2019 Business Awards of Excellence Nominees Announced!

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Congratulations to everyone who was nominated for our 2019 Awards of Excellence! We received over 100 nominations.

Our Awards of Excellence will be presented at our 20th Annual Awards of Excellence and Social Gala, which is taking place on Thursday, October 10th at Lakefield College School. Doors open at 6:30pm.

Those marked with an asterisk received more than one nomination.

 

14 Ways to Attract the Best and the Brightest Employees

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Everyone wants to attract the best and brightest employees. After all, your team directly affects your ability to provide excellent customer service and that is essential to business success these days.

If you’re a very small business, you might not be looking for the best and the brightest but the willing and capable. That’s good too.

But either way, you want to attract good, quality employees just like everyone else. In today’s job market, it’s a job hunter’s paradise and you’re likely hard-pressed to find the stars you want.

To further complicate that, those stars are likely already employed. So how do you become the kind of business that people want to work for? How do you get them to knock on your door instead of you having to chase them? Here are some ideas to help make you an employer of choice in your community.

Become an Employer of Choice and Potential Employees Will Seek You Out

The beauty of becoming an employer of choice–someone everyone wants to work for–is that it doesn’t cost a lot of money. It’s also a lot easier than you might think but there are a couple of things you need to do before we talk about the facets behind a great workplace.

You must know who you’re looking for

Before you recreate your business to attract quality employees, you need to know who those employees are. Are you looking for seasoned professionals or someone with little experience who you can mold? Are you looking for a “hunter” personality or a “nurturer”? Maybe you only want naturally curious people, for instance. Yes, some of these things are position specific, but others reflect the type of culture you want to build.

One note of caution: this tip is by no means suggesting you scout for a particular demographic. That can get you into trouble legally through discriminatory hiring practices.

However, there are overarching themes you should be looking for that help you build the type of environment that will contribute to the service you want to provide your customers.

Know what your competition is doing

While you should never use your competition’s actions to hold you back by thinking, “They’re not doing it yet. We don’t have to.”, you should keep an eye on their hiring and recruiting practices. You don’t want them to pass you up.

You need to talk about yourself

This is hard for a lot of employers but it is absolutely necessary in becoming an employer of choice in the community. But don’t be a bore about it. Don’t tell people how great you are. Show them. Post what you’re doing, what you value, and celebrate your people doing it well for all to see. That’s the kind of thing that will get people excited about working for you.

Speaking of that. let’s jump right in to how you can become a highly desired business in your community (even if you’re teeny tiny):

  • Be flexible with work hours and/or provide work at home opportunities. It needn’t be full-time just give the flexibility.
  • Offer flexible start times. There are some businesses that this does not work for but others can adopt a coordinated window of when people start. Parents really appreciate this perk.
  • Have an attractive work facility or public spaces.
  • Offer safe, ample parking.
  • Make professional development a key component of what you offer. The chamber may provide some very cost-effective options for helping you do this. As a chamber member, your employees can attend their programming.
  • Insist that everyone use their vacation time and don’t create such an intense environment that they feel they can’t.
  • Market your ideas behind work/life balance.
  • Let your personality shine through all of your social media posts, web copy, and business communications.

 Tips for Hospitality, Food Service, and Retail

These industries are notorious for the revolving door and it’s difficult to become an employer of choice in many of them because the things that office employers can do (like flexible start times) can’t be accomplished in these industries. But here are a few things you can offer such as:

  • Pay a higher wage for the area.
  • Schedule samplings and trial times. For instance, host paired tastings for employees after the restaurant closes or host a mini fashion show with paired items your employees put together from the store. It will make them better salespeople when they are suggesting dishes or outfits.
  • Celebrate your best employees and help everyone become your best.
  • Ask for employee suggestions and listen to them.
  • Empower them to do better by the customer.
  • Don’t make them feel secondary to the customer. Instead, help them feel like they are pivotal to customer experience and without them, there wouldn’t be customers.

With today’s low unemployment rate, finding quality employees can be a struggle. You will do much better in recruiting and hiring if they notice you and seek you out. As an employer of choice in your community, you will have your pick of future employees and that’s a good spot to be in.

 

Thank you to our 2019-20 Professional Development Sponsor, Lynn Woodcroft, Sales Representative, Royal LePage Frank Real Estate

Article written by Christina R. Green, regular blogger for Frank J. Kenny.

8 Common Mistakes Businesses Make Trying to Engage Online

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If you’re online for business, you’ve likely been told to engage and be human. But what does that look like? And can you do it wrong? Yes, you can but it’s also easy to avoid these common mistakes.

8 Common Mistakes Businesses Make Trying to Engage Online

Not knowing your audience. Humanizing your brand online is easy if you know who you’re talking to. If you try to be all things to all people, you’ll find connecting and engaging to be a lot harder than it needs to be. Analyze your demographic. Where are they? What platforms are they on and what do they like to do there? Knowing these things can ensure you reach them where they are in a form they’ll enjoy. Speaking of which…

Using the wrong media. Young people love video. It’s a preferred form of learning and entertainment. If you want to appeal to a young group, video is a great medium. If you want to appeal to readers, it might not be. Again, knowing your demographic will help you understand their preferred media. If you don’t know, ask. Or create the same content across multiple mediums. (This is an easy way to build your content library too while ensuring everyone can interact with your content their way.)

