Jan 6, Jan 20, Feb 10,
Feb 24, Mar 10, Mar 24
(Mar 31 - Make Up Day If Needed)
8:30 AM - 12: 30 PM
Location: Willmore Lodge

Chamber Members : $300
Non-members :$450


Session 1
Get Strategic With Your Marketing
Marketing for the New Decade

Session 2
Understanding Financial Statements
Insurance Landmines for Business Owners

Session 3
Business Types & Structures
Legal Landmines for Business Owners

Session 4
Cyber Security
Business Resources
SBA 502 Loan Program

Session 5
Employee Benefits
Hiring & Firing in Missouri

Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Business Academy

The 3rd annual Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Business Academy kicks off Jan 6 . Featuring 6 sessions, with 12 powerful workshops, and 12 expert speakers, this is one program you will not want to miss!


Testimonials from Academy Participants:

"This was one of the best things I have done to improve as a business owner. It forced me to think about my business, my future, and take action. Thank You!"

"It was a great mix of topics to benefit business owners and employees. VERY eye opening to dive deeper into various segments."

"I thought the academy was amazing. I will definitely encourage others to participate in the next session!"

"Wow - this did not disappoint! As a business owner of 19 years, I still took away valuable information from every single session. Thank you, thank you!"


Our goal with Academy is to provide in depth sessions on a wide array of critical business subjects to help you take your business to the next level. Each workshop focuses on a very specific topics to help your business grow, mitigate risk, develop your culture, amplify your reach, and impact your bottom-line in a positive way.

Each of our sessions are presented by experts in their respective fields. Sessions will be highly interactive, engaging, and extremely educational. We guarantee you will leave each workshop with practical action items that you can immediately implement in your business.

Class size is limited to 20 people in non-competing business, so sign up early! First come, first served.

Who should attend?
The business academy is ideal for veteran and new business owners, budding entrepreneurs, senior managers, and employees that you want to develop into business leaders.


Lake Chamber Business Academy Sessions & Presenters



Hiring, Firing, & MO Employment Law

Sue Kmet, Owner - Kmet Consulting & Missouri Employment Conference

Did you know there are several ILLEGAL interview questions? Do you know your obligations as an employer if you must terminate an employee? These are just two of the important topics we'll cover in this business academy session. As a business owner or leader, it's imperative that you have a thorough understanding of Missouri law when it comes to hiring and firing. Whether you've owned a business for years, or are just getting started, we guarantee you'll learn something new and critically important for your business in this session presented by Sue Kmet, an HR Expert and owner of Kmet Consulting. The session includes a Q&A period, as well, so if you have questions specific to your business, this is a great way to get them answered.


Legal Landmines for Business Owners & How to Mitigate Them

Gary Smith, The Smith Law Firm (Still to be Confirmed)

In this Business Academy session, business attorney, Gary Smith, will discuss commonly made mistakes in small businesses and steps business owners and managers should take to avoid those mistakes. He will explain important legal aspects to focus on when running a business and offer essential tips on how to mitigate liability for the business owner and the company. This session is not to miss! What you learn here can save your business from unnecessary legal action and costs. He will close the session with a Q&A period so you can get specific questions addressed, as well.



Business Types & Structures - What You Started With May NOT Be What You Need Today

Adam Wolfe, CPA - Wilson Toellner CPAs

Tax laws are continually changing, and your business evolves and grows through the years. While many businesses start as a sole proprietor, partnership, or LLC, as they grow many miss out on substantial tax savings simply by understanding the various business structures available and making a change at the right time. Where you start is not always where you should stay. CPA, Adam Wolfe, will walk you through the considerations and benefits of different business structures, as well as some of the risks that you should understand along the way. The session will close with a Q&A period to get all your questions answered!


Commercial/SBA Loan Discussion : What Banks Look for in the Application Process to New or Existing Businesses

Brian Gagnon, Vice President/Commercial Loan Officer Central Bank of Lake of the Ozarks
Donna Delong, Enterprise Development Corporation
Lisa D. Zimmerman, Lender Relations Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration

In this session, Brian Gagnon and his panel of experts will discuss some of the most common commercial loans for businesses, including SBA products available to businesses. There will be an open discussion period where you will have the opportunity to asked questions relevant to your business. Additionally, they will outline in detail what every business owner or individual should do ahead of time when looking to apply for a commercial loan or SBA loan.



