Regardless of how far along we may be in a new season, we are often filled with a sense of control over our destiny and a desire to begin again. If you’re feeling the same, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the new year’s momentum by embracing the habits of successful people:

Get some sleep. While sleep deprivation may work in creative pursuits, for most of us we really need 7-8 hours of rest to be able to make thoughtful decisions. While you’re at it, make your health a priority.

Connect in a new way. Join an online community of people you’ve been curious about. Maybe you have always wanted to try out photography. Maybe you’re interested in podcasts. Select a new area of learning and join a group that focuses on that.

Admit a mistake and learn from it. Some people put themselves under a huge amount of stress because they make a mistake and are afraid everyone else will think less of them. Just admit the mistake and process the learning experience. How will that shape what you do in the future?

Realize you have the skills. Many people suffer from the imposter syndrome where they feel like they are in over their heads and not qualified to do what they’ve been selected to do. If you feel that way, make 2019 the year in which you let that self-defeating attitude go.

Leave your comfort zone. Do something different. If every decision you make is a comfortable one, you’re missing out on opportunities for growth.

Listen. Inspiration can come from anywhere so you need to listen. Listen to customers, former clients, children, drivers, people in the checkout lane. You never know who will help you solve a business dilemma without them even realizing it.

Say no. Don’t feel guilty.

Eat that piece of cake. In moderation.

Remove emotion from the decision-making process by thinking about goals. Every business decision moves you closer to your year-end goals or farther away. Which is it?

Be grateful. Don’t explain a compliment. Don’t wish the good things away hoping for better things. Simply say thanks.

Realize comparison is not healthy. Comparing how you’re doing against your business competitor may be critical to business success. But comparing your friend’s life to your own on Facebook isn’t.

Let go of what might have been. We all have plans for our lives that sometimes don’t work out. Make this the year you either go after those plans and make them a reality or give them up for new and improved aspirations.

Learn someone’s story and help tell it. Maybe there’s a community member or an employee with a story that needs to be told. If you have a larger amplifier than their, help them tell it.

Try saying “and” instead of “no.” If someone presents an idea to you, instead of giving them 15 reasons why it won’t work, ask them to tell you more about why it will.

Find quiet time. Wake up early. Stay up late. Use whatever technique suits you best but find a time when you can be left alone with your thoughts and listen. You can not do this on Facebook

Eliminate your unproductive space fillers. What did you do with those three minutes before your last meeting? How about your drive to the client? Even busy days are filled with downtime. If you can recognize and utilize those moments for more than cat videos, you can gain a lot of extra time over the course of a week.

Drop what you’re not needed for. I once worked for a CEO who stocked the fridge and cleaned the office. He did these things because he enjoyed them. That’s ideal for people with lots of time on their hands, but if you’re not one of those people you should give up doing tasks that others can do for you. No one else can put together the budget for your department or create that report on the project you managed so tend to those things first and delegate the rest.

Stop making excuses. There’s a saying: you’ll either find a way or find an excuse. Do more of the former.

Find a creative outlet. Schedule some time for something creative. Draw a picture, write a haiku, tell a story but do something that requires you to make something out of nothing.

Believe in the power of Yoda. Yoda said to Luke, “Do or do not. There is no try.” Remove “try” from your vocabulary. In 2019, be all in or all out.

Learn something new. Every day.

Send a thank-you email once a week. Thank someone who made an impression.

Challenge someone around you to contradict you. Instead of brainstorming, try another approach. Throw an idea out there and ask someone to contradict it and defend their answer. This will create an environment where people aren’t afraid to offer their opinions.

Unplug. Often.

Find what soothes you. In 2019, take time for yourself and find something that puts your mind at ease. It could be a long car ride, a walk in the woods, listening to music, or meditating. Find something that calms your mind and helps you listen to your needs and solutions.

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Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has received $15 million in funding from FedDev Ontario to promote new sustainable innovations and bring business support to Eastern Ontario in Canada.

The Sarnia-Lambton based business accelerator provides support, services and investments to developers of clean, green and sustainable technologies, including biofuels.

