Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New Year’s Resolution: Use Collaborative Audiovisual Solutions to Improve Your Business

Destiny Heimbecker, Vistacom Audio Video Solutions
Another new year has rolled around and many of us will use the turning of the calendar to create New Year's resolutions. These personal commitments are focused on you and your success - but what about your business? This is the time to broaden your focus from your individual goals and to take a moment to stop and consider your team goals. How are you going to build a high performing team and ensure the success of all? Audiovisual (AV) solutions have a significant impact on your business if well-implemented. The benefits these solutions provide are a great encouragement to the growth and thriving of your team and how they interact in the marketplace.
These benefits should be your New Year’s resolutions to improve your work experience and employee performance with the use of collaborative AV solutions:
  1. Create an atmosphere of better interaction – Collaborative AV solutions deliver an interactive experience where employees and customers feel involved in the process. The attention span of today’s generation is very short (Twitter!), and this interaction is crucial in keeping an individual’s attention focused and on track. Seeing and hearing are two ways memory is created, and a good audio-visual solution seeks to do precisely that – to create memories that last.
  2. Help people comprehend the message delivered – most people receive a higher level of comprehension when information is presented with an audio-visual aid. During training especially, it is vital to use technology to bring a higher level of understanding which results in a well-trained staff that is ready to implement what they have learned. This also can compress training time frames.
  3. Speaking of time frames, these methods of communication save time. Time is money in business. From the small business owner to the Fortune 500 CEO, that matters!
  4. Save your business a significant amount of money – With webex and videoconferencing, companies can skip the travel, accommodation and time expenses and concentrate on employee productivity. Using these solutions allows employees to be informed of the expectations of the project and work as they connect with other team members who may be somewhere else on the campus, in a different facility and/or work remotely.
  5. Allow easy access from anywhere in the company – The latest systems are incredibly versatile and mobile and are accessible from any part of the office (or remote office) making it crucial when decisions need to be reached upon fast. Meetings need not be delayed or disrupted due to any adverse influence, which leads to improved efficiency.
  6. Remote collaboration has additional advantages, from accessing meetings for the remote worker to safety when it comes to quickly obtaining medical expertise or inaccessible/dangerous locations.
  7. Create an impression of a growing company to potential customers – In today’s business world, a business that is using the collaborative solutions is attractive to potential customers who are willing to invest in a thriving business. These solutions can set your company apart from the competition and highlight to the potential clients of the business growth. Companies like Apple have embraced these methods.
The Collaborative Technology market is very broad and there are many integrators that claim to be a solution provider. Understanding how to evaluate one solution vs. another is critically important. Make sure you align yourself with a partner with access to a broad range of technology and a true understanding of the best use for your business. Now that is a doable resolution!


Monday, November 20, 2017

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business


7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

2. Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

     Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
     Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
     Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
     Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

3. Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share. 

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:
     Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
     Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
     Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

4. Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

5. Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

6. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FNPxA4wJWqs?ecver=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

7. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.


Friday, October 13, 2017

East Penn Chamber updates

Thomas Capehart, Gross McGinley, East Penn Chamber Chair

We have a lot going on in the EPCC!

Our September event in partnership with WLCC was hosted by ATAS International Inc., a leading manufacturer of metal roofing, wall cladding, ceilings, perimeter edge metal, and accessories located in Allentown. With sustainability at the forefront of modern building design, ATAS proudly supports green building objectives with high performance solutions, such as solar-ready roof panels, insulated metal panels, ENERGY STAR® qualified cool roofing products, and solar air heating wall panels. Thank you to all who attended and a big thank you to Executive VP, Jim Bus and Jim Bush, VP of Sales and Marketing for speaking to our group.

Our Mixer with the East Penn School District Education Foundation held at the House & Barn Restaurant in Emmaus was successful, with teachers, administrators, parents, and local businesses uniting to raise money for the Foundation’s scholarship fund and the East Penn Chamber Scholarship Fund. Thanks to all who participated and help raising money for the scholarship funds, and a special thank you to Carl Billera and the staff at the Barn for hosting, Spillman Farmer Architects for sponsoring the event, and to Jordan White for his live music performance.

We are looking forward to the joint luncheon with the WLCC concerning the role of business and community volunteers in public safety hosted by the Cetronia Ambulance Corp. at its education center, featuring speakers from state and local emergency response organizations, with food provided by Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza.

Don’t forget to check us out at on Facebook and Twitter @EastPennChamber

Hope to see you at an upcoming EPCC event soon!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Audience raves about new Phillipsburg documentary

George Chando, Phillipsburg Area Chamber Chair

Last month, Phillipsburg High School transformed into a red carpet affair for the premiere of the new Phillipsburg Movie – a brand-new documentary created by Lou Reda Productions. This 19-minute film captured the spirit of Phillipsburg through historical footage of many of our town’s beloved traditions and interviews with current residents. At the same time, the documentary pointed toward the bright future of our growing town. By showcasing everything Phillipsburg has to offer, the short film will serve as a marketing tool to attract new businesses, homeowners, developers, and investors to town.

Phillipsburg public officials, business owners, community members, and families flocked to the September premiere of this film. The free event included a reception, a brief presentation by the Mayor and Chamber representatives, the movie premiere, and concluded with a discussion with the filmmakers. Audience members raved about the impact of the film, its artistic portrayal of the town, and their renewed pride in our community.

