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.”

 

 

 

Read More

The Christmas/Holiday season is always a special one for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and its Business After 5, this year taking place on Wednesday, December 11, will be no exception.

With CIBC’s London Road branch opening its doors for this special event, Chamber members (FREE to attend) and non-members alike ($30) are sure to enjoy the great conversation.

And as mentioned elsewhere, those who are looking for ongoing opportunities to “step it up” as members of the Business After 5 committee are particularly welcome to check out just how much fun this volunteer experience can be for extending relationships—perhaps even beyond your comfort zone.

We look forward to catching up on Wednesday, December 11 at CIBC’s London Rd. branch, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Read More

As the voice of business in the area, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to seeing our economy grow and prosper.

One of the key opportunities for that to happen is right now, as the traditional shopping season begins.

As people look for amazing gifts and items, we encourage everyone to look right here at home.   This is what growing your community is all about and shopping local means investing in our future in one of the most meaningful ways possible.

Your Chamber of Commerce believes in the future of Sarnia-Lambton and our members are here to serve your interests throughout the year, so think about them as you begin your shopping list.

Have fun. Be safe. And support the local enterprises right here at home. It’s worth it!

 

Read More

While this originally was meant to be a networking article, becoming more interesting is something that can benefit every area of your life, from striking up a random conversation with strangers to trying out for Dos Equis next Most Interesting Man in the World.

Interesting Is in the Eyes of the Audience

First, someone’s “interesting” may not be your interesting. There’s no special pill to take or drink to consume to become more interesting because it’s not a universal application. But you can become more interesting to a particular audience in these ways:

Do Your Research

Establish who it is you want to become more interesting to and do your research. This could be an individual, like wanting to meet and talk to a particular head of industry at a Chamber event or it could be a group of people you want to impress, like marketing to millennials.

Whether a person or group, use social media and the internet to do research on their interests, concerns, things they’ve published or curated, and other personal information. But not too personal. If we’re talking about a person and not a demographic, stop just short of bringing up personal things you know about them and their family thanks to the fact that they don’t know how to use security features on Facebook.

Read

If you’re trying to expand your views, reading is one of the best ways to do that. It provides insight into thoughts, cultures, and history with perspective. If you’re not a reader, try audiobooks or TED Talks. The point is to expand your mind and you don’t do that by listening only to yourself and your circle of like-minded friends.

Ask Questions

If you focus the conversation on the person you’re trying to impress and ask worthwhile questions of them, they will most likely think the conversation (and thus you) was very interesting, because you were talking about them.

Explore Difference

Make time to be with people whose views vary from your own. Put the debating aside and try to understand why they feel the way they do about the issues they support and the ones they don’t. Experience these topics removed from the emotion of how you feel about them.

For instance, if you have an acquaintance who supports a different political candidate than you do, ask them probing questions about why they do. Don’t make this about proving them wrong. Suspend your opinion and only listen to theirs. Try to understand what drives it the way a psychologist may dissect someone’s motives.

Surround Yourself with Smarter People

Whether you’re hiring, dining, or playing racquetball, spend at least some of your time with people who are smarter than you or more well-traveled than you. Ask them about their experiences. When they speak, listen, even if it’s not directed your way.

Take Up a New Hobby or Learn Something New

Attack your bucket list with wild abandon or simply try an online class or a new hobby.

Travel

Experience foreign cultures and explore alone. Take time to listen to what’s going on around you. Talk to strangers. Everyone has a story. Learning theirs will make yours more interesting too.

Accept that Learning as an Adult Is Different

Many people refuse to read or take online classes because they associate learning with the drudgery of school and rote memorization and boring curriculum, but when you are master of your own ship and can steer the course (of your courses), learning becomes much more enjoyable. Give it a chance. Note of caution: while you may enjoy it more, it may also take more repetition for the ideas to sink in.

Embrace a Cause

You’ll meet new people and do some good.

Look for Connections

As you absorb these new experiences and learning, don’t place them in boxes in your head as if you were organizing the garage. Instead, look for applications for your new knowledge and experiences and connections to others and ideas.

Be Generous

Be generous for no reason and fight the temptation to post it on social media. Let it be a secret you share with the person who benefited.

Don’t Ever Try to Be the Most Interesting Person in the Room

If you are, there’s nothing to gain.

A Final Word on Becoming More Interesting

There are numerous books written about becoming a better conversationalist, and while some of that is technique, some of it is also derived from personal growth and a desire to never stagnate. The internet has placed near-limitless learning opportunities in front of us that are available all day every day. Using this knowledge availability as a stepping stone to expand our horizons and become life-long learners will not only make us more interesting but help our businesses remain relevant during times when “staying the course” isn’t advisable.

Read More

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.

 

Read More

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.”

 

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Partners and Sponsors