Following the 2015 creation of the Centre for Commercialization of Sustainable Chemistry Innovation (COMM SCI) initiative in Sarnia, BIC is now establishing the Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network (OBIN), which will be a second hybrid chemistry cluster in the St. Lawrence Corridor, located in Brockville, Eastern Ontario.

BIC will partner with the St. Lawrence Corridor Economic Development Commission and St. Lawrence College to deliver OBIN, an initiative that will support companies in sustainable chemistry and clean technologies to address setbacks to commercialization while reducing environmental impacts.

The project is expected to help 150 businesses and organizations while creating 700 jobs. The new sustainable chemistry hub will position Ontario, and ultimately Canada, as a leader in helping innovative clean technology companies scale up.

“The federal government has been a strong supporter of our work at Bioindustrial Innovation Canada,” said BIC executive director Sandy Marshall. “With this support, BIC has successfully provided investment, advice and services to business developers of clean, green and sustainable technologies within Canada. We are thrilled to receive this investment to establish the OBIN.”

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A provincial initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, along with local organizations including the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, is being launched to promote employment opportunities for those who might not otherwise be considered in a hiring decision.

The program—Discover Ability—aims to connect job seekers with disabilities to inclusive employment opportunities as part a Southwestern Ontario Hub initiative, says Shirley de Silva, President and CEO.

The Discover Ability Network’s job matching platform is a free-to-use, online tool that matches job seekers with employment opportunities based on their skills, experiences, education and professional interests.

While anyone can use the Discover Ability Network to find employment, users who self-identify as a person with a disability will receive exclusive employment opportunities.

Additional details on how employers and employees alike can benefit from this initiative will be forthcoming in the near future.

In the meantime, details on the Network can be found online by clicking HERE.

 

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Siskinds LLP, a law firm with offices in Sarnia and London, is teaming up with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce to present a complimentary breakfast seminar on labour and employment issues, to take place at the Sarnia Riding Club on Thursday, March 5, 2020 as part of the Frontline Essential Skills Program.

Six lawyers from Siskinds will be leading a spirited discussion of the most common pitfalls awaiting the unwary employer and, more importantly, how to avoid them.

Topics include:

—Employment contracts & terminations provisions;
—Probationary periods;
—Imposing discipline;
—Investigations;
—Disabilities & job-protected leases;
—Getting employees across the border
⋯ and much more!

The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a complimentary buffet breakfast, followed by the formal program running from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Registration is required and can be done online by clicking HERE. Two registrants per organization, please. Additional registrants will be placed on a wait-list and contacted if space is available.

This program qualifies for HPPA CPD credits of two hours.

For more information please contact Makenzie Carroll, law clerk, (519) 672-2121.

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It’s always an exciting time to welcome new faces to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and this month, we’re opening our arms to six new members:

JK Wood and Associates
Mobile Transport Safety
Bluepoint Public Relations  –  a full-service public relations and communications consultancy located in Southern Ontario, Canada.
Joseph T. Santoro Professional Corporation provides professional legal services in a manner that is not only cost-effective but also develops clients’ trust and confidence.
Take 5 Oil Change Sarnia conveniently located at 646 Cathcart Blvd. in Sarnia, ON, where certified technicians are ready to serve you seven days a week.
Siskinds LLP The Law Firma team of over 230 lawyers and support staff covering personal, business, personal injury and class action law and over 25 specialized practice areas.

Please take every opportunity to reach out to these new members with a warm Chamber welcome!

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A program intended to generate new tourism-related initaitives in the Sarnia-Lambton area resulted in three finalists being selected by a group that included the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

At an event held at the Ipperwash Beach Club on Wednesday, Feb. 12, three finalists in a “Dragon’s Den” style competition each came away with $3,000 grants to pursue their tourism-related projects.

The winners (pictured left to right )included:

—Megan O’Neill, 100th of a Marathon Event, Lambton Shores;
—B0 Tait, Throwchella Event, Sarnia; and
—Kailyn Shepley and Anne Hazzard, Historical Story Walk, Port Lambton.

In addition to a source of funds and mentorship, winners will gain access to a network of tourism innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders.

