TweetUp – Jan 15th

Editor’s Note: Give a warm welcome to our guest writer and previous Business & Breafast Speaker, Chuck Welch:

Not too long ago, Lorrie Delk Walker and I spoke to the Chamber members about the importance of using social media tools to establish and build customer communication. I mentioned using Twitter. For those who missed the breakfast Twitter is a communication service that enables users to broadcast short 140-character messages to many followers, or directly to a trusted friend. You can view the communication at a particular URL, or add an application to your phone so you can communicate with select Tweeters.
Using Twitter is like “live blogging on steroids.” People use the service to ask questions, set up group meetings, find a restaurant in a unfamiliar city, ask fellow customers about your business, or simply carry on discussions.

I’ve been using Twitter from close to the beginning, but last year started using it heavily conjunction with my news site. Lakeland Local uses Twitter to broadcast short nuggets of information to all those who choose to follow. The title and link to each new post is immediately sent to all who follow on the channel: @lakelandlocal . That channel also broadcasts the titles and URLs for all The Arts in Lakeland posts.
(You did know about our companion Lakeland Arts site, didn’t you?

Breaking news, short important notes, and interesting trivia is broadcast @lakelandflorida. We use that channel to also display such information on our home page.

I have a personal Twitter account @chuckwelch, but I use it mainly to schmooze. It’s a good service because 140 characters is about my writing limit. (I wrote this post in 140 character bursts.)

I’m writing to invite all Chamber members to a meeting of people who use social media on a daily basis, and those interested in how to make it work for their company. Bloggers and Tweeters aren’t the only groups invited to the meeting. You’re still invited if you use, or wish to learn more about,any of the big social media services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, or Craigslist. To help reach interested readers, Lakeland Local has published to most of those sites.

If you blog, tweet, post on Facebook, use the Internet to communicate, or want to learn more — you’re invited Thursday, January 15th at 6pm for a meeting of like minds.

Black and Brew Coffee House

205 E. Main St.

Lakeland, FL 33801

(863) 682-1210

All ages and vocations welcome. Please pass it on.

Editor’s note: I am planning on being there, so I hope to see you on the 15th.


Retail aCCess – Creating Customer Communities

“Creating Customer Communities” 
How can you keep your small business growing in today’s economy? Relationships!

Join fellow retailers as we discover new ideas that keep customers engaged
& coming through your doors.
Monday, January 12, 2009
8:00-9:30 a.m.
Bramble Ridge Golf Course
2505 Bramble Ridge Drive
$10, includes full breakfast

RSVP today!
· At LakelandChamber.com- Click on Chamber Store
· Email mstevenson@lakelandchamber.com
· Call Mary Stevenson at 863-688-8551 Ext. 232


Retail aCCess is a new, hands-on tool for retailers! Created with you in mind, this series of workshops will offer attendees the opportunity to hear new ideas and take home ways to build a better business. From HR issues to grassroots marketing to embracing technology, you won’t want to miss out!



10 Things Small Business Owners should be doing in 2009

The OPEN Forum by American Express is an excellent resource for all small business owners.  The OPEN Forum blog recently posted a great list titled Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009.  

  1. Act like a prospective customer and call your company to see how the phone system and receptionist treat you.
  2. See if your website has a “Contact Us” section. If it doesn’t, add one.   Ensure that it has a street address.
  3. Send your company an email asking for customer support and see if someone responds to it.
  4. Answer customer support calls or emails (not the one you sent in) for a day.
  5. Go out on a sales call with your salespeople and a service call with your service people.
  6. Read the documentation or manual that your company provides.   Extra credit: See if you can do this without reading glasses.
  7. Pretend that you lost the documentation or manual that came with your product or service and try to find it on your website.
  8. Register your product or service including finding and reading the serial number of your product.   Extra credit: See if you can read your serial number without reading glasses.   Extra extra credit: If you use a Captcha system for registration, see how many times it takes to get the word right.
  9. Add a signature to your email. A “signature” is a block of text at the end of your emails that contain all your contact information. It saves your recipients the hassle of asking for your address and phone number or searching for them on your website.
  10. Join Twitter and then search for your company name, your product, your competition’s name or product name, or market sector terms from your business.   For example, let’s say you’re in the web designbusiness.   Extra credit: Use Twitter as a twool.

From your brick-and-mortar operation to your social media presence, this list provides a simple way to gain insight into what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.  Why not take a week to complete this checklist?  You will probably  find little- to no-cost ways to improve your customers’ experiences.


Last Minute Christmas wish

In these hard times, I know many businesses are having to stretch to make a profit and some to just make ends meet. I offer a word of well wishing this Christmas season. We all must look at how we do business and adjust, because in the end we will all be better for it. But for non profits it is quite another story. Non profits are being hit, some would say, the hardest. So here is my holiday plea, for a couple of non profits, that was forwarded my way. Let me reiterate these were not solicited, and it is my way of offer to help. So if you can the following organizations would greatly appreciate it.

This came for the Boys & Girls club, they are looking for cans:

Boys & Girls Club LogoThe BGC is up to over 300 cans, getting closer to its goal of 500.  500 canned goods will get the BGC a Wii game for the kids.  We can collect until end of business day Thursday…I am willing to come to you.  Happy Holidays!!

Boys & Girls Clubs of Lakeland & Mulberry
OFFICE 863-686-1719 CELLPHONE 863-712-2710 FAX 863-686-4057 Kelly Lane, Director of Development at bgclakeland.com:

If you are downtown, the staff at the Chamber is pulling together a can or 2 so you are welcome to drop off even just a can here. 


If you are interested in some last minute volunteering for Toys for Tots give George Overstreet a call 863-670-589:

Toys for Tots is looking for volunteers to work at the warehouse Today, Weds and Thursday.  The warehouse is open from 8am until 10pm each day.  It’s the last push to get the toys picked out and separated to be send out to the schools before Christmas break.  All the toys will be delivered on Friday to each school for the parents to pick and bring home.  This is why Thursday is the last day to volunteer. 

Toys for Tots Warehouse

Address–602 Page St, Auburndale FL–On Hwy 92 go to Recker Hwy and turn–then proceed to McKean St turn north

and proceed to Page St –the warehouse #602 is at the end of the street on the left side.

Or call Monti Sommer of AMIfor any clarification.  863-412-0039.

Thanks for your help.


December Business After Hours

Business After Hours

Hosted by:

Fifth Third Bank Logo

Fifth Third Bank & Backyard Adventures IIPC,LLC

Backyard Adventures logo

Thursday, December 18 , 5:30 PM

3111 US Highway 98 S, Suite 130

(former Scotty’s Building at the corner of

Edgewood Dr. and US Highway 98 S.)

Cost to attend:  $10.00 Chamber members ~ $30 Non-Chamber members

Please R.S.V.P. by 5:00 p.m. the day prior to the event.  You may register and pay online or call (863)688-8551, Ext 301