5 Business Trends to Pay Attention to in 2017

It’s that time of year when we’re busily wrapping up one year and focusing on the next. This year has been a roller coaster of upsets and it has a lot of people nervous about what’s on the horizon in this country and the global economy.

2017 is bound to be an exciting year. Here are five business trends that are likely to have the largest effect on your organization:

 5 Business Trends in 2017

The Freelance Economy
Forbes recently published an article that referenced a large-scale survey of the growing freelance (or gig) economy. It’s expected the number of U.S. Freelancers will reach 55 million this year, up 1.3 million from last year. Freelancers now make up 35% of U.S. workers.

What does this mean for your business?

One, it probably means you will be working with freelancers in the future. Freelancers can help you extend your offerings for less money than a permanent hire. It also means there’s a good likelihood that talent will continue to leave the traditional corporate setting and your contracted “employees” may be people you’ve never met face-to-face.

Personalization for Everyone
Personalization is an increasing trend in marketing. This isn’t exactly new to 2017, but expectations are on the rise and personalizing your offerings to your audience is less of a trend and more of a must-have. So why am I listing this as a trend? Because businesses will need to embrace this growing customer expectation and the only way to accomplish it so that it scales is through data. If you aren't currently collecting data on customer preferences and activity history, you need to be.

Everyone is looking for a tribe and personalizing your sales approach and customer communications will make people feel like you “get” them.

Value of Content
Content will continue to evolve and most businesses are starting to realize the value of it. This means soon content production will become what a Twitter stream has – lots out there, not all of it valuable. Everyone will be producing e-books, whitepapers, and checklists for download. The playing field will become very crowded as marketing agencies and departments are touting this content as a necessary part of marketing today.

In order to stand out in content, your pieces will need to be well-researched and answer the questions your customers and potential customers have. Written content will take on a much more professional quality. Even short pieces will need to be meaty. Video will become an essential part of your content creation. Which brings us to the next trend…    

Increased Video
Video is hot but will become hotter. With opportunities on platforms like Facebook Live and others, you can expect more and more businesses will embrace “teachable moments” and shares on videos. There will be more of a focus on “real” and “transparent” than fully produced, commercial pieces. You can expect a lot of “in the moment” video captures.

It’s a way of drawing your audience in, solving their problems, and being a resource for them. It’s also entertaining and that’s a major part of this trend. People want infotainment. They want to be entertained and they want information. If you can give them both, they’ll be more likely to share and enjoy your pieces. Remember, people want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.

Everyone Gets a Trophy
Business people lament the issues with giving everyone a trophy in children’s sports because of the expectations this sets, but as the oldest wave of Millennials begins to hit their mid-thirties and take on more manager roles, we’ll start to see a kinder, gentler business atmosphere that offers a lot of opportunity for team projects and mentor programs. We can also expect a lot of change in the feedback process. Once a year reviews will fade into obscurity and be replaced with more consistent feedback.

Millennials have a desire for every voice to be heard and this may become a source of frustration on the part of Gen Xers who just want to get the work done. 


Getting Prepared to Rock 2017
What can you do to prepare your business for these trends? Decide how they fit into your business goals and strategy. Don’t produce content because this article says it’s important. Instead, look for ways to create things that will be helpful to your audience and be aligned with your business goals. While none of these are “flash in the pan” trends, it’s important to embrace them in a way that works for your business and audience.  


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect to their audience through content for higher conversions and greater loyalty. Her articles have appeared in Associations North (formerly Midwest Society of Association Executives’) Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.

Christina’s an introvert who loves presenting and working with groups to help improve their storytelling and content marketing, yet she feels incredibly awkward at cocktail parties.


Congratulations 2016 Chamber Award Winners

Each year the Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce recognizes members in three categories for outstanding commitment to the community and to the Chamber. The awards were announced at the Chamber's Annual Meeting & Silent Auction, held December 6 at Saybrook Point Inn. The 2016 Annual Awards recognize Fitzgerald Painting, Business of the Year, Vista Life Innovations, Non-Profit of the Year, and Kay Hall, Volunteer of the Year.


Fitzgerald Painting was selected as Business of the Year for its positive influence in the community. Fitzgerald Painting,  an exemplary business and employer, was founded by Chuck Fitzgerald in 1987 and next year will mark thirty years of doing business in Old Saybrook and the surrounding area.
Chuck Fitzgerald
Chuck Fitzgerald receives Business of the Year award


Vista Life Innovations of Westbrook was awarded Non Profit of the Year for its dedication to assisting people with learning disabilities, and for its engagement within the community.

Vista Life Innovations

(l-r) Judy Sullivan, Executive Director, Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce; Robert Bradley, President, Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, Helen Bosch, Chief Executive Director, Vista Life Innovations with Brian Ruddy, Malley O’Shea and John Tillinghast


Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Kay Hall, an Old Saybrook resident who has donated many hours assisting the organization over the past four years, whether at the Arts & Crafts Festival, Chili Fest, or Business Expo as well as behind the scenes at the Chamber office.

