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WE THE PEOPLE

Looking into the heart of what makes a business great.

Blazer with an American flag and a Sudsies smiley face.

Ask anyone what kind of business they’re in and you’ll get a lot of answers: sales, finance, retail, medical, government, technology, real estate… it could go on and on. The truth of the matter is; however, that no matter your industry, the answer is all the same.

We are all in the people business.

For example, at my company, Sudsies, we don’t stress that we are dry cleaners or clothing caretakers. Sure, that’s a big part of what we do. But at the end of the day, we answer to our clients. A shirt isn’t going to appreciate a crisp pressing, its wearer does. We can provide the cleanest clothes (which we do), conquer the toughest stains (we do that too!), restore beloved items to their original glory (once again!), and more. None of that means anything though if the client isn’t happy.

What is it exactly that makes a client happy? It’s the experience. A great product is only a tiny part of the equation. What if I could offer you the greatest product on earth, but to get it you’d have to be inconvenienced, hang out in a dingy environment, and put up with a grumpy attitude from the staff? Maybe, just maybe, you’d consider repurchasing once again only because this product was so great, but eventually you’d get tired of the negative experience and probably move on. Besides, there are plenty of great products out there. It’s the overall attention to the people that make a difference.

Think about what your customers want, as well as what they might want but just don’t know it yet. Most want that great product, but wrapped up in convenience and a positive environment. You need to have those too, but the critical factor is the relationship. They want to know that you have their needs and well-being in mind. The easiest way to communicate that is with a smile. People are individuals, which means you may need to adapt your service style. Some want to be chatted up, others may just want to get their product and go… it’s up to you to gauge how you connect. Regardless of the personality, you need to communicate that the door is always open for them to express their expectations and desires and that you are always ready to happily serve.

Most importantly, being in the people business is not just about your external audiences. It has to start from within. How can you expect your own team to serve with enthusiasm if they are not experiencing it themselves? Think about the work experience and how to breed success, while making it enjoyable for them. Success, happiness, and purpose equals the ultimate sustainability equation. It breeds a positivity, a culture that employees simply cannot help passing onto their clientele.

Now try looking at your professional role in a new light. Start with people, and consider how you have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, with exceptional products and experiences. I bet your career outlook just got a whole lot more interesting.


Will You Tell a Friend?

One of the best sources of new customers is referrals. They are pre-qualified by our existing customers to get something out of our services and are likely to already have a favorable view. It’s also the highest testament to how we are currently running our business. If we’re doing a good job, people tend to share their experience with their friends.

But sometimes our customers need a little encouragement, or simple reminding, to make that referral. Similarly, I hope that your membership experience with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce has been a positive and rewarding one. If we’ve fulfilled our promise, I encourage you to tell your friends, colleagues and other contacts about the benefits of joining our organization.

I can’t believe that it’s been 17 years since I joined the Chamber. I’m proud of its growth and we are able to accomplish bigger and better goals every day because of the diversity and strength of the group. Along the way, I’ve met so many individuals who have inspired me, mentored me, or even did a simple favor that helped catapult my business, as well as help me grow as a professional. Everyday, I enjoy reconnecting with old colleagues, many of whom have become friends too, but also meeting new faces at the Chamber and drawing from their own fresh ideas.

We always refer to the passion of our members, and I urge you to remember that part of that passion is sharing the Chamber with others. Tell your contacts. If the Chamber grows, we also grow as members. More minds means more resources and power to tap into. We not only have a first rate-network representing a broad spectrum of industries, but a world-class community with economic vitality, social purpose and connected residents.

Miami Beach is truly a sophisticated city, running on a global scale. Within there is so much talent and perspectives that we could all learn from. As Chamber members, it is our duty to also help them in achieving their aspirations. So start spreading the word!

At your service,

Jason Loeb.


Give Some Summer Lovin’

I guess the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” is really true, as Summer always seem to speed by so quickly. Just one month left before it’s back-to-school for the kids and back-to-the-grind for us. Hopefully, you are able capture quality time with a family vacation, but this time of year also presents the perfect opportunity to reconnect with our professional family.