“We were excited to receive 21 applications from across Sarnia and Lambton County,” said Justin Lafontaine, Program Lead for the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab. “We congratulate our pitch session winners and look forward to supporting them to help take their great new tourism ideas to the next level.”

Information on this initiative can be found online by clicking HERE.

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One of the programs that your Chamber offers to its membership is a savings of 3.5 cents per litre in fuel.  The program is easy to access and easy to use at any Esso or Mobil station in Canada.

It’s one of many ways membership in the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce continues to drive value.

Click HERE to register for the Esso Fuel Savings Program and get started on your new journey toward saving on every kilometre you drive!

 

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Part of telling your business story – and encouraging customers and potential customers to know, like, and trust you – is to share personal things that your audience can identify with. As is true in building any relationship, with social media for business it is important to let people in. You want them to see your business (and you) as someone who “gets” them and understands what they want and need.

However, you can share too much. Even with the increased desire on behalf of consumers to get to know companies they do business with, there’s still a line between effective sharing from a revenue perspective (it translates into more customers and greater retention) and the type of sharing that requires a public relations professional to smooth over the damage.

Why Share Anything at All?

If there’s a big risk of offending or turning off your audience, why share anything at all?  You should share with your audience for a number of reasons. First, getting them to know, like, and trust you is essential to winning their business. Secondly, people are more apt to share things they identify with or find meaning in. The more you share, the more your audience will respond with likes and shares. Those interactions help you reach your audience organically and indicate to the search engines that your content is worthwhile.

Factors in Sharing

The key to successful sharing to increase business depends on your audience and your type of business. Things that dictate the level of sharing you should do, and the topics you cover, include:

—The average age of your ideal customer and other key demographics of your buyer

—What you sell and the industry you work in

—Whether you are an independent entrepreneur/consultant or part of a larger enterprise

—Whether you own the company or not

—The tone of the company’s marketing communications

—Your end goal in the communications

While there isn’t an exact formula in deciding if something is too much, the better you understand your audience, the easier it is to grasp the appropriateness of content.

Things You Don’t Want to Share

As mentioned earlier, what to share depends on your audience, but the following things are general no-no’s for business as they tend to break relationships down instead of building them up. However, some of these topics may be integral to your business. For instance, a political consultant should share political commentary as her audience would expect that and desire it. A grocery store owner, on the other hand, may find it alienates his customers.

Politics, religion and other topics that divide

If you’ve ever defriended someone on Facebook because of their political rants, then you know why this is a divisive subject. Unless your business calls for it, your audience wants it, or your post has something to do directly with your business (like a proposed bill that will affect your industry), skip these types of posts.

Rants and whines

Your business account should be about helping people and building people up. You are a resource and a business. If your stream is filled with rants and whines, your audience will lose interest quickly.

Part of telling your business story – and encouraging customers and potential customers to know, like, and trust you – is to share personal things that your audience can identify with. As is true in building any relationship, with social media for business it is important to let people in. You want them to see your business (and you) as someone who “gets” them and understands what they want and need.

However, you can share too much. Even with the increased desire on behalf of consumers to get to know companies they do business with, there’s still a line between effective sharing from a revenue perspective (it translates into more customers and greater retention) and the type of sharing that requires a public relations professional to smooth over the damage.

Things to Share

So what should you share?

Share content that is helpful to your audience, or content you found helpful and why, inspirational content, content that provides (positive) insights into your life, and content that helps forge relationships and is not divisive. Examples of this type of content include:

“Moms and apple pie.” “Moms and apple pie” topics are largely regarded as loved by everyone. These include pictures of sunsets, kittens, puppies; videos of babies laughing or you goofing around waiting in line (everyone has to wait in line, right?); and posts on your favorite books (who can argue with the benefits of reading?).

Trivialities of Life. Marketer Kim Garst is known for doing this on Facebook. She asks questions like, “Night Owl or Early Riser?” They are so basic, but people really open up with them. She answers these questions herself and has built a very loyal tribe by using them.

Images. When in doubt use images from your life such as your view from your business, a trip you’ve taken, somewhere you’d like to go, your cat, your favorite recipe, or any number of things that interest you. Even selfies can be effective when they’re not all focused on your appearance.

