Classes for the Valdosta Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) are back underway as of January 8, 2019, as the class continues its weekly meetings scheduled for three hours after school, where they learn how to properly pitch their business ideas and launch a real business or social movement.
During the winter break, many students chose to prioritize their time and work on completing their business plans as true entrepreneurs.
“While you may have increased flexibility regarding time as an entrepreneur, it is equally important to not let time get away by not capitalizing on opportunities to execute on your business ideas and plans. There is no holiday for execution as an entrepreneur,” commented H. DeWayne Johnson, YEA! Program Director.
Emma Micklon, who is a Pine Grove Middle School 7th grader and YEA! student, took heed to those words and chose to meet personally with YEA Program Manager and Instructor, Amanda Johnson, on the morning of Christmas Eve. During the meeting, Johnson and Micklon made progress on her business plan for her Pet Lap Pad idea.
When asked of her opinion on the meeting, Emma replied, “It was a big help for Mrs. Amanda to help me understand the business plan. She helped me with the questions that I wouldn't have understood by myself.”
YEA! also includes access to valuable experts like attorneys, accountants, business mentors and graphic designers; plus, an audience with investors for earning start-up funds. Students will also have the opportunity to win college scholarships.
Emma’s mother, Adrea Micklon, who is a local educator at SL Mason Elementary School, expressed her impression of the program’s assets.
“I am amazed at the detail included in the guidebook. It really does walk you through each step of the way to creating your own business! I am also very grateful that (the Program Managers) take the time outside of the scheduled program to help these students achieve success.” said Micklon.
YEA! is a program of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber, providing an opportunity for students in grades 6-12 to join, and for local business leaders interested in supporting the community’s next generation of leaders. The program will soon begin pre-registration for its next class of students for the Fall of 2019. For more information about YEA and how students can enroll, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (229) 588-0866.
PHOTO CAPTION: YEA! Student Emma Micklon and YEA! Program Manager, Amanda Johnson, share a laugh during their business plan meeting on December 24, 2018.
Want a piece of the Holiday Sales Pie? The key is to start earlier.
If you’re like most businesses, you’ve sent out a crafty email blast or a beautifully designed direct mail piece to a highly targeted audience right before the holidays and zero, zilch… no response. Wonder why? You may be thinking it was the headlines, the wrong message, or even the wrong graphics? It may not have been any of those. Ever think it could have been the timing?
“According to eMarketer Retail, consumers are shopping for the holiday season earlier than ever. In fact, according to TrendSource, 54% of online shoppers are completely finished with their holiday shopping on Cyber Monday. For these buyers, it doesn't matter how well designed or printed your communication is. If it comes after Cyber Monday, they aren't listening.
As tracked by eMarketer Retail, the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday has been taking an increasing share of online holiday spending for the past three years. Citing comScore data, eMarketer Retail reports that the percentage of holiday spending that occurs during those six days has risen from 16.2% in 2015, to 16.8% in 2016, to 17.7% in 2017. Sales occurring on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, have shown a particularly large jump: comScore found that Cyber Monday sales saw 26% growth in 2017 vs. 15% the year before.”
To catch those early shoppers, you must start early. If you normally start your holiday marketing in early November, then it may mean starting in early October or even earlier than that. We all know the busiest shopping period is between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so it may be vital to your success for holiday sales, to be ready for this period. Waiting until a day before, just won’t cut it.
Did you know…. According to Google’s shopping insights 55% of shoppers begin their research in October or earlier.
Start planning early, in fact the earlier the better.
Get creative and put a different spin on your messaging than everyone else and do it earlier than everyone else. We can all get caught up in our daily business and forget to plan.
Planning is critical to holiday success
Create a budget and marketing calendar with a deadline on the times your direct mail should go out. This one step will help with the execution and results of a great holiday campaign.
Some businesses are so involved in their day to day shuffle, it seems hard for them to create their own marketing material or even be able to define their market.
Talk to us today about setting a realistic marketing schedule for your holiday promotions. You might need to give yourself more time than you think. We can help you design the perfect advert! We have a variety that will work for your business: a highly targeted and custom designed postcard, brochure, or catalog printing for your products will make you stand out above the crowd!
Reach out to us today!
