Why should you join the Association?

Board of the German Canadian Chamber of CommerceThe German Canadian Business Association, which began in 1963, started out as an Association for men only. Twenty years ago, women arrived on the scene and proved that they are just as capable of leadership and success. Today, our President Beatrice Schreiber, is a woman who is not only successful, but is also involved in some way in most aspects of the German Community in Vancouver. Besides her, there are 3 men and 3 women on Board and the Association is quite evenly balanced because of it.

When talking to people why they are not joining the German Canadian Business Association, I often hear people say: “I am so successful, I don’t need an Association.” or “It is too much money to join.” Here are three reasons why everyone in the German Community who run their own business, should join the Association:

1. All entrepreneurs and business owners are on a spectrum and all can benefit from membership in an Association in some way. Start-ups and “just launched” can benefit from meeting a variety of experienced professional business leaders who will give them advice and show them the way, while those who are already established can benefit from sharing information and mentoring those who still need help.

2. You are keeping the German Heritage Alive – It seems that all of our German institutions and cultural organizations are fighting to stay alive. Churches, charities, clubs and chambers are all left with a small amount of members or closing down completely. The members that are left are now in their 80’s and 90’s and funerals are held on a regular basis. They now need young people (and by young, you would count even if you are in your fifties!) to step in and fill the spots left by those who are no longer around. Yes, this may mean change, but that would be ok, as well.

Adding social media, websites, online newsletters, blogs, instagram accounts etc. are now necessary to stay alive. But the essence of the heritage could be preserved for our children and their children. We may take these things for granted and not miss them until they are gone – perhaps forever. Joining the German Canadian Business Association is one great way to keep culture and connect with community.

3. Finally, if one person from each business, or club or community organizations join, we could have a synergy that would help and benefit everyone. The most annoying thing is when you see two prominent German organizations that hold events on the same night – perhaps because they didn’t know about the other groups event. Or when you see two groups trying to achieve the exact same thing, almost competing with one another. Or the attitude: “We don’t need you. We can make it on our own.” Instead of supporting and promoting our German charities, churches and clubs to our younger generation and making room for them to join and grow them their way.

So, if you have any reason why you don’t want to be a member of the organization, I would encourage you to share this with the Board of directors or in the comments section and let’s see if there is any way we can work with you to help solve any challenges you may have. Then join the Association and make it the biggest in Canada, which will not only help your bottom line, but also offer a win-win solution to those who want to have success in Canada, as well as preserving the heritage that provided a platform for us to launch ourselves here.

According to my Facebook Page: Germans in Vancouver

As page manager, I am constantly trying to share relevant, interesting stories with my subscribers. Then, I can see how many people it reaches, who liked it and who shared it. It constantly fascinates me, which articles or topics get popular, and which ones don’t. It is a great way to learn more about the German Community here in Vancouver.

I have learned that the most popular items seem to be:
a. German bread
b. German Beer
c. German restaurants

BratwurstIn other words, food and drink!

Ok, that takes care of the top 3 most popular post topics. I guess the best way to the German Communities heart is through their tummies!

The only other popular post on my page was: “How to Parent Like a German.”

Now, other post that are popular are German-related events with topics, such as passive house, music, German holidays (Fasching, St. Martins Festival, Nikolausfest etc.), festivals, German cars, soccer, FIFA, Olympics, German language learning etc. Politics don’t seem that popular, which makes sense as when you live here, what happens in Germany isn’t as relevant and some people are still in the position where they can’t vote here yet anyways.

Finally, job postings are popular. Among students, travellers, work & travel visa holders. newcomers, immigrants, ex-pats and spouses of someone who is now working here in the consulate or as a professor at UBC etc.

People are always asking me how to either reach the German Community or how to sell to the German Community, and my advice would be to offer German food and drink, especially if you can get a hold of something that is not readily available in Vancouver or British Columbia. Or, you might want to offer a German related event, such as a festival, a puppet show, a concert or holiday celebration that brings the community together. Finally, you could offer useful information for job seekers and students.

At least that is what my Facebook Statistics seem to say!

