Chamber Awards Small Business of the Year Awards

These awards were presented at the Chamber’s monthly Early Bird Breakfast this May.

The Chamber is comprised of many types of businesses. At the meeting that morning, they celebrated small business, those that are defined as employing 1 to 50 employees. This week was declared “Small Business Week in Troup County.” The Chamber also requested that everyone attending the breakfast that morning to discover a new store, talk to someone about a product or service that they could receive from a non-Troup County business and change to a local vendor. Collectively, the community can make a huge difference. At the meeting that morning, Todd Carlisle from the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center introduced the Small Business of the Year Awards.

The first award winner that morning personified the business dictionary’s definition of entrepreneur- someone who exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision maker, decides what, how, and how much a good or service will be produced. In this case, an 18 year old young man pinpointed a niche market. Seventeen years later, this global online business has shipped products to every state in the Country and to more than 50 countries around the world.

Since taking full ownership of the business in 2007, the company’s revenues have seen an average annual growth of more than 30% per year. With the help of Goldman Sachs, the company is envisioning a future with their own brand of products and accessories. The first winner that morning went to Brandon Eley and 2bigfeet.com.

The second recipient that morning has been in business in Troup County for 26 years. The business had a steady customer base and was profitable. However, in 2011, he owner decided that being comfortable and stable was not enough- he wanted to grow. Engaging the services of marketing consultant and establishing key metrics to evaluate business performance, the business launched a strategic plan to grow 5 times in 10 years. These metrics are key to gauging the success of a small business but are often not employed by a health care practice with such precision and such commitment.

Success has already been achieved with sales and customer retention up, and the business has created five new jobs. Knowing that word of mouth is the best advertising, the business uses the Chamber’s Shop at Home certificates to thank clients that refer to the business and, in turn, supports fellow local small businesses. The second winner of the morning was Dr. George Childress and Childress Dental Center.

The final award of the morning was presented to a company that decided despite a changing regulatory environment and complicated insurance reimbursement policies, the consumertheir patient- is really the most important part of the business. Rather than being affiliated with a larger corporate partner, this organization launched its own independent business that could focus on customer outcomes rather on the number of customers. Even with encouraging staff to spend more time with each individual customer, the total volume of business has surpassed original growth goals of5% each year to reach double digit gains.

Satisfied customers have become the best marketing tools, and more individualized attention has resulted in better outcomes for the customer. The business has grown from one location in LaGrange to clinics in Columbus and, most recently, West Point. This small business is no longer a small player in sports medicine; they are definitely at the top of their own power conference. The last award of the morning was presented to Josh McGinty and the team at Southern Rehab and Sports Medicine.