Category Archives: Announcements


New Blog for business leads

In a recent meeting of the Communications KSI committee, the idea was floated that we needed to help our members get more business leads. While we are looking at some “business-to-business” type software options, a quick and free way to do this would be to establish a leads blog. This would be reserved solely for business opportunities. Let’s say that I need a software program written, or that I need office supplies. The notion that I could post it on a leads blog and see what comes back is interesting. Please provide feedback as to whether you believe this has merit.


Marketing Mondays | Standing Out

Simply put:

You won’t have any trouble at all finding someone who can tell you how to fit in.

They can tell you what to wear to that restaurant or this conference or that funeral. It’s not that difficult to figure out how to fit in. If fitting in is your goal, you should be sure to get great advice on how to do that.

Standing out, of course, is trickier. Stand out too much and you’re a jerk or a fool.

Clothing is not the point. You have this choice to make in everything you do, from your career to the words you use in a sales letter.

The point: choose.

Are you doing this to fit in or stand out?


Relay for Life | April 17 & 18

Relay For Life logo

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of South Lakeland is just around the corner. Register your team today by calling the American Cancer Society at (863) 688-2326 x115 to reach Community Representative, Colleen Mangan or visit our website at You can also contact Team Development Chair, Barb Erickson at This “celebration of life” brings the South Lakeland community together in a unified effort to fight cancer.

Former and current cancer patients, their families, businesses, civic organizations, and the public are invited to take part in this exciting team event. Relay for Life takes place from Friday, April 17th at 6:00 p.m. until Saturday, April 18th at 10:00 a.m. at Lakeland High School.

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s version of an athletic relay, but with a new twist. Relay for Life is a family-oriented event where participants enjoy the camaraderie of a team and also raise funds to support the activities of the American Cancer Society. Participants camp out at the Relay site, and when they are not taking their turn walking, they take part in fun activities and enjoy local entertainment.

Teams from companies, churches, organizations, hospitals, and schools collect donations and can win individual and team prizes for their efforts.

“Relay for Life brings the progress against cancer to the forefront,” said Theresa Bright, event chair. “Many participants are our family, friends, and neighbors who have dealt with cancer themselves. Their involvement is proof of the progress that has been not only reducing death rates, but also in the quality of life following cancer treatment.

“The funds raised enable us to continue our investment in the fight against cancer through research, education, advocacy, and patient services,” said Colleen Mangan. “Thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors like GEICO, Ascent Healthcare, Radiology & Imaging Specialists, Watson Clinic Center for Caner Care & Research and LRMC Cancer Center, the money raised by participants goes directly to the American Cancer Society’s lifesaving programs.” 60% of the funds raised go to local patient services and education, 40% go to research (both state and national) and advocacy with Administration costs being kept below 6.5% of the funds raised.

Information about how to form a team or become involved in Relay For Life is available from the American Cancer Society at (863) 688-2326 x115 or For more information on cancer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or visit


Marketing Mondays | Sometimes We Forget to do the Simple Things

Business advice is rarely, if ever, new.  We hear these things time and again, but the everyday urgencies of our businesses often force us to put good intentions on the backburner.  The firefighting mentality is anti-growth.  In order to expand, ideas like this one, from the American Express OPEN Forum, must be implemented even when it is not convenient to do so:

We are big fans of “growing” loyalty among Ideal Clients over pretty much any other business building tactic. It’s the lowest cost sales activity you will ever engage in, since you are already doing business with them, you already know what they want and need, and you can easily find out if they are being wooed by someone else. How easy is that?

And yet… we have hundreds of examples of business owners who not only don’t take advantage of this fantastic opportunity, they positively destroy it. See if you recognize yourself in these stories:

A client who spends $100 a month in your hair salon calls to make an appointment only to find her favorite stylist has left. Did you keep a database of all the clients who came to the salon and allowed you to contact them, tell them the news and offer them an incentive to remain a loyal client? If not, you lose $1200 a year.

A customer who has been leasing his upscale cars from you for years needs some emergency service. Your service center is booked up so you tell him you’re just too busy. The customer not only takes the car somewhere else for service, he never comes back. Did you check to see how much that customer’s business was worth and find a way to accommodate him? If not, you lose a lifetime value of $500,000.

A customer buys over a thousand dollars in clothing and accessories from you. He is particular but happy to spend to get the quality he wants. He leaves the store and never hears from you again. Did you add him to your database with a checklist of his preferences so you could contact him when specials were available? If the answer is no, you lose the $10,000 he would have spent with you over the next five years.

What would it take not only to keep those customers, but “grow” their business by 25% without spending a cent you wouldn’t have spent anyway?

The first step is a database of every single customer who does business with you. If you can, link it to your point of sales system, so you know how much they spend, on what, and when. At least, set up a spreadsheet with columns as follows: first name, last name, street, town, postal code, phone, email, and a column you can put an X in for the kinds of products and services they buy. Since your computer already comes loaded with Excel, that’s free.

The second step is to sign up for an automated email service.  Sending to up to 500 customers, more than you will ever need, will cost you about $20 a month – almost free. And the first 60 days in many services are completely, 100% free.


Everybody’s Schmoozin!

On Thursday, 50 Chamber members met for lunch and “power networking” at Brima. The Chamber’s famous Schmooze a’Palooza event kicked off it’s 2009 series with plenty of great food, fabulous contacts and lots of business cards! When members stood to give an overview of their businesses, nearly everyone introduced their company as “recession-proof”! We are so blessed to be in a community where our business owners and employees are positive and energetic!

Chamber board member & Trustee, Patrick Fagan (Fifth Third Bank) chose to use his 30 second introduction to share a reminder about the Chamber’s “Buy Lakeland. It makes good cents!” campaign. He let the group know about the board’s renewed focus on the campaign and their commitment to keep business and dollars in the Lakeland community.

Join us for our next event on July 9, 2009 at Mt. Fuji Steakhouse! Details & registration available in May…