Annual Meeting

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Chamber Annual Meeting
The Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting Thursday, January 25, 2018 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center, located at 1005 Perry Avenue in Big Rapids. Attendees to this meeting and awards banquet heard presentations from Big Rapids Mayor Tom Hogenson, former MCACC Board President Jeff Godfrey, and Kim Von Kronenberger, Community President of Chemical Bank, sponsor of this year’s event.  Programming and Events Coordinator Megan Eppley outlined the chamber’s new engagement initiative, and Executive Director Jennifer Heinzman discussed the coming year’s projects and goals for the chamber of commerce.
Several awards were presented to area businesses and community members. In honor of her hard work and dedication in expanding to create a second location, while also renovating her existing location, Nawal Braden-Swart was named Entrepreneur of the Year. Lee Johnson, of Johnson’s Automotive and Goodwell Automotive, was presented with the first ever Community and Business Leader of the Year award for his devotion to the community and integrity in his businesses. And finally, Lerner, Csernai, and Fath Financial Group received the distinction of being named Small Business of the Year, in recognition of their continued support of the community and consistent growth to meet the needs of an ever-changing financial market. Tammy Weaver, of Sears Appliance and Hardware, was presented with the Volunteer of the Year Award previously at the 2017 Holiday Gala on December 1, 2017.
The MCACC thanks all members and community members that were able to attend this year’s Annual Meeting and appreciate the support that Mecosta County provides to our Chamber.
We look forward to the coming year!
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It’s National Mentoring Month: What 8 Experts Want You to Know About Mentoring

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From Julie Kantor of twomentor.com, in collaboration with Alice Stankovitch.

Most of us wouldn’t dream of starting a fitness program or learning a new language without an instructor to guide us.

So why brave our careers without a mentor?

A study by Gartner and Wharton found mentees were promoted five times more than colleagues who did not leverage a mentor’s guidance.

Mentors themselves were promoted six times more than colleagues who did not actively mentor.

The value of mentoring is both proven and intuitive. And yet, only 70% of Fortune 500s and a quarter of smaller companies offer mentoring programs (WSJ). Though most companies understand the importance of mentorship, they don’t know how to structure a framework they can count on for measurable results.

This deepened awareness of the importance of mentoring, issues of Millennial retention, and the predetermined structure required has given rise to a wave of leaders that help companies master mentoring with a high-touch or a high-tech approach.

In our work with top companies, we have found that fostering a pay-it-forward culture is crucial not just for employee growth, but the company’s overall employee retention, diversity, and revenue.

We reached out to some of our esteemed colleagues in the field, and are delighted to share these expert insights from 8 thought leaders we respect in the mentoring community. Whether you want to foster a culture of mentorship in your company or become a mentor yourself, don’t miss this chance to learn from some of the best in the business.

Twomentor Q1: Why does mentoring need to be ‘top of mind’ for corporations in 2018?

“Corporations that are not prioritizing mentoring for 2018 are at risk of falling behind in today’s battle for top talent. Boomers are exiting the workforce in droves and the incoming generation is more diverse than ever before, and this diversified, modern workforce is craving mentoring and making it known through employment surveys, exit interviews, and hallway chatter.”

Seena Mortazavi, CEO, Chronus

“Mentoring changes talent results. Mentoring results in more talent wanting to join YOUR corporation, school or organization. This is true for recruiting and retention. We salute the data that show women with mentors and sponsors have 4 times the likelihood to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) jobs. Not only are talent results impacted but so too is the passion for specific jobs, and the opportunity to grow and come close to pay equity in all STEM jobs– especially tech.”

Edie Fraser, Chairman and Founder, STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors

“Mentoring is one of the best ways to upskill top performers, and those with top performing potential while ensuring you retain your current leadership.”

Janice Omadeke, CEO, The Mentor Method

“Millennials are already the largest population of US workforce and in 2018, a greater percentage of them will move into leadership roles replacing the baby boomers. Companies should, therefore, invest in peer-to-peer learning and mentoring as a smart and cost-effective way to accelerate technical and leadership skills of millennials, by tapping into the wisdom of domain experts and senior executives already available within the organization.”

Ravishankar Gundlapalli, Ph.D. , CEO, MentorCloud

“(Mentoring) initiatives dramatically increase the supports and opportunities for young people while also positively contributing to corporate culture, employee satisfaction, and brand experience.”

David Shapiro, CEO, Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership

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Twomentor Q2: We have spoken to dozens of men who are concerned about mentoring women in the age of #MeToo. Any thoughts or advice?

