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.

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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.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bethlehem: the City of Festivals

Bob Begliomini RPh, Pharm D, MBA , FASHP
Lehigh Valley Health Network, Bethlehem Chamber Chair

Although Bethlehem’s nickname is Christmas City USA, we have another moniker that is used often; the City of Festivals. It used to be that “Festival Season” in Bethlehem was from the June to the first week in October. The South Side Film Festival, Blueberry Festival, Musikfest, the Celtic Classic and Harvest Festival were the festivals that people traveled to Bethlehem to attend. Once the ArtsQuest Center was built, the amount of festivals in Bethlehem increased ten-fold. Sabor! Latin Festival, Oktoberfest, Blast Furnace Blues, RiverJazz and so many more were added. You cannot shake a stick in Bethlehem without finding a festival. There were fears that the amount of new festivals would affect attendance in the old festivals, but that has not proven to be the situation.

Take the case of Harvest Festival on Main Street and Oktoberfest at Steel Stacks. Both festivals are held on the same weekend; the second weekend in October (although Oktoberfest occupies both the first and second weekend of October). Both have plenty of beer to purchase and sample, food to buy and both have music to enjoy….and both festivals thrive. It takes a few years to build an audience and to have the word spread about any festival. It usually takes five years before you can decide whether or not it is going to make it. So what is great about both festivals is that they have their own committed audience, but there is also cross-pollination…which is great for both the Downtown Bethlehem Association and Artsquest. Everybody CAN get along.

The DBA’s Harvest Festival is in its 14th year and will be held Saturday, October 7. It is a lovely one-day festival that has attractions for children, millennials, empty-nesters and everyone in between. You can purchase beer, wine and soup tasting passports by going to www.getdowntownbetlehem.com. Proceeds from this festival go to help fund marketing efforts for our Historic Moravian Downtown Shopping District.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Talking Business with Tony Iannelli: Don't be afraid to get a job that uses your hands

Tony Iannelli - Special to The Morning Call

I'm gonna tell it like it is: I was a bad student.

In my high school era, you started with college prep courses and if you found those difficult, you shifted to business curriculum. Neither of those two options motivated me. I crawled toward graduation in the rather lightweight “general” curriculum. Don't get me wrong, I loved high school. I just had zero idea why I was there, other than to have fun. Not a good legacy.

The good news is that I met a lot of friends from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Rich kids, poor kids, brilliant kids, troubled kids, but mostly pretty happy kids who were content with having a lot less than people have today.

So while all my friends were off to college, I was working to save a failing family business. That didn't end well and, thankfully, I found myself mounting tires on the Mack Trucks assembly line. It was the jump-start I needed, and it got me a car and a house in short order. I was living the life on a whopping $8 an hour (real money in the early 1970s) and working overtime whenever I could. I was a full partner in the country’s greasy hands, factory-working, labor union, softball after work, middle America, industrial revolution crowd.

One day, my chain-smoking supervisor suggested I get a job using my mouth instead of my hands. While I had to mount about 200 truck tires a day, I still found time to gab with all my co-workers. It humored him and drove him crazy at the same time. I knew I wasn't a very mechanical guy, but I knew I liked humans. I liked them for all of their varied backgrounds, nuisances and idiosyncrasies. After a lot of thinking, I took his advice and walked out of the absolute secure world of that plant to begin a great run of working his suggested approach — more mouth, less hands.

So here's my point. Everyone has differing talents and it takes time to find them. You can't give up on yourself. You're a work in progress, and in due time you'll discover your talents. If your eyes are wide open, they'll take you to good places. Enjoy the moment while keeping your eyes on the prize. But work and work relentlessly.

News flash, not everyone is college material for a variety of reasons. The one thing I hear most from employers is, "I can't find the right people to fill the jobs." Some of the top “in-demand jobs” for the Lehigh Valley prove you don’t need a four-year college degree to get a good-paying job. We are in great need of health care workers, auto techs, truck drivers, equipment/machine repair types, plumbers, electricians and the list keeps going.

During the past year, the Valley’s trade, transportation and utility industries offered more than 3,200 jobs and the leisure, and the hospitality industry had 2,000 available jobs. Talk about the Lehigh Valley being a desirable place to live, work and play.

