Monthly Archives November 2019

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, which is committed to advancing the goals and objectives of the business group, is now seeking a salesperson capable of achieving the organization’s mission.

The successful candidate will work to grow the membership base of the Chamber through the identification and retention of new relationships. This position will be responsible for all components of the sales cycle, from prospect to close and retention.

The individual identified will be able to build and maintaining relationships and will be eager to increase the engagement and satisfaction of Chamber members.

A complete description of this position can be found by clicking HERE to access a printable PDF.

Please contact Shirley de Silva at sdesilva@slchamber.ca for any additional information.

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, as part of an ongoing strategy to seek input on what issues and initiatives are most important to members, is opening up an online survey.

The survey, which can be accessed HERE, will help the organization’s leadership plan out future events and initiatives intended to make the Chamber an even more valuable way to help local businesses succeed, says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO.

“We look to these surveys as a critical step in better understanding what our members need to be even better at what they do,” said de Silva. “Taking just a few minutes to answer a few questions and tell us the kind of activities that make the most sense for your business and your specific interests will help keep us on the right track.”

 

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For business owners who are looking for a robust benefits package (for themselves or for their employees) but might be thinking they’re “just too small,” the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, through its Chambers Plan, may be the answer.

Starting with a “no minimum firm size” (meaning your company is eligible to apply even if it’s a one-person operation), the Chambers Plan was designed specifically to protect small businesses, from those that are home-based to growing companies (up to 50 employees).

The Chambers Plan is also geared to grow and evolve with the needs of a company.

And because there are no industry restrictions with the Chambers Plan, as long as you’re a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, you’re eligible. In short, based on the specific needs of your business and employees, there’s a plan that’s right for you.

The Chambers Plan has a guaranteed approval feature (there are no health questions or medical exams to separate you from a benefits program) and renewal of coverage is also guaranteed as long as you pay your premium and maintain your Chamber membership.

Stable rates are made possible by the bundling with thousands of similar firms and a “partial pooling” concept on health and dental benefits. That means small fluctuations in a firm’s claims do not automatically factor into the rates, giving firms greater rate stability over the long term.

The Chambers Plan operates under the direction of the not-for-profit Chambers of Commerce Insurance Corporation of Canada, with volunteer directors who are also Chamber members.

What all this means is that your interests as a Chamber member are front and centre. All surpluses are reinvested in the Plan to help control premiums.  This is why 850 Chambers of Commerce (including the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce) actively endorse Chambers Plan.

There are additional features that make the Chambers Plan worth looking into, including connections with professional accounting, counselling, legal, and human resources experts who understand the challenges faced by small business.

The process of applying is simple and fast: most health and dental claims are processed within 48 hours and health options include on-the-spot processing of prescription drug claims using the Assure Card.

One more thing: the Chambers Plan Service Centre works in concert with a local Chambers Plan advisor to give you answers to all your questions.

Locally, that advisor is Selectpath Benefits & Financial, formerly LBM Consulting.

Interested in learning more? Connect with us today by calling (519) 336-2400 or by emailing sdesilva@slchamber.ca, to get started.

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Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome two new members to its ranks. Please take the time to reach out to the following;

—Watmec Limited, Corunna. As one of Canada’s most innovative providers of customized training and development solutions, Waterloo Management Education Centre (WATMEC) designs skill-building programs to meet any organization’s performance objectives. Aligning learning outcomes with organizational strategies and key business drivers has made the organization a top choice of decision-makers in the public and private sectors.

Being one of the oldest training firms in the industry has given WATMEC the experience and the background to evolve its training methodology over the years. During this process, WATMEC has become the only training provider to put its own trainers through the Accelerated Learning training module and scrutiny to ensure that the level of learning they provide your employees is of the highest quality.

—National Hose and Equipment Ltd. – a Canadian owned and operated wholesale warehousing distributor supplying a complete range of industrial, chemical and hydraulic hose and fittings. It also supplies sandblasting pressure pots & cabinets, casters, and hose reels.

The firm has considerable experience in the export market, offering excellent freight rates, competitive prices, and a value-added service, which is second to none.

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Content creators will tell you the key to great content is to create content that is educational, entertaining, or inspiring. Educational content is extremely needed even with the plethora of content on the Internet. A good meaty piece will keep people from having to do additional research. Often it will get shared and bookmarked.

Entertaining content brings some levity to our day and if it’s funny enough and relates to our situation, we share it with our networks.

