Category Archives: Business Resources


Check Out The Latest “NO on 4″ Commercial

Defeating Amendment 4 is the Lakeland Chamber’s number one priority this year. This amendment will have a devastating effect on our local and state economies, just watch what it did to St. Pete Beach…

Want to learn more about Amendment 4? Visit

Paid Political Advertisement Sponsored by Citizens for Lower Taxes and a Stronger Economy, Inc. – 610 South Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606. Paid for In-Kind by the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce – PO Box 3607, Lakeland, FL 33802-3607.


Polk County Water School Available as Online Webinar

The University of Florida/IFAS Polk County Extension Service is sponsoring its biennial water school for decision makers entitled “Water 2010: Challenges and Opportunities for a New Decade,” beginning Thursday, April 22. The seven-session course is intended to provide decision makers, community leaders, and private citizens with factual information about Polk County’s water resources and to encourage improved public policy decision making relative to water issues in the county.

The school includes five classroom sessions to be held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 22, May 6, May 13, May 20 and June 3.

The first session will be held at the Polk County Utilities Training Room in Winter Haven; the next three will be at Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, and the final session at the W.H. Stuart Conference Center at 1710 U.S. Highway 17 South, in Bartow.

Additionally, two day-long tours (on April 29 and May 27) will explore the Peace River watershed, from Polk County to Charlotte Harbor.All sessions are free and open to the public; however, registration is required.

For more information or to register call the Extension office at 863-519-8677, ext. 112.

NEW THIS YEAR! Anyone interested in learning more about the issues addressed in the Water School, but who cannot attend the courses in person, may participate online during a free interactive webinar. The webinar includes live video of the presentations, along with a dialogue window to submit questions or comments. No pre-registration is required to view the sessions online. Simply log onto one of the participating host sites from 3:00-5:30 p.m. on April 22, April 29, May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27 and June 3. Host sites include:,,,,,,, and

Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in the Water School is asked to advise the Extension Office at least 72 hours prior to the session by contacting Karen Anderson-Grafstrom at 863-519-8677. Extension educational programs are available to Polk County citizens on a non-discriminatory basis.


Chick-fil-A Leadercast Hosted by Stinson’s Home Design Center

This year, Stinson’s has the privilege to host the Chick-fil-A Leadercast here in our area on May 7 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  The Leadercast is about experiencing authentic leadership, learning from the world’s best leaders, awakening your passion to influence and aspiring to impact lives.  Log on to to find out more about the Leadercast and speakers.

The Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a one-day leadership event broadcast live from Atlanta to our city on May 7.

It’s accessible: call Mark Watson, Stinson Carpets, (863) 665-4434 or email

It’s local: Community Southern Bank Conference Room, 3340 S. Florida Ave. Lakeland.

And it’s your opportunity to be the one that makes all the difference.

The event was formerly called Maximum Impact and has been ongoing for 10 years.  Lunch is provided.  The cost for the event is $25.00/person.  Please RSVP by 4/21/10.


  • The keys to connecting with others
  • How to set yourself apart from the competition and influence others
  • New ideas for creative problem solving
  • Best practices for leading in challenging circumstances
  • How to create strong team cultures
  • How to avoid, detect and reverse decline

We are excited about hosting the event and encourage you to join us as we strive to become better leaders in our companies and in our community.

“I am a veteran of the event and find myself coming back because I always seem to get timely insights that I can apply immediately into my business. In tough economic times like we are seeing today, it is essential that leaders bring new ideas to their companies. Ideas fuel our future and Maximum Impact LIVE provides the perfect environment for me to get fueled as a leader!”  -Barry Engelman, Senior VP of Coach Development, Building Champions


Location-Based Social Media Marketing; or Foursquare Isn’t a Playground Game Anymore!

Chrissanne Long is an Internet Marketing Strategist and the co-founder of Marketing System Blueprints, LLC, a Lakeland, FL – based company that leverages Internet technology to enable offline businesses to build stronger, more meaningful relationships with their customers.