Questions for readers:
a. What do you like to read about on Facebook or on blogs?
b. Are you trying to sell or promote your product/service to the German Community?
c. What are some posts you do not want to see on social media?

11 Jan 2015
January 11, 2015

Bauhaus Restaurant Opens March 2015

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The Bauhaus Restaurant is excited to announce Michelin Star Chef Stefan Hartmann and former General Manager of Kensington Palace, Tim Adams are joining forces to put a star and a crown on the Vancouver food scene.
Stefan Hartmann ChefHartmann’s inspiration for the menu at Bauhaus will be contemporary German cuisine, taking a fresh approach to many traditional dishes.Over the past decade Hartmann has worked in some of Europe’s most notable Michelin Star restaurants including Kolja Kleeberg’s Restaurant, “Vau” in Berlin, and “Maximin” in Venice, France.Hartmann’s cooking has caught the attention of food critics all over the world with amazing reviews in both USA Today and New York Times’ “Top Restaurants in Berlin.” He continues to prove himself worthy of all the praise, going on to win culinary awards such as the Master Chef Award and the Newcomer of the YearAward. Hartmann was given the prestigious Michelin Star in 2010.

Tim Adams will lead the operations at the  Bauhaus restaurant as General Manager. At age 19, he moved to London, England, where he obtained a business degree and began his managerial career. During a 10-year career at CH & Co, Tim was instrumental in managing England’s most prestigious establishments including
Kensington Palace, Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. Tim hosted many high profile guests including the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family.Behind Bauhaus is Uwe Boll, who many know from his film career. However, it is Boll’s personal interests in international cuisine, that led him to bring high-end food products, such as Casa Gusta olive oil, to Canada for many years. His passion for exceptional food and ingredients is the inspiration for this endeavor.

“After recently moving permanently to Vancouver from Germany, I felt that Vancouver
is really missing high-end contemporary German cuisine. It is very different from what
is currently offered in the city.” Uwe Boll

Bauhaus is currently under massive renovations and is set to open March, 2015 in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood. Local designer Andrea Greenway is spearheading the large-scale project. The restaurant will boast 100 seats with a large open concept kitchen, personal Chefs table, private dining room,
wine room and patio.

“My inspiration behind the design was to juxtapose an incredible historical building
against a sleek modern interior worthy of the Bauhaus name.” Andrea Greenway

The Bauhaus Restaurant is set to open March 2015.

Twitter: @BauhausVan
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BauhausRestaurant
Website http: www.bauhaus-restaurant.com
For more information contact: Natalie Boll 604 710 8942
Email: press@bauhaus-restaurant.com

09 Jan 2015
January 9, 2015

Join Business Association in 2015!

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The German Canadian Business Association has changed in the last 52 years of its existence, yet one thing remains the same:  it is still there to allow entrepreneurs and business owners to network, to exchange ideas and give feedback and to allows its members to publicize their products and sell their services.

Also it used to be a Business MAN Association, but now is just for anyone.

The first meeting in 2015 will take place at Mahoneys Pub in downtown Vancouver at 6 pm by the new Convention Centre and will include some hors d’oeuvres for everyone to share.

BREAKING NEWS:  there will be a $200 membership fee charged for the 2015/2016 calendar year for anyone who chooses to renew it on this evening!

Please bring yourself, your family and friends and join us as we celebrate the New Year with the German Canadian Business Association.

09 Jan 2015
January 9, 2015

German Castle wins Second Prize!

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“Winter Castle at Christmas!”

We got the results back from Grouse for the Gingerbread Village competition and the German Winter Castle at Christmas created by the Metropolitan Hotel and sponsored by the German Canadian Business Association came in second place! Here is what our contact at Grouse wrote:

German Gingerbread CastleIt was a very tight race! Based on popular vote (5376 hard ballots, 798 online votes – weighted 25%) and votes from a panel of four judges (including Z95.3, SONiC and Jack FM – weighted 75%), the top overall placing competitors are…

1) It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas (Team: The Sweet Shop)
2) Winter Castle at Christmas (Team: Metropolitan Hotel and Pastry Chef Emiddio Isernia)
3) Baby It’s Cold Outside (Team: katscakes.ca)

The castle was sponsored by four members of the Association, among them Beatrice Schreiber (President) and Rebecca Lees (Secretary).

