Planning on relocating your business?
Whether you're relocating your business from another municipality or province, or you're simply setting up shop in a different location in the Comox Valley, moving your business can been downright stressful.
Here's our top tips for avoiding headaches when moving your business:
Start Planning Early
While it might seem obvious, many 'hiccups' that happen during a business relocation can be easily prevented by planning well in advance.
If you're company is relatively tech-savvy, consider using a cloud-based project planning tool such as Wrike or Zoho to identify everything you need to do to prepare for your move, delegate tasks, and track progress towards moving day.
Remember to list out all the suppliers you use, including utility companies, telecommunications, and even your coffee delivery service - they'll all need to be contacted well in advance to ensure your services are transferred to your new address, so you won't be left without internet service, heat, or insurance coverage after you move.
Tell Your Clients, Suppliers, and Prospects
Unless your business is entirely online, it's important to communicate your moving plans with your clients, customers, and suppliers using all your regular communication channels.
For example, if your business is active on social media, be sure to post updates both before, and after your moving day, and add a prominent banner to your website with the same info. Include a flyer with your new address along with any regular mail-outs (such as monthly invoices), post signage at your current location, and update your phone message to remind callers that you'll be moving.
If you have a bricks-and-mortar location, try to make arrangements to leave information with your new address posted at the office, store, or shop you're moving from for at least a few months, otherwise, clients may find you missing and mistakenly assume you've closed up permanently.
Hire Professional Movers
If your business assets consist of more than just a few laptop computers, hiring a professional moving company to do the heavy lifting is well worth the investment.
Not only will the right moving company take the worry out of moving your physical assets, but having dedicated movers means you won't be asking your staff to take on the job of lifting and loading boxes, desks, and other big items.
Inform Government Agencies
Keep local, provincial, and federal agencies such as the CRA appraised as to your location, and your planned move to avoid major headaches and legal expenses.
Make arrangements to inspect your new location long before the movers arrive - that way you'll have the chance to identify any deficiencies that could interfere with your operations. If you're ending a lease, complete a walk-through with the property manager to identify any damage that needs to be repaired, and be sure to get the damage reports in writing.
The Chamber is pleased to invite you to review our 2020 Year in Review.
You’ve heard it over and over again this past year. 2020 has been a year unlike any other.
2020 brought disruption and shifts, along with that came personal and professional examination of what created value in our lives, what we wished to keep and what we were prepared to throw away. Our dogs were happier, our cats not so much.
The Chamber started 2020 with its usual flair! A Chamber Awards event showcasing outstanding businesses and individuals in our community. We rolled into the Economic Forecasting event and we were ALL sure “this would be our BEST year yet!” and then, things came to an abrupt stop.
We responded, we dove into offering support to businesses, organizations and each other. We rallied our team and launched initiatives. From stay strong Comox Valley (with 97.3 the Eagle, the CV Record, and Unveil Studios.
The Year In Review is a story of our year, how we navigated challenges, supported our colleagues, our members and our community.
We’re here for you.
Building good business and great community, TOGETHER.
Download the PDF here...
Major disasters like earthquakes, acts of terror, and widespread power outages, though relatively rare, can have a devastating impact on your business. However, even more common and seemingly less detrimental emergencies like burst pipes, electrical fires, or server failure can have a surprisingly crippling effect. Many companies have a plan in place for worst-case scenario but neglect to put a plan in place for the small-scale crises that threaten businesses every day.
Having a disaster preparation plan can mean the difference between keeping your business up and running, even when the unexpected happens, or being forced to close up shop for days or even weeks while you recover from an emergency.
Here are a few steps to take to create an effective disaster preparation plan.
Understand What Threats Your Business Faces
Unless you evaluate the types of situations that are a threat to your business and the potential costs of responding to them, you can't create a workable disaster preparation plan. A risk assessment and a business impact analysis can help you understand whether or not you could even recover from a given disaster, how long it would take for your business to recover, and what costs you would face if operations went down.
Create an Action Plan
A robust action plan will make provision for a variety of emergencies, including life safety (bomb threat, active shooter, or chemical spill), severe weather or environmental disasters, a problem with your supply chain, and any other types of emergencies that may be specific to your industry or to the Comox Valley.