Think of all your advocates: contacts, mentors, loyal customers, etc. While they have contributed to your business tremendously, have you done anything recently to return the support? If not, this is the month to do so. Understandably, it takes enormous time and effort to build and grow our business with varying meetings, tasks, and initiatives tugging for our attention, but it’s also important every once in awhile to stop and recognize our successes to date… and how we got here. I suggest reaching out to these people to show your appreciation. It could be a loyalty rewards program, scheduling that lunch you’ve been talking about doing for the past six months, or a simple note to say hello and thank you. In business, money may motivate, but people are the true resource in helping you achieve your goals. Plus, it’s the human connection that makes work enjoyable and worthwhile.

Express your gratitude, then pay it forward. Find a promising up-and-comer or a start-up with a compelling mission and lend your support. We all need a little help sometimes, even if its just advice and guidance. Miami Beach is an inspiring background in which to pursue a dream, and this city’s success and sustainability relies on its community working to help one another realize these aspirations.

I hope this summer leaves you refreshed and ready for the upcoming high season. Remember to enjoy and take advantage of these quieter moments, for they can be just as valuable as career peaks. In the meantime, we at the Chamber are always available and happy to help you make the right connections.

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

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3 Steps to Making Great Business Connections

Here at the Chamber, we always talk about the power of relationships. Our team works hard to bring our membership events that create an ideal setting in which to make these connections. But in the end, it all comes down to one thing: your ability to network.

Networking is imperative to growing a business, yet it’s a daunting task for many. Some thrive within a crowded room… others shrink at the thought of facing so many strangers in one place. Successful networking doesn’t require a certain personality, but it does take a few key skills. Here are a few tips to help maximize your time at next Chamber event, or any networking function:

  • Genuinely get to know the person:  Have you ever returned from an event with a pile of business cards, but no real idea of any of the people behind them? The “speed dating” approach certainly gets you in front of a lot of people, but rarely results in qualified leads. Spend a little extra time with each person you meet. Talk to them about their aspirations for their business first and offer your assistance in meeting those goals. Once at ease, they’ll be more apt to want to hear about you. Then its your turn to shine and state your needs.
  • Search for commonality:  Wallflowers can’t expect the introductions to magically happen. Sure, it can be intimidating going up to someone you don’t know, so search for people you’re likely to have something share something with. It could be a conversation about tennis you just overhead or a article of clothing you admire. It gives you a good jumping point to spark the conversation, but also establishes commonality. People like and want to do business with others whom they relate to.
  • Get comfortable:  Yes, sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone to make things happen, but you don’t want to be a complete outsider either. When RSVPing to networking events, think about the type of people and places you want to be around. After all, it is these contacts with whom we will hopefully be working with long-term. Sustainable relationships can’t be forced…If you can’t relate to the overall vibe of a networking event, chances are, you won’t feel comfortable with doing business with the people found there.

Networking is like a boomerang, help others and they’re more apt to help you. Perhaps you won’t meet as many people in a night (luckily, we have plenty of activities planned for you to capture time with hopefully all our members), but I assure you that these approaches will open avenues that are more effective and meaningful for your business.

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

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Your Happy Staff

Job Satisfaction!

Ever wonder where all your time goes? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average work day accounts for nearly 41% of our day (sleeping claims another chunk at 32%). As leaders, we probably dedicate even more time to our companies. This statistic underscores the importance of the adage “love what you do.” Otherwise, that is a lot of unhappy hours you’re allowing to pass by.

The health and sustainability of a company is rooted in the job satisfaction of its employees. The secret is simple: build a positive company culture. Sure, business is a serious matter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate a little play into the professional mix. For example, my team at Sudsies recently created a “Smile Campaign” highlighting the many positive personalities across South Florida. Some of you may have seen the yellow happy face photos indicative of the initiative. It’s simple, but also contagious (come on, it’s nearly impossible not to respond to big smile) and a great way to get both employees and customers involved and build upon their relationship. Who knew dirty clothes could be so fun?

As a tourism-based economy, it is our duty to be warm and welcoming to our visitors and fellow residents. People frequent venues they feel good about, otherwise they’ll move on. The only way to create this authentic quality service is to embed it in your company culture. This relies on us having the right attitude, talking the talk and walking the walk…all while grinning. Your employees are dedicating substantial hours to helping grow your business – why wouldn’t we make their time here as enjoyable as possible? So come on, get happy. Putting a little creative business spin on the “Field of Dreams” prophecy, if you build it with positivity, the customers will come.

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

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What is your mission statement?

This week, I’d like to take a moment and go back to our roots. Miami Beach has certainly undergone a series of transformations since the Chamber’s humble, yet enthusiast beginnings in 1921. But one thing that has remained constant over the past 90 years is our mission. The Chamber statement is simple:

To promote the economic well-being of Miami Beach’s citizens, to improve the quality of life for the entire community, and to communicate the view of the business community on major issues of public policy.

I stand by the notion that it is in fact the people that deliver on an organization, a community. However, there needs to be an anchoring force that focuses these people’s passion and ensures their efforts are maximized in the right direction. A mission statement does just this. At the Chamber, we have grown from a small umbrella stand to a state-of-the-art facility, and have capitalized on the Art Deco Renaissance, Rat Pack days and celebrity flockings. But throughout all the glamour, the our mission statement calls us back to business.

To enjoy the art, culture, environment, social causes and general beauty of our environment, we must be economically viable. I go back to my mantra, “ a rising tide lifts all boats” – it’s not about just a few select companies, everyone should be working together to assist each other, in all fields, to achieve a well-rounded and sustainable city.

As members, we should be remembering just that. Help all your fellow members and businessmen, even if they don’t immediately seem connected with your industry. Business is more intertwined than first meets eye both economically and socially and what might not initially seem to benefit you directly at first could very well lead to long-term success in terms of your company and/or the growth and offerings of the neighborhood in which you also live and play. Most importantly, our mission statement reminds us to use our business savvy for good: to ensure that our efforts are minding the entire community, and that the results trickle down to all Miami Beach’s personal and professional residents.

We thank our members as the driving force behind the Chamber’s many mission accomplishments. Now, take a moment to reflect on your own business….What is your mission statement?

At your service,
Jason Loeb
Chairman.


Miami Beach Chamber 90th Gala & Silent Auction

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our 90th Dinner Gala and Silent Auction. 2012 is a historic year for the Chamber as we celebrate the many successes of our leadership, business partners, community, and most importantly, you as our devoted members. All your hard work has proven that indeed high tides raise all boats, and Miami Beach has managed to even further bolster its reputation as the world’s greatest city in which to live, work and play.

As the gateway to the United States, the mere mention of “Miami Beach” conjures up visions of a posh, sophisticated destination for the local, national and global jetsetter.  Our urban paradise is a unique combination of Manhattan hustle, Los Angeles glamour, and Maui fun-and-sun. Amidst all our grand offerings, it is often forgotten that Miami Beach is actually a small and intimate island with devoted locals who invest in their community.  This is what really makes us thrive, what makes us resilient, and what makes us successful.

This year’s honorees depict specific strengths. From raising our children in a Grade A level high school, to combining professional and personal passion as a community leader, to accelerating the transportation and accommodation of incoming guests, to building a premier medical facility, to enlivening the rare South Beach quality of life, the resulting successes of each individual has made lasting contributions to our incredible city.

I am a true product of the Chamber. Upon starting my own business, I sought out this organization for guidance and received more than I ever anticipated.  Besides forging solid business relationships, my membership has been a source for personal ones as well.  Looking forward, I am reassured that our momentum will drive us to new heights under incoming Chairman Alan Lips and looking forward to assisting in new ways.

On behalf of the entire Board of Governors, Pillar Board of Trustees and our committed Chamber staff members, thank you for your gracious support.

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Miami Beach Education Foundation: Nominees 2012

In business, community and personal relations, education is the binding element that allows for growth in each these sectors of life. What’s so neat about education is that it’s a never-ending process, no matter how much knowledge you obtain. Even more important are the relationships you develop with your teachers along the way. It’s more than learning just facts, but experiencing life lessons that inspire you. Education is an incredible process that every student should have ready access to and that every teacher should be able to readily impart.

In an effort to jumpstart quality learning for our children, the Miami Beach Chamber Education Foundation was created to support our public education system. As a community, we should be building up to our schools, not cutting their resources. Part of this process includes highlighting the individuals within who excel in nurturing our youth. April 27th marks our the presentation  of the annual Elayne Weisburg Excellence in Education Award. One teacher from Miami Beach Senior High School, as well as from each of its feeder schools – Treasure Island Elementary School, North Beach Elementary School, Ruth K. Broad K-8 Center, Nautilus Middle School, South PointeElementary School, Fienberg Fisher K-8 Center and Biscayne Elementary School – has been nominated for his/her outstanding work. I’m pleased to announce that this year’s nominees are:

Jacqueline H. Adler, Biscayne Elementary School

Olga Bichachi, Treasure Island Elementary School

Gussie Bowen, Miami Beach Senior High

Dorothy Brochey, Nautilus Middle School

Benjamin E. Groff, South Pointe Elementary School

Onil F. Rodriguez, Ruth K. Board Bay Harbor K-8 Center

Anat Schwartzbaum, North Beach Elementary School

 

On behalf of the Chamber, I extend congratulations and heartfelt appreciation to our nominees.

The winner will be announced at the April 27 luncheon hosted at the Palms Hotel & Spa. Speaking from my personal experience last year, it will be incredibly difficult for our panel of judges. We would be proud and honored to have any of these educators teach our child, or even ourselves for that matter. Should you like to support these teachers on their special day, please visit www.miamibeachchamber.com/cm_Events.php for registration details.

 

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

 

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Chamber Team working their magic for the City of Miami Beach

And they say New York City never sleeps… We’ve touted a lot of ongoing successes, yet things continue to bustle here at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. We have our annual gala around the corner and dozens of events are on the books. Despite Miami’s nickname, all these great happenings aren’t getting done via magic – the secret weapon is our incredible Chamber staff. Indeed, we have great leadership guiding the unprecedented growth of this organization, but our staff is the backbone in bringing the Chamber mission to life. Specifically, I’d like to recognize the following individuals for their commitment and hard work:

 

* Jerry Libbin, President & CEO

* Ana Cecilia Velasco, Chief Operating Officer

* Wendy Unger, Acting Director of Membership Relations

* Shirley Inoni, Director of Finance

* Chantal Gloor, Operations Coordinator

* Valarie Rasken, Director Marketing & Communications

* Anaely Delgado, Communications Associate

* Lisa Ricci, Membership Relations Associate

* Daniel Santamaria, Membership Relations Associate

 

* Susana Penaranda, Receptionist

* Dona Pugliese Zemo, Director of Visit Miami Beach

* Monique Beaudet, Assistant Director of Visit Miami Beach

Meet our Chamber Team.  Click Here.

These 12 individuals are accomplishing what many large corporations can only aspire to do. They’ve work diligently behind-the-scenes and it’s important that their contributions are brought to the forefront. As many of you have personally attested, they take great care of our members, believe in our visions and are passionate when executing the supporting strategies and tactics. On behalf of the Chamber membership, thank you for all that you do. You represent the power of teamwork and have left an impacting footprint in the development of Miami Beach.

 

At your service,

Jason Loeb, Sudsies

Chairman, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.


Spring time is here, that means cleaning is near

Spring is officially underway. But with those May flowers comes the dreaded Spring cleaning. Yes, it’s that time to once again get our homes back in order. Everyone knows I’m certainly a fan of a cleanliness, but I’m thinking that even our companies could benefit from a little metaphorical Spring tidying as well.

Here are some tips:

• Stay on trend. It’s out with the old and in with the new. Like the fashions in our closets, business trends change rapidly. What has worked for you over the years might not anymore, even if it’s comfortable. To remain competitive, you must always be on your toes and anticipate new trends, not just follow them. It’s a fine balance – an unwavering approach can stagnate business, while adapting too many changes can make your company appear wish-washy, so incorporate only those trends that align with your core vision and are relevant for your customers.

• Dust off old gems. Sometimes logistics command our attention, forcing the big picture to fall by the wayside. As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in the web of tasks, but we really need to use our talents as visionaries. Entrust the operations to a solid manager, so you can tend to those great business ideas that got put on the backburner and make them a reality. • De-clutter. Sure, an ornate design can be pretty, but it can also be distracting. Review your processes and identify and any repetitive or ineffective steps. Simplifying things not only makes things clearer for your employees, but is also likely to lead to time- and cost-efficiencies.

• Polish Up. Now that you have a solid infrastructure in place, refine your ideas. How can you improve upon them and/or expand to enhance the customer experience and your brand? Put together, it can be a daunting undertaking, but is well worth the organized structure, clear head and fresh perspective you and your business will

enjoy once complete. Need some guidance? We at the Chamber are happy to roll up our sleeves and help via advice from our broad leadership and membership base on how to make your company sparkle. Now, let’s get scrubbing!

 

At your service,

Jason Loeb, Sudsies

Chairman, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.