Not sharing enough. Some businesses fail to share themselves and their culture with their audience. Think of it like going to a social event and answering everyone’s inquiries with a “yes” or “no” and nothing more. That becomes boring for those you’re speaking with. The same is true of social media. If you just post articles with no commentary and no tone, your feed becomes very boring.

Sharing the wrong things. There are many polarizing topics these days: religion, politics, topics involving Constitutional law and fringe groups. Shoot to provide value and avoid topics that could polarize your audience. The only exception to this is if your business is based on inciting topics.

Listing platforms they’re not active on. Ever go to a site where they list their social media icons so you can connect with them on other platforms? When you click on them, you see they haven’t posted there in months, maybe years. If you’re not there on a consistent basis, take them off your website. You can retain the profile but don’t publicize it until you plan on using it consistently. If you publicize it but don’t use it, people will wonder if you’re still in business.

Not having a website. Social media is great but you don’t own it. Your preferred platform could be shut off tomorrow or your account could be frozen for no reason. Then try calling that platform to straighten it out. Good luck. You could lose years of content with no warning. Always have an online presence that belongs to you and back the content up regularly on your own or with a service.

Having a bad web presence. A bad web page is just as bad as none at all. A bad web page is one that:

  • has spelling errors is difficult to read
  • is not updated with fresh information
  • looks slapped together
  • takes a long time to load
  • pulls content from someone else (that’s plagiarism, by the way)
  • has outdated social media profile icons on it
  • has out-of-date information like your address or
  • is difficult to find the information that is being sought.

Not being human enough. Don’t think of social media as a megaphone, it’s a conversation. Yes, you need to post but you also need to listen and respond. Get involved in conversations with people. Be human. Ask them questions and take an interest in them.

If you are trying to become more human on social media and in your branding, you want to avoid these common mistakes. They’re common because they’re easy to do. Businesses are told to share on social media, to post good content. But not all of it is as effective as it could be. Avoid this list and you’ll be well on your way to more meaningful dialogue with your audience.

 

Thank you to our 2019-20 Professional Development Sponsor, Lynn Woodcroft, Sales Representative, Royal LePage Frank Real Estate

Blog post written by Christina R. Green

What’s Happening in the Kawarthas this May Long Weekend

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The arrival of the May Long Weekend is a sure sign that summer is on its way, and we couldn’t be more excited. To help you kick off the start of summer in the Kawarthas, we’ve compiled a list of some events happening in the area this upcoming long weekend (Friday, May 17 to Monday, May 20th)!

1) Buckhorn Spring Craft Show

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The Buckhorn Community Centre is hosting the Buckhorn Spring Craft Show on Saturday, May 18th from 10am-5pm and Sunday, May 19th from 10am-4pm.

At the Spring Craft Show, you’ll find over 75 exhibitors and artisans with home made products such as, clothing, jewelry, home decor and much more!  The show is set in a park-like setting, so you can walk from building to building to see all the exhibitors as well as take a break in the park.

The Crafters Cafe will be open with homemade soups, sandwiches and more. The BCC is fully accessible, and has free parking and a shuttle bus, too!

2) Lakefield Village Lions Club Fundraising Raffle

Make sure to stop by Lakefield Foodland on Friday, May 17th for the Lakefield Village Lions Club‘s Fundraising Raffle. They will be at Lakefield Foodland throughout the day raising funds for the Christ Church Community Museum restoration project.
There are (6) $100 Gift Certificates to be won! Tickets are $2 each or 3 for $5. The draw takes place May 30th. Don’t miss out for a chance to win while supporting this important community project.

3) Cuddles for Cancer Bake Sale

CUDDLESLooking to enjoy some yummy baking over the long weekend? Cuddles for Cancer is hosting a Bake Sale on Saturday, May 18th from 8am-noon at the Century 21 Office in Lakefield.

All baked goods are $2 and proceeds from the sale will go towards the Cuddles for Cancer United Kingdom Trip.

4) Lakefield Village Lions Club Annual Bake Sale

The Lakefield Village Lions Club is also hosting a bake sale on the May Long Weekend!

Their Annual Bake Sale is taking place on Saturday, May 18th at 8:00 am on the Baker & Cole Law Office Front Porch! Stop by for a variety of fresh home baked goods.  Make sure to go early – they sell out fast!

