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Articles in Category: Voice of Business

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Posted in Voice of Business

A penny for your thoughts. Not anymore – the Royal Canadian Mint will no longer distribute Canada's one-cent coin to banks and retailers. The penny will still be legal currency, but Canadian retailers might not have them to give out in change.

When you pay by cash, the price of your purchase after tax will be rounded up or down to make change:
•    Final amounts ending in .01 or .02 will be rounded down to nearest .00
•    Final amounts ending in .03 or .04 will be rounded up to nearest .05
•    Final amounts ending in .06 or .07 will be rounded down to nearest .05
•    Final amounts ending in .08 or .09 will be rounded up to nearest .10
But when they pay by credit or debit card -- the price will be calculated to the exact cent.

What's New March 2013

Posted in Voice of Business

Over the past two months; the Chamber has responded to the Federal Governments regulations around its Anti-Spam Legislation, the budget introduced by the Provincial Government and The City of Parksville’s comments regarding the definition of temporary in their Zoning Bylaw as being 180 Days. We are currently preparing a statement regarding the recently released Official Community Plan and invite input from our members. That is a lot of reading and discussion to ensure that the positions taken on various issues are in the best interests of the entire business community.
Still on the policy front we are pleased to report that the Penticton Chamber of Commerce has asked to take a policy written in 2006 by The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and presented to The BC Chamber for action back to the BC Chamber for inclusion in the Policy Statements to be presented to the BC Government. The policy in question focused on establishing legislation that set definite timeframes for local government to deal with Development Permit and Subdivision applications. If enacted by the Provincial Government developers would have a greater degree of certainty regarding project timeframes and budgets. These policies are posted on www.parksvillechamber.com.

Development Cost Charges

Posted in Voice of Business

There is a business model that seems to be gaining traction that I strongly suggest you stay clear of. The model could be called the overinflated model. The principal is to calculate your operating costs and then divide it by the number of customers you think you may have and that is the product price. If your customer number is low it doesn’t matter, you just increase the unit price to ensure you cover your operating cost. Sound familiar, it should. BC Ferries have continued to increase their prices even when the number of passengers using the service is dropping and now the City of Parksville is exploring the concept for the proposed Development Cost Charges Bylaw.

 

What's New

Posted in Voice of Business

What’s new? Pretty standard question when instigating a conversation, one I often struggle for an answer to. Sometimes what’s new is not new to me and sometimes there are answers I can give that would violate that other conversation starter – Can you keep a secret?
So what’s new at the Chamber and in the business community or what have you done for me lately?

Teamwork

Posted in Voice of Business

I love football and it has been a particularly good week from a football perspective. Last week the Grey Cup was in town with Travis Lulay Paul Mcallum and Sunday was wall to wall Superbowl; the biggest and most viewed sports event on this continent. So what does that have to to do with business or more particularly the Chamber. For me personally being active in team sports, first football and for the past thirty years playing rugby has provided me with the best training in life skills and business skills. Learning the importance of teamwork, patience and understanding how and when to take advantage of opportunities when they come along.

The Why of Economic Growth

Posted in Voice of Business

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce over the past several months have laid the groundwork for a major project concerning the Economic Growth of the Oceanside region. We have assembled a committee of stakeholders including representatives from local government, business and educators. We have applied for and received a grant from the federal government office of the Trade Commissioner to hire a consultant to complete a study of the economic competitiveness of our region and we have made a presentation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Board to secure the other half of the funding to complete the assessment.

Starting With Why

Posted in Voice of Business

I have had the pleasure over the past year of being introduced to the “Start With Why” concept espoused by Simon Sinek. It started with a Food For Thought topic and I have become a believer.

As you get ready for 2012 I would like you to consider becoming more influential and profitable with an increase in loyalty from customers, clients and members.

Any organization can explain what it does, most can explain how they do what they do but very few can explain clearly the why of their organization.

Why is not money or profit – those are results. Why does your organization exist? Why does it do the things it does? Why are customers loyal?