“If people adhere to the trainings around what is appropriate based on workplace harassment training, they should be fine. My advice would be to ensure workplace harassment training, concepts, and/or policies are part of the program for mentors and mentees so people are up to speed.”

Daisy Hernandez, Global Vice President, Enterprise Collaboration at SAP

“I think this whole issue has gotten way out of hand. Men shouldn’t be afraid to work with women nor the other way around. All in all, things go extremely well. We’ve never had the first complaint from a woman being mentored by a man. A good written partnership agreement can make the difference between a great partnership and unmet expectations.”

Kim B Wise, CEO Mentor Resources

“Bring men into the mentoring programs at work. Ask men to sponsor women. Ask men to go to their kids’ schools and organizations. Don’t forget to recognize the male champions for mentoring and promote their commitment. ASK men to get involved.”

Edie Fraser, Chairman and Founder, STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors

“For many men, the concern is that their well-intentioned appropriate conduct in a mentoring relationship would be misconstrued as offensive. In fact, #MeToo should have no relevance, because it is not about appropriate conduct – it’s about calling out inappropriate conduct as no longer acceptable. The foundation of a good mentoring relationship is building trust and defining boundaries, so the implication of #MeToo on mentoring is that these elements are more important than ever.”

Lisa Fain, CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence

Note: Twomentor recently published: 8 Healthy Boundaries in the Age of #MeToo
Twomentor Q3: As a builder in the mentoring space, what are some observations you have about building long-term sustainable programs?

“Companies often force mentoring relationships onto Mentors without fully getting their buy-in and also fail to communicate the true value for Mentors. By leveraging resources such as The Art of Mentoring, companies can first inspire its mentors and mentees on the value of mentoring, and follow with adequate training on best practices.”

Ravishankar Gundlapalli,Ph.D. ,CEO, MentorCloud

“Sharing the outcomes of mentoring programs to generate continued interest is a key part of making sure the program is sustainable. Another important strategy is to have people who are running the program continually seek feedback and evolve to meet current needs, as requirements may grow or change as the participants do.”

– Daisy Hernandez, Global Vice President, Enterprise Collaboration at SAP

  • Offer training
  • Engage HR and Talent team
  • Salute success and recognize those engaged
  • Have company leadership endorse a program
  • Insure diversity and women and girls of color are part of the program
  • Have an executive champion, a committee, and responsible staff person.
  • Host events and celebrate Mentoring Month and Women’s History Month
  • Build a communications and social media program to support mentoring program

Edie Fraser, Chairman and Founder, STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors
Twomentor Q4. How do you help a company prioritize different models of mentoring to maximize impact?

“The Chronus process always starts with understanding the root cause of why an organization is launching a mentoring program in the first place. Mentoring can be used for a number of different business objectives (retention, engagement, knowledge transfer, etc.), so identifying business objectives is the first step and guiding light in determining which model would be the best fit.

Seena Mortazavi, CEO, Chronus

“At MENTOR, we facilitate Design Lab– an interactive strategy development session– with cross functional teams at companies interested in developing, enhancing and/or scaling mentoring initiatives. We work with them closely to identify a mentoring model or a combination of models that align with both business and community goals. We factor in company culture, existing employee engagement, HR initiatives and their assets to maximize impact and support the sustainability of mentoring initiatives.”
David Shapiro, CEO, Mentor: The National Mentoring Partnership

  • Ask the company to select the kind of mentoring option– counseling, online, etc
  • Ask the ERGs and Talent folks what are the options and build a program
  • Define the types of mentoring and offer options to those in the organization
  • Produce in a play book or plan

Edie Fraser, Chairman and Founder, STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors
Twomentor Q5. What are the biggest mistakes you see companies making in building these initiatives?

“Thinking that a mentoring program is “one size fits all”. You need to take the time to listen to your team’s needs and create a program tailored to your company’s specific needs and growth goals. Whether it’s tailoring the model (peer-to-peer, reverse mentoring, diverse mentoring, etc), structure, and goals, it’s important that the mentee, mentor, and your company get value from the program.”

