OPINION: Sooke businesses need to work together

OPINION: Sooke businesses need to work together

We need to recognize and play to win as if we are in it together

Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce president Kerry Cavers presented this speech at the recent Business Excellence Awards.

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Guys, and gals, this is my third year working on this event and can I share something with you? This business community is awesome. You work hard, day in and day out, you support each other, you give generously to the community and you do it all with very little recognition or thanks.

You entrepreneurs and philanthropists are a crazy bunch. You are. You have to be. You have a dream or you see a need and you decide to lay it all out on the line to make it happen. Sometimes success is swift, most times it is a long, uphill battle. I commend you all for choosing this path.

Can I share something else with you that I have noticed? We need to come together more. We need to support each other more. We need to recognize and play to win as if we are in it together – because we are. Your success does not detract from my success.

In fact, if you are successful I will benefit from that success. How many people have heard of Sooke Harbour House or Point No Point? How many people have come to our area to stay at these two amazing resorts and have also explored our town, hired services, dined in our restaurants? You succeed, I succeed.

Businesses in the Sooke Region in the same industry or sector are not the competition. Our competition is with Victoria, or Tofino, or even Langford. And so long as we try to just make it on our own or be suspect of other businesses here, we won’t have the collaborative draw that we need to bring about change and prosperity.

Picture it: All the businesses and nonprofit organizations in the region working together to promote each other, to find ways to work together, to bring success and prosperity for all to the area. We would create a level of community engagement and spirit that is unprecedented and infectious. We wouldn’t be left to “fight our battles” on our own or to pick ourselves up when we get knocked down. We would have our team, our comrades, our people to help us.

I know that running a business is hard. Heck, we opened a smoothie and juice bar the year of the longest-coldest winter ever. We don’t need to make it harder on each other. Can you see an opportunity where you could turn your “competition” into an ally? Is there a project, initiative or event that you could collaborate on that would benefit you both?

It is time we consistently and purposefully come together to co-create success and prosperity. We can’t afford not to.

Tonight, we celebrate businesses and nonprofit organizations that demonstrate excellence. Excellence is not a destination but a journey. It is not an achievement but an attitude. We will all have less than stellar days, clients and customers we can’t satisfy because of our shortcomings or theirs, and times when we straight up mess up.

It is when we continue on, owning and learning from our mistakes, striving to do better that we exhibit the attitude of excellence. It is when we set the bar high for ourselves, competing with our personal bests, that we exhibit excellence.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce is not above this process or immune to the challenges striving for excellence brings. We know you expect more from us; we expect more from ourselves.

The board of directors will continue to work hard to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization but the chamber is not just the board of directors. It is its members and its community. It is with collaborative efforts from everyone that we can make the chamber great.

And by working together to make the chamber great, we will in turn help to raise up the business community and further encourage the attitude of excellence in our region.

Congratulations to all our nominees. Your dedication to excellence not only benefits your customers but also your fellow business owners, nonprofit organizations, and the community at large. A standing ovation to you.