Monthly Archives: August 2017

Back to School – Not just for kids…

After a long hot summer, it may seem too early to be getting ready for going back to school, but even the change in weather is indicating it is time.  As a kid, I usually wasn’t ready for summer to end, but shopping for supplies and new clothes (particularly picking out my first day of school outfit) again got me excited.  Back to school is a great time to shop local – check back to our coupon corner often to see good deals in town!

Back to school time shouldn’t be just for kids, college students, or even shopping however important those are.  It is a good time to reflect upon ourselves and/or our employees as well.  It’s always good to learn or have a refresher.  If you follow my blog you know I am a fan of always improving.  I feel this time of year just naturally lends to that.  Which is why we moved our Level Up Business Conference to September.  The Chamber’s conference provides inspirational speakers and hands on education to impact our professional lives.  While you should plan to attend (Save the Date – September 20th), we also understand that this yearly event does not always offer the flexibility for some work schedules nor specific skilled classes that you may need.  TrainND Northwest – the training arm of Williston State College is already well known for delivering instructor-led and online training programs year-round at its state of the art facilities.  Lifelong learning was considered imperative by the likes of Albert Einstein and Henry Ford.  We believe it crucial to success as well.  Which is why, instead of reinventing the wheel, the Chamber announced its innovative workforce development partnership back in December of 2016.

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The Chamber Business Academy was born through this partnership with TrainND Northwest.  It allows Chamber member employees to upgrade their skills and improve professionally by registering for TrainND’s courses at a discount.  Classes such as computer software training, professional development, and leadership success are just some of the ones offered with this program.   Come the fall, it will be the 4th quarter chamber member employees are able to take advantage of this benefit.  As business owners in this market, you know the difficulty in finding and retaining good employees.  Giving them the skills they need to succeed and thrive helps create happy and productive employees.  Now more than ever is the right time to invest in your business by investing in yourself and your employees.  The Chamber is proud to be able to help – through the power of partnerships!

Starting in September, you can check the fall TrainND catalog for courses or call the Chamber 701-577-6000 for more information.  Discount applies only to Chamber members in good standing and Chamber members must mention their code when registering.

At age 87, Michelangelo said “I am still learning” May we all continue learning and improving.

-Janna

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Customer Service – Our 2017 LevelUP Focus

There should be a law against working while on vacation.  Yet, here I am doing just that.  It’s because last week, I had a great meeting with our LevelUP keynote speaker, Carol Ritter, while visiting family and friends in Pennsylvania.  She got me excited not only for her keynote on customer service, but with her ideas to make it a memorable experience.  She is a dynamic speaker who will motivate you and your employees and I can’t wait to bring her to ND next month.

Customer Service is pretty high on my priority of skills I look for in an employee and it is something I am constantly reminding my staff.  To get and keep a competitive edge, I truly believe that customer service is very important.  My own opinion is that 1. you need to treat everyone you come across daily as if they are the most important customer.  2. You need to be constantly evaluating how you are doing things and how you can improve.  But as business owners you simply cannot reach everyone so your employees need to be an extension of you.  Which is why the Chamber’s LevelUP conference will be so beneficial.  It has been said that it takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.  And on the flip side, Bill Gates has been quoted saying “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”  Plan to come to this year’s LevelUP to gain valuable insight and skills that will positively affect your business no matter what business it is!

I’m excited about the changes we’ve made to the Chamber’s LevelUP business conference.  First, we’ve changed it to half day because we know how busy everyone is.  Your time is important and we want you to get the most out of the conference yet, still get a half day’s work in as well.  We’ve picked a very important theme (customer service) but also complementing breakout sessions on networking, marketing and more that applies especially to our small businesses but really to anyone.  Plus, we have a fantastic line up, particularly our keynote, that will not disappoint.

So save the date – September 20th – and sign yourself and your employees up early!  Get excited to learn some new skills, improve, and possibly win some prizes – particularly if you are a 1st time attendee to the Chamber’s 3rd Annual LevelUP Business Conference.  Make sure you don’t miss out – for yourself and your business!

-Janna

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