5) Spring Book Sales in Lakefield, Ennismore and Bridgenorth

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Annual Spring Book Sales are taking place throughout Selwyn Township on Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th! The Annual Spring Book Sales are a great opportunity to find hidden treasures, save the environment, support the library and get more bang for your buck.
Dates/Locations:
  1. Bridgenorth Annual Spring Book Sale – Friday, May 17th, 9am-5pm. In front of the Causeway Treasure Trove (826 Ward St. Bridgenorth). “Weather permitting”
  2. Lakefield Annual Spring Book Sale – Saturday, May 18th from 9am-1pm. Centennial Room beside the Lakefield Library (2 Queen Street, Lakefield)
  3. Ennismore Annual Spring Book Sale – Saturday, May 18th from 9am-3pm. Optimist Hall below the Ennismore Library (551 Ennis Road, Ennismore)

6) Annual Plant Sale

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Annual Plant Sale with the Lakefield Horticultural Society is taking place this Saturday, May 18th at Cenotaph Park in Lakefield from 8:00am – 11:30am.

The sale is held each year to help raise funds for the organization’s activities in Lakefield. Specifically, the funds are used to purchase and plant the hanging baskets in the Village, the gardens in Cenotaph park, and around the Library.

Stop by for a selection of annuals, perennials, vegetables, and maybe even some trees and shrubs. The sale runs rain or shine.

7) Spring Art Show at Whetung Ojibwa Centre

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There’s a Spring Art Show taking place at Whetung Ojibwa Centre in Curve Lake First Nation on Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, May 19th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm daily. The show will feature Whetung Ojibwa Centre’s most popular artists. They will be displaying their craft and new ideas both days!

Visiting Some of the Great Businesses In Young’s Point!

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We held our April Business After Hours in Young’s Point where we did a hop with some of the great businesses in the area. On our hop, we visited with Clearview Cottage ResortLockside Trading Co.Young’s Point Personal Training & 24 Hour Fitness, Kinetic Therapeutics, and Old Bridge Inn & Restaurant.

Thank you to to everyone who came out, and thank you to our Networking Event Sponsor Blue Diamond Window Cleaning.

Stop #1 Clearview Cottage Resort

Clearview Cottage Resort | 462 South Beach Road | (705) 652-3542

Our first stop on our Young’s Point Hop was Clearview Cottage Resort. Clearview is a family-owned and operated resort for over 50 years, and strives to help families create lasting memories. There are 22 cottages on the property that range from 1-4 bedrooms.

85% of the guests who stay at Clearview are returning, and it’s not hard to see why. Clearview Cottage Resort is nestled along Clear Lake, and offers guests amenities such as beach volleyball, ping pong, horseshoes, bonfire pit, parking, boat area, water access, air hockey, full sand beach, a view of the lake, clear grassy area, water park, playground, shuffleboard and free summer ski program to name a few.

Clearview also makes a point of supporting local businesses in the area when conducting business. For example, they use Logan Tree Experts for their tree maintenance and buy their cottage toys (like paddle boards, skis, paddle boats, etc) from Cottage Toys.

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Stop #2 Lockside Trading Company

Lockside Trading Company | 2805 River Avenue | (705) 652-3940

Our next stop on our Young’s Point Hop was Lockside Trading Company, which is a true treasure in the heart of Young’s Point. Lockside Trading Co. offers everything from home decor to indoor & outdoor furniture to ice cream and clothing and more!

Lockside Trading Company first opened in 1987, so it’s been in business for over 30 years! Lockside is located right along Lock 27 in Young’s Point, and has grown into the largest gift/furniture store in the Kawarthas, showcasing in-store design and merchandise year-round.

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Stop #3 Young’s Point Personal Training & 24 Hour Fitness

Young’s Point Personal Training | 2108 Nathaway Drive | (705) 931-3488

Our third stop on our Hop was Young’s Point Personal Training & 24 Hour Fitness. We toured the personal training studio first, which offers guests a private, comfortable environment for their personal training sessions. The studio is bright, spacious and well equipped, and Young’s Point Personal Training designs custom programs for each guest.

Taking a short walk over to the fitness center, you’ll find a fully equipped gym with cardio equipment, strength-training machines, free weights, showers, change rooms, televisions, and lockers. The gym is open to members 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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Stop #4 Kinetic Therapeutics

Kinetic Therapeutics | 2108 Nathaway Drive | (705) 933-9113

Our fourth stop on our Young’s Point Hop was Kinetic Therapeutics, which is actually located inside the Young’s Point Personal Training building. Kinetic Therapeutics offers massage therapy, kinesiology, and wellness products. Leslie Nunes has been a Registered Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer for over 15 years.

Leslie possesses a Specialized Honours Degree in Kinesiology, is a Registered Kinesiologist, and specializes in sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries, muscle re-education, exercise based rehabilitation, and health and wellness for the aging population. Kinetic Therapeutics offers an easy online booking tool for appointments.

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Stop #5 Old Bridge Inn

Old Bridge Inn | 2057 Old Hwy. 28 | (705) 652-8507

Our last stop of the evening was the Old Bridge Inn for networking, door prize draws and refreshments! The Old Bridge Inn was originally built in 1887, and offers fine casual dining, a riverside patio, beautiful dining areas, and a bed & breakfast.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Old Bridge Inn offers 7 bedrooms, each with their own wifi. The restaurant offers both lunch and dinner, and is also available for event hosting!

The Old Bridge Inn opens for the 2019 season starting May 3rd!

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