Monday, January 25, 2010

Beer University

PHOTO: Beer University Dean Dan Izydorek (2nd from left) with the PC Miracles Crew.

In 2008 our Chamber launched the first of what has proven to be a series of popular and fun events called "Beer University."

Designed as the Beer lovers answer to Wine Tastings, Beer University explores up to 8 styles of beers and pairs them with appetizer selections.

The first Beer Universities focused on a single brewer and the range of Beer Styles they have at that point in the season. We kicked off Beer University with Bell's Beers. Next up: Sam Adams.
Since that premier year we've also explored Mexican Beers and are now hosting a Winter session that will put the spotlight on Winter style beers--many of which are Winter Lagers.

For a non-beer drinker, like myself, Beer University has been an eye opener. I've learned that part of the reason I wasn't drinking beer, was because I had no idea where to start. The few beers I'd tasted prior to Beer University were too bitter, too grassy, too . . . well we won't even get into what IPA's smell and taste like to me.

So I thought all beers were like that.

Beer University opened my eyes . . . and my palate.

I've found beers I like, discovered some amazing taste pairings that really surprised me, (Try Sam Adams Cherry Wheat with a chocolate dessert) and learned that I'm not the only one who enjoys learning about new foods & beverages.

Beer University has a growing roster of alumni (attend one session of Beer University and you are an Alumni--and eligible for discounted tickets for future events).

We even have window clings for our alumni to put in the back of your car window, as any proud alumni does after college.

We have three Beer Universities planned for 2010. The first one is coming up fast--February 10th. Sandwiched between the Superbowl and the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, Beer University falls a week before Lent and will highlight Winter style beers.

Beer University is at the Hamlin Pub--Weds. February 10, 2010 5:00-8:30 pm

Beer University also includes a silent auction. If you'd like to donate one or more items for the silent auction, please contact the Chamber 248-625-8055. We group items together to create theme baskets. Donating items for auctions is an easy way to create visibility for your brand. Whether you give a certificate for services from your own business or donate a gift certificate to a local restaurant or store--you create brand awareness for both yourself and your business.

Tap into the loyalty of Beer University Alumni by attending and networking at this event, or donating an item for our silent auction.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Get involved

PHOTO: Social Media Bootcamp engages chamber members in learning more ways to grow their businesses, build relationships and stay connected.
SEATED: Carol Peters and Kelley Hinsperger, LaFontaine Automotive Group; Maureen Murphy Boyd.
STANDING: Jason T. Ryan and David Benjamin
It doesn't matter how or why you get involved. The important thing is that you are involved.

Business in 2010 is about relationships. That may not be unique for 2010, but it is definately true.

Relationships are about being involved.

Being involved is a coming together to work effectively, coordinating our efforts despite differences.

Review your current relationships and think about the new ones you will build this year with these simple principles in mind:

1. View everyone in positive terms.
Everyone you meet is a possible resource, some unexpectedly so. Treat others with dignity and respect. Take care with judgmental and negative opinions, your new acquaintance is listening to what you say and do.

2. Build trust
Your leads list and new contacts are the seeds you're planting. Business will eventually come from those seeds. To encourage growth, you need to nurture those seeds. Building trust is like adding nutrients to the field.
Do what you say you're going to do.
Don't over promise
Care about the other person--not just your business connection with them.
You can show you care by remembering important events, details, celebrations in their lives. Showing you remember demonstrates that you care.

3. Value the Process-not just the results
Being involved, cultivating relationships, building your business network takes time. It will seem many times longer if you don't learn to value the process, as well as the results.
When you think about it, it's the relationships, shared experiences, joys and sorrows that are most meaningful in our lives.

When I walk/ran my first marathon, the 11 months of training and 26.1 miles before we caught site of the finish line were more rewarding than that brief moment at the finish banner. The journey is a treasure in and of itself.

4. Invest for the long term
Some feel it would be nice if all you had to do was collect 100 business cards and get 100 contracts--Bam!
Being involved is a long term investment. Not something you do for a month or two (or a year) and then forget about. Long term strategies result in more solid growth. Long term strategies are more stable and less vulnerable to economic blips.

