Kimber Lanning: Collaboration is key to small business success

Local First Arizona Executive Director Kimber Lanning travels all over the state to talk to community leaders, business owners, and residents about the "buy local" movement. Recently, she was in Payson speaking to a group for the Business Buzz luncheon, sharing her story as a small business owner and discussing the topic of collaboration. Collaboration, according to Lanning, can make the difference in the failure or prosperity of a small business.  She stressed that more collaboration needs to occur throughout Arizona:

“When I travel around the state, I don’t see enough collaboration... You are all in the same boat together and you need to not only be thinking about what you do, but what others need to know about what your community is like.”

To further her point, Lanning highlighted her experience with her art gallery in Downtown Phoenix.  When she first moved in, the area surrounding her gallery was a blighted neighborhood.  Years later, the area is now known as Roosevelt Row, and is a bustling arts scene with multiple galleries, shops, bars, and restaurants.  Lanning claimed that collaboration with these other businesses is the key to the success of the Downtown Arts District.

"Regional thinking creates new dollars for all," Lanning emphasized.  Rather than solely thinking about one's own business success, thinking about the whole community is a better strategy to bring in more dollars for everyone.

Local First Arizona has been working to facilitate this collaborative mindset with a new series of videos titled WeekendZona.  The first video is about the Verde Valley, and features lots of unique, local businesses to patron while in the area.  With these sorts of regional endeavors, Local First Arizona hopes to encourage increased support for all of the local businesses by spreading knowledge of what the region has to offer.  You can watch the video here!

How have you thought about collaborating with nearby local businesses?  What have been some of your success stories?  Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Read the full coverage of Kimber Lanning's talk by The Payson Roundup here.