The advent of the Internet has enabled us to connect to the rest of the world via the World Wide Web.  Obviously, since the “.com boom”, things have changed and we have grown more advanced.  Location-Based Social Media is an emerging trend that might offer an exciting way for people to begin seeing how wonderful Lakeland really is.

Recently, Lakeland has become “a little Mecca of cool,” thanks to those businesses and visionaries who have realized that it really will require embracing the advancements that Internet technology is bringing, to make Lakeland more fun and interactive.  Today, consumers can get whatever they want through the Internet.  Buyers have shifted their purchasing habits to what’s convenient.  Now, more than ever it is imperative that our local businesses unite and shift the focus back to what made America the amazing country that it is: relationships.

One way businesses can begin building relationships and have fun with their customers is through marketing with location-based social media.  There are many location-based applications available, but I am talking about the location-based game, foursquare, and other similar applications that are becoming more and more popular in many cities.  The basic premise of the game is this:  A person downloads the foursquare application to their cell phone.  They create an account and they begin visiting their favorite venues.  When they arrive at a venue, no doubt, with their cell phone in hand, they open the application and “check-in”. The application monitors their location through the GPS system installed in most Smart Phones today.

The information about the venues- the business name, address, etc. originally was extracted from a database similar to the one used to display Google maps listings for local businesses.  However, the people playing the game can add locations to the game as well.  This allows new businesses and businesses not already in the database to be included in the foursquare grid.

When a person checks in to a venue, they are, in a sense advertising their loyalty to that location.  The more they go there, the more advertising they are doing.  Today, businesses are beginning to leverage that advertising and take it to higher levels.  Once a person checks in a certain number of times, they have the ability to become the mayor of those locations they frequent more than other users.  If someone is already the mayor of a location, other visitors are told this when they check in.  This is where the businesses can begin to incentivize the use of foursquare!  The bottom line is that people are playing this game and games like it because they want something.  They want to be recognized.  They want to build and nurture relationships.

In order for this new type of marketing to really begin to show its advantages, people in the local area need to begin participating.  People do not have to be “friends” with people to begin learning about cool new places and events.  When a person checking into a venue sees something they think other people will want to know, they can add a “tip” or a “to-do”.  Foursquare keeps these tips and to-dos for other people who check in to the same place to find when they arrive.

Additionally, if a business joins in the fun, they can post specials.  When a person’s GPS signal is recognized to be near a special, they will have an option to view it.  Imagine.  Someone is three blocks from your business, with no intention of stopping by, but they check in at the hardware store and your business is offering a free appetizer/ or a 10% discount for foursquare users and, voila! you have a new customer.

I recommend doing some research before you begin to add foursquare to your marketing mix, because people are very curious about how they can participate and they will certainly begin to ask questions.  You will want to know how to field these questions and you will also want to determine how you can get your venue on the foursquare grid as well.  Once you understand how your business can leverage this exciting new tool, you can establish a plan that makes your local establishment’s brand one that people recognize – even if they are not living here!

Currently, there is only one locally owned and operated restaurant in Lakeland (only two total) that has special offers advertised on foursquare’s application. Businesses that begin to leverage Location-Based Social Media in Lakeland, FL by adding it to their marketing mix will benefit from this entertaining and free tool. This, in turn will add to the current trends that are making Lakeland a “little Mecca of cool”.


Polk County BOCC Hosts Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In Webinar

A panel of experts will tell you why Polk County is a great place for airplanes and pilots, and why Central Florida is the ideal destination for your next cross-country flight.In addition, you’ll get an online glimpse of fly-in sights and sounds, as well as aviation safety forums being broadcast live from the FAA Productions Studios in the FAASTeam’s National Resource Center. Plus, view live coverage of the USAF Thunderbirds and the daily Sun n’ Fun air show. And throughout the day, you can share your own Sun n’ Fun experiences with other online participants!

This webinar is free and requires no pre-registration or enrollment.All you need is a computer with internet access to log on at any of the following host sites beginning at 10:00 a.m.:,,,,, and

For more information about webinars produced through PGTV (Polk Government Television), visit or contact PGTV at (863) 534-5997. PGTV is an operation of the Polk County Board of County Commissioners