Janice Omadeke, CEO, The Mentor Method

“So often, companies begin a mentoring initiative with great fanfare, then fail to check in with the mentoring pairs during the course of the mentoring year. Mentoring pairs can benefit from learning best practices, or from coaching that might get them on track. The fewer touch points an organization has with its mentoring pairs, the more likely that the pairs will fizzle out during the course of the year.”
Lisa Fain, CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence

“Largely, mistakes in building a mentoring program stem from underestimating the importance of engagement. Too many companies launch their mentoring program as a check box, and leave it without continuously improving to ensure participant engagement and progress.”
Seena Mortazavi, CEO, Chronus

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Julie Silard Kantor helps leaders build their living legacies through mentorship and sponsorship. She and her team at Twomentor, LLC are helping to build a much-needed mentoring revolution through thought living-legacy leadership work, mentor training, mentor culture building, Mentor Road Trip™ flash mentoring web sessions and more in many sectors. Two adages that drive us are: 1] The people who mentor at your company are the people who drive retention at your company and 2] If you want more diversity (i.e. women in STEM), mentor and sponsor more diversely.

 

Six Qualities of a Great Mentor

From Tim Elmore, Growing Leaders

As this year comes to an end, I thought it might be helpful to talk to you about finding a mentor. For you, a mentor might mean reconnecting with a person you feel is ahead of you in their career and nudging you to take a new step. For your students, this discussion might be helpful as they pursue growth in specific areas of their life. Let me begin with an analogy I use in Habitudes for the Journey©.

I call it Travel Agents and Tour Guides.

A Travel Agent or a Tour Guide

Several years ago, my family and I took a vacation to Hawaii. Our travel agent, Janet, was very familiar with the islands and arranged a great plan for us to implement. While we were there, one of the sightseeing trips we took up a mountain required a local travel agent. Gary was experienced and knew exactly where to take us to enjoy the best day of our vacation on top of that mountain.

In the end, we were pleased with both our travel agent and our tour guide—but we had very different expectations of both. Janet was only expected to tell us about the trip; to explain where we should go, and then leave it all up to us once we got there. Gary was a different story. Tour guides don’t merely tell you where to go—they go with you. Tour guides are on the journey, experiencing every site and sound along the way, right next to you. We had a much higher expectation of the tour guide.

This is a picture of life. You will notice as you grow, that you’ll meet people who will act as “travel agents” and those who will act as “tour guides.” Most people find it easier to be a travel agent. In fact, you’ll likely have loads of people who will give you advice…then say, “Good luck with that!” Tons of teachers, friends, coaches, employers, and counselors will offer their opinion, but not get very involved in the journey. It’s less expensive for them that way. That’s why it’s important for you to find a handful of people who are willing to be tour guides; people who not only have wisdom and experience but are willing to walk with you through some of your life.

You will likely have many “Janets” compared to your one “Gary.”

Look for Tour Guides Who Are GIFTED

Each year I enlist a set of mentors to help me mature in skills or qualities I believe are important. In fact, I select five or six areas I want to grow in, and then I hunt for GIFTED individuals who embody those qualities to be a one-year mentor. Here is my guide to finding them. Let me suggest a guide I’ve used now for more than twenty years.

G – Genuine

The first quality I look for is a person who is authentic. I need them to be the real deal; to be forthright and to share objectively what they see in me, good or bad. To be honest, finding genuine people is a rare find today. It’s so easy for leaders to hide behind exaggerated personas on social media. So, I meet with them first, before making any request of their ongoing time to see if we “fit” and there’s chemistry.

I – Influential

I look for people who have influence in their community. The reason this is key for me is that I want to learn from leaders who others pay attention to; their gifts and style are worthy of following. I don’t necessarily use a scientific measurement for this element; I simply search for people who I respect and would follow. I want to meet with people who carry weight with others. That way, I know I will listen to and heed their advice.

F – Fruitful

I look for mentors who are productive in their field of work. They’ve borne fruit. When I examine their body of work, I see results. They get the job done. Otherwise, why would I spend time with someone learning a skill or quality when it’s all theory and not real outcomes? When I’ve chosen “communication” mentors in the past, I look for people who not only speak very well and very clearly, but who are able to motivate others to respond.

T – Talented

I look for people who have stronger gifts than I do in a specific area of growth. They have more experience, talent or qualities than I do and in areas that I want to develop. For instance, I found mentors in the art of “focus” and “negotiation” who’ve been kind enough to invest in me in years past. They’re ahead of me on those areas, and each time we met for lunch, I brought a pad of questions regarding those areas. They had insights for every question.

E – Engaging

This is less important than the other traits, but I still look for it. I prefer to meet with mentors (to discuss whatever trait or skill I want to grow in) who communicate in an engaging manner. I take responsibility for the topic and even the questions I want to ask them, but I search for people who will volley back with something interesting. Something relevant. Something helpful. Something engaging.

