Summit County businesses build online community | SummitDaily.com

Summit County businesses build online community

FRISCO – Joy Woodworth is going to her business group meeting today – but she is not leaving her office. Instead, she gets on her computer and logs into her homepage at SummitBusinessNetwork.net (SBN). Soon, she and her business colleagues are sharing ideas and communicating via SBN’s chat and messaging features.

“We need a 21st century business model for our business groups, chamber groups and business organizations,” says Woodworth of Woodworth Insurance Agency. “A 21st century business model has to provide ways for businesses to connect online in their own virtual community.”

The SBN took shape when business owners decided they wanted more efficient ways to stay connected and communicate with each other here in Summit County. “There are a number of business groups and organizations in the county…there wasn’t anything tying them together online,” said Tom Fellner, Web designer and CEO at Imagine That Creative. “The SBN creates space for every business in Summit County, including chamber groups, leads groups, and non-profit organizations.”

The SBN is similar to Facebook. Business owners create their own profile page then set up connections with other business owners. They are able to customize their page and add a variety of applications like shopping carts, photo galleries, events calendars and blogs. They can link the SBN page to their business website and provide another point of contact with potential customers.

One of the most powerful features of the network is its ability to support groups. “We are working alongside the Summit Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations to provide ways for their members to interact with each other,” said Jeff McElhattan, the SBN’s administrator. “Any business or business organization can create user groups on the network.”

Business owners can be part of multiple groups and interface with all of them through their SBN business page. This streamlines communication and gives users a way to manage all their business relationships from a single platform. SBN users are even able to follow the network on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIN and other social media.

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“I think this (the SBN) is awesome,” said Beth Garst, owner of High Trail Sports in Frisco. “I’m extremely busy and it’s hard for me to get to meetings and events. The Summit Business Network allows me to stay connected to what’s happening in the business community here in Summit County without having to leave my store.”

Any business owner in Summit County is eligible to join the network. The cost is $20 per year. Right now the SBN is offering an open enrollment with the first year’s cost being waived for business owners that sign up by September 10, 2009.

For more information, contact Jeff McElhattan at (970) 232-5203 or jeff@imaginethatcreative.net.