Kay Hall Volunteer of the Year

Volunteer of the Year Kay Hall, with Chamber president Robert Bradley

Old Saybrook Chamber Announces 2017 Board of Directors

OLD SAYBROOK, CT – (December 7, 2016) – The Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce, a member driven organization dedicated to enhancing the economic vitality and quality of life in Old Saybrook and its surrounding communities, is proud to announce the 2017  Board of Directors, who were elected at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting held December 6, 2016 at the Saybrook Point Inn.

old Saybrook Board of Directors 2017
Executive Committee
President: Robert Bradley, Primary Residential Mortgage
1st Vice-President:  Leigh-Bette Maynard, Liberty Bank
2nd Vice-President:  Mark Appellof, Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley & Lower Valley Care Advocates
Treasurer:  Dave Carswell, Guilford Savings Bank
Secretary:  Elaine Beame, Beame Realty
Past President: Lori Woll, Mystic Marriott

Board Members
Leland McKenna, Middlesex Hospital
Dan Price, Full Power Radio
Trish Maselli, Clear Cut Accounting Services
Lauren Harris, Harris Outdoors  
Marlee Santoro, MAR Floral & Botanicals  
Jack Marroney, Lighthouse Home Care
Michael Perry, Old Saybrook Neighbors Magazine
Brett Elliott, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
Sharon Lewis, AdviCoach
Kara Ganssle Pachniuk, POP Weight Loss
Cathy Carter, Saybrook at Haddam
Chantal Lawrence, Total Design Source

Through a core of volunteers and a professional staff, the Chamber provides leadership, support, and networking within the business community. The Chamber hosts community events and serves as a catalyst to promote tourism, to support educational outreach, and to act as an information resource and public relations center.

Photo: Old Saybrook Chamber of Commerce 2017 Board of Directors. Back row l – r: Mark Appellof, 2nd Vice-President, Brett Elliot, Sharon Lewis, Michael Perry, Dave Carswell, Treasurer, Jack Marroney, Robert Bradley, President, Dan Price. Front row l – r: Leigh-Bette Maynard, 1st Vice-President, Chantal Lawrence, Kara Pachniuk, Lauren Harris, Marlee Santoro, Cathy Carter,  Elaine Beame, Secretary, Lori Woll, Past President,  Judy Sullivan, Executive Director, Trish Maselli, and Karen Pinette. Missing from photo, Leland McKenna.

Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is November 26SS_Logo_Blue

Let's show our support for small businesses by Shopping Local on Saturday, November 26. Afterall, independent business owners and small businesses are the backbone of our community.


Here is a sample of some of the #shopsmall specials offered by our members:

Eclectiques Unique Decor

10% off one item
Exceptions any artist work.
Door prizes - refreshments from 10:30 till 4
Jewelry, gifts, sea glass, candy, whimsical decor, mermaids, upcycled furniture, locally made coastal signs, local olive oils, dips, etc.
1029 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook
POP Weight Loss
POP is offering 15% off our 6 week, 3 month, and 6 month programs. 
You must call or come in on Small Business Saturday in order to receive this promotion.
455 Boston Post Road #6, Old Saybrook

CrossFit Invigorate
Open 9am to 12pm. Come in on Small Business Saturday and take a free class!
5 Custom Drive, Old Saybrook
Fred Astaire's Bloom Ballroom
All gift certificates on sale! The more you buy the larger the savings!
No minimum purchase. Buy as many gifts as you need, one per named recipient. Get one for every friend and don't forget your loved one!
174 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Vintage Home Decor
20% off all Dining Furniture, Dinnerware & Cocktail Accessories including Waterford Crystal, Baccarat, and Simon Pearce. Perfect for holiday entertaining.
821 Boston Post Rd. Old Saybrook

Vista Life Innovations
Sales event at Creations
712 Boston Post Rd. Madison

Harris Outdoors
Our mantra: unplug the tech and get outdoors! 

Stop in for coffee, tea and cookies, and dog treat samples for your four legged furbabies.

We will be offering a snowman ornament workshop.  Make a $5.00 donation to Youth and Family Services and you will receive a 2016 Harris Outdoors Snowman to decorate and hang on your tree!

Harris Outdoors will be a "Giving Tree" location for Youth and Family Services. Stop by and sponsor a child for the holidays. We will deliver the gifts to Youth and Family on December 16th for distribution to families. We will also be collecting wrapping paper and supplies for distribution.