Why does the Chamber of Commerce exist? Everything we do stems from a belief that a healthy business community is the key to the overall health of the community at large. Everything we do whether it is in the operation of our organization or the advocacy efforts we conduct on behalf of our members is based on that belief.

We host networking sessions with our members because we believe that strong relationships promote better business practices – those are both Whats that come from the belief about a healthy business community.

We provide business counseling and training to work towards establishing a business community that prides itself on excellence, this is How we will work towards the development of a healthy business community as an essential component of a healthy community at large.

Over the past year we have championed the benefits of business of sustainability, responsible use of power and water. This is another example of what we do.

Why we do it - to ensure that Parksville & District continues to have a healthy business community.

The list goes on from developing Economic Development tools to working with the School District to find options for our young people to stay and build their lives here.

Starting with Why puts a whole new spin on the development of strong leaders and strong business.

I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year and hope that you will take the time to explore Why as a central theme that the What and How you run your organization can benefit from.

It's a New Year with a New Plan

Posted in Voice of Business

So long 2011 and Hello 2012. January is traditionally that time when we set goals/resolutions as we chart a course for our personal lives and our business lives. The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be charting the course for the next several years at a strategic planning session on February 4th.

At the last Strategic Planning session in June of 2010 the Board identified Advocacy and Economic Excellence as their priorities and set some goals for staff to negotiate a long term lease with the City for the Visitor Centre and to increase revenue for the Visitor Centre as we move towards financial independence for that operation.

As advocates for business the Chamber has participated in Official Community Planning sessions, submitted letters to the City regarding parking issues, Commercial water rates, commercial signage and a proposed Noise and Odour bylaw. Our relationship with the City is a positive one where we are able to meet and discuss issues. In addition through our bi-monthly articles we hope that the voice of business is being heard throughout the community.

Economic Excellence has translated to Economic Development and we were recently advised that we were successful with a grant application for federal funds to complete an assessment of the economic competitiveness of our region. This is an exciting step as we move towards expanding the commercial tax base, creating jobs and increasing the availability of products. In addition the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce completed a Business Sustainability exercise with students from Vancouver Island University and will be applying for Sustainability Certification as a result. Check out B-Corp at www.bcorporation.net.

From an operations standpoint with the passage of the referendum we will now be able to complete our lease negotiations with the City and we have significantly added to Visitor Centre revenues; however we still have work to do to be completely independent from Chamber support for the operation of the Visitor Centre. There is a definite benefit to business from the Visitor Centre but if we are going to council sustainability we must also be leaders.

The Strategic Planning session in February will set out our focus and targets for the next 3 years and given the growth of the Chamber over the past year should prove exciting.

I am looking back on a good year and looking forward to a great year. I wish all of you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Posted in Voice of Business

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the City
Not a creature was stirring, except the odd kitty
The shops were all closed, with lights all a glitter
As they’d sold all their wares, shop local marketing pitched a no hitter.

The merchants were nestled all snug in their beds,
While plans for great boxing day sales, took form in their heads.
And the local media sales group,
Had just settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the Beach there arose such a clatter,
The police and fire trucks drove out to see what was the matter.
Away to the Community Park I drove in an instant
Ran down to the Boardwalk to look of in the distance


It's all About Attitude and Opportunity

Posted in Voice of Business

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if?

We are the sum of our experiences not only due to the chain of events linked from our birth to now, but also because as we make decisions and experience the consequences of those decisions it impacts future decisions of a similar nature. Personally I like where I am and would never want to change a thing; even though there have been many experiences I definitely do not want to go through again.

 So what does this have to do with business? Our business, in the same way that we are the sum of our experiences is the sum of opportunities both taken and passed. Opportunities in the business world present themselves constantly. Some are not noticed, some we pass on and some we seize and run with. I want to always be in a position to both notice and take advantage of any opportunity, whether it is as simple as an act of kindness or as complex as an offering that needs serious analysis before moving forward.

