Please help us welcome the new members to the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership who joined us in April!
Thank you for your investment. We look forward to working with you!
Our members represent over 780 companies in the Erie region. Do you know of a business that could benefit from becoming a member of the Erie Regional Chamber? Refer them to Nancy Irwin, Member Engagement Director, or Steve Walters, Member Engagement Manager.
In partnership with Lilly Broadcasting, the Erie Regional Chamber sponsors Giving You the Business segments which air weekly on WSEE35 and WICU12 during the 5:30 PM. Monday broadcast and Tuesday mornings in the 6-7 AM. hour. Each segment takes viewers behind the scenes of
Last months highlighted members:
Giving You the Business segments highlight members of the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and is a free membership benefit! Contact our office if you would like viewers to see behind the scenes at your business! Email marketing director Nadeen Schmitz, or phone 814-454-7191 x139 to schedule your segment.
For the last 50 years, National Small Business Week has celebrated and recognized the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans are small business owners and are responsible for two out of three new jobs each year across the United States.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, over 70% of small businesses will fail within the first seven years. Common problems among those businesses that close their doors include: inadequate business planning, poor management, overspending, general cash flow problems. Most frustrated business owners cited the lack of time or awareness outside of the daily responsibilities to identify potential or impeding red flags.
According to a recent report by Salesforce, two-thirds of SMB owners and leaders (66%) are personally responsible for three or more core business areas. The list ranged from operations, finance, sales, and marketing to departments like human resources, customer service, product development, or IT. To keep an organization growing and thriving, it’s imperative for small business owners to find time to work on their business as much as they work in their business.
But that’s easier said than done.
To create an opportunity for local small business owners to take that much-needed time for their business this month, the Chamber is pleased to announce small business seminar programming throughout the month of May. The programming will help business owners combat common problems and focus on making S.M.A.R.T. decisions – decisions in strategy, marketing, analytics, retirement planning, and technology trends – for their business. Below is an overview of the seminar series.
Did you know the number one motivator to start a business is usually a person’s desire to be their own boss?
Before diving into a business, however, there are some basic and essential steps you can take to vet your idea and develop a greater understanding your potential market, capital needs, and messaging.
Tune into the Chamber Facebook page live at 10am on Thursday, May 2nd for all things business strategy and a review local resources available to assist your business at any stage.
Did you know that 70-80% of consumers will research a business online before making a purchase, yet most small business owners only devote two hours or less a week towards marketing initiatives?
In today’s digital age, it’s crucial to consistently share your story with your audience so that they think of you when they’re ready to purchase. Small businesses can start preparing now to leverage upcoming trends so that they’re not left behind by bigger business.
Get a jumpstart marketing your business during this webinar: Marketing 2020: Learn How Your Business Can Get Ahead of the Curve (Thursday, May 23rd at 12pm).
Did you know that inefficiencies cost many companies anywhere from 20-30% of their revenue each year?
Understanding your business data – financials, marketing metrics, and point-of-sale information – as well as the most relevant market data – such as resident demographics and workforce trends – can have a major impact on making key decisions for your business.
To figure out which metrics matter most to your business, register for an upcoming seminar on May 9th: Data-Driven Decision-making (Thursday, May 9th at 8am at the Jefferson Educational Society).
Did you know 48% of business owners don’t have an exit strategy while 42% of self-employed professionals aren’t even planning for retirement?
Failing to plan for your exit from the company is an extreme risk to take. While it may seem daunting to think about and it’s easy to push to your “I’ll do it tomorrow” list, beginning your exit planning strategy several years prior to your desired retirement date is crucial.
Register for this webinar with Mike Nedreski, president of White Oak Wealth Partners: Planning for a Perfect Exit. Mike will review best practices for developing and executing a successful exit strategy. (Thursday, May 16th at 12pm online).
Did you know that small businesses account for over 58% of all data breaches?
No company is too small when it comes to cyber security. It can be detrimental to businesses of all sizes. The estimated cost of an attack can run upwards of $3 million based on employee down-time, extended outages, and systematic breaches. Give your clients (and yourself) peace of mind knowing their information is protected.