Watch our FB page for specials.
889 Boston Post Rd. Old Saybrook

Chalk Mercantile
We will be having 2 raffles, one for Maison Blanche Vintage Furniture Paint and one for Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint.  Sign up for our email newsletter to be entered.
891 Boston Post Road. Old Saybrook

TGBC Consulting
25% discount on 6 month business leader coaching engagement
Old Saybrook

Blackhall Outfitters
Open house on Nov 26. Watch our FB page for events and promos.
We will be offering up our biggest discounts on all in-stock, leftovers, demos and pre-paddled kayaks and SUPS.
132 Shore Road, Old Lyme

Take 20% (!) off any photo booth package when purchased Nov 25 - 27. Booking now for 2017!
Old Saybrook

Before ~N~ After Dog Services
10% off In Home Dog Training Consultation Gift Certificates

Southern Exposure
30% off all in stock Lucchese boots and slides Nov 25 - 27
Don’t miss this great opportunity to celebrate “Small Business Saturday” ALLLLLL weekend with us!. Lucchese has been handcrafting their boots since 1883 using only the finest Leathers and Craftsmanship.
264 Main Street Old Saybrook, and in Mystic

20% off the entire store for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday
143 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Fitness on the Water
20% off all class and private packages
1921 Boston Post Road #3, Trolley Square
Westbrook, CT

MAR Floral & Botanicals 
10% off any floral arrangement ordered on Saturday 11/26.
This includes any preorders for local deliveries, holiday parties, teacher gifts, Christmas Eve. Think ahead for the holidays! We will also raffle a holiday goodie basket. Open 9-1 on 11/26.
140 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Pearls & Plaid
Free scarf with every purchase while supplies last!
1330 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook

Take up to 30% Off select styles from The North Face. November 23-28
Receive a $100 Holiday Card with your purchase of $250 or more. November 25-28
75 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Design Essence
20% off everything in the store, including gift certificates
1oo Main Street, Old Saybrook

Scarecrow Fest Winners

Creativity was on display with more than 50 scarecrows adorning the streets and sidewalks of Old Saybrook and Westbrook--all part of the annual Old Saybrook Scarecrow Fest. Votes were cast online, thanks to Zip06, who made online voting a breeze. This year winners were recognized in four categories: whimsical, traditional, spooky and most creative scene. And the top vote getters are:
Penny Lane Pub: Traditional
Essex Savings Bank: Whimsical
Saybrook Country Barn: Spookiest
St. John School: Most Creative Scene
Scarecrow Fest Winners

A Flutter in Time: Faerie Houses Around the World & Across the Ages

October 1 - 30, 2016
Wee Faerie Village

OLD LYME, CT, August 31, 2016 – The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, CT presents A Flutter in Time: Faerie Houses Around the World & Across the Ages on the grounds of museum’s campus from October 1 through 30. Visitors follow a “Time Traveler’s Guide” to thirty-two hand-crafted faerie scenes. It’s a time-bending adventure of global (and miniature) proportions! One minute visitors are in ancient Babylon, then 13th century France, next they could be in Victorian Spain, or even outer space in 2817! All ages will marvel at the detail and craftsmanship as they visit Irish faerie folk from the 18th century and a Polynesian faerie from 20th century Hawaii.

Last year nearly 16,000 visitors enjoyed the 2015 event, Whimsical Kingdoms during its month-long run. This year’s Wee Faerie Village is the eighth of the Museum’s annual outdoor creative installations. Challenged to create their scenes using natural materials, most artists work for at least six months on their creations. “I had great time collecting palm thatch, sea grasses, banana leaves, bamboo, driftwood, and sea shells for my Polynesian faerie village," notes Jessica Zydeek of Cromwell, CT. “I wanted to include the diverse cultural and architectural styles of Hawaii, from humble ancestral huts to the grand palaces of King Kamehameha.” Artists are selected from across Connecticut and a few from outside the state. This year, students from Deep River Elementary School, Nathan Hale Arts Magnet School (New London), the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (New London), and Haddam-Killingworth High School created time-altering creations. This annual event has come to signify an enriching, not-to-be-missed outing for visitors of all ages.

Special Events

As part of its Wee Faerie Village exhibition, adults and families with children can enjoy a month of faerie-themed activities. Events include a visit from Mary Poppins, a Pirate Day, parties, performances, book discussions, and craft activities. Many events are included in Museum admission. Visit www.FlorenceGriswoldMuseum.org for a complete list.


Member Spotlight: Mike Mawdsley

Mike Mawdsley is owner of Mike's BarbershopMikesBarbershopphoto_small
100 Main Street, Old Saybrook

Who is your ideal customer?
Men and boys of all ages!

What are your primary responsibilities?
To make you feel comfortable and relaxed and to give a haircut or shave that helps you look your best!

What do you love most about your job?
Everything... I love being able to meet new people, have meaningful conversations about family, life, sports, etc. This job is my passion! I'm really lucky that I get to do what I love everyday.

