Monday, December 21, 2009

How to Finish Strong in Your Business – Every Month

What is the # 1 priority of a business?

Aside from consistently serving its clients at the HIGHEST LEVEL, the # 1 priority of a business is to generate revenue, and be profitable. Often times however, business owners tend to focus on activities that give them the false sense of “being busy” but do nothing –or, do little - to contribute to their revenue, and profits.
They get side-tracked. It’s easy to get side-tracked. We are living in a busy world.

So, the question is...

How can you close strong in your business – every month? By focusing on what is most important, every single day. Here are four steps that can help you stay on track:

Step One: Set a challenging revenue / production goal that you want to achieve every month. Be clear and specific.

Step Two: Define the most important action steps that you need to take in order to make your goal happen. Take action!

Step Three: Put your goal and action steps in writing immediately, and post them everywhere. Track your progress daily.

Step Four: Celebrate the achievement of your goal. You deserve it!

You can FINISH STRONG in your business every month by focusing on what is most important, every single day.

George Haralampopoulos is a business strategist that supports decisive business owners achieve breakthroughs. For more information visit

Monday, December 7, 2009

Franklin joins the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber - Now 6 Communities Strong

I am pleased to announce that after 62 years of serving the Birmingham Bloomfield area the Chamber is expanding. We have extended our reach and resources to include the Village of Franklin and its business community. Now six communities strong, the Chamber plays a vital role as the lead business advocate in Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Township and now Franklin.

As a neighboring community with a growing business district, it was a natural fit to include Franklin as one of the served communities. Our complete range of services help build strong relationships with government, education and community to create a prosperous business climate for all of our communities. For Franklin and its businesses this means additional local awareness and support to further strengthen its events, foot traffic and overall visibility.
Today Franklin is home to more than 40 businesses, including designers, architects, attorneys, medical professionals, unique boutiques, jewelers, a fine restaurant and a gourmet market. The local merchants have a tradition of being welcoming and helpful. Current Chamber members in the Village of Franklin include The Franklin Grill and Tavern, Franklin Village Tea Room, Smile Builders of Franklin, TTX Ingenuity, LLC and the Village of Franklin.

The Village of Franklin possesses an enduring charm. In the 1830s it was a prosperous trading community that serviced the many scattered farms located in Southfield Township. When Birmingham became a railroad stop, Franklin settled back to enjoy a quiet existence as a country crossroad. Over time Franklin became a sought after retreat from the hustle and bustle of the growing Metro Detroit area. Currently, the Village of Franklin provides a sense of country living with all the amenities of city life.

On behalf of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Board of Directors, its members and volunteers I want to officially welcome the Village of Franklin and its business community to our Chamber. With more than 30 events per year, numerous business education and exposure opportunities, we invite Franklin's business community to jump in, get involved and reap the benefits of belonging to a larger business organization. We are excited and proud to begin 2010 with our newest partner - the Village of Franklin.

Fun Facts about the Historic Village of Franklin

•Founded in 1825, current size is 2.7 square miles with a population of 2,937.

•Current “Franklinites” are proud to live in “The Town the Time Forgot.”

•Village of Franklin walking tour includes approximately 40 businesses.

•Franklin Cider Mill was built in the 1830s by Peter Van Every.

•There is a strong sense of community with active groups and associations.

The Village of Franklin office is located in the historic Broughton House 32325 Franklin Road in downtown Franklin. Visit or call (248) 626-9666 for more information.

Carrie Zarotney is president of the Birmingham Blommfield chamber.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Presenting with Power and Style

It has been said many times that a person’s greatest fear is public speaking, and the second is death. So does this mean to you that “basically we would rather be the one in the casket instead of the one giving the eulogy?” While the fear for many is undeniable, the reality is that every business is a “relationship business”, and we all need to know how to present ourselves and our company in order to succeed.

Every time you encounter another person, you give a presentation. Regardless of whether you are conducting a large group presentation or meeting one on one at a networking event, your ability to present with confidence, style, and enthusiasm will leave a lasting impression.

The keys to giving a strong presentation are simple; but that does not mean they are easy. Becoming a proficient speaker takes practice, practice, and more practice. You must see every encounter you have as a chance to improve, and hone the skills needed for success.

There are many techniques and tools for making your message memorable; here are some of the basics.

Objective: Why am I delivering this message? What do I want this person or group to be able to do when we conclude?

Audience: Who are they and what do they know already? How will I engage them?

Self: How do I appear to others during a presentation? How do I sound, move, and articulate the message?

Content: Do I truly know it, and more importantly can I discuss it “off script.”

Flare: What visuals go with your message? How will you keep the audience entertained, interactive, and interested?

For more real-world tips on Presenting with Style please contact Nancy Beausoleil, president, Soleil Learning at 248.417.8330 or visit our website at

Monday, November 23, 2009

This week, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving — a day of appreciation for all that we have.

Let's think of the word Thanksgiving as two words — thanks and giving.