On national TV last month, the good people at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute in Schnecksville were featured. They’re doing great work in preparing our workforce for the jobs that our local employers need to fill tomorrow. Like LCTI, Career Institute of Technology in Easton and Bethlehem Area Vocational School are ready, willing and able to get our future workforce ready for great-paying jobs. Speaking of great-paying jobs, my friends at The Lehigh Valley Building Trades are purchasing buildings and developing them into local training centers. They need people willing to commit to the training in order to get and maintain family-sustaining jobs.

Did you know that for every five older workers that retire, only one stands ready to fill that slot? It's sad, yet telling. There's a good job waiting for you if you're willing to jump in with both feet.

Here's the message: College is fantastic not only for the education but also for the experience. Very few people have nothing but great memories of their college days and the lifelong friends they've made. Not to mention the serious money they're making as a result of that degree.

But if college doesn't look like it's in the cards, the game is not even close to being over for you. Pursue a trade. Parents, consider all the options for your child and let them pursue their dream, not yours. But most importantly, don't get stuck in neutral. Learn a skill, commit to a serious work ethic, seek lifelong learning opportunities and be thankful for a job. If you do that, I'll guarantee you’re on the path to living a good life.

Tony Iannelli is president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at tonyi@lehighvalleychamber.org.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

LGBT Business Council hosts first annual Rainbow Bar Crawl in celebration of National Coming Out Day

Jonathan Huerta, Esq., King, Spry, Herman, Freund, & Faul, LLC
LGBT Business Council VP

Thank you to all who attended our Celebrity Bartending event at Apollo Grill. Without the support of this fine community, we would not be able to do what we do. I am saddened that I was not able to be your celebrity bartender as originally planned, but the changed date meant I was out of town and unavailable. Nevertheless, I am thankful to my colleagues who were willing to step-up and bartend in my stead.

Speaking of support and community, Wednesday, October 11, 2017 is National Coming Out Day which celebrates the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. One of its founders, Robert Eichsberg, once said, “Most people think they don’t know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.” So mark your calendars, call the sitter, and plan to come out with the LGBT Business Council on October 11, 2017, for its first Rainbow Bar Crawl. We will hop around downtown Bethlehem, supporting local bars and restaurants that have signed our council’s LGBT Support Pledge – keep an eye out for our decal. The Events Committee has worked tirelessly to plan and coordinate a fun night of networking, patronage, and mixology. There will be signature drink specials, a bar crawl cup, complimentary appetizers, and rainbow popcorn. Proceeds benefit the council. Tickets are $25 per person and limited to the first 50 people, so sign-up early! Once again, a big thanks to the Events Committee for what promises to be a fun night.

Speaking of committees, at the end of every fiscal year, our council holds an annual planning meeting. During the meeting a consistent theme is, “Where do we get fresh blood.” No we aren’t doing the Vampire Dinner Theater again (at least not yet), but we are constantly searching for new people interested in getting more involved in our council. If you are interested, please reach out to one of our members or one of our Chamber Liaisons: Angela DelGrosso or Jessica Collazo.

As a last note, if you ever are interested in coming to one of our events, but you don’t want to go alone, please feel free to message me and let me know of your interest. We have an amazingly accepting and loyal following and I can assure you by the time you leave you will have made at least one new friend.

Step Into School to Retool


STEP INTO SCHOOL TO RETOOL
As youth across the Lehigh Valley step into their school classrooms, employers are stepping up their search for upcoming qualified job candidates within Lehigh Valley’s educational pipeline.  Lehigh Valley’s unemployment is below five percent and the number of job openings outweighs the number of available candidates. Competition for workers is increasing!  Every day our three Career and Technical schools cry out for help in determining what “College and Career Ready” really means to employers. At the same time, more than 15,000 local employers continually ask “are we teaching employability skills in school?”

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
“STEP INTO SCHOOL TO RETOOL”
AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO PREPARE LEHIGH VALLEY’S FUTURE WORKFORCE
Just as you hear your English teacher’s voice in the back of your mind when you use a comma instead of a period, your voice needs to be heard by educators so that what teachers are teaching, and what students are learning, and what equipment is being used in the classroom, mirrors your expectations. 
Industry changes happen rapidly, but education needs time to respond.  By working together and adding industry workforce expectations into the classrooms, we can formulate real solutions.  The sum of our workforce development efforts can become the solutions to your workforce problems.
SO NOW THAT YOU HAVE AGREED TO HELP,
WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP? 
You can step into education by serving on an Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC).  OACs usually meet two times a year, typically during the Fall and Spring.   Your role will be to:
·         Provide recommendations to update, modify, expand, and improve the quality of the occupational program.