Train Your Staff
No matter how well-rounded and carefully thought out your disaster preparation plan may be, if your employees don't understand what is expected of them in an emergency, your plan won't benefit anyone. Take the time to talk about your disaster preparation plan and run drills to ensure that your staff knows what to do if the unexpected should happen.
Fine Tune Your Plan
As you're going through training exercises and drills, you may identify what works and what doesn't. Make tweaks to your plan to streamline your processes and update it as procedures change.
Consider Your Supply Chain
While your disaster preparation plan should focus on crises that your business could face, you don't want to forget to consider disasters that could face those in your supply chain. For example, if one of your main suppliers goes down, you don't want to assume that they have a system in place to ensure that their buyers receive their products and services without interruption. A disaster at a supplier could pose a significant problem for your own operations, so developing a business continuity plan is important.
Monitor for Threats
In the event of a disaster, minutes matter. As much as possible, monitor for oncoming threats so that you can respond appropriately and as efficiently as possible.
Emergency planning can seem like an overwhelming task, but having an organized approach and taking it one step at a time can ensure that your business is able to weather nearly any disaster.
Youth Volunteer Engagement in the Comox Valley
In the fall of 2020, the Comox Valley Chamber became the new home of the Comox Valley Volunteer Connector. The Comox Valley Chamber’s goal is to re-establish this valuable community resource to support and assist non-profits members in developing a resource pool of committed and enthusiastic volunteers. As well as being a place for community members to find opportunities to volunteer in the Comox Valley.
One step in this is a Youth Engagement Project. The goal of this project is to build engagement with youth as volunteers in the community. Youth participants of this project are learning how to work as a team, to make and meet deadlines, facilitate community conve rsations, conduct a survey, write and present a business report. This is being done through a mixture of workshops and on the job training. The goal of the final report is to help non-profit organizations in the community better understand what motivates youth and provide ideas on how to engage youth in impactful roles.
The Chamber is very excited to have an incredible team of talented and diverse youth working on the project - images and names below.
Full details of the findings are in the Youth Volunteer Engagement Report - download a copy here.
The Comox Valley Chamber awards ceremony will still have all the great the components the community has come to expect from this annual celebration with a few adjustments.
The awards ceremony will be streamed virtually on January 30, 2021 this will allow the entire community to view the event at home. To reflect our new format, the Chamber has put together popcorn boxes which will be available for purchase soon. Popcorn boxes will be delivered directly to people’s homes to be enjoyed while watching the awards. This year’s theme for the awards is “We’re still standing”.
“The idea for the theme came from Elton John’s song “I’m still standing. We thought it was a great fit for this year. What a community! We have stayed and are staying strong, we’re innovative and best of all, our businesses have come together and supported one another.” Says Dianne Hawkins, CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber.
Adjustments were made to the award criteria to reflect 2020 and the challenges individuals and businesses have faced. Nominations for the Chamber Awards close on November 2. More information can be found at www.comoxvalleychamber.com/chamberawards
“We have adapted our awards criteria to reflect the challenges of 2020. For example, do you know an innovative business that has taken the COVID challenges and created opportunities?” ask Hawkins, if you do, the Chamber invites you to nominate them.”
The Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce and the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce partner to launch a new campaign called Explore Next Door
Explore Next Door campaign encourages locals in Campbell River and locals in the Comox Valley to explore their neighbouring community
The Explore Next Door campaign came about to encourage locals to support tourism without having to travel to far during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Locals are invited to plan a day trip with their bubble and post their explorations on their social media with the following hashtags: #ExploreNextDoor, #MeetYourNeighbours, #MeetOurNeighbours, and #ExploreBC
“Even though we cannot travel to far away exotic locales this summer, we can certainly explore our own gorgeous surroundings and discover all the things to see and do right next door.” Says Snyder
“My day in Campbell River was wonderful! Like the Comox Valley, Campbell River has great restaurants, outdoor recreation, and shopping.” Says Hawkins
To launch the campaign, Mary Ruth Snyder, Executive Director of the Campbell River Chamber, spent a day exploring the Comox Valley and Dianne Hawkins, CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber, spent day exploring Campbell River. Both day trips were filmed by Unveil Studios, a Comox Valley Chamber member.
