during the open question-and-answer session provides a basis for smart asset allocation in the field of technology," said Matt Dopkiss with DynamIt. Topics discussed were "Is your Web site doing anything for you?" and "What is involved in E-Commerce?" The panel of experts gave many tips on how to get more out of your Web site. "E-Commerce represents a tremendous opportunity for the SMB market, but businesses must make sure that they go about it the right way. Proper planning and integration by an experienced person into the overall business strategy is a must or businesses risk heading down the wrong path and falling behind their competition," said Brian White with Web Hosting Solutions.

As the "Ask the Expert" series builds, the chamber plans to offer additional workshops from Web casts explaining how to use social-networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to Web sites where firms can solicit work proposals and network with peers. These initiatives are enabling small-business owners with limited resources to market their services more effectively, find clients and shares ideas.

Just last month the UAACC created an online social-networking site on LinkedIn for its chamber members, user name (UA Chamber Member), partly because so many members can't attend the organization's face-to-face networking events. With the demands of the daily workload, we're trying to offer ways to network without even showing up. We want to help local businesses with their Internet marketing and help drive business to them. We are in a relationship economy, and believe people want to do business with those they know and trust. "With online social networking, businesses have the opportunity to connect with others on a regular basis and build a much deeper relationship. This turns into referrals and more business, and that is very powerful," said Becky Hajost.

Other tools the chamber is offering include: the UA Chamber Business Monthly, WUAR radio "The Chamber Hour" and a weekly e-newsletter that helps keep members informed about events, public-policy issues and news that might affect them. From free business consulting and asset management, to various avenues for marketing your business, the Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce is working hard to provide value to your membership.