Register for How to Protect Your Business and Customer Data and learn about the simple solutions to protecting your business, your customers, and your personal assets from potential cyber security risks. (Thursday, May 23rd, 8am at the Jefferson Educational Society).
Have an idea for a business? Need assistance expanding your current business? Not sure where to turn to get guidance on your start up? Schedule an appointment with the Business Action Team at the Erie Regional Chamber. An outreach specialist is available to work with you. This service is free of charge; Chamber membership is not required. For more information, email Lesley Ridge Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call 814-454-7191 x 141.
We’re excited to support this year’s National Small Business Week, May 5-May 11, by participating in the second annual Clash of the Chambers, a community business-focused competition sponsored by Excelerate America.
This fun game will have us going head-to-head with chambers nationwide to see who can visit the most local enterprises of varying stages as noted on the official Clash Gameboard. From an entrepreneur just opening their doors to a long-standing local go-to, we can’t wait to promote and celebrate our amazing community.
Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #chamberclash2019 and help us come out victorious! (We will earn an extra point for every additional shared post—score!)
Tickets for the 12th annual Beer on the Bay are on sale now!
Join us July 27th for the region’s largest craft beer festival held on the picturesque Erie Bayfront at the Highmark Amphitheater at Liberty Park. Dozens of brewers will be on hand offering up tastings of their fabulous brewed creations!
Two sessions are planned, 12:00-3:00 PM and 4:00-7:00 PM, with VIP and General Admission tickets available for either session.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The A.N.N.A. Shelter.
This is one brew-fest you don't want to miss!
Economic impact reports have long been used by economists to quantify the impact a business or organization, new or existing policy, or other event has on an economy. An economy can be anything from a designated local neighborhood to entire countries to the global economy.
The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership recently published an economic impact report on Wabtec. The purpose of the report is to illustrate the depths of a company’s impact on a community. Communities can use economic impact studies to evaluate and understand the role that organizations have on their region, from major employers to small businesses to local universities. As such, it’s important to answer the question – what is an economic impact report?
What is an Economic Impact Report?
An economic impact report (or study) examines the effects of change within the local economy of a specified area, ranging in size from a neighborhood to the world. It measures and analyzes the change in business revenue, profits, wages, and jobs. Often times, economic impact reports are useful when a proposed project is in question, a new policy is in play, or a company is relocating into or out of an area.
Economic impact studies are frequently used to compare different hypothetical scenarios and outcomes.
For example, let’s say a new tax policy is being considered. An economic impact study may be conducted to help quantify various costs and benefits of the policy on individuals, businesses, and the broader community. Whatever the case, the goal of an economic impact study is to demonstrate and quantify the ripple effects of a potential economic change on a specific region.
What are the Types of Economic Impact Studies?
There are five common types of economic impact studies. Each analysis provides a different depth of information pertinent to understanding economic implications of various actions and changes within the local economy. The five common types of impact reports include:
For the purposes of the recent economic impact report on Wabtec, it’s important to understand the basic concepts of an output impact study, a value-added impact study, and a labor income impact study.
An output impact study focuses on business sales revenue as a way to measure the impact of the business using some of its revenue to purchase goods and services outside the specified region. A value-added impact study determines effects of an increase or decrease in a region’s gross regional product (much like how gross domestic product is discussed at a national level). A labor income impact study focuses on the wages paid to local employees with an intent to measure how employees are projected to spend their wages in the local economy.
Additionally, there are three core economic sources to measure – direct, indirect, and induced effects.
Direct Effects: the money spent by businesses within a specific region, including, but not limited to, salary, materials, and operating costs.
Indirect Effects: transactions between primary businesses and secondary businesses that are a direct result of the money spent by the primary businesses within the study. This cycle often continues down the supply chain.
Induced effects: the increase in personal spending by the primary and secondary businesses’ employees at local establishments within the specific region.
An Economic Impact Report Example Scenario
Let’s review a simplified example to illustrate the economic sources and types of impact analyses.
