John Bronson, Founder and President of PACC

PACC founder, John Bronson, discussed the issues facing small businesses at a four person panel at Live Wire in Scottsdale on Tuesday January 27 hosted by Business Connect.

The panel discussion was led by Tara Hitchcock, former co-host of Good Morning, Arizona and currently host of Tara’s Reel Travels.

Other panelists included Lorena Valencia, Founder and President of Reliance Wire, Kerwin Brown, President and CEO of the Black Chamber of Arizona, and Phyllis Metcalf Senseman, Vice-President of Agency Management and Marketing for CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company.

 When asked about the importance of small business, Bronson replied, “small business is the backbone of our economy…it relies on great leaders and teams.” Senseman advised how small businesses market themselves on small budgets. “Prioritize. Pick three or four areas you can afford to support and know your target market.” On the importance of Social Media, Brown added, “it’s an incredible opportunity for exposure. It’s what big businesses spend millions of dollars on Super Bowl ads for.” Another topic discussed was how the Internet changed business. “It affects the velocity of how we work and transparency” according to Valencia.

 Other panel topics included: rebranding, how to grow your business, small business trends, and the importance of diversity. The discussion ended on the best advice each panelist would give to small business owners. Bronson, drawing from his years playing for the Arizona Cardinals stated, “There are ups and downs. Stay hungry, stay focused, and drive through it.” Brown also echoed the need for focusing on what kind of products or services small business owners want to provide. Senseman advised small business owners to surround themselves with mentors and learn all they can. “Numbers don’t lie” Valencia inserted, “get sharp on your financials.”

The keynote speaker was Jack Groh, the NFL’s Environmental Program Consultant, who discussed the NFL’s evolving environmental sustainability policies over a twenty year- plus span starting in 1993 with the Georgia recycling project for Super Bowl XXVIII. Groh also discussed how small businesses can position themselves better in the market by adopting environmentally sustainable business practices. Some of the reasons he stated were cost savings, potential good will with customers who care about the environment, great marketing strategy showing leadership in area of sustainable business practices.

The evening also included opening remarks from Tisha Ford of Business Connect who concluded she is heartened by stories of people who get valuable feedback from the Business Connect events and how it can change their businesses for the better. Jay Parry, President and CEO of the AZ Super Bowl Host Committee said this of having the Super Bowl in Arizona, “it’s a great way to represent Arizona in a meaningful way.”

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