Videos of the day trips can be found here
Explore Next Door Full Version 16 mins
Explore Next Door - Campbell River 1 min version
Explore Next Door - Comox Valley 1 min version
CEO – Comox Valley Chamber
Mary Ruth Snyder
Executive Director – Campbell River & District Chamber
The World Health Organization has announced that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has become a global pandemic. The current risk to British Columbians remains low, however we can practice physical distancing measures while in public while still being productive.
While the situation is concerning, we can all play a role in protecting our families, colleagues, friends and our communities. As the number of cases in BC and Vancouver Island increases – an expected trend as the public health authority works aggressively to test and limit the spread – so will the number of people impacted, including those in self-isolation at home. It is important during times like these that we look out for and support our neighbours and community.
As business owners, employers, employees, and citizens, we recognize that this rapidly changing situation is causing worry and concern. To support you through this uncertainty we are sharing some resources below.
COVID-19 Guidance and Resources
Stay up to date on the rapidly evolving situation, and on the nature of the virus itself, by frequently checking provincial, national and international websites.
Use best practices to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, at home and at work.
Ensure your business is prepared to handle a potential case of business disruption, including accessing available government resources to mitigate potential financial impacts to your employees and your business.
Follow all public health guidelines if you, or a member of your team, is experiencing symptoms, in order to ensure the safety of your workforce and your workspace.
Consider how you can support your immediate community through the outbreak
The RCMP is here to assist and help every member of the community. The RCMP often takes time to check in with various people in the community and offer support but the police can only facilitate so much.
Broken Window Theory: when there is a run-down building, graffiti, broken windows, etc that building and the area around it becomes a target. Hold your area and your businesses to a standard, address graffiti and broken windows, etc within 1 to 2 days.
Place security cameras in stores:
If all of the businesses are consistent and do the same thing this creates continuity and a community standard, over time people will get the message that they cannot act that way.
RE: centralization of services downtown- Can we spread these services out?
If there is a shoplifter in my store what can I do?
What is the appropriate response to yelling and screaming?
What do I do if I find needles?
The Warming Centre is open Monday to Friday, 1 to 5 pm. Funding ends March 31st, the Warming Centre is hoping to extend their hours and stay open throughout the summer months. If you think the Warming Centre has benefited Downtown Courtenay and your business you can send letters or emails of support to Mayor and Council.
If any members have any general questions/concerns about the Warming Centre please contact Andrea at 250-897-6432 (mobile phone) or email her at email@example.com.
If you see specific behaviours outside of the Warming Centre that are not appropriate (cursing, littering, loitering, panhandling, etc) please contact Danielle at 250-650-0622 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Danielle is the Manager at Connect and can immediately address any concerns that pop up.
If you feel unsafe or need to report a crime call the RCMP.
Thursday, January 23, 2020 – Comox Valley, B.C. A skills shortage and various staffing issues are the most pressing top-of-mind concerns for Comox Valley businesses in 2020, according to the latest MNP Comox Valley Business Leaders Survey released today.
One in four businesses surveyed say dealing with a skills shortage is their “greatest challenge” as they look ahead to the next 12 months. This was more than double the next highest challenge: 9.5 percent of those surveyed cited uncertainty about the economy as a concern.
The MNP Comox Valley Business Leaders Survey was conducted in partnership by MNP LLP, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, Comox Valley Economic Development Society and Cumberland Economic Development. Modelled after similar surveys conducted by MNP in other communities across Canada, the survey provides a snapshot of the local business climate and economic outlook while exploring other local business issues. Results of prior Comox Valley surveys were released in January 2015 and January 2017.
This year’s survey found 2019 brought mixed results for local businesses. About half of businesses reported doing better financially today compared to 12 months ago, while 15 percent said their business is doing worse. Following a similar pattern, three in 10 businesses hired additional employees last year while one in 10 businesses reduced the number of people they employ.
Among the other key survey findings:
The survey reflects the opinions of 200 local business leaders from telephone interviews conducted by a third-party market research firm, PRA Inc., between November 13-27, 2019. The response rate was 24 percent — a strong result for this type of survey.
Results of the survey were released and discussed at an economic outlook breakfast hosted by the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce on January 23, 2020. A summary of the results presentation is available online at www.MNP.ca/comoxvalleysurvey2020 and HERE
Collaboration has remained a constant
As Y2K passed without serious consequences a new millennium dawned, and it was business as usual for the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce. Just as active and successful as it had ever been, the Chamber continued to focus on the goal identified n 1919, dedication to the community as a whole.
