Hello Chamber-verse! Today we have a guest blogger, offering up some truth and wisdom about small businesses in Klamath. May is National Small Business Month, did you know that? I didn't either but I should have. So check this out: if your business wasn't in this article, give yourself a shoutout in the comments! We want to hear from you, business owners...which of these tips helped you the most? Let us know!
Okay, take it away Beth!
Hey Reader(s)...it's been a while, hasn't it!? I've been super busy working on getting the word out about Leadercast 2017. As with a lot of things I throw out there at you, I'm guessing you might be wondering that that is...and because I think it's important, I'm gonna tell you.
Leadercast is a live broadcast from Atlanta, GA. What that means is, the people are in Georgia (where the Walking Dead is filmed, in case you didn't know) and then their words are broadcast all over to host sites. You remember that scene from Independence Day, where Jeff Goldblum is explaining how he's going to give a computer virus to the mother ship, and then it will filter down into the smaller ships and then they'll all have it? (if not, it's pretty good, so here you go):
Seventy-two years ago, these hands typed the words on these pages. Things were much different then; the country was reeling from the effects of the war and families were torn apart by circumstance. These are the hands of a student, wife, and mother. They are also the hands of a clerk for the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce. These are the hands of Effie Vanderhoff, reunited after so long with the work she performed as a young woman.
The official end to the war was September 2, 1945. By then, Effie Botens had already graduated from Klamath Union High School in June and was hired the very next day by the Chamber. She worked in the offices on Main Street, and was the secretary for Jim Stillwell (today Jim is 97 years old), President of the then Junior Chamber of Commerce, a group of young businessmen who performed the roles our current Ambassadors perform today.
If you didn't read last week's post, here's a little recap: Chrystal went rummaging around in the back room to find some old documents and ended up finding a GOLD MINE of old photographs instead. We have no clue who the people in the photographs are, but in some cases, you can identify where they are.
Last week, I posted this photo, where you can clearly see the Chamber of Commerce in the background, when it was located on Main Street back in the day. Look how happy they all are, even though they can only park those trucks for 60 minutes, aren't allowed to double park, and are unable to make any u-turns. They also have to register their foreign cars, but maybe someone better with cars than I am could tell me if those trucks needed registering or not. Anyone?
Today, at our morning Greeters meeting, I was fortunate enough to meet a nice lady who worked for the Chamber in the 1930s and 40s. I joked with her a bit, ribbing her about how her work has set the bar way too high for me and if only she had been a little less efficient, my life would be easier.
She was such a neat lady. I plan to write a story about her in the coming weeks ahead, so keep your eyes peeled for it. However, it did spur me into braving the cold, dark storage room in our building (I'm such a wimp!) and looking through dusty stacks of binders and documents to see if I could find her name in the archives. What a cool piece of history that would be to include in my story, right? I found several books of meeting minutes, which she told me she typed. And I also found a box full of old photographs from various eras.
There was a letter with a photograph from 1921; another was a brochure and photos from 1923. Not quite the decades I was searching for, but I kept looking. Eventually, I narrowed down my search to this stack:
Merriam Webster defines a gala as a "public party or celebration". Heather defines the Chamber's gala as "an amazing party that celebrates our community".
I define the Chamber's gala as, "What am I forgetting?"
I would love to hear your definition of our Awards Gala! Buy some tickets and then you can comment on here. Let us know what you think!
I’m still stuck on the theme of engaging employees. I think it’s because I love my job and I feel uber engaged in my work. I have the ability to be creative on a daily basis, which feeds my soul. I know a lot of younger people who aren’t having the same work experience, particularly in an area like ours where the economy is slow to recover and the “loveable” jobs aren’t available by the handfuls.
Younger people…like Millennials…are also finding themselves bored in jobs much faster than the older generation. Or maybe it’s just that the older generation didn’t complain about being bored, or walking uphill in the snow both ways to get to school every day. Whatever the reason, employers may be finding that younger employees need to feel challenged in their daily work to remain engaged. Once they’ve mastered a task, they’re ready to move on to something else. This can create quite a problem when their job is to perform routine tasks. How do you keep someone whose whole life has been a constant daily influx of digital information since birth? Their very nature is to take in information and adapt. Millennials are ALWAYS looking for the next task, the next project, or the next “thing” to learn, when older generations may be thinking, “You’ve been doing that for like five minutes compared to my fifteen years of experience, what is wrong with you?”
This VERY EXCELLENT video from Inside Quest shows Simon Sinek (famous TED Talks guy) explaining the Millennial better than I can:
Sometimes, I get the opportunity to read some great work-related magazines here in Chamberland. One came across my desk today, called Incentive. It had promise: the cover art was engaging, and the headlines screamed, “25 Most Influential People In The Incentive Industry” in a really cool, colorful font. I’m a sucker for a cool, colorful font. Times New Roman…puh-leez. That is so yesterday.
Anyway, I open it up and on page six (that’s right, page 6! That’s like, the beginning) there’s an article about big changes hurting employee engagement and retention.
This is a shoutout to all my retail peeps out there in Chamberland: shopping season is upon us! Can you believe it’s almost time for the Big Day? I’m curious to know what the busiest Christmas shopping day is for small businesses as we near the grand event. Is it Black Friday? Cyber Monday? How does small business see returns on holiday shopping? Inquiring minds want to know.
Maybe you aren’t seeing the shoppers you would like to see browsing your goods on the shelves. Perhaps you would welcome the occasional scuffle with a shoplifter as the crowd in your store cheers for your bravery in thwarting the villain. I don’t know because I’m not you. But one thing I do know is that small businesses rarely turn away business. How do you attract local shoppers, particularly in rural areas?
How’s your website look? Like a refugee from the early nineties? To draw customers in the digital age, you gotta have a good we presence. Target customers who are already loyal to your brand or service and encourage them to spread the word. And hey, a little incentive never hurt #youknowhatimsayin? Empower your brand ambassadors with the tools they need to help target like-minded shoppers and draw them to your site, and therefore, into your store or virtual realm. I don’t know about you, but I’m twice as likely to shop locally if a friend or family member says, “Hey, you’re paying too much for that wildebeest grooming kit. The shop on Main sells them cheaper and they’re higher quality.” CHA-CHING. SOLD: one wildebeest grooming kit.