·         Support and strengthen the relationship between business, industry, the community, and education.

·         Make recommendations to strengthen and expand the curriculum, and provide assistance in implementing these recommendations.

·         Articulate long-term goals and objectives of the occupational program to parents, employers and the community.

·         Assist in identifying needs, determining priorities and reviewing and evaluating curriculum.

Contact me at 610-841-1122 or ndischinat@workforcelv.org and I will connect you to the career and technical school of your choice.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Capital BlueCross encourages everyone to know the signs and symptoms, since early detection is key to increasing the survival rate.
According the American Cancer Society, the most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or a mass. Breast lumps can sometimes be detected by performing a self-breast examination (SBE). While performing a SBE regularly has not shown a clear benefit of cancer detection in research, all women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and report any changes to a health care provider right away.


The American Cancer Society advises that other possible symptoms of breast cancer include:
• Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
• Skin irritation or dimpling
• Breast or nipple pain
• Nipple retraction (turning inward)
• Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
• Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)

Some women with breast cancer have no symptoms. This is why regular screenings, such as a mammogram, are so important. Capital BlueCross encourages all women over 40 to schedule a yearly screening. All mammograms, including 3D mammograms, are a covered benefit for Capital BlueCross customers and considered an important part of preventative health care.


In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Capital Blue Health and Wellness Center located in the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley is hosting a special Women’s Health Care Presentation focusing on breast and overall women’s health on October 13 and October 27, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm.


Participants will learn how to perform proper breast self-examinations and what various types of lumps may signify. Important breast cancer information, as well as reminders about self-examination and mammogram screenings will be provided. You can also enjoy a complimentary pink smoothie and snack during the presentation.

For more information, visit www.capitalbluestore.com

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lehigh Valley business sentiment down 2nd quarter in a row

Dr. Kamran Afshar, Chamber Chief Economist, The Chamber’s Finance Committee

Lehigh Valley business sentiment recorded its second drop in as many quarters in July 2017. The Kamran Afshar- Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce survey of the Valley businesses is a quarterly survey that we have been doing since 1997. According to the index, local business sentiment gave back almost all of its January gains and is now in statistical tie with its October 2016 level.


The index of actual hiring over the last six months is the only indicator in the model which is still above its January level. This indicator is also within the range which is historically associated with faster growth in the Valley. And, this is despite the fact that local employers are facing a smaller pool labor with rapidly thinning skills and expertise. Many positions still remain vacant for lack of qualified applicants.


Among those who are hiring, transportation and warehousing industry has the lead in the number of new employees hired per company in the last six months.

The index of plans for future hiring has dropped significantly this year, down three percent since January, and more importantly, it has dropped below the expansion range that it entered last October.

Construction and accommodation and food industries lead among those planning to hire in the next six months. 

The index for actual purchasing over last six months recorded the largest drop in the model, falling six percent below its April’s level. This index which has been in the expansionary range since January, is now almost out of that range.


Purchasing plans for the future also recorded a decline, falling five percent below its April level. This index, which has also been in the expansionary range, has now dropped below that range.


The percent of businesses participating in the survey which expected higher revenues over the next six months has also dropped in 2017 and more interesting is that the expectations of seven or eight percent increase in revenues earlier this year has collapsed to four and five percent in July.

The survey of Lehigh Valley Businesses shows that their general optimism which exploded up in January, is gone and we are almost back to where we were last October. In July expenditure indices as well as the index for expectation of future revenues dropped significantly. It is very clear that local businesses have lost the enthusiasm they gain in January.

Friday, September 29, 2017

End of summer signals increased energy demands for manufacturers

Scott Palochik, Enterprise Systems Partners, Manufacturing Council Vice Chair

It is sad to write the words that summer is over. Not too sad though knowing that football, hockey and basketball seasons all restart, as well as the holidays rapidly approaching. The end of summer also gives way to colder temperatures and more inclement weather. For manufacturers, this signals an increase in the energy demands in most cases. As energy consumption from 2000-2010 increased 28% and worldwide industrial energy consumption is expected to increase by approximately 50% from 191 quadrillion Btu in 2008 to 288 quadrillion Btu in 2035, manufacturers need to develop an energy-management culture.


More and more production facilities rely heavily on automated equipment and processes requiring equipment to follow strict scheduling and routines, with few changes to accommodate different parts or products. Organizations are looking now at how automation is assuming a new critical role in improving operations influencing not only safety and OEE (quality, yield, and uptime) but energy consumption as well. Manufacturers are investing in systems that provide answers to questions like; When and why did a machine exceed typical energy draw? Why did an equipment changeover cause start-up surges? Why did a component change extend the production cycle into a peak-draw period?