•Thanks — a grateful feeling or acknowledgment

•Giving — to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation

At the Chamber, we recognize the importance of both words.
We are thankful for the hard work our members put in everyday to make our communities strong, vibrant places to shop, live, work and play. The sweat equity and dedication to ensure a strong business environment is immeasurable and we are grateful to share in that success. We are also indebted to our volunteers and committees for the efforts they put forth throughout the year that help make the Chamber itself successful. I encourage you to make your own “thanks” list and pass on your sentiment of gratitude.

As part of our own giving, the Chamber has had the opportunity to gladly share our accomplishments with our nonprofit community. In 2009, the Chamber coordinated an effort through our Village Fair event to donate more than $19,000 to 23 local nonprofits. We were also able to donate more than $6,000 to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan from our Vine & Dine event.
Though financial support has its place, giving does not necessarily equate to emptying the piggy bank or writing a check. There are several other ways to give — share your time, donate new or gently used items, donate facility space or share your experience on a particular topic. Winston Churchill said it best, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

If you're a business, you may want to explore the benefits of partnering with a local nonprofit. Not sure where to start? The Chamber has a nonprofit network consisting of 57 local nonprofits. If you're looking for a signature charity to support or a place to donate your time this holiday season, visit the Chamber Web site at There you'll find requests from local nonprofit organizations that are in need of support on our homepage.

If you're searching for a specific type of nonprofit, try visiting With more than 63,000 nonprofits in Michigan, you'll be sure to find one that fits. You can narrow your search by county or cause. Identify a cause that shares in your professional or personal values and determine how you can help support them. Remember, partnering with a nonprofit can be a win-win situation for both parties.

By joining forces with a charitable organization, you can support a cause while boosting business. Often times, supporting a particular charity can help expand your professional network and even, provide opportunities to meet potential customers. Employees feel encouraged to participate when their employer supports a cause they believe in. Chances are one of your staff members or a co-worker may already be active in a cause that makes sense to support. Supporting a charitable cause can even be used as a team building exercise — moving skills from the conference room to the community.

On behalf of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber I wish you and yours Happy Thanks and Happy Giving!

Carrie Zarotney is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

Your Work as a Business Manager is Sacred

On your business may rest the dreams and hopes of our city and our society.

In his book, Servant Leadership, Robert Greenleaf advises the person who wants to do the most good in society to pursue a career in business. Greenleaf seems to believe that the business community will make a deeper and wider impression on our society than even the church, government, or nonprofits.

This has less to do with the dominance of marketing as a pervasive influence on our popular culture and much more to do with how the culture of business and the outcomes of its activities shape our society.

Every member of our society interacts with business hundreds or even thousands of times every day. The majority of social interactions are likely to take place in the course of business. All of us are customers and employees. The culture of business has profound influence on our lives and our relationships. Therefore, a business culture that is aspirant and ethical in every way is imperative to our society. Business managers have a duty, not only to their customers and employees, but to society to engender excellence.

President Calvin Coolidge’s most famous quote is, “The business of America is business.” Business is the bedrock of our American society and values. Economic prosperity has done more to advance the standard of living and the strength of our values than anything else. Our society needs the prosperity of businesses that are ethical and excellent. Society needs you to provide products and services and, most of all, jobs.

Your work as a business manager is sacred as it affects thousands. You are our best hope. Carry out your daily business with the joy and solemnity that befits its importance.

Brad Irwin
Director of Partnerships
Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Achieving your Personal and Professional Goals

In the world of Success, there are two schools of thought:
In this corner is the Work Smarters. They are constantly on the look out for tips and tricks to shave a few minutes off every task and gain a few extra minutes of productivity. They are devotees of Getting Things Done, ardent LifeHackers and Crackberry addicts. If only they can achieve a Covey-esque mastery of their day planner, there is no limit to what they could do.

On the other side we have the Law of Attractors. They’ve memorized The Secret and visualize an abundant future. They quote Rev Michael Beckwith, read James Arthur Ray and await Rhonda Byrne’s next masterwork. If only they could cast aside doubt, and achieve a laser focus on what they truly desire, there is no limit to what they could do.

They’re both right. And they are both wrong.
There is no one magic bullet for success. You need to be productive and be positive. You need to make connections and celebrate the interconnectedness of us all. You need to work smarter and visualize your ideal outcome.
Success is like good soup. There isn’t any one item that gets added to the pot and whoala! It’s soup. Only when the flavors of all of the ingredient blend together above a passionate flame does something magic happen.
You can’t spell “attraction” without “action”.

When we put all of the ingredients together, there is not a limit to what we can do.

Charlie Wollborg is the founding partner of Curve Detroit Advertising, Marketing & Design. He helps growing brands stand out from the clutter. Learn more about his firm at or watch his video blog at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Linkedin to Profitability in Seven Steps

The law of Visibility+Credibility=Profitability (V+C=P) was first introduced by Dr. Ivan Misner from BNI and has proven to be true for offline networkers. You become visible by doing things like submitting articles to trade magazines, speaking at Rotary Chapters and participating in Bloomfield Birmingham Chamber of Commerce(BBCC) mixers on a regular basis. When people talk with you, research your work and realize you are a person of integrity, your credibility grows. That makes you referable which leads to profitability.

