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How a Facebook Group is Impacting an Entire Town – What I Love About Lakeland Business Leaders

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland.

The week I retired from a 15 year teaching career to pursue my Network Marketing business full-time I joined a small group of local business owners in a Facebook group called, Lakeland Business Leaders.  Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with myself all day.  My entire existence from Kindergarten straight on through my 30’s had been centered around school hours.  I just knew that if I was going to succeed I needed to surround myself with people who were already in business for themselves. I was desperate.

I actually discovered LBL after seeing a ticker feed where a friend who was also in my company had spammed the entire group with a silly ad on how to ‘get rich quick’.  Choking back my gag reflex, I clicked the link to check out what this group was about expecting it to be just another spamming forum.  Clicking that one link however, turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Lakeland Business Leaders was started by Chrissanne Long and Craig Hosking in December, 2011.  The mission statement of LBL is not just lip-service but, I’ve found, entirely accurate as to what is being accomplished as a result of the group:

The Mission of the Lakeland Business Leaders

“To create a sustainable, evolving presence within Lakeland that leads and supports the ongoing development of an economically and socially vibrant community for our businesses and families.”

Here are some things I’ve grown to love about the LBL Group:

-We are not stuffy.  We wear jeans if we feel like it and will be among the first to roll up our sleeves to help others.

The vibe of the Facebook group is one of transparency & professionalism.  Tough questions pertaining to business, life & all points in between are posted and responded to without childish drama.  We seek to create solutions; it’s what entrepreneurs do.

We take our conversations to real life.  The ability to talk to others & present in a group has been a fundamental key to success in my field.  The weekly LBL breakfasts, monthly meet & greets as well as special events provides a safe training ground for how to communicate effectively with others.

Spamming is not allowed in the group.  In fact, only Premium Members can post about the products & services they offer and, truth be told, they rarely do.  Because there is a full-time moderator who is being compensated for her efforts the group can be adequately managed & moderated without having to burden a volunteer army with such a daunting & thankless task.

Now, I shop local! Even though I’ve called Lakeland my home for over 20 years now I never really had the desire or felt the urgency to shop local.  LBL was instrumental in bringing Cash Mobs to my town. As a result, my eyes were suddenly opened to just how integral my purchases are to my fellow small business owners. My family was actually featured in an article in the Lakeland Ledger.  It was a brilliant interview where I basically shared that I bought a mailbox and took my family out to a restaurant….but those 2 activities mattered to those small businesses that day! I learned that where we spent our dollars mattered as a result of LBL.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing of all about the Lakeland Business Leaders group is that I’m pretty sure it’s not happening anywhere else in our country.  I’m certain if I looked deep enough, I’d find something similar but I’m almost certain there’s nothing even remotely as beautiful as LBL.  If I’m wrong PLEASE share a link in the comments below because I’d love to learn from them!

What If??

What if this concept caught on in communities all throughout the U.S & beyond?  What if the right leaders took the initiative to create what has been born right here in little-old, Lakeland, Florida?

Something beautiful has begun to settle into the very fabric of our culture here in Lakeland, my friends. A like-minded & passionate group of individuals have partnered together to create a community that is both economically & socially vibrant for our businesses & families.

The Challenge:

If you live in Lakeland, I welcome you to join us…we need you!

If you are reading this from your hometown somewhere far away that you love, I challenge you to love your community enough to bring something beautiful to the place you call home.