Join us for the 14th Manufacturing Summit on October 11, 2017, at the Bethlehem ArtsQuest Center from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm as we discuss this issue and the economic impact it has on manufacturers. Learn from Industry experts about industrial technologies, such as variable-frequency drives (VFD) VFDs, as an alternative to fixed-speed controllers and throttling devices, improve operating performance, control capability, and provide measurable energy savings. Hear from our manufacturing panel about equipment installed and programs they have taken advantage of to provide significant savings and ROI.

If you have any topic suggestions, questions or to be added to the e-mail list please contact Scott Palochik – SPalochik@ent-sys.com for more information.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A Chamber of Commerce ~ A Chamber of Communities

Lori Richardson, Haven House, Nonprofit & Business Partners Council Chair

‘A Chamber of Commerce ~ A Chamber of Communities.’ This was a theme that resonated throughout the recent new member orientation for the Board of Governors for our Chamber. These communities are not just geographic boundaries but communities of people who are all striving for economic growth, opportunities and improved quality of life.

One of the things I walked away with was a reaffirming belief that every individual can benefit our community and their organization if they get involved and participate. We have developed Affinity Groups in the areas of Arts, Education, Health and Human Services, Environment and Funders to allow more opportunities for more people to engage on a deeper level with the work of this Council. Each group determines their focus area to bring more awareness and support to their sector.

We have working committees that welcome new participants with skills or interest in; Membership, Marketing, Sponsorship, and Public Policy. These committees will ensure that the programs we are presenting have the maximum impact. If you are looking for ways to further engage, network and build some powerful working relationships, please reach out to me or Lorie Reinert, lorier@lehighvalleychamber.org.

It’s not too late to register for the Wednesday, October 4, Collaboration Breakfast ‘Best in Show’ at Coca Cola Park, highlighting some unique business relationships. Let’s build some new partnerships this year!

Monday, September 25, 2017

YPC Revitalization Series heads to Easton restaurant scene

Austin S. Peters, BB&T, Young Professionals Council VP

Our Board keeps a pretty strong pulse on The Valley’s latest and greatest additions to the area. We constantly strive to be at the forefront of highlighting and promoting these newest establishments, which gives our young professional members the ability to immerse themselves into this community. As part of the YPC mission, we aim to open our future leaders to opportunities where they can live, play and do business.

We are revving up our Revitalization Series yet again and heading to Easton! Join us on Tuesday,  October 3 at 5 p.m. for a fun evening of tasting the new sites of downtown and hearing from community leaders on current and future developments. It is an exciting time to call the Lehigh Valley home and this event will help our members see what great additions have made their way into their downtown. Not only does this drive business to the establishments, but it also shows our commitment to community and championing for their success. There is no need to wait to schedule a ‘date night’ to check them out, but rather get a ‘taste’ of a few of them all in one night while networking with other area professionals. Our Revitalization events bring professionals from  all age groups and parts of the valley. It shows great comradery for supporting future development in our towns - a future that is bright and booming!

Speaking of fresh and new; our October meet and greet will be held at Hardball Cider in Bethlehem on Wednesday October 18 at 5:30 p.m. We plan to kick off the holiday ‘spirit’ in more ways than one!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Lead Like A Girl

Gladys Wiles, Snyder & Wiles PC, Women’s Business Council Chair

All too often any phrase ending in “like a girl” was perceived as weak or not good enough. Why is doing something “like a girl” an insult? Florence Griffith-Joyner runs like a girl but is dubbed the fastest women in the history. Jen Welter coaches like a girl, as an assistant coach for the Arizona Cardinals football team. Serena Williams hits like a girl, at speeds of 122 mph, when serving a tennis ball. Leading like a girl is exemplified by power-women such as Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont, Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, Mary Barra, CEO General Motors Co., and Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox.

Without having to emulate a man, these women, like many others, have found success in just being themselves, with traits such as empathizing and building relationships with those around them were their strengths. Studies across the board are finding that increasing the number of women on a company’s board or in leadership positions creates greater profits and enhanced problem-solving. Think of it this way; the more diversity in any given board, the more the board mirrors its customer and client base.