Company ABC wins a new contract for $100 million. As a result, they hire 75 new employees, they increase the wages within two departments responsible for the bulk of the work order, and they engage ten local businesses within their supply chain. These are a direct effect of the economic injection into the primary business.
Those ten businesses hire an additional 40 employees and engage three additional local businesses to assist with their portion of the project. The cycle continues down the supply chain. This economic activity is an indirect effect of the primary business’s activity.
The combined labor pool of 115 new employees all increase their spending at local establishments —they join a gym, eat out more, purchase a home or a vehicle, or enroll their children in various after-school activities within the defined region of economic study. This is the induced effect of the primary business’s activity, or the increase in household spending based on the economic injection of increased wages, etc.
The above information would allow an economic impact study to determine how much additional revenue will be pumped into a local economy over a period of time. It creates an understanding of how one industry impacts other industries within a defined region. It also gives parameters to determine the implications of job loss or creation and how those changes will impact a community— something called a multiplier effect.
What is the Multiplier Effect?
The multiplier effect is a common economic development formula that determines how the change in income relates to the permanent change in the flow of spending. In other words, the multiplier effect refers to how an increase (or decrease) in jobs and wages impacts the money spent within the local economy. The higher the multiplier, the higher the potential impact. It acts as a continuous chain following an injection of money into an economy where one business’s spending is another business’s income.
Consider the following simplified example to illustrate the multiplier effect. John Smith works for a company headquartered in Erie. John recently received a salary increase during his annual review, along with the 100 of his coworkers. The multiplier effect measures the increased spending from John and his coworkers within the local economy.
This same scenario can apply to business revenue. Let’s assume there’s an injection of $100 million in capital investment from a local company to build a new plant. More than likely, this injection of funds will be the catalyst for additional spending in expenditures from the company at other local businesses. It’s essentially the flow of direct, indirect, and induced effects and is an important economic model to understand the flow of money within a local economy.
Economic impact reports allow a community to visualize the impact local businesses and industry have on their daily quality of life. These types of reports and studies make tangible assumptions on how a change in operation goes beyond the confines of the company and flows out into the community at large. Economic impact reports are also a useful tool to understand how new policies could impact a community based on whether or not they pass and are implemented. This basic overview of economic impact reports can provide greater context to changes in local business structure and economy.
Do you own a business in Erie? Do you know your economic impact on the local economy? Contact the Chamber to learn more about economic impact reports and how to understand your business’s impact on the region: (814) 454 – 7191 x 141.
-Mike Nedreski, President White Oak Wealth Partners
Succession planning is an important concept for business owners who are leaving their businesses, but this type of planning primarily focuses on the transfer of leadership and/or management from one generation to the next within the business. This one-off approach usually identifies successors within a business and provides them with an opportunity to develop their skills and experience in order to replace the existing leaders of the business at a future date. While succession planning is an important topic for owners who are in the process of leaving their businesses, it typically addresses only one aspect of a successful exit from the business.
Exit Planning, on the other hand, is the comprehensive analysis of all of the factors that impact a business owner. Exit Planning addresses not only the succession aspect of leaving a business but also a wide variety of other issues that can be important to a business owner, including current and future planning with respect to their personal financial stability, their business (its value, its employees, its position in the market), their family and community. Exit Planning starts from the perspective of the business owner's goals and objectives in each of these critical areas, along with current and projected resources (business value, personal and business financial resources), to identify the unique combination of strategies and steps that are most likely to allow them to reach their overall goals.
Exit planning begins with a strong foundation. In my opinion, business exits are successful only when they meet all three of an owner’s primary objectives; leaving the company on the date the owner chooses, leaving the company to the successor that an owner chooses, and leaving the company with the amount of cash desired to secure a comfortable post-business life for the owner.
“How much time does it take to plan a successful exit?” is a great question. The answer depends on the business owner’s objectives and answers to many questions such as: Is there a strong management team in place? Does that team want, and is it prepared to pay for, the owner(s) interest? Is cash flow growing? Are there third-party buyers active in the same marketplace? and so many more. Suffice it to say, the more time devoted to planning, the more successful the strategies and the ultimate outcomes.