 Everything is an opportunity; everyone we meet is a potential lead or new customer, or even the source of an idea that may move our business to a new level. Keeping a positive attitude will allow you to see more opportunities and taking advantage of those opportunities will help your business grow and flourish and everything depends on your attitude.

 

Great Value from Chamber Membership

Posted in Voice of Business

A new national study reveals that membership in a local chamber of commerce can significantly boost a business's image among consumers, as well as among other businesses. In a scientific survey of 2,000 adults, The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, found positive perceptions of chamber members in a number of areas, including overall favourability, consumer awareness and reputation and likelihood of future patronage. View the study here.

The study showed that when respondents were told that a particular small business was a member of its local chamber, they were 44 percent more likely to rate it favorably than study respondents who were not told of the chamber affiliation. Respondents were also 63 percent more likely to want to purchase goods or services from a small business that is a chamber member.

“We discovered that informing someone about a company's chamber membership opens the door to substantial increases positive perceptions of that business,” Alex Trouteaud, senior strategist for The Schapiro Group, said. “There clearly is a feeling by our respondents that chamber membership is synonymous with quality and desirability.”

 

I Am Canadian

Posted in Voice of Business

Tomorrow at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh year we will all stop and remember those who sacrificed all to ensure we have the lifestyles we enjoy today. I will think of my parents and the sacrifice they made in their service in the Royal Navy; I will also thank them for the sacrifice and the risk they took in moving to Canada, creating the opportunity for me to live the life I have. I am truly thankful for that move and am truly a PROUD CANADIAN.

I contrast their sacrifice (selling everything they owned to purchase passage to a country thousands of miles away where they worked hard for ten years before they were able to purchase our first home) with the attitude of the Occupy groups who believe everything should be given to them because they want it.

I am afraid I just don’t understand a mindset that says this is the way I want things to be and therefore that is the way they should be and I am going to disrupt everything I can until that is so. Looking to government for support rather than working to support needs rather than wistfully seeking support for wants.

 

All economic systems whether they be hard capitalism where risk is rewarded or communism where hard work is rewarded require a commitment from individuals. Government is absolutely needed to ensure the needs of the many are met through services that we all require; transportation, healthcare, protection and social services for those unable to provide the necessities for themselves. Government also needs to be a regulatory overseer to ensure level playing fields but they are not there to provide guarantees to any individual or group because they want it. The following quote from Margaret Wente in the Globe and Mail sums up my thoughts:

 

It’s not the greedy Wall Street bankers who destroyed these people’s hopes. It’s the virtueocracy itself. It’s the people who constructed a benefit-heavy entitlement system whose costs can no longer be sustained. It’s the politicians and union leaders who made reckless pension promises that are now bankrupting cities and states. It’s the socially progressive policy-makers in the U.S. who declared that everyone, even those with no visible means of support, should be able to own a home with no money down, courtesy of their government. In Canada, it’s the social progressives who assure us we can keep on consuming all the health care we want, even as the costs squeeze out other public goods.

 

Government, including Local Government needs to return to basics. They need to stop meddling in social experiments and leave those to the passionate groups who are prepared to find a way through fundraising or volunteerism to fulfill those worthy goals.

So tomorrow I will remember those who instilled a solid work ethic in me and contributed to a world where that work ethic meant something. Thank you for your sacrifice and it is my hope that the few sacrifices I made for my children will have the same impact on them.

We Will Be Watching

Posted in Voice of Business

The local election process is complete for another three years. With the return of four of the five incumbent councilors and the Acting Mayor now taking on the title and role of Mayor the results in Parksville indicate overall support for the leadership the City government has been taking over the past three year term.

Based on the responses to the Chamber Questionnaire focused on business issues there is strong support for revitalizing our downtown core and for economic development to expand our commercial base. There also is strong support for the creation of a mobile business license.

From the community perspective all elected officials see a need to complete the OCP and continue the process of securing a safe plentiful source of water.