D – Dependable

I look for mentors who have the time to meet and will keep a commitment they make for a coffee or lunch. I want them to assure me they can keep a secret when I am transparent, and they will not only listen but hold what I disclose in strict confidence. I look for people with high integrity, strong character and a keen sense of responsibility. In my conversations with my mentors, I tend to become far more vulnerable than I do with other relationships, which, frankly, requires a dependable person.

So, here’s to you finding relevant mentors for the New Year, and here’s to you being a relevant mentor for your students. Feel free to forward this list to students you know who themselves. are looking for mentors.

– See more at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/six-qualities-great-mentor/#sthash.e8FxvEHS.dpuf

A Message From our Director

As many of you know, I adopted a baby last year; his name is Kason Thomas and he is the highlight of my life… well, he just turned 1 on July 14th and he wants for nothing so in lieu of gifts at his birthday party, I asked that everyone write a letter to 18-year old Kason and I will give them to him, unopened, at that time.  I sat down to write my own letter and once I finished, I thought “many of these things relate to business as well” so I decided to share parts of my letter with you in hopes that you may find a refresher useful in your business and in your everyday life…

Page 2 of my letter starts like this:
“As you go through life there are going to be many challenges and difficult times… it is that way for everyone. I hope that you not only recognize that in others so that you are able to understand that everyone has their own “cross to bear”, but also that you always know that difficult times are temporary – everything always works out exactly as it is supposed to. When you are confused, in pain, angry, or scared, just stay positive and do what our heart and your conscience tell you to do. I trust that you will try to make the correct decision – the one that allows you to maintain your integrity always!

As you go through life, your reputation, your education, your dignity, and your word are the most assets you have. If you are true to yourself and earn the trust of those around you, you will be revered as a leader, someone others can look up to and respect. There are going to be times when telling the truth, or doing the right thing, is the hardest thing to do – you will need to make these decisions knowing that for every action there is a reaction and consequences. I hope you always try to do what is good and just.

I hope you are completely comfortable with who you are – love whom you want to love, hang out with people that challenge and encourage you – surround yourself with people that you make you the best version of yourself and accept you just the way you are – you are your best self!

There are going to be jealous people, mean people, people that stab you in the back, people that don’t pull their weight, people that wish you harm – keep your head held high and continue to be your best self; you will always win in the end if you continuously take the high road.

Be Grateful! The world doesn’t owe you anything. Appreciate everything that people do for you – show them that you appreciate them! A “Thank –You” goes along way. Send hand-written cards, it is a lost-lost art means a lot to people!

Be confident! Take risks! Stay humble! People don’t like cocky people – you get more bees with honey that with vinegar. Let other people take credit, even if they don’t deserve it, give thanks for all things, appreciate what you have and give back whenever you can, without expecting anything in return… do it just for the betterment of the community, church, non-profit, or whomever you are helping.

Work hard! Nothing is going to come free in this life – you can have anything you want and you can become anything you choose with enough perseverance and hard work. Put your mind to something and do it! With the end-result in mind, work backwards to make it happen… all things are possible!

Love freely! Don’t be afraid to take risks. There is greater reward with greater risk, Take a leap of  faith when you need to – go into this world knowing that you have the support of a loving family and that you are amazing!

Make mistakes! Know that mistakes are inevitable; everyone make mistakes, it is only natural. People will not remember what happened but they will remember how you reacted to it. Pick yourself up, apologize when necessary, and admit when you’re wrong – then move on to the next amazing thing, having learned something and growing intellectually.

Take the lead! Don’t be afraid to speak up – be a leader; people like direction and are often waiting for someone to take the lead – take advantage of that and do more than is required of you so you can float to the top of any situation – this philosophy will serve you well in life.

My main wish for you is that you are happy – love your life and appreciate the beauty in the small things – make the most of everyday!

I’ll spare you the rest of the letter as it is mainly sappy, mom stuff. Have you considered having everyone in your family writing letters to your child for the future? I expect that some of these people will not be around in 18 years and I am happy to be able to give this gift to my son. I hope that you enjoyed reading excerpts of my letter.

As always, if there is anything we can do for you, please do not hesitate to ask.

 

7 Ways to Use LinkedIN to Grow Your Small Business

7 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Grow Your Small Business

Grow your small business with LinkedIn by using these seven proven tactics.