Interested in learning more? Please join us for our upcoming webinar where I will be discussing a proven seven-step process for creating and implementing a successful exit plan. I will dig into each step in the process and provide some best practice tips. If you are a business owner and attend only one webinar this year, make this the one. I guarantee that you’ll walk away with AT LEAST one relevant idea that can add value for you and your business immediately.
To register for the webinar, please visit http://bit.ly/Proven-Exit-Process or if you have questions, please contact Amanda Kochirka, Program Director for the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership at email@example.com.
Amy Murdock recently joined the team at the Erie Regional Chamber to lead Government Affairs and Advocacy. She is responsible for establishing effective engagement with government leadership and applying public policy analyses to advocate for a policy environment which supports the needs of our local businesses and economy.
This new position was created to bring a much-needed voice from the business community in our region to our leaders in government, locally as well as statewide.
Prior to coming to the Erie Regional Chamber, she was the Director of the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development. In her time at the department, Amy has stewarded the initial operations of the Erie County Land Bank and other initiatives requiring meaningful relationships with the County’s thirty eight municipalities and many state and federal agencies.
Amy holds an M.B.A. from Penn State Behrend and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Gannon University.
You may have heard the old adage by former House Speaker Tip O’Neill – “All politics is local.” Think about the most recent federal government shutdown; did you feel the effects directly, or merely see the headlines on the news? For many of us, it was a small blip on the radar. Now think of our last winter and the condition of the roads. Most of us notice when our roads aren’t plowed, or when potholes emerged after the snow melted. While your local municipal building might not be as glamorous as the U.S. Capitol, the policies set in City Hall or your township building have potential to impact your operations and your customers’ experience as they interact with your business. Below are five common ways local elected officials can have a direct impact on businesses within the community.
1. Secure Funding and Resources
Local government is expected to advocate to state and federal policymakers for our fair share of funding and resources. Often state and federal lawmakers rely on the input of local elected officials as they craft policies and work through the budgeting process. Likewise, local governments are often responsible for implementing these programs and resources at the local level. Many of these resources and programs contribute to opportunities for economic growth such as streetscaping, gateways, and other quality of life improvements.
2. Set Infrastructure Priorities
As most business owners know, a well-planned and maintained transportation network is critical to the business community’s ability to move goods and services. Have you ever wondered who the key decision makers are when it comes to our region’s transportation system? While state and federal agencies certainly play a large role in planning this infrastructure, they rely heavily on the input of our local elected officials. Much of our region’s bridge and highway system is informed by a body known as the Erie Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The Erie MPO includes many local elected officials and their appointees.
3. Make Key Appointments to Local Authorities
Local policymakers are also in a position to promote growth through appointments to boards of organizations such as Redevelopment Authorities, Land Banks, Housing Authorities, Transit Authorities, and the like. For instance, the recently formed Erie County and City of Erie Land Banks required buy-in and appointments from not only the Mayor and County Executive, but also Erie City Council and Erie County Council. Without their action and leadership, the region would be lacking the powerful tool of these local land banks to fight our increasing numbers of blighted properties.
4. Create Tax Incentives
In addition to shaping these critical organizations, local elected officials are positioned to use tax incentives for targeted growth. Consider – for example – the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance incentive, commonly referred to as LERTA. Currently, the City of Erie is working toward a renewed LERTA. Incentives like this, and especially targeted incentives like Tax Increment Finance (TIF) can create opportunities for growth. Moving forward, the Chamber looks forward to working with the City of Erie and other municipalities to recommend strategies for focused incentives such TIF and other tools that help to support the community’s long term goals in addition to spurring economic vibrancy.