Thank you to everyone who made this film possible, as well as all those who came out to celebrate Phillipsburg’s past, present and future at the premiere of this documentary. We hope to see you all at our upcoming Phillipsburg events, including the inaugural Pork Roll Palooza, Easton-Phillipsburg Halloween Parade, and Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Easton welcomes 3 new Forks Township restaurants

Lori Metz, YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg, and Vicinity
Easton Area Chamber Chair

Easton is proud to welcome three brand-new dining establishments to Park Plaza in Forks Township. The three restaurants – Alfie’s Kitchen, Red White & Que Smokehouse, and Sam’s Bagels & Deli – celebrated their grand openings within days of each other. All three new businesses are exciting additions to Park Plaza that contribute to the array of dining options offered by the shopping center.

Alfie’s Kitchen is operated by father-daughter duo Al and Dominique Crivellaro. The menu is full of delicious breakfast and lunch items made each day from scratch. Patrons will absolutely find something they love on the menu, and there are always specials to try out.

Red White & Que, owned by husband and wife Dan and Katie Misuraca, specializes in cooked-daily meats: Texas-style brisket, Carolina pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, chicken and sausage. The meat is delicious on its own or paired with one of their six homemade sauces, along with mouth-watering sides like mac and cheese, potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw. This BYOB restaurant is one of six locations owned by the couple. The couple is also planning to open another new restaurant called Soup or Bowl, which offers handcrafted soups and smoothie bowls, right next door.

Last but certainly not least, Sam’s Bagels & Deli is a delicious new breakfast and lunch spot which offers over fifteen different types of bagels, including the Instagram-famous Rainbow Bagel, as well as deli sandwiches made with Boars Head cold cuts. His New-York-style bagels are boiled to perfection. Compared to other bagels, these have a fraction of the calories.

We hope you will stop by and enjoy these new dining establishments during the month of October!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Strengthen your business as the seasons change

It seems the seasons change quick these days… where in the world did summer go? We are so busy with everyday life; keeping up with family, work and technology. Can we fit in much else?

I thought I would break it down for you with the beautiful seasons we experience in our area; try a new activity and take a new approach to business:

Fall
~ The crisp cool air is upon us. Time to pull out the sweaters and fleece jackets. This is a time to take in the beautiful colors that nature brings us without a doubt, every year. Get up an hour early and take a walk or bike ride on the D & L trail before work. Enjoy the pristine lakes throughout the county by taking a stroll on the beach, kayaking or simply sit on the water’s edge and take it all in. Let your mind wonder and think about creating a brand new 30 second commercial – to promote yourself and your business. Once you have created a script, practice. Get excited when you begin to use it! For help creating your commercial visit: prosperitycoaching.biz/a_6-steps-to-an-awesome-elevator-speech.html

Winter
~ Get ready for the chill in the air, winter coats and snow! Try cross country skiing, snow shoeing or tubing. If you are not that adventurous, bundle up and take an easy walk after a snowfall and enjoy the beauty and peaceful experience of Mother Nature. When you get back inside, make yourself a hot cup of tea or cocoa and write a press release on something about your business – it can be as little at 50 words, and then send it our way. This is a free way to get your word out – let us do the work by sending to businesses and the media! If you need help, contact our office and we will help you write it up.

Spring
~ The snow has melted and the trees are budding - there is warmth in the air! Time to shed the heavy winter clothing and get moving. Check out a local gym, take a dance lesson or get involved with a non-profit organization. Take a few hours to donate your time to help others. Spring is also a great time to look in the mirror, check out your wardrobe and make sure you are at your best! It only takes 10 seconds for someone to size you up … be polished and professional, have a great handshake and make sure your posture is good…stand tall!

Summer
~ The sun is shining bright and our county has much to offer over the summer months! Fish, hike, bike, kayak or take a walk through our many quaint towns, shop and grab a great lunch. Treat yourself to a massage at one of our many spas or take a yoga class – even on the Blue Mountain! Challenge yourself to meet ten new people over the summer who can support you and help you grow your business. There is so much to do in the area! In addition, take time over the summer and plan a staff retreat… whitewater rafting is a great way to bring your employees together for a fun day of team building.

There you have it … we have explored the seasons in Carbon County to help your mind, body and spirit – with a plan to strengthen your business!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Education in Allentown: Caring for Our Future Leaders

Patrick McNealis, Patrick McNealis Insurance and Financial Group, Allentown Chamber Chair

Having reached the start of fall, the school year has officially begun. The most prevalent consideration many of us have as parents, educators and students is: are we ready to excel during this upcoming school year? Each day, walking routes will be filled with children eager to engage in new experiences with the chance to acquire skills and obtain information that will allow them to grow. We hope that these children are excited for their days ahead where they will be given the opportunity to learn and be challenged.

The Allentown Chamber of Commerce and the African American Business Leaders Council are joining together to prepare for the Education in Allentown: Caring for Our Future Leaders event to be held on October 19. Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera and Allentown School District Superintendent Thomas Parker will be presenting to Lehigh Valley business and community leaders. It is important for our youth to develop the necessary skills to sustain our current business community into the future. The importance of education not only allows our children to mature and learn new skills, but it also ensures that our businesses succeed in the future. Every child should have the opportunity to learn in a compassionate, safe and stimulating environment.

The cliché "knowledge is power" cannot hold true enough when it comes to our children and youth in Allentown. The Allentown Chamber and our many partners will continue to work with educational leaders to ensure the best learning opportunities are available to all children. Preparing children to develop and advance into future employees, business leaders and upstanding community members is vital to our society. We are thrilled to partner with the African American Business Leaders Council to start this important conversation. I hope you will make plans to us on October 19.