18 Nov 2014
November 18, 2014

Value Proposition or USP

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How Can I Differentiate myself or my business?  What is my Value Proposition?

This information is for small business owners or entrepreneurs that are attempting to launch one or two products into the local market.  It may be importing something from Europe, or bringing an European concept to life in Vancouver or just introducing a new product or service to the market.  A larger company will have an entire marketing department at their disposal, while a smaller company may have to either do it themselves or hire a consultant to help out on a temporary basis.  Companies from Austria, Germany & Switzerland who are importing everything from cheese to chocolate need to know the benefits for the consumer, since higher quality and the longer distance often translates into higher prices.

1.  The main question is what makes you different from your competitors and what are you doing to increase your value proposition – are you more customer service oriented?  This is one of the things that will keep customers coming back to you.  Are you flexible in your approach?  Have you figured out a new way to get a particular product cheaper, faster, better etc.?  Are you the only place in town where someone can get this product?  What if they order it, but they aren’t happy?  How are you packing this product?  Will you be able to recycle this product when it has finished its lifecycle?

2.  Another good question is how can you gain competitive advantage through your position in the market?  Will you focus on a broad appeal strategy that would suit almost everyone, or a targeted marking strategy for specific consumers like women or the wealthy, or will you position it as a very specific niche market that almost no one reaches exactly?  Like teens who live in West Vancouver and dig fashion?

3.  How will you prove to your potential customers that they should pay more since your brand, product or service is of a higher value than all of the other hundreds of products or services.  Increasing “mind share” (position), as well as market share (sales).  You can focus on the increase in prestige, the ease of use, the convenience and the safety they will receive, or you can focus on the service reliability, the social responsibility and the product quality that you are offering.  Consumers have all kinds of reasons for buying things and you need to know what makes people buy what you have.

4.  You also need to spend some time on the obstacles people will face buying your products.  They may find them too costly to buy, too challenging to store, too costly to maintain or just have a plain fear of being ripped off.   Your website should have solutions to these problems in a way that minimizes the risk that buyers feel they face when become your customers.

5.  You should also try to differentiate yourself by offering something free.  How to’s that relate to your product.  Or a tip sheet that they can use or a step by step instruction page on something related to your product.  Even a short e-book may be popular.

In conclusion, whether you are selling Christmas Stars, tea, chocolate, Bratwurst or Wine/Beer, you need to let the public know why your products has more value than any others.  How to communicate this value is, of course, the topic of another blog post.

Stay tuned for the next bit of wisdom from Westcoast German News.

Value for visitors = successful sales.

13 Nov 2014
November 13, 2014

Getting Going on Google

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Part I

Some entrepreneurs are still stuck in the starting phase of trying to get their German business website and social media sites off the ground. Others have had them for years, but they are not ranking very high on Google. Yet this is what people want and need. I have been getting so many of these kinds of requests lately. How can I become more popular on the #1 search engine that most people use?

I decided that, as an experiment, I will try everything I would do for someone else on my own website to see if it helps.

1. For starters, I am now actively using Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools should help you with your task. If you are using more than one website, you will have to set them all up individually. I have 3 websites that I am building for myself and several websites that I have done for others. For each one, I am now working on:
a. Setting up Google Analytics
b. Setting up All Other Google Tools

Excuse me, while I set up my Author Link for Google. I didn’t even realize how important this was! It may take me a while to complete these tasks, so it may take a while to complete writing this post. I will get back to you tomorrow! Come back for Part II.

Bayern Soccer ShirtLet us say that you are importing a product from Austria, Germany or Switzerland to Vancouver, BC and would like to promote this to your target audience. Your target audience can be Canadians that immigrated here from Europe, Europeans that are here on a temporary basis, or just anyone who enjoys high quality German products.