5. Influence the Education and Workforce Development Environment
Another example of local government critical to our region’s success is the school district and school boards. It is important to remember their role in promoting inclusive growth for the region. Economic development professionals agree that a vibrant and healthy school district makes a world of difference when attracting and retaining businesses to a community. It provides two measures for an incoming company – quality of life for their employees’ families as well as a means for educating the next generation of their workforce. It’s paramount in attracting talented professionals to our area, many of whom will be looking for a safe and vibrant community for their families.
This Tuesday, there will be candidates on the ballot for school board in several different school districts. Elected school board officials oversee and manage the resources needed throughout their districts. They are instrumental in advising and advocating for additional funding when needs arise and in working with other community leaders to pool resources to provide quality education. Additionally, school boards vote and approve policies that affect the tax millage rate, school budget, and are part of local tax incentive discussion. They are expected to as responsible stewards of resources on behalf of the students and greater community.
The Result: Building a Healthy Tax Base
As local government officials are proactive in their approach to the aforementioned five common roles, communities can expect to be positioned for economic growth. By encouraging economic growth, local officials build a healthy tax base, which means a healthy budget for essential services like police and road maintenance.
While a large portion of local government budgets stem from real estate tax revenue, the Earned Income Tax (EIT), which is a small tax (typically about 1%) on their community’s earned income, is equally important. For example, in 2017 the City of Erie reported a total tax revenue of $48 million. Approximately 66% of the total tax revenue came from real estate tax while 27% came from earned income and wage taxes.
Why does this matter to businesses? If the region as a whole work to improve the number of stable, family-sustaining jobs, local governments are better positioned to support our business community with essential services and unique amenities.
Local elections will have a more immediate impact on your daily life than most other elections. Some of the major primaries that could influence your business include:
More information on the candidates can be found here. A full listing of the 2019 Municipal Primary races and candidate list can be found on the Erie County website. Need to know where to vote? Click here to find your polling site.
Your vote and your voice matter. We would encourage you to get out and vote on May 21st to support the voice of the business community.
For a list of elected officials that represent your business or questions about how to stay involved with your local government, please feel free to contact Amy Murdock, Director of Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 814-403-7150.
We've been busy celebrating with businesses and their grand openings this month.
On Wednesday, May 8th, we went to Homestead Mortgage and cut the ribbon in celebration of their new name, new ownership, and new look. Located in the Village West Plaza, Homestead Mortgage makes the process of securing a mortgage simple and straightforward, and they strive to keep an open line of communication with all parties while exceeding expectations for outstanding customer service.
Friday, May 10th, Movement Mortgage celebrated the opening of their new location, 2320 West 8th Street. Centered around servant leadership, Movement's focus on responsible lending, transparency, and loving and valuing people. The staff at Movement Mortgage has more than 15 years experience in the mortgage industry and they look forward to working with the community in their new location.
Saturday, May 11th, PopLuck introduced their Roadie to Erie! The mobile unit is an expansion of their brick and mortar shop which opened in July of 2017 at 8th and Greengarden. You'll see the PopLuck Roadie out and about in the Erie area at events, and you can even book the Roadie for private events.
Owner Alex Grennan officially rolled out his mobile bike repair shop on wheels, Rolling 2 You, Wednesday, May 15th with a grand opening celebration at Presque Isle State Park. Rolling 2 You is now serving the greater Erie area and surrounding communities. The large step van is equipped with a full repair and service shop, along with bike parts and accessories. Rolling 2 You is always on the move to the next home, business, or event in need of bike repair services!
Wow! Congratulations to all of these businesses, we wish you years of success!
Erie Regional Chamber members gathered at the offices of the Quinn Law Firm on West Grandview Blvd. for our May morning event to make connections and build their networks.
A little about our host. Quinn Law Firm, with more than 25 attorneys and professionals in all practice areas, has been serving families and businesses in the region for more than 100 years. They have been in their current location for 30 years, and their practice reaches into Warren and McKean counties and down to I80.
Here's what we learned about some of our members:
Thank you once again to our friends at Quinn Law Firm for your awesome hospitality!
When bagpipes greet you at an event, you know it is going to be special!
