FREDERICK COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
It’s that time of year when people start talking about making those infamous new year resolutions that are made with the best intentions but also destined to fail.
And that’s not just us being faithless pessimists here, it’s actually what’s true for the majority of people.
Because according to US News, 80% of New Year resolutions fail by the second week of February. Which means most of us won’t even be living our new lives for two full months before it has been definitively kicked it to the curb.
Research and experience agree that new year resolutions don’t really make anyone slimmer, healthier, wealthier, or better, and yet, humans continue to make them year after year, after unsuccessful year.
We aren’t sure why humanity seems so attached to this practice—probably it’s our continuous and innate desire to live our best lives—but we do know that when it comes to business there is a much better way and it’s called setting goals.
It’s easy to become an idealist when the New Year rolls around, but it’s important to remember that New Year’s resolutions are ultimately a tool to help you grow into the person you want to be."
In early December, the MSDE released their statewide public school report cards that measure performance on the state’s new accountability system. Frederick County Public Schools performed quite well, all receiving marks of 3 or better–a meaningful achievement for members of the local business community.
The New Maryland State Accountability System
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a new federal law designed to help measure school success and pathways toward improvement. As an updated version of the No Child Left Behind Act, the ESSA seeks to ensure that all of our nation’s students will be taught to high academic standards and that assessments will be given to reflect and report upon student achievement of these standards. With that comes the need for accountability and the requirement that specific plans for improvement will be enacted when schools fail to meet these standards.
In response to this new law, the Maryland State Department of Education developed a new report card system designed to help demonstrate that success for our schools and students includes more than just their test scores –it’s about growth, it’s about access, and it’s about readiness for what comes next.
Whether a school receives the highest mark possible, a 5-star rating, or the lowest, a 1-star rating, the information provided via the report is beneficial for school improvement purposes. For those in Frederick County–where no school received lower than a 3-star rating, the information provided can be utilized to take schools to the next level of achievement. And, for those in the business sector, this rating is a valuable indicator to help determine current and future community health, and to provide opportunities for creating valuable partnerships that will me mutually beneficial for all involved.
Instagram is arguably one of the most powerful and influential social media marketing spaces online right now.
If you’re a business owner who hasn’t tapped into this space, you’re likely losing potential customers to your competitors who are already plugged in.
Instagram is low-cost marketing with the potential of high-touch with potential clients because of its growing popularity.
The question isn’t “why use Instagram?” It’s “why are you not using Instagram?”
Perhaps a little background info will help get you on board.
It’s the week before Thanksgiving and you’re probably sitting at your desk, in your barely functioning office, daydreaming about the tasty goodies you’ll be inhaling this Thursday.
And, while we’re all counting down the hours until we can shut things down for the long weekend of food and family, we want to call your attention to one last matter of business before you go—Small Business Saturday.
Created as something of a response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shopping holidays that more heavily support big box retailers and e-commerce sites, American Express launched Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, 2010. The day is meant to encourage shoppers to support smaller, local retailers in an effort to help keep these businesses healthy and thriving.
Now as we prepare to celebrate for the 8th year, it’s easy to see how beneficial and profitable the initiative has become for small business owners across the nation.
According to American Express, billions of dollars are generated by small business owners on Small Business Saturday. In fact, in 2016, they reported that small business owners generated an estimated $15.4 billion on Small Business Saturday that year, and every year seems to generate more participation by shoppers.
And the impact in Frederick has been no different. Many retailers express that the day is important to them both because of its profitability and the opportunity it provides to connect with the community.
And, while the focus of this Saturday seems to be on independent retailers and local artisans who create items that will help shoppers fill stockings and packages for the holiday season, the initiative itself has evolved into something bigger for many communities, including ours.
It's time to Get Fit Frederick!
Here's what's true: regular exercise will make you a more successful person. Research has shown that regular exercise helps reduce stress, boosts brain activity, and increases your memory and ability to prioritize, making you a more centered, focused, creative, and organized leader. (Business Insider, 2016)
It has even been shown to elevate your mood in ways that help you build meaningful, beneficial work relationships that, over time, help you create opportunity and success for yourself and your company.
For those able to fit a little movement into the work day, research has found that your work could benefit immensely. Those who make time for a little midday workout have been found to be more productive, better at managing time, and happier when they went home -an element that impacts overall work dedication and importance (HBR, 2014).
Inspired by findings like these, personal experience, and the work being done by the Live Well Frederick program at FMH, the Business Health Committee at The Chamber has launched a new health and wellness program for our members called Get Fit Frederick. This initiative is designed to help get you moving more and stressing less so that you can more effectively and efficiently achieve your business (and personal) goals.
There are countless excuses people give for why they aren't able to fit fitness into their daily, or even weekly routines -schedule, finances, fear, all come to mind. You don't have time, you can't afford it, going to the gym is scary.
