Lion vs. Gazelle

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up, and knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. The moral…. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up–YOU HAD BETTER BE RUNNING!
Stay motivated members! Run with endurance the race set before you!

Our plan for 2019

Last week I shared business tips for our members as they planned for the new year.  Today I want to share a few of the chambers plans for the new year.

First, the chamber wants to keep you connected! We will have the first networking event (Coffee & Connections) tomorrow (Jan.8th) at 8 a.m. at Coffee State Farm.  I encourage our members to take advantage of this opportunity.  It’s a great way to share what you have going on, hear from colleagues, and meet other members.

The chamber will also work this year on providing more resources to our members. I am posting blogs to the Chamber website and posting on Facebook in hopes of keeping you current and motivated.  Please, send replies! Let me know which type articles and tips you like and/or issues you would like me to address.  I am here to help you!

So is our office manager, Bo Asher!  He does an amazing job of posting information for our members.  We want to promote your business as much as possible! Be sure when you post to Facebook you tag the Chamber so we can share. You can also email event details to the chamber so they can be added to the website and our marquee display.

From the many referrals we make, to the events we host, we want you to see results of the Chamber working for our members this year.  Stay tuned for more of what’s to come in 2019!

Here’s to a Happy New Year

With the end of 2018 upon us, we all find ourselves thinking about New Year resolutions, New Year plans and New Year goals. Lose weight, eat healthier, spend wiser, we all have our list (last year my resolution was to be a better listener). We all look at these things from a personal aspect, but we often overlook them in our professional/business lives.  Our businesses need refreshing just like we do.  Here are 10 tips to help your business as you start a new year:

1. Update your Business Plan

Maybe it has been pushed to the side, maybe you haven’t assessed it in a while… whatever the case may be, it’s time to pull out that business plan and consider updating it. Have your goals changed? Has your target market changed? Change it to meet these changes, this is a living breathing document that needs to be looked over throughout the year.

2. Create your New Year business resolutions

It’s a new year and you have the perfect opportunity to set some new goals. Get specific, create an action plan to gauge your progress. Set milestones throughout the year to measure your results and come December 31st you can see what you’ve accomplished.

3. Evaluate your marketing 

Marketing is a catalyst in new businesses. Overlooking your marketing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in your business success. Take time to analyze what marketing tactics you’re taking, decide if they’re giving you any return on investment (ROI) and change them to adapt to the new technologies. Create a new marketing plan if you need to or find a consultant, those steps are worth the money!

4. Review your online branding

Have you ever googled yourself? Google your business! Find out what is on the web about your business and work on refreshing those old “About Us” pages. Create an online marketing strategy that fits the needs of your company. 

5. Invest in new technology

Money is always tight for any new or small business, but have you updated your computers lately? Purchased the most recent program software? It’s time to stop dragging your feet and go ahead with it. Updated technology will help your efficiency, your productivity and your patience!

6. Network

Have you been to any networking events lately? The Chamber of Commerce will be holding networking event opportunities. Go to an event, show some face time with local business owners and market your business. Person-to-Person marketing is almost always the most effective means of marketing. Go to a conference, learn from experts and spread the word about your business. Who knows you could even meet potential clients. Networking is one of the most vital parts of business marketing. 

7. Get organized

They say that the smartest people have messy desks. Even if this is true, organizing your work space will make you feel rejuvenated. There’s nothing like coming back from the New Year holiday to a clean and tidy desk. Another organization option is getting your calendar in order for the new year. Sit down and take time to write out (or type out) upcoming events, holidays and vacations! Write down the month your goals should be completed. Organize your days and your year will already feel productive! 

8. Assess your hiring needs

Are you just too busy? Take time to consider your needs and think about hiring a helping hand. Creating a new job adds to the economic development of the area – as well as giving you a little room to breathe. Tight budget? Think about hiring a free-lancer, volunteers or interns. There are many options for people who have tight budgets, but don’t let this year create stress in your life because you’re understaffed. 

9. Explore trainings

There are tons of webinars, and free training classes offered by local community colleges and online companies. Explore the idea of fine tuning your training on programs, and skills that you don’t feel confident on. Consultants are always available to train you on a business avenue that you aren’t 100% on. With a new year, learn a new skill and start training yourself and your employees to be better!

