Monday, April 30, 2012

You may be a hoarder.

Are you a hoarder?
Between reality TV shows, articles in magazines, newspaper headlines about the latest cat lady--one would think that there is an epidemic of hoarding behavior in our country.

So . . . are YOU a hoarder?  Let's take a quick quiz to find out.

1. At networking events do you collect business cards?
If you answered YES
Surely you know that collecting things without thinking about the purpose and usefulness of the item can be an early sign of hoarding.
If you answered NO
Why are you going to networking events?  When you leave a networking event without any cards, either you already knew everybody in the room or you were just there for the coffee.  And I ask you--is that effective networking?

2. If you are collecting business cards--the key is what you do with the cards, are they in a drawer or box on your desk? 
If you answered YES
Not only do you need to worry about hoarding behavior, I would like to point out that these business cards become  Schrodinger's Cat.  When you open the box--maybe there's business in there or maybe the business is dead.
In any case--the point is . . . well . . what IS the point.  So you have a nice collection of business cards.  Are you expecting them to go out and do business for you?
If you answered NO
I'm intrigued . . . what are you doing with your cards?

3. Do you scan all of them into your database?
If you answered YES
Are you also making quick notes of how you met the person, or their business, to trigger your memory?  And are you throwing the cards out (or recycling) when you're done?  Or better yet--are you selecting a few key cards and passing them on to your network?
If you answered NO
Okay, seriously, I'm intrigued--WHAT are you doing with your cards?
Do you display your business cards as part of a collection--bragging about your latest acquisitions?  I'll grant you, some business cards ARE very creative.

Business cards can be the mulch that help you grow your business.  But NOT if you're storing the mulch in your office and not cultivating anything with them.

You're a hoarder if your piles of business cards are negatively affecting your quality of life.
You're an ineffective networker if all you have are a handful of cards from people you don't know.

Be an amazing networking and stifle the hoarding instinct.

Use the networking events to get to know people.
Use business cards to quickly gather contact information that you follow up on.  Put the information in your data base within 48 hours of a networking event.  If you don't do it right away--you will forget who the people are behind the cards.

Connect with your contacts on Linked In.  Check out their Facebook page.

Spend time thinking about how you can help THEM--and not just about how they can help you.

These are the keys to growing your business AND keeping the clutter out of your office.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Insider Tips for getting the most out of your Chamber membership

At a recent event, we asked Chamber members to give us their "Insider Tips" for getting the most value out of their Chamber membership.  Here's what they said.

"Attend as many events and activities as possible.  People need to get to know you, like you and trust you before doing business with you or better yet--sending you referrals."
Donna Bullard, Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union.

"We're all here hoping to share and learn from one another.  It's amazing how quickly you make new friends with a common goal."
Denise Poniatowski, Divine Nutrition

"The more you get involved with the Chamber, the more benefits you will receive."
Ron DeLorme, Manage Max Performance Improvement

"Be patient.  Attend, watch and learn from others."
Nathan Sealy, Brass Ring Wealth Management

"Watch for visits from Teri Robinson, Membership consultant at the Chamber.  Her smiling face and current info on what's happening in the Chamber are great!"
Kimberly Dunahay, Divine Nutrition

"It's not just business you find at Chamber events.  We found Katie Marietta (Fitness and Aquatics Director) at the Taste of Clarkston!"
Tammie White, Deer Lake Athletic Club

"Use the membership list to make contact and introduce yourself.  Find out who handles decisions on your product/services and get connected with them."
Patty Gelsomino, Toshiba Business Services

and from the Chamber staff we have these additional tips:

Attend a Member Orientation meeting (held every 4-6 weeks).  You'll learn what programs, services and values you can access immediately to jump start your involvement in the Chamber.

Don't try to do it all.  Be strategic and selective about when and where you can participate in Chamber events, programs and projects.

Use your membership.  Like a gym membership, if you don't use it--you don't see the results.  

Involvement can mean reading your Advertising Advantage, checking out the website, following the Chamber on Twitter or Facebook, connecting on Linked in.  It's not just attending BOBs, Mixers and Women in Business events.

Write your business goals down.  Then think about why you joined the Chamber, what the Chamber can offer and what you can participate in.  Write down your goals for your Chamber membership and three things you will do in the next 30 days to help achieve those goals.  Make an appointment with yourself to review these goals and actions in 30 days--find out what works for you and do more of it.

Visit the website--you'll find lots of information on what's happening, business resources, information about other members.

Send information, press releases, photos, announcements to  She will help promote you through the website, eBlasts and social media outlets.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Time Saving Tips from our Members

"Combine your place for fitness and entertainment.  Find  a third place. Home, work and add a place for the whole family."
Katie Marietta, Deer Lake Athletic Club

"Pick 6 activities that you want to do during the day.  Prioritize them, then start on the 1st one."
Nick Hamp, Total Benefits System Inc.

"Instead of making breakfast or lunch, stop in and have us provide you with a quick delicious healthy "meal" smoothie."
Kimberly Dunahay, Divine Nutrition

"Return calls while on the road (Hands free Blue Tooth only.)"
Nathan Sealey, Brass Ring Wealth Management

"Always have a plan for your day.  When you have your own business it's easy to get caught up in time wasters.  Make a plan and stick to it!"
Denise Poniatowski, Divine Nutrition

And here are some tips from the Chamber Staff

Sign up for auto-bill with the Chamber.  If you regularly attend BOBs, Mixers or WIB events, we can have you pre-registered for all these events.  You'll get a reminder email for the event so you can confirm you're still planning to attend.  If necessary, you can cancel that registration at that time, without penalty.  It's a great way to make sure we've saved you a seat at our events.

Eat that Frog.

Set goals weekly.  Assess them at the end of each week.  Evaluate what obstacles kept you from meeting your goals and what opportunities helped you reach your goals faster.

Be realistic about how much time it takes to do something.

Don't check your email every minute.  Set times at the top or bottom of the hour--or at a set point in the morning or afternoon--and then walk away from the inbox.  Don't let an incoming email of low urgency jump the queue for important things you have to do today.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Best Advice a Mentor Gave You

At a recent Chamber event, we asked our members to share with us, the best advice a mentor every gave them.

"Lead by example.  Your staff with follow you."
Donna Clancy, Clarkston SCAMP

"It takes 21 days for something to become a habit."
Patty Gelsomino, Toshiba

"Never come back from a request empty handed."
Nathan Sealey, Brass Ring Wealth Management

"There are 3 things you need to do: See the people, See the people, See the people!"
Nick Hamp, Total Benefit Systems, Inc.

"When you have confidence in your employees capabilities you will seldom be disappointed."
Donna Bullard, Clarkston Brandon Community Credit Union

"What' easy to do is just as easy not to do."
Denise Poniatowski, Divine Nutrition

The Chamber staff had some additional tips:

"Don't post anything on Facebook that you wouldn't want your mom to see, because chances are, your mom's on Facebook too."

"Pay it forward."

"When setting goals, always include one that's a bit of a stretch--something you have only a 1 in 10 chance of achieving.  You never know what you can do until you stretch."

"Change is uncomfortable.  Lean into the discomfort--it means you're growing and learning."

"When listening to an unhappy customer--Remember to W.A.I.T.  Which means Why Am I Talking?  If you're listening .  . . you're not talking."