October 2017
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials
Welcome to our NEW Emagazine
The Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials will be coming to your inbox at the beginning of each month. We hope you enjoy and find the information to be of interest and great value. We will continue to send our Chamber E-Newsletter out mid-monthly. Please keep sending us your business info to share.


Biz Buzz

The Ladysmith & District Credit Union and Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce present Biz Buzz.  Join us in celebration of Small Business Month on October 19th for a great day of Learning and Networking.  Click here for the details and registration. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from a panel successful business experts and diverse Key Note Speakers. 

Have Fun at Work


Have Fun at Work

It used to be that work was work, and play was play, and rarely did the two come together. But over the years our attitude towards work has changed. Work can and should, also be fun, rewarding, and motivating. How much fun do you have at work? How much fun do your employees have doing their jobs? Are there ways you can let loose in your company and allow your staff to have more fun at work? Are you willing to see what the benefits might be for your business?

Use Training Games at Staff Meetings

You may not be a professional trainer, but check online and you will find lots of team-building, or skills-learning games designed for a business environment that can infuse your next staff meeting with fun. There are books dedicated to games for general business situations that educate as well as entertain and build team spirit.

Set aside one staff meeting per month where you introduce some training games and see how it boosts morale and teamwork.

Plan External and Internal Company Events

Did it ever occur to you that you can get together with your staff more than once a year at the annual Christmas party? External events are those where you invite your staff to bring their partners, spouses or children. These assist you in managing your staff because they allow you to see your employees in a completely different way - relating with their spouse or significant other, talking about their families, interacting with other people in the company in a social setting. You can gain great insights about people by observing them outside the office, and also by meeting the people who are important in their lives.

Internal events are those you plan just for your staff, and they can be just as great. Company picnics, birthday lunches, summer barbeques, company tournaments, can all be fun ways for your staff not only to get a break from the day-to-day stuff, but also build friendships with each other. This inevitably leads to a more positive work environment. Use games as a part of external and internal events to foster fun, creativity and relationship building.

Use Games for Motivational Rewards

Using games to motivate staff towards better performance can be very effective. For instance, offer a dinner out for two to the sales person who brings in the most sales, or who increases his/her personal best by the highest percentage. How about allowing your customers to vote for the employee who provides the most exceptional customer service for the month and rewarding them with a paid afternoon off? Be creative in how you motivate your staff to continue improving their personal, and thus corporate, productivity.

Use Memorable Teaching Techniques

Is there something you really want your staff to remember? Define your goals for the year with an acronym and give every staff member a laminated copy. Have your company logo and positioning statement printed on t-shirts and have a 't-shirt day' once a month. Send motivational or encouraging emails to reinforce great effort from your staff. Find ways to help them keep focused on the direction you are going as a company.

Show and Encourage Humour

Life is hard, we all have struggles and we generally don't laugh enough. Lead by example. Be the kind of person who doesn't take themselves too seriously. Share jokes and funny stories, and if you're not the kind of person who does, encourage the people on your team who do to share their humour in the workplace. Laughter is a contagious energizer. Use it liberally and your workplace will be the kind of place at which people will want to work.

So, go for it. Make it a goal to add some fun and vitality to your workplace. You won't believe the difference it will make!

Have Fun at Work


How is Your Vision?

There is so much that goes into running your business on a day-to-day basis. Sales, marketing, forecasts, customer satisfaction, staffing issues, inventory, budgeting, managing...the list goes on. As a small business owner, your days are full. So, when would you find the time to think about visioning and goal setting? Perhaps the bigger question is, how important is it to be clear about where you are going, and how do you ensure you're on the path to getting there? Organizations express their priorities through the goals that they set. Although goal setting may not necessarily be something you do every day, it is a necessary and integral part of running your business effectively.

Much confusion exists in the language of corporate visioning or strategic planning. Depending on who you ask, you will hear different definitions for words like goals, objectives, vision, mission, and values. For simplicity, we're going to define a goal as a statement of intent, that provides general direction to the company and its employees. Here are some ideas to help you set goals that will keep you on track.

Express Goals Positively

People are more likely to feel positive about being told to "do" something, than "not" to do something. Make sure the language you use when setting your goals implies positive action.

Set Goals Around Performance, Not Outcome

Set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It is discouraging when you don't achieve a goal because of things that are beyond your control, such as weather, other people's judgments, injury, or just bad luck. For example, if you set a goal to be one of the top three companies in your industry, there are many things you can't control. For instance, one of your competitors might merge with another of your competitors making it far larger. If that results in you not being in the top three, you may feel you have failed in achieving your goal. If, however, you set a goal of having your sales team increase sales by 20% for each of the next four quarters, you have an achievable goal that is under your control. And, you may indeed find yourself in the top three.

