Monday, December 28, 2009

Resolve this!

New Years, birthdays, anniversaries--they're all good time to pause, take stock and set goals. So often we call this the Revolving Resolution time.

Revolving, because they keep coming back again and again and again . . . . you know the list.

We may be setting ourselves up for failure when we write down these goals . . . but we could also be realigning ourselves to a noble vision that's been crowded out of the picture by everything else we deal with on a daily basis.

In January, the Chamber will kick off our Women in Business Season with "Resolve This!" a fun presentation by The Amazing Maxwell which is meant to help us leave grumpy depressing 2009 behind and focus on 2010 with positive energy, a can-do spirit and . . .optimism.

Remember optimism?

One of the things I enjoy most about Chamber work, is the contagious optimism that spreads when members get together. We may call it networking, or you could call it synergy--whatever it is the Chamber seems to have a lot more Tiggers than Eeyores--and that makes these events fun.

Remember fun?

Brian Tracy advises you to surround yourself with like minded optimistic people if you want to be successful. This peer group will keep you motivated, keep you energized, help you celebrate successes and help you rebound quicker from set backs.

Stephen Covey talks about putting First Things First and planning by plunking down your imporant "big rocks" first and then filling in the rest of your day, week and month with the other stones, pebbles and sand that need to be done.

Resolution time is about remembering those big rocks. Looking at your day, week, month, and year ahead and putting them on your calendar.

Covey also reminds you that you "Start Over Every Day."

It takes 3 weeks for a new routine to become a habit. Can you start over every day for 3 weeks?

And if you are successful--what new habits would you want to cultivate?

Yes there are the health habits, which we all work on with varying degrees of success. That doesn't mean they are unimportant--it does mean we have to start over every day and "Just DO it!"

There are the learning habits, which some of us work on formally by going back to school, working for continuing education credits or degrees--or informally by learning new hobbies, new sporting activites, listening to podcasts, CDs, books on tape, rss feeds, blogs and other sources of information.

There are the social habits. When I was growing up my dad had the longest arms of any human being. There were 5 of us kids and at the dinner table if you were out of line, he could reach across the table with lightening reflexes and give you a "thunk on the head." Just a thunk. Enough to get your attention and then there'd be the reminder, which as often as not came from my mother--who seemed to be in on this tag team. "Don't interrupt. Let your sister finish speaking." Okay . . . I'm still working on that skill. New Years is a good time to remember that it's not polite to cut the other person off, finishe their sentance or change the subject just as they're getting to the good part.

Social habits are the frosting on the cake of relationships. Do you listen as much as you talk? Are you sincerely interested in the other person when they're talking? Do you follow up? Do you say thank you? When someone sends you a referral do you remember to do the same?

At the April Women in Business event we'll be talking "True Colors" personality evaluation and training. In True Colors code, the people that do the social habits well are the "Blues." They know that relationships are at the heart of our families, friendships, business and society.

I'm not a Blue . . . but I have some Blue in me and I get it. I see it in operation at our Chamber functions. Members who are good at cultivating and maintaining relationships have a higher chance of business success. It's not fluff. It's important.

So Resolve This!

1. Make your health and wellness a priority--and start over every day. Don't let one cake derail you for another year.

2. Start learning something new this month. You don't have to tackle something big, ostentacious and amazing, like say, particle acceleration--but surely there is SOMEthing you've hankered to know more about. SOMEthing you want to learn how to do. This year . . . do it.

(Brian Tracy tells the story about learning that one of the biggest markets for motivational books and lectures was Germany. And he was the #2 Motivational Speaker there. In order to be #1, all he had to do was learn to speak German fluently. So he took a look at his schedule, possible training options and realized--that in 7 years he could be fluent in German. A friend exclaimed, "SEVEN years! That's a really long time, why bother?" And Brian replied, "In 7 years I'll be 7 years older whether I learn German or not. If I DO learn German I'll be 7 years older and the #1 motivational speaker and author in Germany.")

3. Practice your social graces. Ask questions of others and learn about them before rushing in to talk about yourself. Say thank you. Write thank you's (and yes--even emails count). Give referrals. Make "Givers gain." a habit! (Terry Bean recently published an eBook on networking and he stresses the point again and again--GIVERS GAIN. It could be a universal truth.)

And here's the key to success.
WRITE down your goals.
REVIEW your goals at least weekly.
Look at your progress in weekly and monthly terms--not just daily. In excel, they're called trend lines. It doesnt' matter if Monday was a blip--if the trend line for the week is pointed in the right directly.