U.S. Press – Business Printing Services
1628 James P Rodgers Dr
Valdosta, GA 31601
Article Provided by U.S. Press
The Chamber Ambassadors recently honored The Orchard at Stone Creek with a ribbon cutting in recognition of its additional residential facilities.
The Orchard at Stone Creek, which is locally owned and managed, was designed to serve as a vibrant assisted living community ingrained with southern hospitality and all the comforts of home.
“Our design is the latest and the greatest of the current trends that people are searching for,” said owner Fred McGill. “The specialty-trained staff members are committed to providing residents with the best possible care in a safe, comfortable environment.
Residents are provided a combination of assisted living, memory and respite care as needed, with onsite assistance 24 hours/seven days a week, to ensure that residents are living independent lives.
McGill said he appreciates the Chamber for being a reliable place for his business. “We leaned on the Chamber for our first original groundbreaking and our first original ribbon cutting ceremony a year ago. The Chamber has given us a tremendous amount of exposure to the members and citizens of the Lowndes County community.
The Orchard at Stone Creek is located in 4900 Tillman Crossing in Hahira. For more information, visit its website at www.theorchardatstonecreek.com
Present in our day-to-day lives, social media is one of the greatest tools we have when it comes to growing our businesses. Particularly for small businesses, social media gives owners a level of control over what they choose to post, as well as contributes to word-of-mouth, a tool crucial in emerging business. While utilizing some of the most popular social media networks is vital to businesses of all types and sizes, many small business owners are unsure how to effectively use social media to their advantage.
Here are some helpful tips on using social media to promote your business:
Choose the right medium
One of the major perks of social media is the fact it is free. Even things that cost, including paid campaigns, come at a much lower cost on social media when compared to traditional mediums. Keep in mind, free does not mean ineffective. Considering hiring someone to identify which platform can most benefit your business. Ultimately, social media promotion can never hurt your business, but if you’re choosing to aggressively promote your business on the wrong platform you risk losing potential customers. Find more information on managing multiple media accounts here.
Create quality content
It’s obvious you want to create quality content as opposed to non-quality content. But what exactly does that entail? Well, a lot of different things. A few of these include updating your page at least once as long as it is business relevant and advocating your products by delivering clear messages. If you wouldn't read it, then it probably means it's not worth your time to write it. People are looking for solutions, so think about that before you start writing. On the other hand, you can potentially harm your business by posting excessive unrelated material.
Promote your core product/services
When you are using social media to promote your business, it’s important to keep the focus on your core products and services. You may feel the need to promote products similar to your own; for example, a shoe company aggressively promoting socks, but this will not benefit your business in the long run. A lot of businesses will often promote other business services and products that, while may still be relevant to your own business, can be less beneficial, resulting in loss of followers and eventually customers.
These tips, in addition to defining your target audience and setting achievable goals, are great starting points to jumpstart a beneficial social media platform. The use of social media can be a great way for businesses to grow, engage, and build a reputation. If updated and utilized appropriately, social media can generate more results than traditional mediums.
It’s no secret that we can achieve almost anything business related online or through a mobile device these days. This simple fact is key to managing our business while away or traveling. Everything from follow ups, task assignments, emails, and customer replies can be accomplished while out of town.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when traveling away from your business.
Regular meetings are a great way to keep all your employees on the same page. This doesn’t have to mean everyone in the same place at the same time, though. Sometimes all you need is an internet connection and applications such as Skype or Google Hangouts.
Meeting on a regular basis, such as daily or weekly, is not ideal while out of town, but a one-time meeting while away can be just enough to address specific business matters.
Regular interaction with employees, no matter where you are, can help ensure close, trusting relations with them.
Emails are an important task that can, and should, be handled instantly while away. Mail is the communication between you and your employees, potential clients, partners, or customers. Failing to check, and respond, to email within a timely manner can lead to problems.
A big concern many people have while away from their business is work progress and hours. Being gone should not be a reason for work to get delayed. With technology, tracking employee hours is easier than ever with software such as ClockIn Portal; allowing employees to track their shifts, breaks, and leave notes concerning work progress.
This type of software allows you to track employees working hours, so you will always be updated with who came late or who worked overtime. Employees will be able to track their shifts, breaks, and leave notes on their work progress.