Metro Detroit leads the country in new Linkedin users, which begs the question how do you create the visibility and credibility on Linkedin needed to become profitable? Here are seven steps you can implement immediately to put the law of V+C=P to work for you.

1. Complete your profile! Think resume with a professional photo.
2. Give recommendations! Short, succinct and relevant.
3. Ask for recommendations! It’s okay, really!
4. Answer questions! Show off your expertise.
5. Participate in groups! The group for the BBCC is a great place to start.
6. Utilize applications! Import your blog or start a poll.
7. Status updates! Give us nuggets of goodness about your business.

The path to profitability online is the same as it is offline, even if the methods are different. Make the commitment to implement at least one of these methods everyday and watch your visibility and credibility soar!

David Lingholm is the leadoff hitter for Basso Design Group, purveyors of creative interactive media and marketing solutions. Learn more about us at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Plan for the Short-Term to Stay on Top of Changing Market Conditions

For those of us operating our organizations on the calendar year – it’s once again time to prepare and plan for the year ahead. Given the current economic climate and that which we have all endured this past year, this could be one of the most difficult planning seasons we have faced yet.

Many questions still exist that present challenges with projecting revenue, ability to hire staff and making final decisions on product or service offering changes for the coming year. Since many of us have already made cuts, sacrifices and worked to squeeze every dime out of our budget it seems there may be little room left to work.

Though it’s important to have a long-range outlook, immediate challenges may make it difficult to begin planning for the full calendar year. The shift and uncertainty in market conditions have made short-term planning a more necessary route. Using a planning approach in one-, three- and six-month cycles allows the opportunity to set goals that can be measured and tested much more quickly.

As with the beginning of any long-term plan, it’s important to evaluate your organization’s current situation in a similar fashion with each short-term plan. In doing so, you can determine how to alter, modify, or shift existing products or services to make your organization more attractive to potential customers or clients in the near future. Having this flexibility can result in the ability to adjust to market trends to help keep your organization viable.

Short-term planning questions to consider include:
•Is there a part of your organization that can become a niche product or service?
•What 'need' has been created by the poor economy that is not currently being fulfilled?
•Can you create a need?

The key is to take action to adjust to market changes in order to avoid putting your organization at risk. A new, measurable approach does not have to be costly, but failing to recognize the need for change could be. With a bit of practice, identifying the drivers of what makes your organization tick on a regular basis can be very valuable. Short-term planning exercises can assist us to become more resourceful, practical and provide focus on our organization’s core strengths.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A “Friendly” Sales Pitch

A “Friendly” Sales Pitch

Not Again!

The last thing a person wants to hear at a networking event, especially if they haven’t asked for it, is your sales pitch. We’ve all been to a BBCC Chamber Coffee or After Hours Event. Too often people are pushing business cards and their “business” rather than themselves and their interests. Sure, these events are excellent resources for promoting your business but they also provide a great opportunity to make some friends. And, chances are, if you can make a friend the likelihood of making a sale down the line increases exponentially - LinkedIn has nothing on FriendIn!

A Friendly Focus

So, how do you make a friend in 15 minutes? Well, first and foremost, don’t talk about work. We all work long hours and, depending on the event, we’ve either had a long day OR are about to! I try to steer the conversation into personal interests as fast as possible. It could be sports, hobbies, kids, etc. Find a common bond and run with it. One, it’s more fun and two, the more I know about a person’s life outside work, the easier it will be to connect through follow-up later on. The last email I wrote was about Birmingham Bloomfield Lifestyle Ad Rates and the Detroit Lions Draft Strategy. Knowing that person was a huge Lions fan (there’s only a few left) gave me something to play with and a message that could be digested with a sense of familiarity.

Quality, Not Quantity

If I’m at an event and networking successfully I’ve probably only collected 3-4 business cards. If I have 20 I probably haven’t done anything more than add a few pages to my sales binder and bought myself a “Remember Me?” phone call. There’s more promise leaving a contact with a pat on the back saying “I’ll give you a call in a couple days to set up a tee-time”. Once again, you’ve built a connection involving a shared interest and set the table for a second encounter, where “work speak” might fall into a variety of talking points. In the end, you’ll probably finish your round with a new client and a couple more leads….hole in one!

Keep it Real

I’ve always believed that it’s better to be seen as a real person, not a sales person. There’s a reason why businesses put NO SOLICITING on their doors. Everyone’s in a rush to come in and sell them something. My advice? Visit as a customer first. No sales gimmicks, no cards. Ask questions, learn names and, if applicable, buy something. You’re not the only one trying to make a buck! The second time around I may give my card or ask them if I can send them some information. In short, there are so many people fighting for attention that if you can put off your “pitch” for a day and focus on building a connection, you’ll actually stand out.

Rome wasn’t built in a day…

Jason Ribits
VP Sales and Marketing
Keaton Publications Group LLC