'The Idea Lady' visited Northeast Berks Chamber members, leading an interactive discussion about promoting their business and making their product or service more visible.

'Rita Guthrie is very enthusiastic and engaging in her conversations and you can tell that she's very passionate about what she's speaks about,' said Chamber Executive Director Tammy Gore. 'It's about distinguishing yourself. Whatever your brand is, whatever your motto is, make sure people know that's what you stand for.'

'The Power of Distinction in Business' was the topic of discussion presented by speaker Rita Guthrie of Open Door Public Relations at the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce breakfast April 25.

'There are all different types of businesses represented here today and they all need understand how to distinguish themselves when it comes to customer service, when it comes to the type of client they want to attract, when it comes to communication. These are all things that are really important in distinguishing themselves in business.' She also said, 'I want them to understand that it's important to engage.'

Guthrie provides one-on-one public relations and marketing consulting for small business owners. Highlights of her Chamber presentation asking chamber members questions like 'What makes you stand out?' and helping participants see how their business is unique.

'Stand out in a positive way,' she recommended when talking about attending networking events and expos.

She also emphasized that brand is important, as well as making connections and networking, being open and approachable, and staying in touch with clients.

'The whole goal to marketing is making yourself visible, having a strong brand and staying in touch with people so when they need your service or product, they can find you, they remember who you are,' she told chamber members.

When someone asks a business owner, 'What do you do?' Guthrie recommends telling a success story about a particular client, while protecting their privacy.

'Giving an example is really important.'

Another recommendation is to create an ad that depicts their business 'the way it really is so people have the right expectations and they're happy when they arrive, they're happy with their service.'

Chamber members shared the lessons they learned.

Mark Crossley, Attorney at Scherline & Associates and president of Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Company, said the chamber's discussion was good. 'It gave me a lot of good ideas,' finding another avenue to network.

Mark Lerario, Douglassville resident with PenTeleData, thought the discussion was enlightening. He learned about asking questions and how to represent yourself for your business.

Chamber member Alyse Mitten, Interlace Communications in Hamburg, said the talk 'was very useful for members.' She learned to stay connected in many ways at trade shows, networking events such as the chamber breakfast and face to face.

Allan Cornman, Ameriprise financial advisor, learned to have an open door policy for people to feel comfortable to come into your office.

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