Erie Chamber Blog
Wednesday September 26, 2018 

If your company has staff meetings, you know all too well how quickly these regular meetings can become boring, unproductive, and a real drag on employee morale. The good news is that with a little creativity, you can transform your typical meetings into original, exciting events that deliver real results for your business.

Here are some tips you can use to make your next meeting more productive and original:

Try Standing Up

With the growing awareness about the health hazards of sitting for long periods, more and more companies are looking for ways to get their employees out of their chairs while on the job - that's why standing meetings are quickly becoming the norm at a number of companies.

According to Neal Taparia, Co-CEO of Image Easy Solutions, making the switch to standing meetings not only gave their employees a health boost, but it also cut the amount of time spent in meetings by 25 percent. Taparia observed that standing during meetings helped to eliminate typical distractions, such as the temptation to use a handheld electronic device, which in turn made the meetings more productive.

Change The Venue

Another way to make your next meeting more original is to get outside of the boardroom and head to another venue, whether that's a different office, coffee shop, or local park. Switching up the routine by meeting somewhere that's out of the norm is a great way to re-set your staff team and give everyone a much-needed change in their daily work lives.

If your company budget allows, consider holding a meeting at a local restaurant - many have private rooms that can be blocked off for events. Another option is to blend your meeting with a team-building event like a game of mini-putt, bowling, or other fun activity.

Bring In A Guest

Guest speakers can add a fresh perspective, transforming your typical meeting into an event. Look for guests who your team might not normally have the chance to meet in person, such as a supplier who you only speak with on the phone, or a customer who uses your products or services on a regular basis.

  • staff meeting
  • meeting
  • planning
Tuesday September 25, 2018 

The Erie Regional Chamber provides resources to local businesses to help you succeed, with a focus on creating a strong thriving community. We encourage entrepreneurs to stop in and get acquainted and learn more about what we offer. Sometimes learning from other's mistakes will keep you from having similar problems. Read more from Cindy and what she refers to when she looks back as her biggest regret in business:

Cindy: I have owned and operated several businesses in entirely different fields. These experiences have helped me to identify what I consider the top challenges, which have led to my biggest regrets. Although they were all different fields, I will address the restaurant, as it is the one area where I have learned the most about my mistakes after the fact.

My Biggest Regret in Business

  1. Not understanding and knowing enough about sound business practices. Regardless of what industry you are going into, understanding the basics of business is imperative. Profit margins are tight. Business owners must figure in all associated costs, from take-out containers and sacks, to licensing and supplies. I urge all potential business owners to take at least one business class.
  2. Thoroughly research not only the individual business you are planning to start or purchase, but also the overall industry, and the area demographics. What is the potential profit margin, and will the area continue to sustain the business, or is there a lot of turnover? Average restaurant profit margins have increased considerably since hitting an all-time low in 2008, yet they are only at approximately six percent. Is the industry you are considering to invest in expected to increase or decline, and how hard do you want to work for how much profit?
  3. What position in the business are you best suited for? Do you need to hire a bookkeeper, a cook, or a server, and are you a good people manager? Do you need a general manager and can you afford one, or can you afford not to hire someone? When starting a new business, I feel that it is very important to have a grasp of the whole operation, and to closely monitor everything until it is running smoothly and you have people in place that you can trust. As a business owner, my biggest regret is having been to busy trying to save money by working too many roles and not paying close attention to the bottom line.
  4. Checks and balances and security are important in businesses. Waste, mistakes, and even theft can jeopardize a business' chance of success on a daily basis. Even a basic security system can help minimize theft. Having a two-layer system of counting tickets and the drawer, with employees signing off on their shift, then recounting it every evening will reduce mistakes and ensure all tickets are accounted for.
  5. Plan an exit strategy. Many entrepreneurs invest everything into their business; money and time, and will try desperately to save it beyond the time they should. Don't walk away empty-handed.

Small and large businesses benefit from greeting clients and welcoming them to their business. It can be difficult to compete with other businesses, but by providing them with your best service and quality, you can succeed.

  • business
  • small business
  • business assistance
  • chamber of commerce
Monday September 24, 2018 

New Preschool Program Offered

Saturday, September 22nd, marked the official opening of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Children's Center at Edinboro University located in Butterfield Hall.

The Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf Children's Center at Edinboro University is a brand new preschool program for children ages 3-kindergarten who are deaf/hard of hearing in Northwest PA. They have a Master's level Teacher of the Deaf, who is also a certified ASL interpreter, as well as a Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in working with children with hearing loss to address communication, speech and listening needs. Because of their combined experience, they can match the language needs of any child who attends the program whether they are profoundly deaf and strictly use ASL or if they are Oral, and use spoken English. 