Each woman leads in her own successful way. Clearly the proof is in the proverbial pudding, because we know that women-owned businesses generated $1.4 trillion in sales and employed over 8.4 million workers. So the next time you do something, do it “like a girl” and be proud!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Samantha Cartagena sworn in for Governor's Advisory Commission for Latino Affairs

Victor Salicetti, AmericaVen, Hispanic Chamber Chair

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce continuously strives to bring value to our members. This year, we are focusing more on working together within the community. One great example was July’s Hispanic Cultural Festival in Easton, which allowed us to serve the community and also branch out from the typical business crowd and raise awareness of our mission. We have plans to partner with several councils of the Chamber this year, as well.


A special congratulations to our very own Chamber liaison, Samantha Cartagena! Samantha was nominated and accepted to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs. We are very proud of her for representing our Latino community in the best light. We know she will be a true asset to the commission, as she is to our Chamber!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Understand the stages of the "Business Lifecycle"

Mario Carannante, Peerless Business Advisors, Small Business Council Chair

As soon as you say “I am going into business for myself,” you are in the “business lifecycle.” This begins the journey from idea to startup, and hopefully, through to the growth and maturity phases.


Owning a business is always challenging, but understanding each of the stages of the business lifecycle and the unique set of obstacles to deal with and overcome will help you be prepared to thrive. It is important to be flexible in your thinking and adapt your strategy as you move along by learning from your mistakes and from those who have been there already.


Understanding your stage in the cycle might help you stay ahead of the curve. Anticipating the potential challenges and obstacles that are on the way, depending on what phase you are in or about to transition to, might help you defy the odds of failure. As your business grows and develops, so do your business objectives, focuses, obstacles and strategies; an awareness of what stage of the business lifecycle you are currently in can be helpful.

To help with this awareness, the Small Business Council will host the 2017 Small Business Summit on October 20, 2017. Join us as three owners discuss their journey through the phases of their businesses from Startup to Growth and Expansion through acquisition, then exiting a business through sale only to reinvest in new businesses. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from those who have navigated the ups and downs of owning a business.

Friday, September 15, 2017

African American Business Leaders Council recognizes outgoing Chairman Charles Everett

Marc Troutman, Met-Ed, a FirstEnergy Company
African American Business Leaders Council Chair

I want to start this month’s message by recognizing our former Chairman Charles Everett. Charles has been a dedicated board member and subsequent Chairman of the African American Business Leaders Council since its conception. Charles has accepted a position in New York and has relinquished his duties as Chairman of the AABLC.

While managing the significant financial and regulatory challenges of the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority, Charles still managed to be a dedicated team member and leader. His leadership will be missed.

A little about his career; Charles is a non-traditional Aviation Executive/Lehigh Valley Executive. In his position of Executive Director of the LNAA Charles was responsible for the Lehigh Valley International Airport, Queen City Airport and Braden Airpark. In his tenure, Charles was able to bring the airport success, visibility and recognition that it hasn’t seen in over a decade.

Charles put a face on the airport. Many requests for interviews and speaking engagements were made and accepted. He always responded with professionalism and integrity, regardless of the topic of discussion. The Authority and its employees have become committed to community involvement initiatives as well. These are a
ll significant achievements of which Charles should be proud.

Regardless of race, color or creed, top professionals are hard to find and even harder to retain. It must be our mission (all of us) to create an environment where both young and mature professionals become part of the fabric of the Lehigh Valley and thrive.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

How to get value out of your Chamber Membership

Interview with Brian Panella, Account Executive, Edwards Business Systems

Why did you get involved in the Chamber?

Fellow Ambassador, Joe Facchiano, shared a quote from his brother Frank Facchiano with me. It went something like “being a chamber member is a lot like having a gym membership. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it.” I have found this to be true.

Like most, I became involved with the Chamber in hopes of ultimately building relationships and getting better acquainted with the local business community. However, the more events I went to, the more great people I met and got to know, the more I wanted to get involved.

What is your favorite aspect of the Chamber?

I am grateful for the relationships I have built over the years and always enjoy seeing familiar (and smiling) faces at Chamber events. This is my favorite aspect of the Chamber.

How have you benefited from being a Chamber member either personally, professionally or from a company level?

We all hope to grow our businesses through networking at Chamber events. I have found if your focus is on meeting new people and building relationships, the business will come. People prefer to know the person before doing business with them, myself included. On a personal level, I have made many friends, who, regardless of what I do professionally, will remain friends for a long time.

How do you recommend others get involved to get the value out of their membership?