Write Your Goals Down

People who write down their goals are 80% more successful in achieving them than those who don't. Writing down your goals makes you more committed to them. Having them accessible in your workplace, where they are a visual reminder every day, also increases your chances of success. Post them in your staff room, or give everyone a copy of them to encourage motivation and team spirit.

Set Priorities for Your Goals

Chances are, you'll be working on more than one goal at any given time. Make sure you have decided (and your staff knows), which are a priority. Different departments may have different priorities, or your priorities may change given the time of the month and the activities going on in your business. Know what your priorities are and you'll experience greater productivity.

Make Them Measurable and Have Timeframes

"To improve our sales" is not a measurable goal. What exactly does improvement mean? Better customer service? Higher revenues? And how much improvement is enough? 10%? 25%? 50%? "To increase company sales by 25% by year end." is a measurable goal. Adding a timeframe gives you an exact point of review. On December 31, you can look over your sales figures for the year and determine exactly whether you met your goal of increasing sales by 25%.

Set Goals that are Challenging, but Realistic

Goals set too low do not motivate people to reach higher. Goals set too high discourage people because they are unattainable. Make sure you've evaluated your goals carefully and have set them with the right mix of challenge and realism.

Involve Your Staff in the Goal Setting Process

Ultimately you are responsible for the direction you set for your company, but involving your staff in the goal setting process helps them feel invested, and increases motivation for goal achievement.

Setting goals for your company is one of those things that Steven Covey (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) says can get lost in the "urgent" demands of the day-to-day. But attention must be paid to it as an important activity - one that will dramatically increase your effectiveness and bring you closer to where you want to be with your business, and your life.

Have Fun at Work


9 Ways to Get More from Your Next Workshop

In any business community, there are frequent opportunities to attend talks, seminars, presentations and workshops - especially those held by Chambers of Commerce. Quite often business owners and their employees sign up but then back out when work responsibilities becoming pressing. But should they?

Investing some time in learning new stuff will help you and your firm be more successful. So, attending is good for your business, but how can you ensure you get the most value for your money, and for the time you are investing?

Here are nine ways to get more out of the experience.

  1. Have fun. It's a day out of the office - enjoy it! Try not to think about all the things waiting for you back at work. They'll still be there for you to deal with tomorrow.
  2. Go prepared with questions. Take an hour or two to really think about what questions you have regarding the topic. Obviously, you're going to get information on a specific topic so think of questions that are pertinent to your work situation. If there is a very large group at the seminar and it isn't appropriate to ask specific questions, wait until a coffee or lunch break and see whether the trainer will take a moment to address those specific concerns. This can easily double the value of the whole event!
  3. Listen purposefully. Don't try to record every word the speaker says. Instead, listen for things you feel are particularly applicable to your situation, and write those things down.
  4. Participate with other attendees. Most often, if you're taking a day-long seminar, there will be small group activities planned throughout the day. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience of those around you. Participate actively in group sessions, and listen to the things other people say. You can learn as much from talking to other participants as you can from listening to the presenter.
  5. Sit close to the front. Sitting close to the front will help you to stay more focused throughout the day. There are fewer things to distract you and you'll feel more engaged with the presenter. This is especially true for that 2:00 PM droopy hour that people often face during a long day. You'll also be able to see any visual aids better which will put less strain on your eyes, and make you less fatigued by the end of the day.
  6. Bring coloured sticky notes or coloured highlighters. When you're receiving a lot of seminar material, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it all, and when you look back, it's hard to remember what you learned. Colour coding your notes can be helpful in remembering specific aspects of your training. For example, you might highlight things pertaining to financials in one colour, and things pertaining to people management in another. When you're flipping through your notes after the seminar, you can easily find those topics you've highlighted.
  7. Review your notes after the seminar. Yes, you'll be tired, but your chances of retention are much greater if you take even a half-hour at the end of the day, or at home later that night, to review your seminar materials and remind yourself of the things you've learned.
  8. Set some goals to implement what you've learned. Unfortunately, it's common for people who attend seminars to do nothing with what they've learned. In order for you to get value from the seminar, take some time to decide which of the principles or skills you learned that you want to implement, and then set some goals around how you will do that. As with all goals, write them down for a greater chance of achieving them.
  9. Share what you've learned with others. One of the best ways to retain what you've learned is to share it with others. Perhaps it might be appropriate to share a few key points with your staff at the next staff meeting. Or, perhaps it might be more appropriate to share with your management team. Even letting your spouse or a close friend in on what you learned not only helps you to retain it better, but also helps keep you accountable.

Professional development is always worthwhile. Congratulate yourself for taking the time to do something important for your business.


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112