A Final Word About Social Sharing

The key to successful sharing is envisioning your ideal customer and asking yourself if that person would find value in what you’re posting. Next, decide whether the post topic and the wording will bring you closer to that customer or push them away. Never shy away from sharing details about your life, but do so to build rapport and serve as a resource. In business even when you’re sharing things about you, it must always, ultimately, be about (and for) your audience.

This advice seems counterintuitive because I’m suggesting getting personal and then telling you not to get into your personal issues. The key difference here is the term “issues.” Share things about your personal life. However, don’t share old-school Howard Stern style, unless you’re trying to be the “shock jock” of your industry.

Instead, share personal challenges, hopes, dreams, even setbacks but do so in a helpful way. Look at everything you share through the lens of your audience. How is this post helping you to connect and assist them? For instance, if you recently had a health scare, there’s nothing wrong with sharing that, especially if you’re able to find a purpose behind the share by telling people why it’s important to get regular exams.

However, when you’re a business owner every social media post is an audition to see if someone wants to hire/do business with you. Keep this in mind with every post. Don’t share anything that will make people question your ability to do the job at hand. If they think your personal life is a mess, they will want to stay far, far away.

 

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“You have to have a diversity of viewpoints at the table to have an effective team.” – President Barack Obama

If you looked around the room at the Economic Club of Canada’s Future Skills: A Conversation with President Barack Obama event, you’d see a diverse crowd in age, race and gender. From students to young professionals to your own #TeamChamber, Canada’s future leaders gathered to examine what our workforce needs to prosper. The answer? People.

Our workforce needs people who are adaptable. Many argue that in today’s digital age, there’s not much that people do that a machine can’t do better. Our workforce shouldn’t resist this. We need to imagine new uses for human power because automation will never have the ability to contribute innovative ideas or have the capacity to set goals like people do. Those are what we call durable skills: skills that go beyond a specific job that you can take with you anywhere and that will never be obsolete, such as creativity, leadership and good communication. To create an adaptable workforce, it’s crucial that people harness their EQ (emotional quotient) and IQ (intelligence quotient) to find their AQ (adversity quotient) to help them adjust to the rapid changes that are happening to our workforce.

Our workforce needs people who are diverse.

Diversity is imperative for an effective workforce.

Our prosperity depends on ensuring all Canadians – from all sectors, regions and backgrounds – have the opportunity to take part in our society. Research shows that the most successful organizations are creating diversified and inclusive workplaces in which individual differences and the contributions of all employees are valued.

Our society needs to dismantle the barriers countless people face in order to access the talent and potential across the country. That’s why we’re committed to advocating for better mental health, accessibility and diversity in the workplace in order to help businesses take measures towards meaningful action.

Our workforce needs people who are leaders.

Canada’s future lies within its next generation of leaders. We need a culture of openness where young leaders have the ability to bring their ideas and insights forward. We need a culture that’s not risk-adverse, where decisions are information-based yet people are comfortable taking chances. We need a culture that binds together social, business and political communities rather than dividing them. We need a culture that gives future leaders hope.

Ultimately, our workforce is moving towards a culture shift, one tied to a sense of community in the institutions we are a part of. Canada’s next generation of leaders are tired of hearing about the future; they want to shape it, and diversifying our workforce is how we’ll do it.

To learn more about the workforce strategies that we are advocating, click here.

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In cooperation with Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free presentation that outlines a “Road Map to Simple Safety Solutions” to be held at the Chamber’s offices on Friday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m as part of our Frontline Essential Skills initiative.

Presented by Lori Shepherd, Regional Community Coordinator for Workplace Safety & Prevention Services, the information provided will include details on:

—Ontario’s health and safety system;
—Building a business case for safety;
—Benefits of investing in health and safety;
—Creating a Safety Road Map;
—Duties and responsibilities;
—Hazards;
—Training and orientation.

Lori Shepherd has more than 25 years in the field of occupational health and safety. She connects with businesses and communities in southwestern Ontario, to share simple safety solutions.

To register for this FREE seminar click HERE.

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