10. Become a role model

Have you ever had an amazing mentor? Have you ever BEEN an amazing mentor? Be a role model. Your team and your community are watching you, what behaviors do you want them to see? Are you being someone that you would want to meet? Make that a personal goal this year to be a person (business or not) that you would want to know. Attitude reflects leadership.

We’re excited to see what 2019 has in store for the Chamber and our community. We are here to help our businesses succeed! Thank you for your continuous support this past year. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you. I wish you each a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

5 days until Christmas

Last night it hit. The feeling of ‘When am I gonna get everything done?’  On top of work, needing to pick up a few last minute gifts, needing to grocery shop, and an upcoming 6 hour trip (one way) to spend a few days with family…my hubby had to have his gall bladder removed yesterday!  Everyone knows a sick husband is a full-time job!!!!

I admit, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  But why???  Our local chamber businesses are life savers, and they make life so easy!  After work today, I can stop and grab all the groceries I need here in town, without any hassle. Tomorrow I can run by and find some unique gifts (I couldn’t have found in box stores) and then finish up with a few local gift cards! No long lines, just friendly faces, and I will be done shopping! 

Don’t stress yourself out.  Call and let the chamber make referrals for your last minute needs! 

Our Deepest Sympathy

As members of our Chamber family mourn, we mourn with them.  The Chamber of Commerce expresses sincere sympathy to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mitchel and Terry Sullivan.   

Many of our business associates, who do a wonderful job taking care of us, have been effected by this tragic loss.  May we all take time in the weeks to come to return the love and support.  

24 Hour Rule

Isn’t it fascinating how our perspectives change over time? 

I was listening to a story this morning about a young man who was offended by a ladies comments regarding his business, and how he wanted to ‘give her a piece of his mind’. Fortunately, he restrained himself.  I couldn’t help but think about how hard that is to do.  Being able to handle conflict hasn’t always been easy for me. 

Although most who meet him would never know, my son (Colt) has Tourette syndrome.  He battles with anxiety and OCD and would often come home from school upset. He struggled through elementary school. Not with grades, but with anxiety.  Anxiety that he bottled up all day, and saved until he was home.  Explaining it to teachers was hard, because they didn’t always see it. I have to say, Colt was blessed with some amazing teachers who loved him.  But, when our kids get hurt, we hurt.  Let me tell you… you upset my kids and the mama bear comes out!

I remember going to the school because I felt like a teacher wasn’t following Colt’s accommodations. I arrived (with my sharpened claws) and the principal scheduled an appointment for me to come back the next day. The next day??? I was furious! I needed this resolved immediately! Why the next day?

It was simple.  When we are upset we are defensive, and we lack perspective.  He was implementing the “24 Hour Rule”. 

I tell you all of this because, often we look at our businesses as “our babies”.  We love and nurture them. So when they hurt, we hurt. When someone says something offensive, we are offended.  How do we react to that?  Regardless if it’s a conflict with an employee, customer or friend, we should all use the 24 Hour Rule.  It gives us time to gather our thoughts and to address issues logically, rather than out of anger.  Take time to see all sides of the situation.  Schedule and appointment and be prepared to discuss the issue calmly. And “Thank You” to the principal who sent me home, teaching me the value of the 24 Hour Rule. 

‘Tis the Season…for Stress

The holiday season brings so much fun and excitement!  It also brings stress… stress that can easily infiltrate your workplace, and often cripples employees.

On top of all of our busy personal schedules, we still have deadlines that must be met, office parties to attend, gift exchanges to buy for….the list seems to never end.  Feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, disappointed by unrealistic expectations, and worried about money are some of the chief symptoms of the holiday blues.  Productivity in the workplace often suffers as a result.

I was reading an article from ClearRock Leadership and loved the suggestions they gave for managing workplace stress and anxiety during the holidays.