What are some things that you can do reach this elusive, niche audience? Advertise, but where? Post on blogs, but which ones? Join organizations, committees and groups, but whose? Hopefully this list will get you started:

Here are four ways to advertise through Westcoast German News
1. Place an ad on Westcoast German News website – $60
2. Place an ad in the Westcoast German News Digital Magazine – $150 to $250 for a monthly issue (due at the end of November 0 just in time for Christmas!)
3. Place a blog interview on my Westcoast German News Blog (http://www.westcoastgermannews.com/blog) (free)
4. Send me an article how you got started importing products for my Digital Magazine (free)

Here are two ways to advertise through AhornTV
1. Place an ad on the website
2. Place an ad on the weekly AhornTV Show

Advertising through the German Canadian Business Association
1. Join for $280 a year (pro-rated)
2. Once you are a member, you can fill in your profile and place something on the website free!

Join the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce
1. Join for $140 a year
2. Attend monthly networking events

Two events to get a booth:
1. Vancouver Christmas Market (opens November 22nd)
2. European Festival (www.europeanfestival.ca)

Become a Member of the German Business Vancouver Networking Group
http://www.meetup.com/German-Business-Vancouver-Networking/

Get involved with Bauhaus, a new German-Austrian Restaurant opening in Gastown:
http://www.bauhaus-restaurant.com/

If you have tried any of these ideas, you could leave us a comment, or if you have any ideas, please leave a comment. We look forwarding to hearing from you!

26 Oct 2014
October 26, 2014

SEO and the Google Spider

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Search Engine Optimization Help with Google Spider

In order for Google to keep their index up-to-date, they send out a spider to do their work for them.  These spiders crawl around from one website to another, especially favouring newer websites that have a higher PageRank, or that have more links leading to them from legitimate websites, or that have newer updated content, such as found on a blog.  Your goal as a website owner is to increase the “crawl frequency” of this Google Spider by carefully scattering the correct bait throughout your website.

The crawl process is algorithmic, and the computer program Google uses to determine which sites to crawl more often can change often.  They do not accept payment to crawl a site more frequently, but encourage users to implement other methods to attract the Spider.

Google has a useful page for Webmasters that can be found here, but I am just going to list a few tips myself.

1.  Build a Sitemap and ensure it is on your site.

2.  Tell everyone – friends, family, acquaintances, business contacts, clients or target audience – about your new website and business goals.

3.  The Google crawler does not recognize text contained in images – write out the words somewhere else on your site or consider using the ALT attribute to include a description.

4.  Not every search engine spider will crawl dynamic pages, so think twice before using them

5.  Think about the words that your potential clients would use to find your pages and make sure that your site includes these words frequently, but not too frequently; the copy should make sense.

6.  Work on what makes your service/product unique, valuable or engaging.  What problem are you trying to solve?

7.  If you need help creating or updating search engine optimization on your business website, please contact me at 604 828 8788.  With just a couple of hours a week, I can help keep your site Spider-friendly and Spam-free.  I can also set up social media sites for you, update them weekly and then put a link on your website, to help your content be the kind that attracts the right audience.

Think YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Meetup etc.

I think I will be working on my Sitemap now!  Have a productive week!

 

You may be seeking the German Community in Vancouver for business or for pleasure.  I will start with some business ideas.  Part II will showcase the cultural, social or fun German Organizations for Germans, Swiss or Austrians.

1.  Join the German Canadian Business Association for only $280 a year!  Pro-rated if joining later than the AGM.  They also have great deals for Germans living outside of Vancouver who may not be able to attend the events on a regular basis.  See their website for more information!

http://www.germanbusinessvancouver.com

2.  Join the German Business Vancouver Networking Group on Meetup!  This is also a place where non-profits, churches & charities can share German language events, while any business can network with other German speakers to share marketing, public relations or business development ideas.

http://www.meetup.com/German-Business-Vancouver-Networking/events/192089272/

3.  Join the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce

http://www.swisscanadianchamber.com/

4.  The German Business Network (GBN) between Germany & Victoria

http://www.gbn.ca/

5.  German Canadian Business Connection of Vancouver

http://www2.jurock.com/missing.asp