This may sound a bit obscure, but as a local small business owner, some of the best business advice I have received was from the guy washing my cars.

A few months ago my neighbor was having his cars washed and detailed. Busy running my business, our vehicles were in need of a good detail themselves. I went next door and hired the guy and his team on the spot to clean our cars as well.

As he finished up cleaning our cars, we got to talking about his business. He shared with me some of his recent wins in the car detailing industry. He mentioned how a program through our local Chamber of Commerce really changed the way he ran his business.

Small businesses depend on other small businesses to survive. If we fail to support one another we all lose.

This program he mentioned I had heard about at a couple of Chamber council meetings but had not given it much thought. When he shared about how the program worked and that it was open to anyone in the community. Whether you were a business owner or just someone who had a dream. It did not matter if you were a  Chamber member or not. He peaked my interest, if for nothing else but the passion in his voice as he shared how it helped his business grow.

That evening I went online and found information about the Jax Bridges program through the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. Submitting my application I felt unprepared and unequipped to join the program based on the questions on the application. Little did I know that those questions proved how ready I was for the program.

After a few more steps in the process, a couple weeks had passed I was accepted into the next cohort of Jax Bridges.

Little did I know that the next twelve weeks of my company’s existence would change how I did business entirely.

Jax Bridges is a program provided through the Entrepreneurial Growth Division of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. It gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to vet their product or service. They take you through the process of creating a business model, value proposition, capability statement and so much more. It is an educational opportunity based on real life experiences rather than the antiquated ideas taught in textbooks. All of which provides each entrepreneur the tools and skills to be successful.

Business owners are inundated with what business advice that generally amounts to little more than opinion.

Jax Bridges gives you not only advice but actionable ways to implement the tools step by step to build your business. Whether you are a fledgling startup or a veteran business owner, everyone can reap the rewards and benefits learned in the program.

After graduating from cohort 8, my business, the way we interact with our customers and community is forever changed. We have more focus to provide the services to the clients we serve. By leveraging our resources we are prepared to scale our business in a way I could never have imagined or even attempted a short three months ago.

Now you may be wondering how is it that not only a business changing, but in some aspects life changing organization like Jax Bridges stay somewhat unheard of? The answer is simple, they need no advertising or marketing plan themselves. Graduates like myself spread the word organically. After 8 cohorts there are enough coin holding ambassadors in and around Jacksonville to keep Jax Bridges going for years to come. In fact if you happen to know an entrepreneur or small business that just does things differently there is a good chance they too hold the coin to success.