Our May Business After Hours was held at the Learning Commons and NWPA Innovation Beehive on the campus of Edinboro University. Members and guests had the opportunity to tour the Innovation Beehive and Forensic Lab, and also view the renderings of several projects new to the campus including the E-Sports Arena, BORO Pit, and new home to the Bruce Art Galleries.
Guests enjoyed delicious hors d'oeuvres prepared by the universities own Chartwells.
Thank you for being such gracious hosts!
Even though the weather was less than cooperative, a great time was had by all at our annual golf outing held Monday at the Lake Shore Country Club.
A full roster of players enjoyed the day on the links with fellow ERCGP members competing and networking. Thank you to all who attended and to the crew at the Lake Shore Country Club for your partnership hosting our event this year.
We want to thank all of our sponsors for their generous contributions and support which helped to make the day a success!
Allegheny Health Network/Saint Vincent Gannon University Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Team Hardinger Total Energy Resources AETNA Superior Toyota/Hallman Group Erie Insurance McGill Power Bell HUB International Cannon's Chophouse Erie Beer Allegheny Beverage Luminary Distilling
AIM Nationalease Presbyterian Senior Care Bridgeway Capital Custom Engineering Knox Law Erie Federal Credit Union Electrical & Mechanical Systems, Inc. Schaffner Knight Minnaugh & Co. Marquette Savings Bank Andover Bank National Community Development Services ECCA Building Systems Inc. First National Bank
Thank you thank you thank you! And we'll see you next May!
Build your network at our Connect 4 Coffee event next month being hosted by Andrea's Interior Design Gallery, 667 West 26th Street, on Tuesday, June 11th from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Things to remember when you attend a Connect 4 Coffee event:
This event is free to ERCGP members, but space is limited to 30 guests and pre-registration is required. If you have attended a Connect 4 Coffee event in the past, preference will be given to those members who have not attended previously.
If you're like many restaurant owners who think a menu is just a list of the food that you serve, you're not alone, but you're also misguided. There's a prevailing thought that even permeates some of the best restaurants in the country that simply typing out your options for food and beverages and calling it a day will get the job done.
You may not realize that some dishes make you more money than others, and having a menu that's too extensive won't benefit you or your guests. We want to help by giving you some tips to optimize your business and make more money: Here's how to use basic psychology to improve business, using a few small changes to your menu.
1. Optimize the Number of Options
There's a psychological theory known as the "paradox of choice" in which studies have found that although people may say they want more choices, they really don't. Quite the contrary, actually. The theory states that the more choices people have, the more anxiety they feel about making a choice.
So what can you do? It's simple. Reduce the number of dishes on your menu to a selection of your showcase dishes: your best-selling items (which should also be the items with higher profit margins). Guests have a great meal without having to make a tough decision, and you make money by having to buy (and waste) fewer ingredients for dishes that don't sell.
2. Ditch the Dollar Sign
Although it seems obvious, the dollar sign is a clear indicator of cost when processed in the brain. Without the dollar sign, guests are less likely to think of it as a representation of the money they're about to spend, and more likely just a number meaningless out of context.
3. Take Advantage of Language
If you're running a full-service, sit-down restaurant, make your menu reflect the atmosphere. Studies have shown that customers respond to the language used on menus, so much so that in a study where the same red wine was served twice, first labeled as being from California, and then again as North Dakota, the California wine won out overwhelmingly, simply because of California's reputation as the producer of finer wines.
People are fooled by what they read and it informs the way the experience what they consume. For example, instead of using a term like "spicy mayo" for a condiment, — which sounds more like something you'd find on a fast food sandwich — consider listing it as "zesty chipotle aioli".
4. Use Photos Whenever Possible
The mind is trained to want to see something before a person orders it, so if there are pictures on the menu, those dishes will naturally be your best sellers. Put high-quality images of your showcase items on your menu, those with higher profit margins, and you'll see orders for those items increase.
We're not saying you should trick your customers, by any means. We're just saying you're missing an opportunity if your current menu is just a few pages with words on it, and that definitely won't get your guests excited to eat at your restaurant.