Lisa McPherson – Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce

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The Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce has been around for almost 30 years and supports hundreds of local businesses in the Hastings region.

Can you tell us more about your role with the Chamber and about the service the Chamber offers?

The Port Macquarie Chamber works to be a voice for local business. We strive to represent our local business community on issues that challenge them and to bring to their attention opportunities to grow their business.

We provide regular opportunities for members to promote themselves and to build their networks. We communicate with other local business networks and follow Chambers across the region, as well as the Mid North Coast NSW Business Chamber. We believe that to get real change we need to unite and use our numbers to influence Government at all levels.

The Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce is responsible for hosting some significant business events throughout the year, including the upcoming Digital Marketing Day Out. Can you tell us about this event and how it can benefit local business people?

The Digital Marketing Day Out is a fabulous opportunity for regional business on the Mid North Coast to explore the world of marketing. On the day, attendees will hear from leading marketing minds and can explore the available marketing tools and trends that can help them establish a marketing plan that suits their business.

The event offers a rare opportunity to mix with like-minded business from across the Mid North Coast and take advantage of exploring this essential business tool from a collective mind.

The Chamber is also behind the Greater Port Macquarie Business Awards. Are there any tips and tricks you can share with businesses looking to enter the awards this year and maximise their exposure?

2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Holiday Coast Credit Union Greater Port Macquarie Business Awards! We are well underway with big plans for this year and have a number of changes to the awards system that we feel will simplify the process for applicants, while building a more comprehensive judging process.

The awards are a great opportunity for any business to examine itself and showcase its achievements to the community. The awards are easy to enter and if the business wins, they go through to the Regional Awards in a number of categories. This is great recognition for the business and their staff.

We have a number of “reveals” to unveil in the coming weeks!

Building strong relationships with customers and stakeholders is important for most organisations. How does the Port Macquarie Chamber build and maintain strong relationships with its members and industry stakeholders?

The Port Macquarie Chamber has a busy event calendar and a communications focus to help distribute information to the business community. We offer a diverse range of networking opportunities to help business get connected and generate new relationships.

We have a strong Board that sets the direction of the Chamber. The Board is led by our President, Hadyn Oriti, and has a diverse makeup to ensure we are representative of our members.

What is the most rewarding part about your role with the Port Macquarie Chamber of Commerce?

I really enjoy meeting people and learning about the amazing things our local businesses create! We have so many innovative and passionate people in our business community, and I am always discovering new products and services on offer here in our backyard.

And what are some of the challenges you face in your role with the Chamber, and how do you manage to overcome them?

With such a large membership base, a bustling event calendar and keeping up with items we are currently advocating on, I would love to spend more time with each of our members! We encourage members to activate their membership by engaging at functions and contributing to network communications. We strongly encourage members to share their views on the local business environment and help us to be a proactive voice for local business.

What do you think is the single most important factor in running a successful regional business?

The business plan!

The single most important thing about running a business anywhere is to have a good business plan. The plan needs to be well thought out, and you need to consider the skillset and support of your team to execute it. I am lucky that I have the support of Katherine Harris and the Chamber Board to support me in my role.

And finally, if you could invite any three business people to lunch, who would they be and why would you invite them?

What a lunch it would be! All three of my invitees are innovative and successful entrepreneurs and so willing to share their story and knowledge with others:

• Jeremy Gutsche, Trend Hunter – absolutely inspiring!

• Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, Virgin.

• Naomi Simson, Red Balloon.

Thanks for your time, Lisa.

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