We get it and that's why we want to help.
Frederick County: Built On Stone & Story
In October 2018, 242 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, Frederick City was 270 years old. Approaching its 3rd century, our historic hamlet has been the stage to so many significant events that - quite literally- these stories have seeped into the very stone walls and sidewalks of Frederick. Where cherished shops and storefronts now stand, armies once marched. Where superstores and retailers now thrive, valiant soldiers died and slaves were unjustly shackled. The spires of our iconic skyline watch today’s high wheel bicycle races with the same vigilance as they once watched Presidents and prominent figures stroll the streets. Legend follows that Frederick is haunted – not by vengeful spirits (probably), but by the specters of the past that continue to shape its story.
Our particular LFC 2019 story began at the Frederick Visitor Center with a hearty breakfast and a presentation from one of Frederick’s favorite storytellers, John Fieseler. With a passion befitting his position as Executive Director of Visit Frederick, John told a tale of a former Frederick; one that flooded (prior to the Carroll Creek promenade’s construction), had slanted stone streets, and familiar buildings home to unfamiliar facades.
With the maps and photos of bygone days fresh in our minds, it was time to explore! With John at the helm, we walked the streets of Frederick with new appreciation. We were particularly impressed with the rise (and flaming fall) of our old city halls, the habits of young Francis Scott Key as he visited his cousin, the truth behind the legend of Barbara Fritchie, and the incredible story behind how the Weinburg Center first got an air conditioning unit!
Just as every story has an essential chapter that sets the tone for the whole tale, Frederick is impossible to understand without studying the Civil War. Some of the most ferocious and decisive battles of the war happened less than 2 hours from Frederick’s Square Corner (Antietam and Gettysburg, just to name a few). The armies of both the North and South marched through downtown Frederick, and the Confederates even threatened to burn Frederick to the ground unless paid a hefty ransom (more on that later). During the height of the conflict, there were multitudes more wounded soldiers being treated in makeshift hospitals and private homes in Frederick than there were citizens living in the town!
The LFC Civil War story spanned several locations throughout the day:
We glimpsed pre-Civil War life through the eyes (and windows) of Rose Hill Manor, the home of Thomas Johnson (Maryland’s first governor). Painstakingly preserved, this elegant, historic home was a preferred hangout for George Washington and many other famous figures. We were delighted to hear of the manner in which all manner of guests visited the manor!
We stood on a hallowed ground of Monocacy National Battlefield and learned from the experts themselves how leadership and heroic sacrifice saved Washington DC a mere steps from the Frederick City limits. On these idyllic hills, a small union force was pulverized by a larger Confederate army in an attempt to stop the Southerners from reaching an unguarded Washington DC. Though the Union lost the battle, their bravery saved Abraham Lincoln and ultimately won the war.
Finally, we walked among rows of fallen soldiers – Union and Confederate – at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Guided by the charismatic storytelling of Chris Haugh (Mount Olivet Cemetery - Community Relations & Historic Preservation Manager), we learned of the legacies of so many Frederick citizens who were living legends in their own time. Our day concluded under the shadow of Francis Scott Key’s memorial, where the star-spangled banner does indeed still fly o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
It is impossible to fit Frederick’s infinite library of stories into a single blog entry or a single LFC day. As a class, we went away with many answers and so many more questions. What would the slaves held at Best Farm say if they could speak to us today? What was life like for women, children, and minorities in Frederick when the rich elites could afford to build fancy houses? Where can we, as Frederick’s leaders, go today to bear witness and learn about these vital parts of our every growing narrative?
Frederick is a city built upon both stone and stories, each as vital as the other. We must remember our town’s past to successfully lead our city into the future!
When the announcement that Facebook Community Boost, Facebook’s training boot camp geared at small business owners, would be making a stop in Baltimore popped up in our Chamber newsfeed, signing up for the event was a gut reflex. Anyone who spends time managing a business Facebook page knows in their souls that you do not pass up an opportunity—a free one no less—to learn about Facebook directly from Facebook itself.
The largest social media platform in the world is just kind of an enigma like that.
And yet, it really shouldn’t be.
With over 2.2 billion active users a month on the platform and another 1 billion or so hanging out on Instagram (Facebook’s adopted younger brother), the idea that these platforms are still not being utilized well for business by business owners, including some of our members, is somewhat baffling.
The statistics speak for themselves:
Want to know how The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce can help you with your marketing and social media efforts? Reach out to our communications team today to learn more: email@example.com
And yet, we see several of our members struggling to find a footing on the platform.
We get it, especially for smaller business owners, social media is just another thing you have to think about. On top of managing day to day business operations, keeping your customers happy and your product relevant, designing a social media strategy and building an engaging presence across several platforms can feel overwhelming.
Well, that’s because it is!
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118 North Market Street, Suite 200, Frederick, MD 21701
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