Blount County Chamber and Blount County Library Partner to Offer Free Business Operation Workshops

The Blount County Chamber of Commerce and the Blount County Library have partnered with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center to present 15 free business operation workshops from Feb. 12-Nov. 12 on Google, social media, business marketing and planning, starting a business and government contracting for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Workshops are held at the Blount County Chamber, 201 S. Washington St., Maryville, TN, and at the Blount County Library, 508 North Cusick Street, Maryville, TN. Participants are free to bring their own lunch.

To attend any of the following workshops, participants are asked to register by clicking on the Training tab at

“The Blount County Chamber and Blount County Library are proud to work with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center in offering the business community workshops to help them in everything from marketing to public relations to building a business model,” said Blount County Chamber Vice President Tammi Ford. “These sessions really nail down everything a small business owner needs to know to keep up with the ever-changing consumer environment.”

The first session entitled Growth Wheel Marketing takes place at the Blount County Library on Feb. 12 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Register here: This interactive series focuses on building trust through marketing and public relations using the Growth Wheel process to help get focused, set agendas, make decisions and take action. These individual programs are not dependent upon each other – so pick and choose or attend them all.

Other Growth Wheel Marketing workshops will be held at the library from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., on June 11 for business legal issues, Aug. 6 on business processes, Sept. 10 on choosing employees and Oct. 22 on ownership and management

A social media class, entitled Pin and Tweet Your Business to Success, is set for Feb. 26 at the Chamber from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (Register here: SlamDot’s Daniel Monday will show how Pinterest, one of the fastest growing social networks, can convey your business’s visual story and offer tips for getting started. He will then show how to begin with Twitter and start building a base of followers.

A special workshop on understanding government contracting is set for March 19 from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Chamber. (Register here: This program, presented by Paul Middlebrooks, a marketing consultant from the University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center, is designed to introduce the business owner to the diversity of government purchasing.  Participants will learn the necessary steps to begin government contracting including Duns, Edison and SAM. They will also be introduced to the purchasing departments of our local government and learn how to how to participate in the governmental contracting.

The library also plays host to a pair of Google workshops. The first, entitled “Google-ize My Business,” is set for April 9 from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sandi and Wayne Strum show how to optimize your Google presence and develop an online and inbound marketing strategy. Learn what Google really favors for proper SEO, blogging, and social media promotions. Also, discover useful tools to create lead generation campaigns and take advantage of mobile opportunities and learn more about “Google My Business” interface.

On April 21, the library offers Google My Business from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. This session is an extension of the “Google-ize Your Business” program. To understand and receive the maximum benefit of this program people need to attend the Google-ize My Business program first. Attendees need to bring a laptop computer, have a Gmail account, business address and phone number. The Strum’s will show how to set up Google accounts that enrich a business profile with Google Maps, Google Search and Google Plus. Participants will learn the importance of name, address, phone, the effectiveness of getting reviews and monitoring reviews on Google as well as how to use the “Google My Business dashboard.”

Two additional seminars on social media marketing will be offered on Aug. 20 and Oct. 8 at the Chamber from 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. for both sessions.

Two seminars on starting a business are set for March 12 (Register here: and Sept. 24 at the Chamber from 9 a.m.-noon.

Finally, two workshops on business planning are also set for June 25 and Nov. 12 at the Chamber from 9 a.m.-noon.

A complete schedule of lunch and learn workshops is listed below.


Location               Date                      Seminar Topic                                                                   Time     

Library                  Feb. 12                 Growth Wheel – Marketing                                         11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

                                                                Register here:

Chamber             Feb. 26                 Pin and Tweet Your Business to Success                                11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

                                                                Register here:

Chamber             March 12             Starting a Business                                                          9 a.m.-Noon

                                                                Register here:

Chamber             March 19             Government Contracting                                             11:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.      

                                                                Register here:

Library                  April 9                   Google-ize My Business                                                                11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Library                  April 21                 Google My Business                                                       11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Library                  June 11                 Growth Wheel – Business Legal Issues                    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Chamber             June 25                 Business Planning                                                            9 a.m.-Noon

Library                  Aug. 6                   Growth Wheel – Business Processes                       11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Chamber             Aug. 20                 Social Media                                                                       11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Library                  Sept. 10                Growth Wheel – Choosing Employees                    11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Chamber             Sept. 24                Starting a Business                                                          9 a.m.-Noon

Chamber             Oct. 8                    Social Media                                                                       11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Library                  Oct. 22                  Growth Wheel – Ownership & Management       11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Chamber             Nov. 12                 Business Planning                                                            9 a.m.-Noon


About Blount Partnership

The Blount Partnership is the key economic development agency for Blount County. It represents three advancement entities for the community: Blount Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board of Blount County and the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority. The organization provides opportunities for small businesses, corporate locations, manufacturing, technology commercialization, leisure travel and corporate retreats. The goal is to ensure the community continues to enjoy a robust economy and opportunities to live an unrivaled quality of life. The Blount Partnership is used by the state of Tennessee as a benchmark for combining community resources and programming to support a shared economic development goal. For more information, contact the Blount Partnership at 201 S. Washington St., Maryville, TN 37804 or call 865.983.2241 or