Monday, May 24, 2010

Family fun also has community impact

In its 47th year, the Birmingham Village Fair is a four-day, family-fun event that attracts thousands of visitors to the City of Birmingham. From carnival rides to games, this event has been providing good old-fashioned fun for all ages in downtown Birmingham for nearly five decades.

Last year more than $20,000 was raised for over 20 local nonprofits — a great feat in this challenging economic time. Over the past five years, the Birmingham family tradition has raised nearly $90,000 for local service and charitable organizations. In addition, the event has generated revenue for local restaurants and retailers and brings many to our wonderfully, walkable downtown area. I encourage all of you to attend in support of the community organizations and create memories to boot.

This year the fair will be held in a temporary new location on South Old Woodward, from noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 3; noon to 11 p.m. Friday, June 4; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 5; and from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 6.
Discounted wristbands can be purchased at the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber through 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 2. The pre-sold wristband vouchers are only valid for Thursday, June 3, from noon to 10 p.m.; Friday, June 4, from noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, June 6, from noon to 9 p.m.

The Chamber is now located at 725 S. Adams Road, Suite 130, in Birmingham; hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call (248) 644-1700 for more information.

Carrie Zarotney is the executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Networking - it works

Networking is an invaluable tool. When done effectively it can be your best form of marketing. Of course, it is also affordable. The purpose of networking can vary based on your own agenda, yet the primary focus is to meet people and have people meet you and learn about your business.

To make the most of your networking, here are a few tips:

•Arrive with a goal in mind. Before the event, set a goal for yourself and then achieve it, i.e. meet 1-2 potential clients.

•Make sure you have plenty of business cards, however, be sure not to deal them out like playing cards. Plan to exchange information with potential clients or resources or someone you have had a meaningful conversation with.

•It is easier to be approached by others if you don't appear to be busy with idle conversation. Spread your wings; try to avoid huddling up with colleagues.

•Don't hard sell yourself or your company. Networking meetings are often meant to be social and relaxed. Focus on asking questions about the person and their business in order to learn how and if you and your business fit into the picture.

•Don't be a spectator. Approach people you don't know and introduce yourself.

Now you have some tips to put to work at a few of the Chamber's upcoming events. Please join us a our May Business After Hours will be held at Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro from 5:30-7 p.m. on May 19. Tallulah Wine Bar & Bistro is located at 155 S. Bates St. in Birmingham. Register at or call (248) 644-1700, $10 Members, $20 Nonmembers. Prices increase by $10 at the door.

After attending a networking event it is essential to follow up with folks you met in a timely fashion. If someone was interested in your business, don't hesitate to drop them a line and be sure to be responsive if they connect with you first. It's important to be consistent in order for your networking efforts to be truly fruitful.
For more networking events and programs visit

Carrie Zarotney is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Go Google and be found

One out of five searches on Google are related to a user's location, and very often people are looking for local businesses. Google connects millions of people with businesses in their own communities each day. Why shouldn't your business be one of them?

When your prospective customers are searching on Google for what you do, the Chamber and Google want to ensure your business is found. In an effort to help your business be discovered, the Chamber is hosting an interactive workshop for business leaders on June 3. Speakers include Nate Kline and Kate MacDonald from the Google Birmingham office. They will be sharing free and low cost Google tools to help local businesses compete.

This interactive workshop is open to Chamber Members and Nonmembers and will provide information and guidance on GOOGLE PLACES and GOOGLE APPS. Register for the event at or call (248) 644-1700.

To get a Google Places account for your business and get started before attending our event, visit

Click here to read more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Collaboration Needed for Regional Progress

It's no secret that many Michiganders are frustrated by our current economy and the state of our State. If we have not been directly impacted, our families or friends most likely have. Many are quick to point out the imminent need to develop a strong diversified economy, create jobs/higher incomes, and offer a richer quality of life in order to compete with the rest of nation. But how do we get there?

On Thursday, May 13, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber will host its Regional Forecast Luncheon to discuss the importance of regional efforts and collaboration in turning our State around. Speakers include Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Wayne County Executive Bob Ficano, and John Van Fossen, practice group leader of the Government and Public Affairs Group, Clark Hill, additional speakers to be announced.

The Regional Forecast Luncheon will be held at The Townsend Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and includes lunch. Individual registration is required: $50 for Chamber Members; $60 for Nonmembers. In addition to individual reservations, corporate tables are available. Reservations are required three business days in advance and can be made online at or by calling the Chamber at (248) 644-1700.

The Forecast Series has become an important forum for those who work and live in the area to stay informed, learn about trends and meet industry experts. The 2010 Forecast Series is presented by the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber and sponsored by: Clark Hill PLC; The Eccentric Newspapers; Huntington Bank; mBank; Birmingham Conference Center, The Townsend Hotel and Wells Fargo Insurance Services.