The face of a reluctant joiner, Jim Brunberg

Why Lone Wolves Need a Pack

In 2017, we’re inviting our member businesses to author calls-to-action that align with our 2017 Focus Areas. This month’s post is by Jim Brunberg, Founder and Owner Mississippi Studios, Revolution Hall, Roam Schooled. Jim describes how “lone wolf” business owners like him are stronger together through organizations like ours.

Portland Businesspeople (ALL of you, whether you have a “Socks Only” storefront on Alberta or whether you’re a McMenamin),

Most of the time I’m up to my neck in running my business. I much prefer a good afternoon rebuilding the sound system or re-plumbing a toilet over attending “networking events.” I’ve largely gone at it alone. I have fought long and hard to bring creativity, vision, and a work ethic to my little segment of Portland’s business community.

Alas, I’ve learned this is not enough. The community we have shared informally, you and I, as business people needs new, better connectivity and structure.

That’s where Business For A Better Portland comes in.

Since launching in early February (apparently there was a strategy session over a pizza one rainy Portland night), they’re now over 130 members strong. BBPDX is creating channels for real conversation with our elected officials on issues like affordable housing and workforce diversity. In Salem they’re discussing intelligent tax reform and the need to better fund education and social services.

Although they started in the tech community, they’ve grown like a giant patch of spring morels, showing that there really is a demand throughout the Portland business community, as well as a need. Beneath all our efforts on the surface (running our businesses), there is a huge system of mycelium-like connectedness that needs and deserves to be energized.

Some of the many industries participating include real estate, grocers, design, financial services, retail, and food and beverage. And of course me and my businesses in entertainment (we employ 160 of Portland’s hardest workers).

This letter is a call for you to take a few minutes and join BBPDX. Then join me on the Roof Deck of Revolution Hall for our First Annual Members-Only Summer Social on July 31. We can heal the perceived “business v. community” sickness and collectively do good work while helping each other navigate some of the operational challenges we face doing business in Portland.

Right now we need leadership, more than ever. “Business” is not “the bad guy” as we’ve proven on our own, time and time again. Too often, the government’s solutions languish while we buziness leaders shoulder the real work. We’ve stepped up on issues ranging from tenant protections (these protect our workforce and keeps a young, vibrant city) to caring for our community’s sick elders who face losing critical services and their homes. I believe thriving community means thriving businesses.

I don’t normally join an organization unless I see tangible results: kids getting books or instruments, for example. But here I see a real opportunity for businesses like ours to rally and have our voices heard.

I’ve joined Business for a Better Portland. Join me on the roof of Rev Hall for a get together on July 31 for their First Annual member reception.

Business thrives when Portland thrives.

Join us.