There are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, but only half of them will make it past five years. To ensure your small business is in the successful half, we encourage you to capitalize on the various ways LinkedIn can evolve your business.

With LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you can generate leads, produce sales, and hire top professionals to fuel your growth. Here are seven ways to grow your business using LinkedIn:

1. Create a LinkedIn Company Page

We’ve found that LinkedIn members are 50% more likely to buy once they’ve engaged with your business on LinkedIn. But they can’t connect with you if you don’t have a LinkedIn Company Page. According to Forbes, only 57% of companies have pages. The remaining 43% are missing out on a free opportunity to generate leads, talent, and, ultimately, revenue.

If you don’t already have one, create a LinkedIn Company Page. Personal profiles don’t have the same marketing, advertising, and recruiting features as Company Pages, making them less effective at promoting your business. As you create your page, think about the kind of impression you want to create among potential customers and employees. This will help you select the right photos and messages to use on your page.

For a step-by-step guide on how to create an above and beyond Company Page, view our LinkedIn Company Page Best Practices.

2. Promote Your Company Page

Once you have a Company Page, announce it to your clients, employees, and personal network. This will help you gain your first followers, who in turn will help to promote your Company Page on the content you post to it.

Promoting your page on other platforms or via email is also a great way to grow your audience. Here are some simple ways to get the word out:

● Announce the launch of the Company Page on your personal LinkedIn profile
● Encourage employees to follow the Company Page by making it a part of your onboarding process—Social Media Today reports that content shared by employees receives eight times the engagement as brand shared content
● Link to your Company Page in the footer of your marketing emails or newsletters
● Embed a Company Follow button onto your website so visitors can easily follow your LinkedIn Company Page

3. Share Content Regularly

The more you post, the more people you can potentially reach and convert. Best-in-class LinkedIn Company Pages are consistently updated to ensure that visitors have plenty of new content to consume and share.

To get started, try posting at least once per week. It’s not uncommon for companies to post three or more times per day. Post whenever you have something worth saying. Posting consistently shows Company Page visitors that your company is active on LinkedIn. Use LinkedIn’s Company Page analytics to see your top performing updates, your best times to post, and which members of your audience are the most engaged. With this information, it’s easy to make data-driven decisions to optimize your Company Page content.

In addition to posting often, here are a few more stats to help you boost engagement:
● Posts with links receive up to 45% more engagement
● Images see an incredible 98% increase in engagement
● Posts that have relevant “best-of” lists get almost 40% more amplification

When a post gets good engagement, consider promoting it to a wider audience with LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Take the Sponsored Content Tour and discover how Sponsored Content amplifies your best content.

4. Showcase Thought Leadership

Seventy nine percent of buyers say thought leadership is critical for determining which companies they want to learn more about. To get started with thought leadership content, try to provide a unique perspective on your industry, product, or organization. Sharing your opinion on the future of your industry or creating a definitive guide on your product are just two ways to demonstrate your expertise and position your company as a credible partner.

For more ideas and advice on expanding your brand’s authority, download our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership to learn more.

5. Target Sales Prospects

LinkedIn has over 500 million users to date. That may seem like a lot to sort through, but LinkedIn also provides you with tools to identify and target your ideal audience.

LinkedIn members are more likely than other social media users to keep their profiles up-to-date, making it easier for you to find the right people. Use LinkedIn profile data to search for LinkedIn members based on geographic location, education, experience, and even connections. Once you’ve found prospects using the search feature, visit their profiles. Their endorsements or recent profile views might surface additional qualified prospects, too.

For more ways to reach your ideal audience, learn how to advertise on LinkedIn.

6. Build an All-Star Team

LinkedIn has helped 75% of job switchers make informed career decisions, making LinkedIn a top recruiting network. What are candidates looking for when making those decisions? Our research shows that 66% of candidates want to see company culture over everything else. To take advantage of this preference, consider enhancing your Company Page with a LinkedIn Career Page.

Career Pages allow you to target audiences with a personalized look into your company, culture, and jobs. They give you dedicated Life and Jobs Tabs on your Company Page that attract and engage relevant professionals.

In addition to creating Career Pages, encourage employees to share job postings and “day in the life” content as well. This gives visitors a genuine idea of what it’s like to work for you and adds to your authenticity. If you have a few employees who lead the pack in sharing content, consider linking them to your Company Page’s Life Tab. Their shared articles and recent updates will automatically populate, providing visitors with up-to-date information. Watch our video below on how to use the Life Tab to attract the right talent for your company.

