Friday, May 31, 2013

Your chance to be the beneficiary at the 25th Anniversary Snow Ball!

25th Anniversary Snow Ball

SNOW BALL 2014 - BENEFICIARY APPLICATION

Since 1989, on the Saturday before the closest day to Valentine’s Day (this year on February 8, 2014), the Small Business Council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce has presented the annual SNOW BALL—a fun and festive black-tie gala that has become one of the renowned Lehigh Valley events. During that time, proceeds from a silent auction at SNOW BALL were designated for local organizations that directly supported the education of our future employees.

In the new millennium, the Chamber opened the invitation to become a SNOW BALL beneficiary to all non-profit Chamber members every other year. In the alternating years, the Chamber’s Foundation - Main Street Lehigh Valley is the recipient of the auction funds. To apply, simply complete the application form and return it to the Chamber by June 20, 2013. The silent auction has raised more than $400,000 during the past 24 years, 100% of the net proceeds have been donated to the beneficiaries. Recent annual proceeds have ranged from $15,000 to more than $34,000. The Chamber encourages local non-profit organizations to consider applying for the proceeds from this event.

The Chamber’s Mission:
The mission of The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce is to improve the economy and quality of life in the Lehigh Valley.

We accomplish this through the following volunteer and staff driven deliverables:
• Business-to-Business Networking and Marketing: Bringing our members together to help them recognize, create, and act on business opportunities
• Affinity Programs - Exclusive, Money Saving Member Benefits: An extensive portfolio of valuable benefit options and services to save you money • Government Affairs: The process of advocating pro-business public and government policy at all levels: federal, state, and local
• Training and Programs: Resources designed to help make our members’ jobs more effective, profitable, rewarding and efficient.
• Community Development: Through Main Street Lehigh Valley (The Chamber Foundation) and the Borough Business Revitalization Program (BBRP)



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lehigh Valley Academy seeking candidates to appoint to Board of Trustees

The Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School is seeking candidates for appointment to its Board of Trustees.  As an active member of the community, we are asking for your assistance in sharing this volunteer opportunity within your spheres of influence in order to increase our reach to interested potential board members.      

Lehigh Valley Academy, founded in 2002, is a non-profit K-12 public charter school presently serving 1,065 students. As a charter school, LVA is funded by public dollars and represents an alternative choice for parents/guardians to education available in public school districts. The school’s academically challenging education program utilizes the acclaimed International Baccalaureate Organization curriculum (www.IBO.org).  As a school district, LVA has also consistently achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as measured by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.   LVA was recently named the number two high school in the state of Pennsylvania by U.S. News and World Reports.

As part of LVA’s governing board, trustees support the continued success of Lehigh Valley Academy by contributing their experience and expertise to the oversight of school operations and accountability. Board membership requires a commitment of attendance at two monthly evening board meetings. Meetings are held on the second and third Tuesdays of each month. The usual term of service is three years. Advocates of the charter school concept with a background in marketing/public relations, real estate/leasing law, or fundraising/capital campaigns are encouraged to apply.

Candidates may submit a resume accompanied by a letter detailing their interest in serving as a trustee.  Submissions may be made by email or regular mail to the addresses listed below. The deadline for submission is Thursday, June 6, 2013.

Email address: k.koons@lvacademy.org

Mailing address:
Ms. Kimberly Koons
Lehigh Valley Academy
1560 Valley Center Parkway, Suite 200
Bethlehem, PA   18017

Please contact Ms. Koons at 610-866-9660 x4107 if you require additional information.
We appreciate your time and attention. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
The Board Development Committee of
Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School

Growing Your Business in 2013 - Carol's Ten Listening Lessons

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

Sometimes what’s on the menu just doesn't work.  We all have special needs when it comes to dining out. I call it “MENU”... You know, you order regular and you get decaf, you order no onions and your salad is loaded with them, you order unsweetened and you get sweetened, or you order well-done and you get medium rare. Sometimes this is due to an honest mistake but many times it’s due to poor listening skills. I've heard more people say, “she’s not listening to me, he’s not paying attention.”