To the community’s benefit, five of the seven faces on Council have been there before. There should be no excuses about learning curves, to get on with the priorities discussed during the campaign; the Official Community Plan being the number one priority. It is imperative that this process, which has gone on for far too long be completed.

Given the stated desire to improve the downtown and expand the commercial tax base, the completion of the OCP process is the first step. For the past six years there has been a significant decline in building permits and Development Cost Charges revenue. This is hurting the construction trade which provides 17% of the jobs in the area and it affects the rate at which the City can install and upgrade the essential infrastructure which we rely on. We have seen a steady drop in both the number and value of building permits from 315 permits valued at $44 million in 2005 to 95 permits valued at $12 million to October 2011. This is a dramatic drop and it is time to turn it around.

I am hoping that council will seek to understand why the development and building community are staying away from Parksville, complete the implementation of the recommendations of the Development Process Review and complete the OCP process; all of which are hindering revitalizing the downtown, expanding the commercial tax base and ultimately providing a portion of the tax, DCC and utility revenue necessary to upgrade our water system.

Strength Through Advocacy

Posted in Voice of Business

I recently returned from the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting held in Prince George. Getting away from the day to day operations of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce was not initially appealing to me; however being immersed in the policy environment of the BC Chamber for three days was a very positive experience.

The BC Chamber is the advocacy agency for taking resolutions from around the Province to the BC and Federal Governments from Chambers around the Province. Resolutions are brought to the floor of the policy session, debated and passed to be taken forward to government for action or defeated.

The BC Chamber priorities are:

  • A Vibrant Resource Sector
  • Competitive Taxation and Regulation
  • Crime and Public Safety
  • Reform of Local Government
  • Skills and Labour Shortage
  • Transportation

And this year we debated everything from the legalization of marijuana (defeated) to getting the most from our education system (passed). Debate was passionate and skilled and in the end those policies that will work to improve the quality of life in BC and assist business to contribute to that quality of life were passed.

 

During the convention we were educated and entertained by a number of knowledgeable speakers providing information to Chambers on ways to better serve their members and their communities. The coming referendum on HST was a hot topic as was changing our language when working with various stakeholder groups to ensure we speak on the facts during debate and not become embroiled in emotional arguments.

 

The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce Policy Committee meets regularly to discuss Local, Provincial and Federal matters to ensure that the Voice of Business is more than a mantra; that it is relevant and effective. We will continue to work to ensure the Parksville & District business community is well served by our advocacy efforts.

 

As one of our speakers stated “The Chamber of Commerce is the watering hole for the community”. Strong Chambers build strong communities.

 

Service Sells

Posted in Voice of Business

Last week one of our business members was telling me about a staff member who had gone above and beyond in order to assist one of their customers. It was a great story and the employee definitely went out of her way to look after that customer. I suggested that service of that nature was the type of service recognized when we hand out our Glassies. I know the Community awards are in March and with all that is going on it seems a little early to be thinking about handing out awards eight months from now, but it is important to recognize those individuals and businesses that excel at what they do.

 

It is never too early to submit a nomination and if it is fresh in your mind then the nomination will be a lot easier than trying to think of details in January. The online form can be found at www.parksvillechamber.com/special-events/ .

 

So speaking of excellent service, it is summer, when we entertain the bulk of our visitors. They are certainly streaming through the Visitor Centre and if Canada Day was an indicator it will be a busy summer. Our Visitors come for the beach, the scenery, relaxing accommodations and the fantastic events. They will return if they find a friendly, warm and welcoming community. It is up to us, the business community, to go out of our way to provide super service.

 

When customers experience that great service they will return, the opposite is also unfortunately true. With the recent increase in product availability through new entrepreneurs opening businesses here, the provision of great service and the impact of $1.25/ltre gasoline it is possible we will see the $$$ spent in Nanaimo reduced and our Oceanside economy strengthened. Recent statistics reveal a 70%-30% split with the 70% being retail dollars spent in Nanaimo.

 

Service is the difference, service sells.

 

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