In this, the final installment of our glance back into the organization’s first 100 years, we focus more on recent history, take another glance at the past, and look to the future in a conversation with CEO Dianne Hawkins.
Rocking the 2000s
The Chamber entered the new decade running! Building on its prosperous Tourism in Your Own Town program and successfully lobbying of the government with a provincial shellfish policy in 1999, the Chamber became involved in even more local causes. From being instrumental in the installation of “Oceanside Route” signs along the highway and a “Shop at Home” buy local program to establishing a transportation committee concerned with BC Ferries Fast-Cat ferries.
Promotion and support for the new airport made up a significant part of the Chamber’s work during the early part of the decade, as well as helping local retailers prepare for the influx of box stores and influence of e-commerce.
2004 saw the installation of a CEO, Dianne Hawkins, who still holds the position today. Dianne was born and raised in the Valley (fun fact - her grandfather was awarded the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year in 1999!) In conjunction with her experience with the family’s automotive business, as Operations Manager of a private local college, and her understanding of the business community provided a good grasp of local business needs in her role as CEO.
Over the past 15 years, Dianne has seen the Chamber’s activities ebb and flow with the economy and society’s influences, but she notes that collaboration has been the one constant throughout.
Reflections on the past and excitement for the future
From changes in the local infrastructure and economy, how have things shifted over the last couple of decades?
“The community has grown and so has membership. When I first started, we had approximately 400+ members, reached 770 at the start of the next decade, which was the highest we’ve ever had. Of course, changes in economy and the transfer of tourism to the new Visitor Centre in 2012 eventually impacted those numbers. Having said that, the Chamber has always been able to adapt to change and respond quickly.”
And what has remained the same over the years, both more recently and going back decades?
“In terms of challenges, some things remain constant such as transportation, taxes, government red-tape and infrastructure. Other issues have certainly arisen over the years and are impacting individuals and local businesses such as homelessness and affordable housing.
“The Chamber is a strong local voice for business and we are pleased with the level of collaboration we’ve achieved over the years. Collaboration is more than setting up a committee or drawing up a detailed report. Collaboration is an action word; the Chamber is in the community building relationships and discovering innovative ways to get things done with other organizations. People see us making connections – it’s something we do well.”
What projects would you say have been a highlight, both recently and in the last 100 years?
“In the past decade, our work on a companion paper to the Regional Growth Strategy in conjunction with the then Cumberland Chamber of Commerce was well received, working with the North Island Hospital project team and the Campbell River Chamber was fulfilling. In the years preceding that, we loved being involved in the 2010 Spirit Committee with CVEDS and holding Olympic procurement workshops with RBC, as well as the 2009 “Grab Your Bag” Campaign that launched 85,000 reusable bags in the community on February 13, 2009. [In fact, that project lead to provincial recognition and the “Bagless BC Policy” presented by the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce in the 2009 Provincial policy sessions. As a result of the Chamber’s efforts, we were awarded BC Chamber of the Year Award in 2010.]
Back to collaboration, I’m thrilled with the partnerships we have with Island Chambers, our provincial and our national connections. The network is strong.
“Over the decades, as a business focused, membership-driven, nonpartisan organization, the work the Chamber has done has made a difference.” Be it pushing for better roads and services or as an early advocate for tourism and resource-based industries, our influence has been felt through the years.”
Things don’t just happen at the Chamber, it takes a dedicated board of directors and a great team. It took a vision from strong leaders in our community to continue to see the Chamber work effectively in our community and have an influence. Without the dedication of the many boards and wonderful staff I have had the pleasure of working with over the past 15 years we may not have achieved the great things we have. I am honoured to have had the pleasure of working with such dedicated individuals.
And where do you see things going from here?
“Continuing to contribute on advisory councils in our community, whether its liquid waste management, water, grease trap tipping, the Official Community Plan Advisory Council, the 5th street bridge upgrade or any other projects that present themselves. The Chamber will continue to provide resources to our members and the business community as a whole.
“The Chamber will continue to set the standard, focus on making an impact and carry on the tradition of engaging the local community in our plans. The future looks bright for the Chamber and the Comox Valley.”
We’re looking forward to the next 100 years!