Having the preschool program in Butterfield Hall at Edinboro University, allows the staff to partner with the University in ways that are unique to most preschool programs.  Graduate students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department complete their clinical practicum at the preschool under the direct supervision of the SLP. They also have the opportunity to participate in specialized art classes hosted in the new Art Therapy Studio and to take advantage of the resources at the campus library. The Boro Little Learners Academy is right down the hall, so both preschool classrooms come together weekly to learn sign language and do activities together.

What a great addition to the region. Congratulations to all!

View Event Photos

 

  • grand opening
  • ribbon cutting
  • special needs
  • preschool
Friday September 21, 2018 

Fall Member Fest 2018 in the books!

It was a picture-perfect evening this past Wednesday as we gathered with ERCCGP members at Shades Beach for food, fun, and fellowship.

Our Signature Event Fall Member Fest is one of the member favorites, and no one in attendance was disappointed. Ma Nature cooperated, the food prepared by Chef Kal Darres and his team was outstanding, Rankin & Schell provided the perfect background ambiance, and we think our new CEO had to opportunity to speak with just about everyone there! Thanks to all for making James and his wife Jenny feel welcome! 

The evening would not have been the success it was without the generosity of our sponsors.

A tip of the hat our 2018 Signature Event Sponsors:      

  • Erie Federal Credit Union
  • GE Transportation
  • National Fuel
  • And National Fuel Resources

Thank you for your support of all of the Erie Regional Chamber’s Signature Events this year. 

To the sponsors who gave generously to sponsor the shirts, various tented areas, and lovely table centerpieces, thank you!

  • Allegheny Health Network
  • Hamot Health Foundation
  • Highmark
  • Know Law
  • ROG’s
  • And the Young Entrepreneur Society

Thank you to Red Letter Hospitality for the great Silent Auction contribution.

And thank you to our beverage sponsors, no one was thirsty!

  • Mazza Vineyards
  • Five and 20 Spirits & Brewing
  • Erie Beer
  • Erie Brewing Company
  • Glenwood Beer
  • Penn Beer

Check out the event photos HERE!

  • fall
  • networking
  • fellowship
  • chamber of commerce
  • events
Monday September 17, 2018 

Bowling is a lot of fun, and playing on a team with your friends can make it even more fun. All fun aside though, you can actually learn a lot about business from playing in a bowling league. Read on for some of the key lessons you can learn on the lanes.

Teamwork Is Everything

In team bowling, it is not just each player's individual score that determines the final result, but also the combined scores of all teammates. If one player isn't performing well, the other team members must make up for the deficiency in order to win. It is much the same in business. When working on a team project, each member is responsible not just for their own work, but for the completion of the project as a whole. You'll need to be prepared to pick up the slack as needed to keep your project on course.

Scheduling Is Important

From practices to tournaments, it is important that every member of a bowling team be on the same page in terms of scheduling, and business is no different. Between company-wide meetings, team meetings and individual projects, your employees have a lot on their plates, so it is important to provide detailed schedules to help everyone manage their work efficiently to ensure everything is completed on time as expected.

Team Changes Are Sometimes Necessary

It's never easy to say goodbye to a bowling teammate, but sometimes this is necessary to ensure the ongoing success for your team. For example, a teammate could get injured, or a scheduling conflict could arise. In the business world, an employee could resign or get fired, or the scope of your project may change, resulting in the need for different team members. When making changes to your work team, be sure to keep the rest of the team informed as to what is going on to avoid false rumors getting started and your team feeling blindsided.

Momentum Is Real

In sports, including bowling, many players talk about momentum. When your team is performing well, the energy that provides makes it easier for the rest of your team to succeed. Similarly, poor performance can be demoralizing and hurt others' ability to perform well. In business environments, it can be easy to get caught up in minor setbacks, causing them to snowball into much larger issues. When this happens, take a few moments to step back and look at the big picture. Even a brief pause can be enough to break negative momentum so that you can turn it around.

Of course, the world of business isn't always like a bowling league, but there are always lessons everywhere. Managing a bowling team, or any other sports team for that matter, shares many similarities with managing a work team, but there are many differences as well. Take inspiration from all areas of your life, but be sure to keep in mind that what works for other teams you are a part of may not necessarily work for your work team. Experiment with different techniques and tactics to find what works best for you.

  • business growth
  • teamwork

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