By TODD TRANUM
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
Businesses today are all seeking a competitive edge. They are actively looking for ways to increase sales and reduce costs, and the businesses that are members of the Chamber of Commerce already know the value of making connections that only the Chamber can provide.
Tools to increase profits create a substantial value for Chamber members.
The Shop Chautauqua County Gift Check program easily pumps more than $100,000 a year into our local economy. Chamber Gift Checks can be redeemed only at Chamber member businesses. In addition to keeping consumers' spending local, gift checks help to increase marketing exposure for the businesses that participate.
Marketing and advertising opportunities through the Chamber mean that members have a built in audience. By marketing directly to other like-minded business people, you reach a consumer base that understands the value of improving our community and is more likely to work to patronize local businesses. You can sell your products or services directly to business decision makers by advertising through the Chamber's online and print publications.
Member-to-Member discounts through the Chamber are now managed in the form of online coupons. Members must log in to the Chamber's members only web site to access these coupons, which can save up to 20 percent on selected products and services for your home or business. Check out the Member-to-Member coupons through the Chamber's online Business Directory and click the link for coupons and discounts.
Discounted email marketing is also available for Chamber members, who can receive exclusive discounts of up to 25 percent through Constant Contact. You can build your own email database, easily import it into Constant Contact, and send important messages to your customers all done in an easy to use and attractive web-based format. Online survey tools are available as well. Additional discounts are available for Chamber members on Internet access, employer services, and training programs.
These are just a few of the ways that Chamber members can help to save money and increase their profits. If you measure the inexpensive cost of joining, your return can be substantial. If your business got just one more sale per month, or one more referral, the value could be tremendous. To learn more, call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101. Or you can join online through the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org.
State legislative breakfast set for April 19
Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for its members to have a direct conversation with elected officials from each level of government. This year, the State Legislative Breakfast will be held April 19 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany, and be available for questions from the audience.
The State Legislative Breakfast is sponsored by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress Company, KeyBank, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, Nestle Purina PetCare, Serta Mattress Company, the State University of New York at Fredonia and WCA Hospital.
The State Legislative Breakfast is just $15 per person. You can register online through the Chamber's web site and online events calendar, or call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.
2013 business builder source book being distributed
The newest edition of the Business Builder Source Book is now being distributed to all members of the Chamber of Commerce. This annual print publication features a list of Chamber member businesses, in addition to providing a membership handbook section, a community profile, special sections for each of the six Community Chambers of Commerce, and much more.
Your 2013 Business Builder Source Book will be arriving in the mail soon. Please support the businesses who helped to make it possible by advertising in this annual directory.
Sign up for Active Rewards
By this point in the year, some of us have slipped a little in that resolution to get into better shape. It sounded good back on Jan. 1, but it is often hard to keep those resolutions past the first month. For those enrolled in the Univera health insurance products through the Chamber of Commerce Bright Choices exchange, there may is an extra incentive to keep going cash back! ActiveUnivera is a rewards program that makes it easy to receive cash back for simple healthy lifestyle decisions. You can earn up to $1,000 per family, or $500 for an individual, each year just for doing healthy things that fit into your daily routine; things like working in the yard, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking the dog. To learn more, visit www.univerahealthcare.com and click the link for ActiveRewards. It's easy to get started and you can get cash back just for working to meet your fitness goals this year.
Businesses may be eligible for health insurance tax credits
The Affordable Care Act can be daunting for businesses, but if you need help navigating through the maze of regulations and potential tax credits, you have an ally. The Community Chamber Development Corporation, an affiliate of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, is helping to provide answers through the Small Business Assistance Program.
SBAP is an initiative of the Community Service Society (CSS), a network of organizations across New York State that helps consumers and small business get affordable health care and health insurance. Through SBAP we can provide health reform information and training for employers and one-on-one consultations on insurance options, costs, tax credits, enrollment, regulations, and more.
For more information or to set up a presentation for your civic, business, or other group or organization contact CCDC at 366-6200 or 484-1101.