Clearing the Fog of Financial Statements - FINALLY Understand Exactly What You're Looking At, What It Means, and What Action You May Need to Take to Prevent Future Problems

Adam Wolfe, CPA - Wilson Toellner CPAs

If your eyes cross when you look at the financial statements provided by your accountant, this session is going to cure that for you forever. As business owner, high level manager, or even as a member of a board of directors for an organization, it’s essential that you have a complete understanding of what you are looking at when reviewing financials. In this session, CPA, Adam Wolfe, will walk you through which reports are crucial for you to review, how often, and what red flags to looks for to mitigate cash flow challenges and other financial issues in your business. Knowing what's important and why will empower you to make informed decisions in your business for the life of the business. The session will close with Q&A period to get all your questions answered!


Business Insurance Landmines for Small Business Owners

Aaron Spieler, CIC- Owner, Spieler Insurance Group

What you don't know CAN hurt you, especially when it comes to insurance coverage for your biggest asset - your business. In this session, Aaron Spieler, owner of Spieler Insurance Group will address common coverage gaps that most business owners don't even know they have. Unknown exposures can ruin a business if a problem arises. As a business owner or leader, it's essential that you have a thorough understanding of your risks, so you can take appropriate steps to mitigate them. This session will close with a Q&A, so if you have specific questions related to your industry, bring them and get them answered here.



Cyber Security for Your Business & Your Responsibility (Liability) for Employee and Customer Data Protection

Randall Cowen, Oak Star Bank

It's not a matter of if, it's when. At some point, your system will be compromised. Cyber fraud, phishing attempts, malware, DDOS, bots, trojan horses, ransomware, viruses … all put a business at significant risk. A compromised system or network can be catastrophic for a business on many levels. What you don't know, can hurt you. In this session, an IT Expert will detail some of the most common techniques used by hackers to compromise computers and POS systems, as well as some of the lesser known tactics. Additionally, you’ll learn concrete strategies to proactively implement on your systems and in your business processes to mitigate the risk. The session will conclude with a Q&A session, so you can get your specific questions addressed.


Stop Throwing Money at Tactics First- It’s Time to Get Strategic

Sandy & Mike Waggett, Owners MSW Interactive Designs LLC

Until you've clearly defined your ideal customer, mastered a message that resonates, and created intentional "moments" that define your brand, you're throwing money away on your advertising. In this session, we'll set all tactics aside (radio, print, web, etc) and talk about what really matters for effective marketing. Who really is best your customer, how to make your business messaging resonate with that customer, and how to convert that customer into a brand advocate carrying a megaphone! The average person "sees" more than 3000 marketing messages per day. Slapping another random one into the fray is throwing money out the window. Strategy first (and a well-focused one, at that) is what gets results.



Benefits Are Key to Retention Get Creative to Keep Your Best Employees!

Tony Reahr, Edward Jones Aaron Spieler, Spieler Insurance Group

If you're having trouble attracting and retaining quality employees, one of the issues may be associated with the benefits you offer. There been a lot of talk around health insurance cost challenges in recent years, but there are other benefits equally (if not more) appealing to the millennial workforce. You just have to get a little creative! In this session, we'll introduce you to some out-of-the-box benefits the best employers are offering to attract and retain top talent. In many cases, there's even a tax benefit for you for offering them!


A Great Company Handbook Is Critical for Your Business

Sue Kmet, Owner Kmet Consulting & Missouri Employment Conference

Having an employee handbook is good business practice, but what you may not know is it can protect your business from unnecessary litigation. In this session, HR expert and consultant, Sue Kmet, will discuss why this tool is so important whether you have one employee or fifty, the essentials to include, how to communicate about the handbook, as well as how to implement it and revise it. Understanding these items is critical to the efficacy of the handbook and its ability to protect your company should a problem arise. This session will include a Q&A period to ensure all of your questions get answered.



Marketing Tactics for Visibility, Credibility, & Profitability

Sandy & Mike Waggett, Owners MSW Interactive Designs LLC

We talked strategy in the previous session, now it's time for tactics.  Value-driven visibility takes time so it's important understand what it is, create a plan, and get started right away. We'll take a step back and assess all your marketing efforts, determine where there are gaps, and offer strategies to fill those gaps. The most successful companies have three things in common:  1) they are well-known; 2) they are well-liked, and 3) they don't rest on their laurels. This marketing session addresses all three and will position your business for success in the marketplace.

This session will also include a marketing panel representing a variety of media with an FAQ session at the end.


Choose to Win

Gail Carlock, Certified Zig Ziglar Speaker

Transformational teams do more than educate customers. They empower, engage, & inspire others to action. In this session, Gail Carlock, will equip you to complete business the academy journey on a personal high. She'll empower you with ideas and resources to not only be the best you as a business leader, but to empower and strengthen your team, as well. We couldn't think of a better way to wrap up the Lake Area Chamber Business Academy than with the inspiration of Gail Carlock.