  1. Help where you can. We know the holidays are coming.  It’s not a surprise.  Ask employees what you can do to help reduce their stress.  Ask if they would like to postpone the company party until January.  If you are hosting a pot luck lunch, ask if people would rather have pizza brought in so no one has to cook.  Perhaps, you can give everyone one hour on Cyber Monday to go online and shop so they don’t feel like they have to sneak screen time to get the deal on the gift their child really wants at a price they don’t want to miss.
  2. Be generous with “thank you.” People are often extending themselves at this time of year, make sure you are going out of your way to notice their good work and say thank you.  Also, be aware of anyone that may need an extra word of encouragement or some additional support like employees who have lost a loved one this year or those with little or no family in the area.  Making sure they know you care can go a long way in retaining employees.
  3. Remain visible. Don’t confine yourself to your office and make employees wonder if changes are about to happen … again.  As with any other time of the year, managers need to show interest in what’s on employees’ minds through individual face-to-face meetings, regular staff meetings, walking around the workplace, and after-hours get-together’s.
  4. Involve employees in decisions. Are you decorating the office?  Choosing a charity to make a donation instead of buying gifts for your clients?  Hosting a toy drive?  Ask employees to get involved and let them select which charities you will support so they will feel empowered and engaged.
  5. Encourage time off. Encourage people to take advantage of that with a vacation day or a 1/2 day Friday to do their holiday shopping, decorate their house, get their baking done, or just relax and enjoy the season.  They will likely come back in a better frame of mind and be more productive. 

Of course, these are merely suggestions.  The point is, be mindful of others, and their lives outside of work.  Showing love and compassion to employees will be decrease stress and make a much more cheerful season!  I wish everyone a stress-free season, filled with love, peace and joy! 

 

Retail vs. E-tail

Holiday shopping is now in FULL swing!  The Chamber wants to encourage local shoppers to keep it local!

I know we live in the age of online shopping.  With just a few clicks, orders are at your doorsteps.  But don’t you miss the fun and excitement of actually “going shopping”?  Personally, I feel good when I walk into a shop where everybody knows my name.  (That made me think of the old Cheers song…”and they’re always glad you came”). But isn’t it true? Don’t we all enjoy going where people know us, and know what we do (and don’t) like?

Not only does shopping local build relationships, it also supports the local economy.   By ‘local economy’, I mean it supports the businesses that we all look to, year round, for events; charities; fundraisers; and donations to our organizations.  We SHOULD return the favors! We NEED to support them!  When you shop locally, in essence, you are taking care of your own.

According to Forbes magazine, “For every dollar spent at a locally-owned establishment, nearly 45% of that revenue stays in the local community, with another 9% staying within the state.” That means when you shop locally almost 1/2 of what you spend stays right here in Breckenridge!  Where we shop, where we eat, where we do business-all of these make Breckenridge strong!

So, before you make all those online purchases, give your local businesses a chance!  Skip e-tail…shop retail!  

 

2018 Citizen, Ag Citizen, and Business of the Year Nominations

Nomination are now open for the 2018 Citizen of the Year, Ag Citizen of the Year, and Business of the Year.  Nominations will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019.  Please use the form below to submit your nomination.

Additionally, nomination can be dropped off at the Chamber office (100 East Elm Street) during normal business hours or sent in via USPS mail to:  Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 1466, Breckenridge, TX  76424.

We will only call you if we have questions about or need clarity about your nomination.
Please tell us why you think this person or business should win in the category you've nominated them for. (500 words or less)

If you have any questions, please contact the Chamber at (254) 559-2301.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so happy Thanksgiving week is here!!!  Our college kiddo came home last night, the kids are all requesting their favorite dishes, and I have so much to be thankful for!

As I was driving in to work this morning, I was thinking about the first Thanksgiving.  I started thinking about the early settlers and how they had a plan, tools, and supplies, yet their encounter was SOOOO unpredictable! I thought, ‘Isn’t that true for us today? OUR encounters are unpredictable!’.  Even in our businesses, we never know what challenges we will face.

How did the early settlers succeed???  They had leaders… they had workers… they had investors… and… they were willing to give back!

The Chamber acknowledges and is thankful for the leaders, workers, investors, and consumers in Breckenridge.  We are especially thankful for your willingness to give back to the community! Thank you to those who do business here, to those who serve the community, participate in activities, and for building relationships that make this town strong.

I hope we continue to attract new settlers and to build with determination!  I am personally thankful for way too many things to list; however, professionally, I am thankful for the amazing people I have been blessed to work with.  I wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!