A friend of mine ordered a sandwich with no onions, clearly stating that she cannot eat them and will get sick if she does.  The waiter, not paying attention, orders the sandwich with no onions but then gives her a salad smothered with big purple onions.  Now, if she said she will get sick on onions on the sandwich a person who pays attention would know, no onions on anything, a non-listener doesn't pay attention and it feels like they just doesn't care about you, your needs or your onions.

Listening sometimes, takes thought and practice, try these lessons...

Lesson 1. Pay attention to your customer, make them feel like they are the only one in the room

Lesson 2.  Stay focused on your task

Lesson 3.  Stop Talking - you can’t listen if you are talking

Lesson 5.  Repeat back what the person just said to you

Lesson 6. Make eye contact

Lesson 7. Watch for body language, it’s another way to communicate

Lesson 8. Be emphatic

Lesson 9. Do not judge, help them get to what they need and how you can help

Lesson 10.  Don’t be distracted, the customer can easily identify your lack of interest

Listening requires concentration. Sometimes we get so wrapped up with all the distractions in life we don’t take the time to listen, learn and serve our customers based on what they want, not what we want.  So, don’t cry over onions, just listen. It may even lead to profitable relationship.

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.
Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND TER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Growing Your Business in 2013 - WINNING!

Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

Not everything is rosy in running your own small business.  Stuff happens whether you are prepared or not.  Dr. Phil just wrote a new book, “New Rules for Winning in the New World”.  Winning, remember just a few short months ago Charlie Sheen coined the word “winning” in order to tell the world he was in charge and always ahead of the next press release or rag magazine.  Dr. Phil states, “Success is created, and, just as importantly, once obtained, it must be managed and protected. I didn’t see a single success story in which the person at the center, the hero, the victor, didn’t come under some attack at some point. You’ve heard the saying “It’s lonely at the top,” and it’s true”.

In the game of life, being able to identify evil can and can put you in a better position for success.  Even those of us who have been in business for many years can be fooled by someone who isn’t exactly of upstanding character.  Dr. Phil has stated his “Evil Eight” as the way to identify evil before it hits you square between the eyes.  Do you know anyone with these traits?

1) Arrogant entitlement personality
2) Lack of empathy
3) No remorse/guilt
4) Irresponsible/self-destructive
5) Thrive on drama
6) Brag about outsmarting
7) Short-term relationships
8) Live in a Fantasy World/Delusional

A friend of mine recently watched a colleague with all these traits begin to self-destruct.  He will get his way or win at all costs, throwing trusted work-mates under the bus, compulsively lying and bringing his personal life drama into work.  It took almost a year to identify the Evil Eight.  Everything seemed “rosy” in the beginning, then you begin to question the intentions, then you have proof of the betrayal and then it’s time to say good-bye.

Statistics show, on average, it takes two years to get to know someone, because it takes that long for us to reveal our true selves to one another.  If you have a collegue that exhibits even half of these traits, you may want to try this...

Begin to document everything -
Set up the black and white guidelines (example: personal stuff stays personal)
Set up weekly meetings to identify the issues and share soluntions
Let them go if they become the focus of all your employee issues

Winning does not necessarily mean you will be successful, however if you can’t identify these 8 traits and take action on it, I can see WINNING in your future!

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog. Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND TER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

The Bethlehem Chamber’s 96th Annual Dinner Celebration

Written by Lynn Cunningham, VP of Bethlehem Initiatives

The Musikfest Café was filled with nearly 300 attendees from the Bethlehem business community to participate in the 96th Annual Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce Dinner. Laughter, tears and a boat load of memories were found at this event which was sponsored by Capital Blue Cross, Caruso Benefits Group and BSI Corporate Benefits among others.

The Chamber honored four individuals:
Receiving the Frank Marcon Award was Tony Hanna for his work overseeing all of the unprecedented economic development projects in the City of Bethlehem over the last 16 years (and straddling the terms of two different mayors) which includes overseeing all of the projects that have been/will be built on the Beth Works site as the Redevelopment Authority Director. The Bethlehem Chamber staff put together a terrific Prezi production of all of the projects that Tony Hanna had a hand in, in the City of Bethlehem. Set to the music of Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good”, it was a moving retrospective   of all of the work that has been accomplished in the last two decades. Mayor John Callahan awarded Mr. Hanna the award adding in his own personal touch to the presentation.