What is your favorite Chamber event?
I am new to the Chamber, having just attended my first monthly meeting. I mostly look forward to networking and building meaningful professional relationships to grow my business.

What are some of your interests or hobbies?
I love to be active--golf, basketball. I enjoy the outdoors and I'm thrilled that my wife and I have relocated to the shoreline.

What is your personal philosophy on how to be successful?
I find that being myself and having an interest in other peoples' lives provides success in this business. I take pride in my skill set and genuinely seek lifelong customers.

Julia Balfour, LLC Receives 13 Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards

EAST HADDAM, Connecticut (June 28, 2016)- Julia Balfour, LLC was pleased to have several designs honored at this year’s Connecticut Art Directors Club awards. This year’s achievements fall under various categories, such as: Logos, Posters, Brochures & Letters, Poster Series, Websites, Email Design and Ad Campaigns.

Work recognized for the following seven partners were:

Judge’s Award (1 of 5)
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Newman’s Own Challenge Brochure & Letter - Brochures / Folders

Silver Awards
Just The Right Book Pop-up Shop, Emails & Ads - Online Campaign
Scully Land Design Logo - Logo System
Scully Land Design Website - Business & Corporate Websites
Pickett’s Press Emails - Email Design

Excellence Awards
Hartford HealthCare Annual Reports Website - Informational Websites
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Holiday Market Series - Illustration
Tova’s Vintage Logo - Trademark / Logo / Identity
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Holiday Market Series - Poster Series
Caulfield & Ridgway Website - Business & Corporate Websites
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Motown Gala Posters - Poster Series
High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Newman’s Own Challenge Brochure & Letter - Brochures / Folders
Just The Right Book Holiday Emails - Email Campaign

Julia Balfour, founder and Creative Director of the agency, is very enthusiastic about the company’s recent accomplishments. “We’re so excited to celebrate our 5th anniversary with a new building in East Haddam and these incredible awards. Our team has created an exceptional body of work this year. The work just keeps getting better and better!” she said.

Julia Balfour, LLC is a full service integrated agency specializing in design, strategy, innovation, and digital marketing. The studio works within Healthcare, Finance, Travel & Tourism, Non-Profit, Retail, Beauty, Museum & Fine Art, and Small Business.

The Connecticut Art Directors Club seeks to share with the creative community designs that go beyond measure of exceptional work. This awards show celebrates not only the crown designs of the year but additionally the ingenuitive spirit of creativity.

Find more information about Julia Balfour, LLC online at:

Contact: Caitlin Monahan -Public Relations
(860) 577-0340

The Kate's Summer Gala!

Old Saybrook, CT (July 6, 2016) – The Kate’s Summer Gala will take place August 27th on the historic Old Saybrook Town Green. The event begins at 6 pm with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails under the tent.  Dinner and dessert, all by Max Restaurant Group, will be complemented by The Kate galalive and silent auctions.  Remarks celebrating Dick Cavett, legendary talk show host, and another tremendous year of arts and culture at “The Kate” will also be shared. The Eturnity Band, which headlined Time Magazine’s 75th anniversary at Radio City Music Hall, will then turn the party up a notch, filling the dance floor with current tunes and crowd favorites.  Dancers/instructors from the Arthur Murray Dance School will perform and join the party.
Numerous sponsorship levels are available, which include a variety of benefits and visibility. The event’s top Partner Sponsor may participate in the awarding of the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award to Dick Cavett among other great benefits! 

Visit http://thekate.org/events/2016KateGala/ for sponsorship details or to purchase tickets. 
For more information contact Dana Foster at dana.foster@thekate.org

About the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center
The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center is a non-profit performing arts organization located in an historic theatre/town hall on Main Street in Old Saybrook. Originally opened in 1911 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Center has been renovated with public funds from the Town of Old Saybrook and donations raised by the Trustees of the Center. It includes a 250-seat theatre and a small museum honoring Katharine Hepburn, Old Saybrook’s most celebrated resident. As befits an organization born of such a public/private partnership, programming is eclectic, offering something for all ages and income levels on the Connecticut shore and in the lower river valley.


Member Spotlight: Jonathan Paradis

Jonathan Paradis is Assistant Director, Old Saybrook Parks & Recreationjonaparadis

Who is your ideal customer?
Anyone looking for something positive to do for themselves, their family, or their community.

What are your primary responsibilities?
Plan, develop and implement quality recreation and leisure programs for the town of Old Saybrook, marketing programs and the Department, developing community relationships

What do you love about your job?
being able to meet and provide services to our community and in my industry of recreation and leisure services, to be able to provide the town I live in is a great bonus!

Name your favorite Chamber service, program or event.
As a food guy, I love the Chili Fest! But the BCH's have been a great way to meeet people in the community.

What are some of your interests or hobbies?
Cooking, kayaking, playing softball, volleyball and basketball

What is your personal philosophy on how to be successful?
"If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail."