Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward

Katie Simmons 
Like many of you, I am still a bit mystified by the Affordable Care Act and feel uncertain about the waves of change rapidly heading toward businesses in California.  Luckily, many local experts are working non-stop to explain the nuances and obligations of health care reform and we're working closely with them to give you the information you need.   
I'd like to introduce you to the Small Business Toolkit we put together with our partners at Butte County, Butte College, and the Alliance for Workforce Development.  Our Toolkit walks you through approaching deadlines, training opportunities, and webinars that will help you understand what the new health care law means for your business.   

We recommend that you check out Covered California and their Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), too.  Covered California offers information specifically designed for small businesses such as new options for health coverage and the tax credit fact sheet.

Keep in mind that if you own a small business, you may be required by the Department of Labor to inform your employees about health care coverage by October 1, 2013.  The notice to employees about coverage options is a Department of Labor (DOL) requirement and businesses can use the DOL tool online to determine if they must comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The Butte County call center will open on October 1st, too, and will serve as a resource to you and your employees:  877.410.8803.

If you need more information, there are several educational opportunities for small businesses regarding the Affordable Care Act and the Department of Labor (DOL) notice of coverage options requirement.  Please refer to our Toolkit for dates and times and let us know if you have any questions.

It's time to adjust our sails.

~ Katie 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." ~ Phil Jackson

Katie Simmons 
Every day I am fortunate to meet new business men and women in Chico - it's a favorite job perk.  Whether I am meeting with someone who is experiencing challenges (permitting, broadband, workforce, you name it), or I'm meeting with a proprietor who is getting ready to launch a dream business, or we're in a group setting working on broader community issues, I always learn something new about what businesses in Chico need in order to be successful.

Our business walks program (see photo below) is one of the most effective tools in the Chamber's advocacy toolbox.  Along with a team of business service providers from Alliance for Workforce Development, the Downtown Chico Business Association, 3CORE, The Training Place at Butte College, and members of City staff, we cover broad areas of Chico on foot - shaking hands, introducing ourselves, hearing business stories, and getting down to the issues.  If we're in a family business, we learn just as much about Chico's history as we do about what the Chamber can do to help that business succeed.

If you see us in your neighborhood, please take a moment to tell us your story, opinions, and ideas.  We're listening and we're helping businesses one day at a time and one step at a time.

We are here to serve you and by "we" I mean me, Heather, Phyllis, Angie, Rebecca, Jeanette, our fabulous Board of Directors and volunteers, and the many organizations who are participating in our business walks.  Together we offer an astounding number of services, many of which are free to you. Check out our Business Resources Guide for more info.

Think of the Chamber and our team as one of the best tools in your business toolbox.  We're here to help you get the job done.

~ Katie