Be sure to regularly interact with your employees no matter where you are as well as strive to build close relations with them and gain trust. If this is accomplished, you'll never need to worry about business when you're away.
By following these tips and more, you can easily travel and effectively manage your business without worry of falling behind. Don’t let traveling keep you from managing your business and keeping up with your employees.
Additional blog post can be found here.
Summer is the perfect time to take trips—to the beach, to a nearby city, or even to see family members. Multiple vacations a year can be costly. If you’ve maxed out your trip funds this summer but still itching for one last weekend of fun, consider a staycation.
A staycation is described as a vacation spent in your own city visiting local attractions. If you’re looking to make the most of the rest of summer without breaking the bank, you can easily do so without leaving town. Lucky for you, Valdosta makes for a great staycation destination.
Unassuming at first, Valdosta is a charming, historic city overflowing with attractions and a never-ending list of things to see and do.
One of the main attractions here in Valdosta is the Wild Adventures Theme Park. This is surely a full-day attraction and a fun one at that! Enjoy thrilling rides, delicious food, live shows, animals, and a great atmosphere.
Another outdoor attraction worthy of a day trip is the Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. Kinderlou is an aesthetically pleasing 18-hole golf course with challenging, fun holes at every turn.
If you have younger ones, Jungle Jym’s on North Oak Street Extension has a pleasant miniature golf course, as well as an indoor arcade and bounce houses. This place is a great one to expend energy and spend quality time as a family.
For rainy weekends, which happen often in this area, you can head to the Lowndes Country Historical Society and Museum and visit the almost 10,000 square feet of local historic displays and research material.
Peach State Summer Theatre makes a great indoor location idea. With their company of over 60 professional singers, dancers, managers, and creators, they offer a 10-week season of shows that are sure to be a hit.
If you’ve missed the live shows at the Summer Theatre, Valdosta Stadium Cinemas is always showing the most recent releases.
With no shortage of places to eat, you can take your pick of anything from classic Southern BBQ to a Japanese Steak House to cap off your staycation evening.
These attractions and several more are the reason Valdosta will make for a perfect staycation. Save money all while making memories with your friends and family.
Additional blog post can be found here.
Each year, due to overpopulated shelters and not enough people willing to adopt, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States.
There are many reasons potential pet owners don’t always consider adoption when looking for a furry companion. Some reasons include not knowing the animal’s history, potential behavior or health problems, and even their age.
Fortunately, there are extraordinary benefits to be gained for you and the animals through adoption. Besides the number of euthanized animals being greatly reduced, adoption also creates space for other animals who may desperately need to be sheltered until they find a forever home.
Adoption is a great way to save on some costs; many shelter animals are already housetrained and even used to living with a family, which eliminates housebreaking and training expenses. Additionally, things like spay/neuter and initial vaccinations are often included in the adoption fee.
You are guaranteed to get a great animal from your local shelter. Not only are you saving an animal’s life, but you are giving your pet a second chance with a loving owner. Adopting a mature pet often makes introducing him or her to your family much easier.
When you adopt, you offer a loving home to an animal who, even if just for a short amount of time, has known life without one. It’s been proven that animals are beneficial to their owner’s health by providing a sense of fulfillment and lessening feelings of loneliness.
Even though you might only adopt one animal, the cost of your adoption goes toward shelter expenses and animal care. Not only are you giving an animal a home when you adopt a pet, but you are contributing to better care for other animals at the shelter.
Additional blog post can be found here.
Exchanging information with others and developing contacts is the process known as networking, and it can be vital to furthering your career. Networking, when viewed as part of the big picture of your business, requires time and patience, and a solid investment in your networking efforts. Like any well-working process, your networking should be a systematic one that is consistently modified to ensure the best results.
There are several reasons why networking is important, to include practicing your pitch and widening your circle of influence. Keep in mind that networking is not a selling of your product or service but rather a way to gain opportunities connecting with people. With proper execution and commitment, networking can significantly benefit your business.
Networking should be an on-going process rather than a short-term goal. Whether you are new to networking or have been in the game for some time, there are plenty of ways to evolve your businesses’ networking strategies.