Receiving the Priscilla Payne Hurd Award was Alan Jennings, Director Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley  who has been a voice and advocate for the poor. Over his tenure at CACLV, they have started educational programs to assist the poor in starting their own business, getting façade loans for their business and their neighborhoods,  addressing quality of life issues that need to be improved in those poor neighborhoods and even educating the downtrodden to make better decisions that will help them succeed. Don Cunningham, in awarding Alan the PPH Award, affectionately referred to Mr. Jennings as a “pain in the ass” and we are lucky to have him because every community needs someone who makes us think and act upon things that are more comfortable to ignore.

Former Mayor Gordon Mower received The Downtown Visionary Award because of his vision and plan of implementation for a historic looking downtown. Presented by Joe Lennert of Caruso Benefits Group, the award was bestowed because of Gordon’s advocacy which turned Main St into the quaint street it is today with Victorian lampposts, the lay-byes and the brick and slate sidewalks. This was the start of the downtown transformation.

Christine Ussler of Artefact received the second Downtown Visionary Award for all of her work on the facades of the downtown and other sections in the City of Bethlehem. Her designs gave many of the downtown buildings (north and south sides) their historic look and have been influenced by Christine’s eye.  As he was presenting the award, Tony DaRe of BSI Corporate Benefits spoke of the charm of downtown Bethlehem and sited it as a reason that he settled his business there.

The Bethlehem Chamber acknowledged the passing of Linny Fowler and Priscilla Payne Hurd with a moving tribute video produced by Fire Rock Productions. The Valley has benefitted greatly from these two women and no community felt their impact more than the Bethlehem community.  The video, which featured comments by recognizable Lehigh Valley personalities, can be watched here. http://vimeo.com/66251455




Significant Anniversaries were celebrated by three businesses:

The PEEP turned 60 years old. Just Born VP of Corporate Affairs Matt Pye accepted the award along with the PEEP who waddled up on the stage but didn’t actually hold the award because she is a PEEP.  With wings.  No hands. Every table was adorned with special 60th Anniversary PEEPs and the special dessert of the night was made of PEEPS. Thanking Just Born for employing over 600 Lehigh Valley residents and cultivating the PEEP cult status was Terri Bretz, Vice President, Commercial Sales Group, Capital Blue Cross.

American Hairlines celebrated its 20th Anniversary last weekend. Lynn Cunningham, a 14 year customer and VP of Bethlehem for the Chamber presented the award to co-owners, David McCormack and Dru Thomas, citing their contribution to the health and vitality of the Historic Downtown Shopping District in Bethlehem.

The 30th anniversary of Musikfest was celebrated in a unique fashion: when the first strands of the “Chicken Dance” started to play, hundreds of multi-colored balloons dropped from the balcony above to close out this unforgettable evening. We captured it on video for your enjoyment... just don't blame us when the song is stuck in your head!




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Paint for Pints and the Man of the Year Competition


Paint for Pints

June 5, 2013, 6:00 – 9:30pm
Event Center at Blue

Paul Ricciardi, owner of Golden Pepper Productions, Inc. is participating in the 2013 Man of the Year Campaign for Leukemia Lymphoma Society. As part of the 10-week campaign, he is hosting Paint for Pints, a one-of-a-kind event to help raise money for the LLS.

The night will be filled with craft beer tastings, live painting from local artists, music, food, and more. Enjoy a great night out while supporting a worthwhile cause!  To pre-register for the event, tickets can be purchased by sending $21.00, check or money order payable to “Paul Ricciardi – Man of the Year”, to PO Box 3490, Bethlehem, PA 18017. For an additional $5.00 you can purchase a full pint of one of the beers offered.  Tickets or pints can also be purchased the night of the event.  All proceeds from the event go directly to Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The Man and Woman of the Year will be announced during the Grand Finale on June 20, 2013. Sponsorships are available for both events starting at $250.00.