But inspiring content, that’s where the real power is. Because not only is the content enjoyed at the moment, but a really inspiring piece stays with you long after.

I’m reminded of the quote:

When Pericles talks, men applaud. When Demosthenes talks, men march.

An extraordinarily inspiring piece motivates action. That is an extremely powerful role for a business owner to hold. Imagine content so strong it inspired someone to do something, to alter their existing, engrained course of action.

Inspiration is a language that goes straight to the heart and pumps through the rest of the body with the urgency of a fast-beating drum.

How Can You Inspire People?

If you have a truly inspirational story about overcoming the odds to start your business, you are fortunate. If not, here are a few ways to inspire your audience anyway.

Overcoming Fear

Even if you didn’t overcome heartbreaking odds, you still opened your own business. You are the boss. You work for yourself, you are accountable to you. There are thousands of people daydreaming of the day they can do the same, but they are mired in fear. Fear of:

—failure
—not being able to pay their bills
—not being able to maintain their current lifestyle
—not knowing what they are doing
—not being good enough
—people questioning their abilities
—failure (I know I wrote this one already but it is so strong it needs to be mentioned twice)

Even if your story is one of privilege, you can tell of the struggles you have. Money is not the only thing that keeps people from following their dreams. Often it’s fear. Tell your story of how you opened your business. Be honest about your fears and doubts and struggles. There is undoubtedly someone out there who needs to hear your message and if they are inspired to action by your words, they will remember you.

Overcoming Doubt

While this ties in with fear, it’s important to share that every business owner struggles with doubts. Some come internally, some externally. When one person  my own business a lot of well-meaning friends continued to forward me jobs they thought I’d be interested in “just in case things didn’t work out.” But these friends only inspired me to work harder.

Share how doubts inspired you to be the successful person you are. Everyone has doubts, whether they are personal or professional. Sharing your past doubts will help people feel more connected to you and voicing the doubts you were able to overcome may inspire others to do the same.

Be Positive

It is very rare to be inspired by the negative. When was the last time someone around you complained and you were inspired to action? Maybe you were inspired to no longer spend time with that individual or maybe you were inspired to curb your own tendency to complain after hearing what it sounds like to others, but rarely will someone hear a complaint and think, I’m going after my dream today because of you!

People who make us feel good are inspiring. People who are positive about the world, regardless of their current difficulties and challenges are inspiring. People who lift others up even when they are behind, people who remind us of the good in this world, they are inspiring.

Be more positive to be more inspiring, even if it’s a brave front you put on in front of the world and that deep down you’re struggling with your own doubts. Wear your inspiration like a bright red coat and soon you will begin to feel its power. There’s something about helping others that makes you feel good.

To improve your shares on social media and responses on the blog increase the amount of inspirational content you post. You can create your own by telling your inspirational story, or you can curate the posts and shares of people in your community. When someone inspires you, thank them, and share their inspirational story with others. Soon people will come to you for inspiration and that’s when you can motivate them to act, just like Demosthenes.

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Steve Crozier, a long-serving member on the Chamber’s Business After 5 Committee, wants to share the benefits he’s seen from being involved over the years.

For nine months in a calendar year, Business After 5 provides a unique opportunity for members to connect in an informal way, often with a theme (and networking activities) designed to make those connections as easy and productive as possible.

“Our Business After 5 gatherings are consistently one of the best ways to connect,” said Crozier, a sales representative with EXIT Twin Bridges Realty.

Crozier would specifically like to have members take that to the next level.

“Becoming a member of our BAF committee is an area that leads in itself to new connections throughout the Chamber,” said Crozier. “It’s part of what makes the Chamber such a strong place to build and maintain relationships and stepping forward as a member of the BAF committee would be an even more valuable move in that direction.”

Please contact Crozier by email (sarniarealtor@gmail.com) or phone (519) 466-3755.

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In order to make SPARK Conference bigger, better, and of more value to our guests and solidify it as an annual event; it has been moved to Friday, May 1st 2020.

Spark has become what we believe to be a promising annual signature event for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce!

Stay tuned for more information!

For more information,  please contact Noah Harding at (519) 336-2400.

 

 

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If you’re a small business you may find it’s difficult to keep up with the resources and marketing dollars of megabrands. But don’t get discouraged. There’s an underutilized tool that can help you much more than you ever considered.

Social media can bring you a world of attention for very little money. Its only cost is time. But if you don’t have a good, strong following you’re just shouting into the wind. Still, when you need attention right away, growing a social media following seems to take forever. And when you’re worried about revenue, you don’t have forever. But there is a tool in your community that can help you improve your reach, share its audience, and get your content in front of people who make decisions, and better yet, purchases.