2010 is a new slate. You have the moment today to choose the goals you'd like to achieve. You have the moment--right now--to do something that steers you towards those goals.

Get involved. Attend a networking function. Join a committee. Volunteer. And I'm not just talking about Chamber activities here--GET INVOLVED where ever you are. Join in. Attend. Pull your chair up to the table.

2010 will be what WE make of it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Coming Soon--Website enhancements by CGI Communications

For the past couple months, we've been working with CGI Communications to develop some bells and whistles for the Chamber's website.

You may have noticed the "Coming Soon" graphic in the upper right side of the webpage.

We're getting close to unveiling these exciting digital media marketing tools and I'm really excited about the potential for the Chamber to better communicate with our members, visitors and community.
  • You will see Online Videos which showcase our community and Chamber of Commerce.
  • We'll have V-mail, a video emailing system that enables us to send video messages to any email. (videos aren't sent as an attachment or link--but automatically buffer & play)
  • Video Tracking--a system that captures the email addresses of recipients and allows the Chamber to see who has viewed our videos, as well as, how many times they viewed it.
  • Digital Marketing, which allows the Chamber to send custom-branded digital messages with attractive features such as Video business Cards. (and track who they were sent to)
  • SmartCast, an innovative way to provide unlimited real-time audio updates to our website.
  • SmartLine a new way to send out information and videos to prospective members, visitors and tourists.
Working with CGI's professional production team has been easy.

As we roll out the new features, CGI will also provide local busiensses with an opportunity to utilize the technology. You can choose to have a video produced highlighting your unique assets and you can also utilize the digital tools outlined above.

If you're interested in learning more and can't wait to see it, check out for a demonstration.

Watch for the changes on our website coming

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Team work!

Chamber BOBs include ways to build your networking team AND have fun!
PHOTO: Tom Lowrie, Lowrie's Landscape, Gini from Costco and Johnna Struck, Changing Places Moving & Storage.
There are all types of team member styles. Which style are you?

Contributor: A person who focuses on the immediate task of the team, believes that information is critical, sets high performance standards and can be depended on to deliver work assignments on time.

Collaborator: A goal-directed member who sees the overall goal of the team as paramount. They are willing to pitch in and help others in order to reach the goal and support the strategy of the organization.

Communicator: The team member who helps with team process by facilitating, building a consensus and creating a supportive work environment.

Challenger: The person who questions the goals, methods and actions of the team and pushes the team to take reasonable risks.

--"Teamwork--Action Steps for Building Powerful Teams," Successories Library

A couple years ago, I attended the Disney Keys to Excellence training. It was an outstanding day of training, ideas, energy and networking.

An enlightened moment happened during the second session when our presenter admitted, "Many of the things we're going to talk about today aren't secrets. You know of them, perhaps have tried them--the secret is keeping these things front and foremost. It's making sure everyone on your team, every employee, every customer, every alumni--is part of making your goals a success."

Consider that everyone is part of your team. You employees, family, friends, fellow Chamber members. Through the power of social media, every customer and client has the potential to be a cheerleader for your team.

This month, consider the importance of your team. Make sure they understand the role they play and it's importance in the overall goals you plan to reach. Consider how different styles build the strength of the team--and get in the game!

2010 is about turnaround, rebound and success. Make it yours!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

PHOTO: Duncan Banes, McLaren Health Care is congratulated by Sheriff Mike Bouchard after winning the Rolling Jackpot at a recent luncheon mixer.
That quote by Wayne Gretsky really resonates.

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take:

If you don't send in you job application for that job that was posted, you've automatically disqualified yourself. Why? Let THEM decide if you're right for the job or not.

If you don't write up that business idea and work on making it happen. Your great idea isn't going to stay secret for long. Someone else is out there about to think of that brainstorm themselves.

If you don't write that book. Hemmingway considered it a successful day if he had 1 page worth keeping at the end of the day. 1 page a day--and in 1 year, you've got a novel. If you never start, you'll never be published.

Whatever you goals, ideas, dreams or vision--"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."

Start taking the shots and you will start MAKING the shots!