If you have any questions or would like to sponsor either event contact Paul at paul@goldenpepper.com.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Win 2 FREE Plane Tickets During The Chamber's May Signature Networking Event on May 16


Are you looking for an easy summer getaway? Lehigh Valley International Airport will be offering two free tickets to Myrtle Beach during the Chamber's Signature Networking Event on May 16.

The Chamber and Lehigh Valley International Airport to host Signature Networking Event on Thursday, May 16th, from 5 - 7 p.m. This event will be a chance to enjoy “business after 5”, while networking with fellow Chamber members. 

All attendees will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win two FREE tickets on Allegiant Air to Myrtle Beach

Immediately prior to the networking event, there will be a new member orientation from 4-5 p.m., open to Chamber members who wish to review their member benefits.

When: Thursday, May 16, 5 - 7 p.m. 

Where: Lehigh Valley International Airport, Main Terminal, 2nd Floor. Park in Short Term Parking and bring your parking pass to get validated.

Pricing Information: Free to Chamber Members, $10 for Non-Members 

Growing Your Business in 2013 - Cheers!


Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

It’s Little League time! For loyal parents and grandparents it’s time to stand out in the freezing cold, get burned on a sunny day or sit there in the pouring rain just to get a glimpse of a hit, home run or a great catch.  I was driving by a little league field last week and all I heard were Cheers, Cheers, Cheers.  My guess is that someone’s child hit the big one over the fence.

Then the next day I went to a local restaurant and was served the most delicious coffee, I told the waitress how wonderful it was and she told me that I can buy it there, free trade, organic, ground for me or I can grind it at home.  CHEERS, not only did I pay for breakfast, two cups of coffee, muffins to go, but I purchased some Joe for the road.  Hello, she gets it!  What does that mean?  It means that someone in the restaurant family has trained their staff to up-sell their customers, CHEERS.  So, the question is, how do you get your staff to drink the customer service kool-aid.  Here’s some ideas...

1. Reward them for their efforts
2. Raise the expectations, one for all and all for one
3. Make sure the rest of the staff knows who’s selling
4. Appreciate them; not only as employees but as people
5. Come up with new ideas to push product through the door

Baseball says it all, it’s a team effort, they may have a team star at a game but, overall, the whole team benefits by the efforts of one.  CHEERS, and the game is never short of CHEERS.  On occasion, a fan gets irritable but so do your customers.  Does that stop the game?  No, it’s just a little spill while you are running into home plate.

Cheering for your staff is not only good for the moral of the team, it’s a major league idea.

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog. Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND TER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Friday, May 10, 2013

Help Nurture Nature Center’s Garden to Grow!


Nurture Nature Center in Easton, PA is a dynamic center for community learning that uses science, art, and dialogue programs to get the community talking and thinking critically about local environmental risks. Since its opening in 2011, NNC has hosted thousands of visitors for its programs, including shows on its noted Science on a Sphere exhibit. NNC's newest project, the Urban Recycle Garden, is a chance to bring the community together to create a new exhibit that will help local residents grow food and transform their own urban spaces. NNC is seeking business partners to contribute to this demonstration garden, which will use recycled and found materials to showcase growing techniques for urban areas (walls, balconies, small paved spaces), so that people can learn how to grow their food and/or beautify their urban spaces. The techniques demonstrated will be low cost and easy to replicate, and will also include ways to manage stormwater in urban areas.

This project will help urban residents and local business create a greener and more beautiful community, one container or trellis at a time! Please help us grow this fantastic garden by making a contribution and spreading the word to friends and family.

Learn more and donate at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/urbanrecyclegarden/nurture-nature-centers-urban-recycle-garden.  Pledges must be made by May 25 to count toward our campaign, and early donations help build momentum for the campaign. Donations of $100 or more will be recognized on a plaque at the garden.  Donate today! 

An abbreviated sentence about the garden is: Nurture Nature Center’s newest exhibit, the Urban Recycle Garden, is an educational demonstration garden that will showcase unique and low-cost methods for growing food and managing storm water in urban communities. This project will help communities to transform the urban landscape one container or trellis at a time!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Business News in the Lehigh Valley, 5/9/13

Good morning Lehigh Valley. Today, May 9, is "Lost Sock Memorial Day."