7. Hire Freelancers

You’ve probably had an employee who took on a task outside of their domain. You might have even done it yourself a few times. While the effort is commendable, learning on the fly can also be detrimental.

Fortunately, finding the right talent for the task at hand isn’t as tricky as it once was, even if you can’t afford the salary of a full time employee.

LinkedIn ProFinder enables you to post your projects, receive free proposals, and hire trustworthy professionals all in one place. ProFinder will even pair you with local professionals to ensure you have the best freelance experience possible. With 172 professional services available on ProFinder, it’s easy to find the perfect professional for any task.

LinkedIn vets all the professionals on the platform to ensure they are qualified and leverages your network to find freelancers your connections have used, so you’re never in the dark about who you’re hiring.

By using freelancers, you’ll get access to outside perspectives & broad experience of professionals of all kinds, from creating websites and designing logos to managing your books or crafting your marketing strategy. Plus, with none of the management overhead of a full-time employee, you can focus solely on the job at hand.

May’s Member of the Month is Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity

 

Habitat for HumanityMecosta County Habitat for Humanity is well known in the community for building homes and changing lives. In 1992, a group of local individuals interested in eliminating poverty housing in Mecosta County came together to form MCHFH and since then partnered with local families to build 31 new homes in Mecosta County.

A few years ago the MCHFH Board of Directors, following the lead of Habitat International, made the decision to increase their impact within the Mecosta County community. Along with the traditional new home construction program the Board recognized that many current low-income homeowners needed assistance with critical home repairs that they found themselves unable to afford. The Board began focusing on incorporating a program to address that need and in 2016 launched the Brush with Kindness to addresses critical home repairs needed by existing low income homeowners unable to fund urgent repairs when they unexpectedly arise.

The program incorporates the same Habitat/Home Owner Family partnership model as the new home construction program based on need, willingness to partner and the ability to repay. The driving Habitat philosophy is to offer a hand-up not a hand-out and just as the new home construction builds, Brush With Kindness projects are initially funded by MCHFH and the partner family commits to repay the affiliate through affordable payments.

Since launching the Brush with Kindness Program in the spring of 2016 many applications have been received and new applications are submitted regularly. Some of the projects completed and in the pipeline include: wheel chair ramp construction; roof repairs/replacements; furnace replacement; exterior repairs; window replacements; interior water damage repairs; and insulation and weatherization projects.  The number of families assisted annually will depend on the size and scope of qualified project applications, the availability of volunteers willing to assist in these projects and the availability of financial resources.

Mecosta County Habitat for Humanity has also been able to expand in outreach through the affiliate ReStore located at 18387 Northland Drive (north of the Big Rapids Airport). Since opening in 2012 the ReStore has become a wonderful resource for the community by offering new and gently used donated home construction and home improvement materials, furniture and housewares at affordable prices. The store is able to pick up larger items from donors at no cost. The proceeds from the store go toward helping to fund all of the programs of the affiliate.

Habitat for Humanity was founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have an affordable, durable place to live in dignity and safety and MCHFH is committed to recognizing and addressing the areas of need in Mecosta County. For more information, please visit mecostahabitat.org.

A Message From Our Director – March 2017

As you probably know, your business success depends largely on marketing. People won’t patronize your business if they don’t know about it, right? The marketing umbrella covers market research, advertising, public relations, promotions and sales.  Your business may offer the best products or services in your industry, but without marketing, your potential customers would not know about them. Without marketing, your sales may crash and the longevity of your business may be at risk.

You know your products and/or services.  You know your target customer, and you know your price points.  Know where to sell to maximize your marketing effectiveness. Younger customers are more likely to shop using a smartphone, shop on a website, and pay with PayPal or a credit card.  Older customers might prefer to shop at retail outlets.  A marketing strategy helps you determine if a particular magazine, newspaper, radio station, social media site, or other website fits into your selling plans.  Advertise with a combination of media outlets to reach the maximum number of potential customers.

Steer yourself towards profits and business growth.  With a good marketing plan in place, you control your sales.  A good plan identifies specific goals for advertising efforts, explains sales to be expected, and estimates when results should be noticed.  Reaching measurable milestones indicates an effective marketing plan.  Based on results, you can determine to stick to certain sales strategies or revise your plan.

If you would like to talk with someone about creating or improving your marketing plan, the Chamber has resources available to you! Give us a call and we can get you set up, free of charge!  As always, if there is anything else we can do for you please don’t hesitate to ask!