Whether you are a new Chamber member or a long-time member, my first bit of advice would be to get involved. As the Chamber always has something going on, this is easy to do. Flip through Connections or go to the events section of the website, find events that interest you and sign up! Many are free!

Once you are at an event, if you would like some help meeting new people, a “wingman” if you will, find an Ambassador! We will be more than happy to introduce you to friendly faces all around the room!

I look forward to seeing you at a Chamber event soon!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Lehigh Valley sees increased road improvements, congestion

Kevin Lenover, Traffic Engineering Services, Transportation Committee Member

There has never been a time in the history of the Lehigh Valley that so many road and bridge projects were going on at once. Utility companies are hard at work upgrading power lines, underground gas, sewer and water systems. Our bridges, streets, lanes, roads and highways are being inundated from every direction, all to improve our world. Of course, that improvement comes with some of the most frustrating congestion and delays.

All this work also brings with it a significant increase in humans working closely to traffic. Yes, I know everyone drives through a construction site and never sees one person. Rest assured the people are there, hard at work finding innovative ways to make your commute harder! All kidding aside, the people truly are there; the bright orange signs, cones, and those concrete barriers that seem to make your nice wide highway into a narrow goat path are all there to provide protection for those workers, protection from you and your fellow motorists. Even those sadistic, make-no-sense lower speed limits in the work zones are there to calm traffic to provide better reaction times. You are now driving through someone else’s office, their place of work, their means to provide for the family and they want to go home again each night, just like you.

The next time you approach a work zone, the traffic slows and your blood pressure starts to rise, think of the below infographic, think about what would happen to one of those workers willing to take the extra risk to earn a living if you were the one to hit them all because you could not spare and extra few minutes from your day to assure a fellow human could go home. Slow down, breath and remember there are people working!



Friday, September 8, 2017

Chamber Main Street Foundation celebrates 10 years of success

Laurie G. Hackett, Air Products, Chamber Foundation Chair

Community development is critical to the vibrancy of our sidewalks and business corridors and we joined together in August to share the stories of success and honor the communities who received grants because of their work; what a celebration we had! We love this unique event because it celebrates our business members who give back and shines a light on volunteers and communities throughout the Lehigh Valley. The Chamber Foundation grants spur other support, instill neighborhood pride, and create a unique sense of place in each community. Congratulations to all of the 2017 honorees!

The Chamber Main Street Foundation is celebrating 10 years of amazing success – and it is all because of our community partners who support the Foundation! We were honored to receive such commitment from so many including Air Products, Alvin H. Butz, Inc. Bennett Automotive, Capital BlueCross, Easton Coach, First Commonwealth Credit Union, LV Building Trades Council, NE Regional Council of Carpenters, Vision Accomplished, Concannon Miller & Company, King Spry, WFMZ TV-69, FNFB, Feinberg Real Estate Advisors, John Yurconic Agency, Buckno, Lisicky and Co, People First Credit Union, QNB Bank, Viamedia, Image Transfers West, and Sherry Clewell Photography. What a lists of community partners and we are so grateful for their continued dedication to our Lehigh Valley community!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chamber's Public Policy Committee shifts attention to focus on supporting specific legislation, legislator initiatives

John Hayes, New Tripoli Bank, Public Policy Committee Chair

There is an old Chinese proverb (or curse, depending on your point of view): “May You Live in Interesting Times.” No matter what side of the political spectrum you reside, I think we can all agree that we have this one covered pretty well.


Our responsibility as The Chamber is to represent the interests of business. Through our Public Policy initiatives, we have successfully crossed many lines and political philosophies and found common ground with a diverse group of interests, all to move the discussion forward. We have found that there is more commonality out there than we may realize.


Over the past several years, this effort has been focused on the policy side - drafting policy statements and meeting with legislators to explain our point of view. In areas such as Minimum Wage, Transportation Funding, Environmental Matters, and Tax Reform, The Chamber has led the way in working with both sides of the aisle to create policy that is acceptable to business and moves the Lehigh Valley and the country forward.


As we move closer to 2018, our attention will shift a bit, and focus more on supporting or opposing specific legislation and legislator initiatives. We believe this is a key to extending The Chamber’s reach and influence, and will create more opportunities to work directly with our state and federal legislators as well as other advocacy groups where there is commonality of interest.

We are now the 6th largest Chamber in the Country – we have a strong voice, and we will work to make it even stronger, and always focus on protecting the interests of the Lehigh Valley business community.