There are only 3 days left until Mother's Day, so make sure to brighten her day with a bouquet from one of our Florist Chamber Members! If you're going to take her out to dinner as well, ch

The U.S. Conference of Mayors honored Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski for his small business work at a Chamber breakfast yesterday. Mayor Pawlowski was presented with the "Partner America 2013 Small Business Advocate Award" for his strong support of small businesses in Allentown.

Speaking of Allentown, The Lehigh Valley Trust building on Allentown’s Center Square will be brought back to life as high-end catering facility for events such as weddings, corporate lunches, holiday parties, bar mitzvahs and other celebrations. The building, owned by Jaindl Properties, is expected to cost nearly $3 million in renovations on the building before it opens.

Join us on Thursday, May 16 for the Bethlehem Mayoral Debate between Bob Donchez and Willie Reynolds at Historic Hotel Bethlehem. The debate will be taped by WFMZ's Business Matters and will air the night before the primary election. The debate begins at 4 p.m. and will end at 5 p.m., at which point there will be a reception where you can mingle with the candidates. Appetizers will be served and there will be a cash bar. Everyone is welcome, and the cost for the event is just $20. Register here.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Growing Your Business in 2013 - Shark Weak


Guest blog from Carol Ritter of CarolTalks.com

If you own a business, I insist you watch Shark Tank on Friday night at 8 p.m. This amazing show hosts the worlds most famous investors. Barbara Corcoran, a real-estate mogul, Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Robert Herjavec, founder of 125 million dollar technology company, Daymon John, creator of global fashion brand FUBU, Lori Greiner, the Queen of QVC, and the villain Kevin O’Leary, chairman of O’Leary Funds. The purpose of the show is to help struggling entrepreneurs with money, connections and mentorship.  Each week a number of wanna-be’s show up for their once in a lifetime opportunity to “GROW UR BIZ.”

The wanna-be’s walk, run, jump into the ‘tank’ and present their pizzazz. The SHARKS begin the drill, how many have you sold, what is your market, how much does it cost you to make, is there a patent pending and how much money of your own have you invested. Their answers have everything to do with whether or not they will get a deal.

How about you? Are you SHARK STRONG or SHARK WEAK? Can you answer the questions above and would these SHARKS be interested in your biz? What’s your pizzazz, your WOW factor?

A a small business owner recently said to me, “business is so slow.” I offered suggestions, he had little response. Summer is approaching, the SHARKS are ready to attack, if your biz is SHARK WEAK you may want to consider a jump into the SHARK TANK

Take more time to network, get out of the office
Hold events at your biz - bring people in 
Hold customer appreciation days - give something away
Promote your pizzaz, up your marketing 50%
Join a “Mastermind Group”  for idea sharing and problem solving

BTW, Lori Greiner, QVC, recently paid $150,000 for 65% stake in ReadeRest, a magnetic reading-glasses holder. The end of the story is $3.5 million in sales on QVC and climbing.

This wanna-be entrepreneur is now SHARK STRONG, how about you?

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog. Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND TER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com  Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

Member of the Day & A Special Deal - Bach Choir of Bethlehem


The Bach Choir of Bethlehem invites Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber members to join us in celebrating the 106th Bethlehem Bach Festival and Artistic Director and Conductor’s 30 anniversary with the choir with a 50% discount on tickets ($10-$14) to the Friday May 10th concerts

At 4 p.m. you'll hear the Festival premiere of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy featuring a virtuosic piano solo by Thomas Goeman, and at 8 p.m. The Bach Choir and Festival Orchestra perform Lux Aeterna, by legendary American composer, Morten Lauridsen. 

Both concerts include several Bach Cantatas and are performed at Packer Memorial Church at Lehigh University. Chamber members may also purchase discounted tickets ($15) to the Saturday morning May 11 concert featuring the internationally-renowned Rioult Modern Dance Company in an all-Bach program played by the Bach Festival Orchestra performed at the Zoellner Arts Center at 10:30 am. 

For additional information, visit www.bach.org. Tickets may be purchase by calling 610.866.4382, ext 10 or 15 or at the door by stating that you are a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Get Involved in a Charitable Cause - ALS Awareness Month


Guest Blog post "Get Involved in a Charitable Cause" written by: Holly Bennett, Lehigh Valley ALS Volunteer.