It’s a chamber membership.

Ways a Chamber Membership Does Wonders for Your Business Marketing

Many business professionals think of joining the chamber for networking but few understand that the chamber also offers a world of marketing opportunities. Here are a few of them.

Social Media Attention

It’s likely your local Chamber has a larger following on social media than your business does. The Chamber can help you get in front of your target market and help your content achieve more views. Once you establish yourself as an industry expert, you’ll have more traffic visit your site. And often posts shared by the Chamber feel like endorsements to the Chamber’s audience. Their social media platforms are highly respected.

Industry Expertise Speaking Engagements

In addition to helping you share your content, the Chamber may have opportunities for you to showcase your expertise in a non-sales way. For instance, if you are a CPA and a new tax law or exemption is available this year, you may be able to talk to Chamber membership about the topic in a lunch and learn. By doing so, the Chamber audience will see you as an industry expert and possibly turn to you for their tax needs. The opportunity to write blog posts and newsletter content for the Chamber may also help your brand.

Social Media Expertise

If you’re struggling with social media as a business owner, you can pay to take an online course or you can consult your local chamber. Some have lunch and learns on social media or new features on social media platforms, while others offer social media membership tiers that provide businesses with the social media know-how that they may be lacking.

Content to Share

Nowhere in the Social Media How-To book does it say you must create all your own content. The Chamber can be a very rich source of content and while you don’t need a membership to use their social media posts, they often make some content available to members-only through newsletters and other places that you may not see by merely following them as an outsider.

Chamber Directory

A Chamber directory lists your business for all to see. The directories come in print and online versions. Most people believe that chamber member businesses are reputable organizations so to be listed in the directory not only brings traffic to your site but conveys legitimacy as well. If your community is a travel destination, your chamber may also have a public map that it gives out to visitors. This can be an inexpensive way to get noticed as well.

From an SEO perspective, Chamber websites are often highly ranked and considered sites of authority. A link to your business from a site of high authority can mean more traffic and a higher rank for your site.

A Final Word About Chamber Marketing

Networking and the Chamber are synonymous for many businesses but they often forget all the marketing resources the local chamber can provide. Speak with your area chambers to understand how you can leverage their marketing acumen and resources to help alleviate the stresses on your marketing engine. When you’re at your limit on time and money, calling in a business partner like the chamber to help can do wonders for extending your reach.

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As we get closer to the wrap up of the Chamber’s year, it’s useful for any member to consider what priorities, particularly when it comes to one of our key activities—advocating on issues of importance to area businesses—we should be focused on next year and beyond.

With that in mind, the Chamber is reaching out to members with a survey specifically related to Advocacy.

A link to that online survey can be found HERE.

Advocating directly to various levels of government, and not only to policymakers but regulators who play a role in influencing decisions that affect business is one of the key responsibilities of the Chamber.

It’s one that our leadership takes very seriously as a key way to make sure that members of government and the bureaucrats and regulators understand the impact—positive and negative—of initiatives that ultimately affect the competitiveness of a business.

This is an ongoing challenge but one that can’t be overlooked in its importance.

Quite often, our elected representatives seek out the opinion of business, including the research that our colleagues at the provincial level—the Ontario Chamber of Commerce—and federally—the Canadian Chamber of Commerce—have undertaken.

But there are also times when it’s up to the local Chamber and its leadership to step forward to add to the discussion when it comes to important initiatives.

The more timely our involvement, the more likely it is that legislation or regulations that create value for our community and the businesses that continue to strengthen us will head in a direction that all of us can better appreciate.

For that reason alone, please take the time to fill out the survey by clicking HERE.

Your responses will play a critical role in improving our ability to advocate on your behalf.

 

 

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Throughout our history, members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce were often among the first to volunteer to serve in wars that have come to define the quality of life—and particularly the freedom—many of us have come to take for granted.

But as we approach Remembrance Day 2019, let us not forget the collective and individual sacrifice so many of those who were left behind—and those who returned with injuries sustained in those conflicts—have unselfishly made over those years.

Remembering is a powerful human emotion and one that takes but a moment to express, whether individually in our hearts or in a public ceremony of gratitude and solemnity.

However you choose to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we encourage you to think back on the sacrifices made and how the flow of time since has made us a richer community, country and society.

Bless those who sacrificed on our behalf and given us the freedom to remember their sacrifice.

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