Member Success: Lisa Linkowsky Makes a Difference with a Giving Mindset
Lisa Linkowsky had a plan. She was about a year away from selling her BirthdayPak franchise and becoming a consultant. Then Covid hit.
Lisa, just like all but one franchisee in the company, lost her business seemingly overnight. She had to pivot, and not in the way she had planned. Fortunately, franchising exploded in 2020, and Lisa saw an opportunity.
“Historically, franchising does exceedingly well during an economic downturn,” Lisa said. “People want to carve out their own destiny. In the face of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, you rethink and reset your values. It turned out to be the best possible time to start my business.”
Lisa launched Milestone Franchising, a franchise advisory business that helps people navigate the path to business ownership. As a certified franchise consultant (CFC), Lisa can walk you through a personalized process of figuring out if franchising is a good fit and, if so, matching you with the right franchise concept.
Involved and Engaged from Day One
Soon after starting her business, Lisa joined the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce with three primary goals in mind. First and foremost, she wanted to build awareness in the business community. Second, because there were no other franchise consultants in the chamber, she held a unique position and could introduce people to the franchise concept. The third reason speaks directly to Lisa’s values as a business owner, networker, and chamber member.
“I wanted to champion other businesses that were struggling so mightily because of the pandemic,” Lisa said. “At that time, the networking mantra shifted to, ‘How can I help you?’ I wanted to be part of that and was willing to do whatever I could do to lift people up. I learned right away that the chamber embraces that mindset.”
Lisa made every effort to attend at least two events per month, whether virtual or in person. She invited people to attend events with her, posted about the events on LinkedIn, tagged people who she saw or met, and scheduled one-on-one meetings. The presence she created in the chamber and the community turned heads.
About a year after joining, Lisa was asked to join the chamber’s membership committee. In October of 2022, Lisa was recognized by the chamber as a Fred Young Champion for Business, which is awarded 10 times per year to people who demonstrate the values of a good corporate citizen.
“That completely blew me away,” Lisa said. “I had only been with the chamber for one year when I was asked to join the membership committee and two years when I was given this incredible honor. It just gives me more motivation. I think people see me out there at events and constantly posting, and they’ve built a level of comfort with me as someone they want to have in their orbit.”
The Impact of Chamber Membership
At times, the Princeton Mercer Chamber can help you grow your business in ways that are obvious. Earlier this year, Lisa met with a gentleman after an introduction by fellow chamber member Hillary Spivak. He said to Lisa that he has a nephew who is very interested in running a business. His primary concern was his nephew’s lack of inexperience, but he felt Lisa was trustworthy and asked her to speak with him.
Lisa told him that she would be honored to meet his nephew. She promised to take good care of him and would absolutely tell him if she didn’t think franchising and business ownership were right for him.
His nephew quickly started working with Lisa and is now a business owner.
In this case, the connection to the chamber is clear. However, Lisa has learned through her marketing background that it’s not always easy to connect the dots to the source of revenue, but the value of membership goes much deeper.
“When I renew my chamber membership, I don’t try to calculate how much business I received from the chamber,” Lisa said. “It all adds up over time, and it often happens organically in a way that’s difficult to track. I’m building my network every day. Earning people’s trust is incredibly valuable to any business because it pays dividends for years.”
A Word of Advice to New and Prospective Chamber Members
Lisa’s favorite event is Business After Business networking. She finds that these events are filled with people who have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening and can relate to small business challenges, concerns, and successes. Lisa attends Business Before Business networking events because virtual networking offers such an efficient way to meet people. She also tries to attend Membership Orientation meetings at least quarterly to support the chamber and introduce herself to new members.
Lisa’s advice to new or prospective members? Find what works for you and get out there.
“See what you enjoy and make those activities part of your schedule every month, whether you go to events or join a committee,” Lisa said. “Block off that time and commit to it. You can’t do everything, but there’s no excuse for not showing up. For me, I don’t have the bandwidth, mentally or physically, to belong to more than one chamber. This is my chamber and I’m putting everything I’ve got into it. That’s why I’m getting so much out of it.”