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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is committed to “taking the pulse” of its membership on a regular basis and currently conducting two separate but equally important online surveys—one related to Advocacy efforts; the other designed to identify issues and interest of key importance to its members.

In the case of Advocacy efforts, this represents one of the key responsibilities of the Chamber, particularly as various levels of government—municipally, provincially and federally—enact legislation or regulations that impact our members.

It’s the responsibility of the Chamber—one that our leadership takes very seriously—to engage with policymakers and others ahead of any changes.

The relationship between government and business is one where there is mutual respect when it comes to the impact on the business when it comes to regulation, and the Chamber plays a leading role in making sure the interests of business are considered, ideally before any changes are made.

In fact, in most cases, government representatives reach out to the Chamber before any changes in legislation.

Our online Advocacy survey, which can be accessed HERE, will assist Chamber leadership as it maps out policy initiatives designed to stay on top of issues that matter to members.

In addition,  the Chamber has a keen interest in understanding issues of key importance to its members, excluding advocacy, which is why we’ve prepared a second survey—which can be accessed HERE—as a tool to help plan out future events and initiatives. 

“This is a way for us to better understand what our members need us to do for them,” said Shirley de Silva, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “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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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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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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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce celebrated 16 winners, both from companies and individuals at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, as part of its 30th-anniversary Outstanding Business Achievement Awards

“We were delighted to celebrate along with our winners this year, which was our 30th Anniversary event,” said Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva. “The OBAAs are always a wonderful opportunity for the business community to demonstrate a level of excellence that both motivates and encourages everyone involved. This year was no exception.”

The title sponsor of the event was Libro Credit Union.

The categories and the winners in each category included:

Cool Place to Work (sponsored by the Chamber), won by Bluewater Health.

Tech-Novation (sponsored by CIBC), won by Terrapure Environmental Sarnia.

Marketing & Promotions (sponsored by Bluewater Power), won by Odd Duck Compression Socks.

Health, Safety & Environment (sponsored by Industrial Education Cooperative), won by MJ Waste Solutions.

Non-Profit (sponsored by LEHDER Environmental Services), won by Rebound Sarnia-Lambton.

Outstanding Customer Service—Business (sponsored by RBC Royal Bank), won by Bluewater Power Group of Companies.

Inclusivity (sponsored by COGECO Business Solutions), won by Lambton Public Health.

Agri-Business (sponsored by Cargill AgHorizons), won by Moore Agricultural Society, home of the Brigden Fair.

Exporter of the Year (sponsored by Global Affairs Canada), won by Great Pretenders.

Social Responsibility (sponsored by Pinchin Ltd.), won by St. Joseph’s Hospice.

Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation), won by Bruce Hein of Express Employment Professionals.

Outstanding Customer Service—Individual (sponsored by TMRWW Inc.), won by Laurissa Ellsworth, Town of Petrolia.

Business Leadership (sponsored by MNP Accounting, Consulting, Tax), won by Janice McMichael-Dennis, Bluewater Power.

Member of the Year (sponsored by Imperial Theatre), won by Helen Cole.

Business of the Year (sponsored by Scotiabank), won by Artopia Gallery & Framing.

Chamber Champion (sponsored by Past Chamber Chairs), selected by the Chamber’s Board of Directors, won by Dante Cateni, Terrapure Environmental.

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It’s an October tradition that continues this year with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce teaming up with Blackburn Radio for this month’s Business After 5.

“The opportunity to catch up on what our members have been up to this summer is always part of what brings us to this event,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO.

“Add in the extraordinary work that Blackburn Radio has put into this event, and we’re absolutely confident that this year will be just as popular as ever.”

The Wednesday, October 16 event takes place at DeGroot’s Nurseries on London Line and runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We’ll see you there!” said de Silva.

Pictured is Carla-Ann Anderson, operations administrator for Bluewater Regional Networks, which participated in last year’s Showcase event.