For more information on the Chamber's events, activities and resources that can help you reach your goals visit:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Think Local, Buy Chamber

Chambers of Commerce are the original "Shop Local" campaigns. Many Chambers were formed with a root purpose of uniting local businesses together to commit to patronizing each other and promoting each other's businesses.

The network of the Chamber's membership is an instant peer to peer strategic referral partner group which can be very effective at getting the "word of mouth" out about your business.

So why is shopping local important? It seems obvious . . . but let's look at some numbers.

First of all local businesses support the community, and we're not just talking charitable donations. Your local storefronts and offices pay taxes which support police, fire, roads, water and sewer services in our area. This helps share the burden covered by home owners.

Did you realize that when $100 is spent locally at an independently owned business (restaurant, retail or service provider) $68 of that immediately stays in the community through payroll, taxes, rent, supplies and other operating expenses.

Spent that $100 at a local franchise and $43 stays locally.

When you spend $100 online with a business that is not located locally . . .none of that money stays in our local economy.

Statistics from

Keeping money in the community is important. reports that $1 spent locally can cycle 7x through the community before leaving for another community. SEVEN TIMES. That's powerful.

For the curious, check out which is a website that tracks US and Canadian dollar bills. Yes, some enterprising group decided to stamp currency with the "Where's George" website and invite you to log in when you have the bill in your possession. You'll be able to see how far the bill travels, how long it takes to enter other communities, how quickly it moves across the country. And that's the physical dollar bill.

Online transactions and credit cards move money quicker than that.

The 3/50 Project also reports that if HALF the employed American public spent $50 a month locally, that it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue.

There's power in spending locally.

Shop Local campaigns aren't about completely changing how you shop. Nor does it prohibit patronizing businesses outside your home zip codes. It IS about thinking local.

It's about recognizing that eating out once a month at a local restaurant has an important role to play in the fluidity of our local economy.

It's about choosing to get your car washed, buy a birthday card or pick up a flowering plant or bouquet because your patronage means more than just support for the local shops & stores. It means support for your community.

When you travel this holiday season, we encourage you to Think Local with the communities you visit. Explore what's unique. Ask your friends and family members to share what they love about where they live.

And when you have visitors to our community--roll out the red carpet. Show off what makes the Clarkston Area unique. What do you love about our area? Share with friends and family the businesses, stores and entreprenurial spirit that makes Clarkston a unique home town we can all be proud of.

All of us working together keep the economy going. Keep businesses open . . . and drive the economic recovery.

I shop local--and you can too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Search Engine Marketing

--Source: PC Miracles, SEPT 2009 Newsletter

Add yourself to the local search engine pages:



Other websites to list yourself include:

Social Media Bootcamps returns JAN 22

We've had a lot of positive feedback about our Social Media Bootcamps. We're pleased to announc that we've scheduled another session in January.

January 22, 2010

Bootcamps are structured to let you take what you want to take, or stay for everything at a special discount price.

In January we will offer a 200 level course on TWITTER.

A year ago at this time, few of us had heard of Twitter. Now it is everywhere and some say, on it's way out of fashion.

I'd argue that Twitter can be an effective tool, but you need to understand how you're going to use it before jumping into a 24/7 Twitter update commitment.

For the Chamber's purposes, we utilize Twitter as a way to engage our followers in real time, informal news and updates. Twitter is becoming a tried and true tool to drive traffic to our website. Twitter's linked with the Chamber's Facebook Fan Page and Linked In accounts. So one update hits all three media.

You've learned that iPhones have lots of aps that make it more fun, functional and engaging.

So does Twitter. There are several cool tools that make it easy to navigate, update, search, post pictures, videos and more.

Our Social Media Twitter Session will give you an entry into the Twitter world. Bring your lap top and set up an account. Walk through some of the applications and start tweeting that morning.

Following the Twitter session, we'll have a presentation on websites, which can include a group review, critique of your website, if you'd like. We'll be looking at how easy is it to navigate, how easy is it to find. What makes a good website engaging and draws traffic on a consistent basis.

We'll end the morning with a repeat of the Linked In Session which was first held in November. If you attended that November session, you can sit in on this session for FREE as a refresher. Better yet, invite a coworker or friend to the session and help them be more effective while showing off the pieces you know and navigate easily--while learning new features and applications yourself.

Clarkston Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to work with David Benjamin, Voices of Detroit and Jason T. Ryan to host these events which bring you the best information and tools to help you grow your business and stay ahead of the competition.