When looking to enhance your networking group, here are some things to consider:
It’s important to remember that it takes several resources, tools, and time to create solid networking relationships. Dynamic and viable networks can be created through persistence, commitment, and constant development. Visit the SEEDS Business Resource Center for Networking opportunities in Valdosta.
Additional blog post can be found here.
Defined as a business with less than 100 employees, small businesses make up 99.7% of businesses in the United States. While it’s common to see small businesses pop up in your city from time to time, they often disappear just as quickly as they appear. In fact, about 50% of startup businesses fail within the first five years and no one desires to see this sign.
It’s no secret that small businesses play a significant role in the economic growth and development of local communities. But the percentage of small business failures can be discouraging to anyone seeking out a small business venture.
While there are several reasons small businesses fail, a few factors include being out-competed, not having the right team, running out of cash, and not having a market for products or services. Keep in mind – paying close attention to these same factors (and more) can be the same reasons that businesses thrive! Everything from employee hiring to use of technology can mean the difference in a successful or unsuccessful small business startup.
Whether you’re looking to revamp and rethink (or even start) your small business, it’s important to be knowledgeable of the common small business failures so you know where to put a little extra thought.
Here are a just a few tips to keep in mind when considering starting a small business:
Do Your Research
When deciding on your small business startup, it’s important to invest in the right idea. Research what kind of businesses work, or don’t work, in certain areas. While most profitable small businesses are a good place to start, always keep your area and, ultimately your customers, in mind. What product or service does your community need? Just because it’s profitable elsewhere does not necessarily mean there is a high demand for it in your community.
Communicate with Customers
Ensure you are targeting customers specific to your business. Utilize market research to figure out potential customers’ ages, genders, and income levels. Collect data using focus groups, online surveys through sites such as Facebook, or handout surveys. Use social networking to create an online community where you can personally engage in conversation as well as promote your business by sharing news or special offers. Here's a fantastic video from Kent Beuscher, founder of U.S. Press, a commercial printing company in Valdosta, on getting to know your customers.
Build the Right Team
Not only is it important to find the right members for your team, but it is just as important to consider how you plan to retain good employees. Learn more on how to keep your best employees here. You may also consider incorporating team building by partnering with a John Maxwell Executive Director to help your build your team by providing personal development and training to boost moral.
Invest in your team. Employees need to feel valued as well as considered members of a team. This can be achieved through benefits and team-building activities. When people feel a part of a team, studies show they have better sense of security and self esteem.
These tips are just a starting point, as there are several ins and outs to starting a small business. Through additional ample research and effort, however, you’ll be on your way to creating a successful small business idea and startup in your community.
Additional blog post can be found here.
With 3.6 million Georgians residing in rental housing, the Georgia apartment industry is an important one. As the voice of the multi-family housing industry, the Georgia Apartment Association (GAA) and their affiliates are committed to providing its members top notch education, networking, and overall involvement.
The GAA consists of apartment communities, owners, managers, and suppliers dedicated to promoting and advancing the needs of the apartment industry. The GAA is comprised of seven affiliate associations from within the state of Georgia, including the South Georgia Apartment Association (SGAA).
As an affiliate of the GAA, the SGAA is a member driven, non-profit association dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests and professional advancement of the multi-family housing industry.
SGAA, along with other associations, work together toward a common goal of joining the multi-family housing industry. SGAA focuses on the following three key areas to achieve their purpose:
Becoming a part of the growing SGAA organization will greatly benefit you and your company. A few of those benefits include GAA and NAA membership, involvement in community events, networking through monthly meetings, and access to legislation changes that affect the housing industry.
So, how exactly do you become a member of the GAA? Simply join the affiliated apartment association in the location where you currently do business. For example, if you are a part of Lowndes county, you would join the SGAA. By joining a local affiliate, you automatically become a member of the GAA.
With the GAA’s Annual meeting approaching in September, now is the perfect time to become a member. This year’s annual meeting will be held September 5-7 in Savannah, Georgia at the Grand Hyatt. The meeting is focused on networking and educational opportunities. For more information on this year's conference, including daily timeline details and registration, visit the Annual Meeting website page.
Additionally, the SGAA is hosting a Vendor Trade Show at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta on October 18 from 5-8 pm.
Additional blog post can be found here.