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The overwhelming popularity of this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, now in its 30th year, has prompted organizers to reach out in appeal for more judges than usual ahead of the Friday, October 18 event, which will be held at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

“We have already received more submissions than last year and have given many organizations an extension. We anticipate double what we had last year!” said Lisa Isaac, who is chairing this year’s OBAA committee.

“If you are able to give some of your time before September 28th to help make the 30th anniversary a success, we would really appreciate it!”

Referrals through your networks would also be appreciated. Contact Lisa Isaac directly by email: info@lisaisaachr.com.

 

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People buy from people they know, like, and trust. While you might be in the right place at the right time when someone is up against it, and they may buy from you once without knowing, liking, or trusting you, for them to return, you’ll need more than luck.

Know and trust generally come along when you establish yourself as a likeable business with a human behind it. It’s difficult for people to like you if they don’t trust you unless you’re a villain and then being untrustworthy is your business.

For most of us, that is not the case. You can’t like someone you don’t remember, so let’s get to work on establishing the like part of the sales equation.

Share Your Reason

Think of how filmmakers or storytellers get us to like the main character. One of the ways is that they place him or her on a quest, or up against a challenge, that we want them to succeed in.

Often it’s one we identify with. Share your reason for doing what you do. There’s probably someone in your audience or potential audience who can identify with your convictions and story. Passion is contagious.

Find Commonalities

In order to find commonalities, you need to share things about yourself outside of your business and how it came to be. Share your likes, be positive. Share what you love about your community or your love for bacon.

Be genuine and people who see your social media posts or read your content will begin to identify with what you’re sharing. They’ll jump in and say “me too” and you’re one step closer to getting them to like you.

Ask Questions

If they’re in your store or business ask them their opinion on something and really listen to their answer. On social media ask what they think or what their preferences are.

Involve them in your rebranding by crowdsourcing some of your marketing decisions. People like being involved and if you really listen to, and then act on, their advice, they’ll remember it and like you more because they see you as someone who values what they think. That’s all a lot of us are looking for.

Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs

As a business you are in a position to help, whether it’s helping someone look better, feel better, be entertained, or whatever it is you do for your customers. But you are also in a position to solve problems or answer questions. Use your content and social media to help customers with problems they face in their lives.

If you run a boutique, you can create posts about unique gifts for the women in your life. If you are an accountant,  create helpful checklists of things people should track throughout the year for effortless taxes. Be helpful. Anticipate what your customers need and then give it to them. If they know they can count on you, they will return again and again.

In today’s competitive market place it’s hard for your product alone to set you apart. Often it’s the things behind your product that will help you make a name for yourself. It’s the service, personality, and assistance you provide. These are the things that make people like you and they are also what keeps people coming back.

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Looking for a way to help celebrate some great achievements by business people in Sarnia-Lambton?

We know of no better way than to nominate a company or individual for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, a night of special recognition that takes place on Friday, October 18, 2019 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

But the first deadline in a months-long process leading up to that event is THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 2.

That’s the day when nominations close, which means you have just HOURS to complete your nomination form.

CLICK HERE to get started with our very brief, very easy to use online form.

And we’ll see you on Friday, October 18!

Looking for tickets to this event. CLICK HERE to purchase online.

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Robert Gee, who is now manager of Agriculture and Commercial Banking at CIBC, is relatively new in the Sarnia-Lambton community, having moved from London where he was employed as a tax consultant just two years ago.

But Robert has dived right into the business community, not only in his CIBC role but with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Community, where he is a member of the Board of Directors.

“It was in one of my first conversations with the Chamber that I discovered just how important the role of advocacy is, how the Chamber’s influence at various levels of government, municipally, provincially and federally, positively impacts the business of members,” he said.

“That really sold me on joining the Chamber and becoming active in what the organization does on behalf of small business,” said Robert.

He also appreciates how welcoming the business community has been as he finds his footing in his new home.

“People have really been extraordinarily welcome, which is something I very much appreciate.”

Robert Gee can be reached by email at

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