The daily pressures of family and work often prohibit us from devoting time and effort to charitable causes.  There are just not enough hours in a day.  Often we are fortunate to be able to make a difference to a charity through the support of an employer.  Small and large businesses alike offer opportunities for employees to get involved in charitable organizations during business hours through toy drives, dress down days, golf outings, community walks, and other creative philanthropic initiatives.

Collaborating with charitable organizations provides significant benefits to business owners and executive managers.  For instance, raising money, collecting toys, and walking as a team provides a mechanism for team building, which resonates long after the charitable initiative.  Approved participation in charitable events gives employees a sense of pride in their employer.  In addition, employers often receive advertising benefits through signage and media coverage through their participation in a charitable cause.

I have seen the profound effect of local businesses; many of them chamber members, on charitable causes.  For the past eleven years I volunteered for the ALS Association and watched the participation of local businesses in the Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS® grow. Ultimately, the support of local businesses makes a direct impact on ALS patients in the Lehigh Valley. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries, typically striking men and women between the ages of 35 and 70. Over 5,000 Americans are diagnosed with ALS each year.  ALS is characterized by a degeneration of motor cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness and, as the disease progresses, severe impairment of mobility, speech, swallowing, and respiratory function. In the advanced stages, ALS care can cost up to $250,000 a year. Average life expectancy, without invasive mechanical ventilation, is approximately two to five years from diagnosis.  ALS patients in the Lehigh Valley are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family and they need our help.

ALS is not a common disease, but when my grandmother was diagnosed with ALS in 2002, I knew there were others in the Lehigh Valley fighting the same battle.  I spear headed the first walk in the Lehigh Valley in 2003.  That year we raised approximately $40,000 with the help of local businesses and patient families.  Each year after 2003, the support of the community continued to grow.  Last year marked the tenth anniversary of the walk and we celebrated a milestone of a million dollars raised over the tenure of our event.

Lehigh Valley businesses can have a direct impact on community members who face significant life challenges.   If you are not already involved in a charity as a Lehigh Valley employer, investigate the local opportunities among non-profits in our community.  Participation is a win-win situation for your business and employees, as well as the people supported by the charity of your choice.  The eleventh annual Lehigh Valley Walk to Defeat ALS will take place at Coca Cola Park on Saturday, October 19, 2013.  

For more information about ways to involve your business with this event, contact Allison Walker, Events Director at allison@alsphiladelphia.org or 1-877-GEHRIG-1 (1-877-434-7441).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Growing Your Business in 2013 - To What Degree?


I was cruising to my grandson’s Lacrosse game and listening to talk radio. The show was hosted by a financial consultant and he was talking about young people who graduate from prestigious schools with prestigious degrees and have no plan and no job. He then quoted research that stated that only 2% of MBA graduates have a plan for the future. That is a staggering statistic. I find that more often than not when I work with organizations, no plan is in place.

Do you have a plan for your business? Do you take time to plan? If you have a plan, do you have a plan to implement that plan? Or, are you just wishing and hoping?

When I begin to coach a new client, I ask where do you want to be in 3, 6 and 12 months. Many times they never thought to plan even in a short term.

Here are my 7 easy steps to begin a business plan:
1. Ask yourself where you want to be in 3-6-12 and 24 months (goals)
2. Write an executive summary (describe you biz, who are you and what do you do)
3. Think about your position in the community (Position yourself for a share of the market)
4. Design an outline with benchmarks (a sliding scale of accomplishments)
5. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your competition (build on that)
6. Describe Inside Operations - how will your company function day to day
7. Design a budget including income and expenses

I like to use the word “action plan” instead of plan. Put this document into action, make it a living document, visit it once a month, change your course when things go wrong (and they will).

To degree or not to degree is not the question, with or without the degree, without a plan you have no idea where you are going! Think about his, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” Henry David Thoreau, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans.” ― Peter F. Drucker

Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.
Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND TER LEADERS. www.caroltalks.com 610-442-4545 tellkids@aol.com. Like me on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches! Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia