Oslance: You're never too old to learn something new

Eight years ago, when I accepted the position of president of the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce, I jokingly told the Board of Directors that when I start showing my age, feel free to give me a swift kick and tell me I’m showing my age.

Well, that kick came a few years ago when everyone was creating their Facebook fan pages and I hadn’t taken the time to see what the “buzz” was all about. Thanks to that kick, and a great group of members who have been helping during our social media meet-ups, the chamber is on the social media bandwagon.

The point to that little story is not to say you should create a fan page or get yourself LinkedIn, though if you are a business you really should consider social media in your business marketing plan. The point is more about learning. Whether you are a business owner, manager or an employee, learning can help you in a variety of ways – expand your knowledge, motivate you, empower you to try something new.

I am as guilty as the next when it comes to taking time to “learn something new.” Right now, you may be saying “I don’t have time.” That may be the case. However, when I force myself to take the time to read a book about social media or leadership, or take a workshop about marketing in today’s economy, I seem to have an added bounce to my step the next day and tend to be better focused.

So next time you are feeling frustrated, unmotivated or not sure how to grow or increase your business, pick up a book, take a class or – for those who are members of their local chamber – start going to the luncheons, seminars and events offered throughout the year. You will be surprised at what you will learn or simply be reminded about something you once had learned and forgotten.

I recently read a quote by Henry Ford that is similar to the swift kick I received: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.” You decide how old you want to be.

Since I am on the topic of learning, or in this case doing something new, the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills chamber is introducing something new to the area: A business-to-business trade show. Following the recent change of “season” for our Home & Business Expo at Jacobs High School from a wintry January date to one in October 2013 we will be hosting the B2B Tradeshow on Jan. 30 at Golf Club of Illinois. This is a venue many of our business members have requested and I am thrilled that we will be able to help them reach their target market – the business community.

From the exhibitors, to the door prizes, to networking, the focus of the B2B Tradeshow will be all business. Registration for sponsors opened this week with booth registration starting early next week. For more information, visit www.ALChamber.com or call 847-658-5300.

With registration kicking off next week for the B2B Tradeshow, we are almost sold out of the advertising space in our annual Hometown Guide which is mailed in January to 22,500 residents and businesses in and around the area. Only members are included in the business directory and are able to advertise. If you have a business that operates in Algonquin or Lake in the Hills and are not yet a member, this is just one of the many advantages in a wide array of business services and products available to your business when you make the nominal investment in the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce. Don’t put off today what you can do tomorrow! Visit www.ALChamber.com or call 847-658-5300 for more information.

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From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 14, Business Over Lunch/Annual Meeting & Elections will be at Montarra Grill, 1491 S. Randall Road, Algonquin. RSVP by calling 847-658-5300. Cost is $15 for members.

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At 9 a.m. on Nov 16 there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sparrow's Nest Thrift Store & Donation Center, 781 S. Randall Road, Algonquin.

For a complete listing of upcoming events, local deals and businesses, visit www.ALChamber.com.

• Sandy Oslance is president of the Algonquin/Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at 847-658-5300.

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