Now accepting 2020 Tigard Shining Stars Nominations

The 46th annual Tigard Shining Stars Community Awards Celebration recognizes and honors Tigard citizens who demonstrate excellence and community leadership in volunteerism, educational achievement and business. The fun, semi-formal dinner event and silent auction held at Embassy Suites Washington Square, celebrates our vibrant Tigard community and the individuals who make it so with awards, dinner and silent auction. 

Awards include the Jim Nicoli Youth Volunteer Award, John E. Cook Tigard’s First Citizen, a “From the Heart” Volunteerism Award (in honor of Jim Hartman), $3,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors, and Chamber awards for Chamber Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Ambassador of the year.  

This is the chance for Tigard residents to recognize, celebrate and say thank you to the people who work so hard all year long to enhance the community that we live and do business in and truly make Tigard “A Place to Call Home”. Nomination criteria and form download links are outlined below.

Tigard’s First Citizen –

Named in honor of John E. Cook, this award recognizes someone who has made in-depth, long-term volunteer contributions to the Tigard community over the years. The winner is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about making Tigard a nice place to live and work. This individual excels in any area of unpaid endeavor of education, social services, youth work, and community improvement of public services. This award is given in the spirit of all volunteers who remain unknown. The recipient joins the ranks of those previously honored in continually striving to improve the Tigard Area.

From the Heart –

This award honors a person who has dedicated their time and energy to a specific cause in the Tigard community.  Jim Hartman set the standard for this award by his example of giving from the heart to his community.  This person gives willingly, energetically and consistently.  This person might be well known or might be a “quiet” volunteer, unrecognized until now, but always gives “from the heart”!  This person may have worked on the same project for many years. 

Tigard Youth Volunteer Award – 

This award is given in honor of former Mayor, Jim Nicoli, who passed away in 2000.  His dedication to the youth of our community was a fitting way to honor his name and award a youth in our community who volunteers to make a difference.  Many young people in Tigard are active in volunteer efforts and it is our pleasure to acknowledge their contributions of dedication, energy and community spirit.  They are the future!  

Tigard’s Chamber Business of the Year –

This award recognizes a chamber business that has made in-depth contributions to the Tigard community through their business. The winner is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about continuing to make Tigard a destination of choice for local business. Nominee must be a chamber member in good standing.

Outstanding Chamber Volunteer 

This award honors a Chamber member who has volunteered many hours of time, talent and energy to the success and growth of the Tigard Chamber.  Bert Tousey and his example of Chamber volunteerism is commitment at its best.  This person is an example of an active member who has sustained their efforts on behalf of the Chamber over a long period of time.  By their efforts, they have made this organization more effective in serving the Tigard community. 

Ambassador of the Year

Being an Ambassador for the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce is no small task!  The Ambassador of the Year Award should be presented to a volunteer who significantly affects a positive perception of the Chamber through active participation, an optimistic attitude and solid business practices.  The recipient is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about making the Tigard Chamber a great organization to be a part of!

Any individual or organization can make a nomination with the exception of Ambassador of the Year. All Nominations are due by March 6, 2020.   

Thank you for supporting the 2020 Shining Stars Community Awards Gala May 3, 2019, 5:30-9 p.m. being held at Embassy Suites – Washington Square with your nominations.  If you have questions or need assistance please contact us at Jessica@TigardChamber.org or call 503-639-1656. www.TigardChamber.org.

4 Ways to Pull Great Stories Out of Your Customers

Storytelling makes for amazing marketing because people don’t realize they’re being marketed to. They’re pulled into the story. They develop an emotional attachment to your business and they stick around for the resolution.

Good storytelling casts your customers as the heroes of their stories. You want their successes and triumphs to be told because you want potential customers to hear the stories and think that they can do those things too.

When you cast your business as the wise sage who helps the hero achieve their goals, you become important to the solution. That way people who are considering buying from you understand the valuable role that you play even while you are highlighting the accomplishments of others.

But finding the stories isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’re fortunate enough to have a loyal customer who bathes you in compliments. More often than not, these stories are silent successes that aren’t shared with you. You need to find a way to dig these up so that you can breathe life into them and share them with potential customers.

But how do you do that?

First, a call for stories is not enough. I’ve seen countless businesses inviting people to share their stories with them. And…

Crickets.

The problem with this approach is that people are busy, especially successful ones. If you want their story, you need to find a more creative approach than merely asking. Even people with good intentions and great stories who read your call for stories will often put your request on the back burner behind the more important ones affecting their daily business. You need to go out and get those stories. Here’s how:

Ask Your Customer Support Team/Person

Asking your customer support team for stories of successful customers or fantastic comeback stories is a great first step for two reasons. First, this team (or person) is on the front lines talking to customers every day. If anybody knows what your customers are thinking it’s this group.

The second reason going to them is a good idea is because you’re giving the support person the opportunity to feel important and valued. Very effective stories star disgruntled customers because the story is always in the friction. If you can show a person who is struggling and then overcame that struggle, it’s a lot more effective than someone who just bought your product or service and used it. Ask your team for times when they were really able to help someone. This will assist them in getting to the best stories and allow them to feel special for their efforts at the same time.

Follow Your Customers on Social Media

Follow as many of your customers on social media as possible. This will help you keep close tabs on their wins and successes. When they brag about something out of the ordinary, reach out to them and congratulate them. If appropriate ask them the story behind their success. If it’s a good story ask them if you might use it for your newsletter, web copy,  blog or social media post.

Explain What’s In It for Them

Many marketers approach requests for case studies and customer stories as a favor from the customer. The customer is busy when you come to them begging for their customer story, it quickly becomes an inconvenience for them; especially when you point it out as one like when you ask them to do you a “big favor.”

However, if you explain what’s in it for them they’ll be more likely to participate. For example, instead of asking for a favor tell them they’ve been selected to be highlighted in a newsletter. It goes out to a thousand people and the details of their business and their offerings will be shared widely and in a positive light.  They will quickly see the value of participation for their own business.

Host an Appreciation Event

If you are looking for great customer stories, a solid way to uncover them is by hosting an appreciation event. When making small talk with your customers and expressing your appreciation for them, make it a point to ask them what accomplishments they are most proud of this year. That gives them a chance to boast and they likely will enjoy the opportunity to do so. As you’re listening to their success stories, try to figure out if your business had any part of that. Even if you didn’t play a role in it, it still provides a wonderful opportunity to congratulate them on something they’re proud of.

If you want to incorporate storytelling in marketing for your business, you need to feature your clients or customers. The best stories focus on their successes. But asking them to share their success in your posts on social media is usually not enough to get a response. Instead, use some of these tactics to get them to open up about what they’ve achieved and how you helped.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses and chambers how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.  

 

Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to eradicate boring copy and bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

How to Figure Out What’s Keeping Your Audience up at Night When They Don’t Have a Clue

Most marketers these days will tell you that the most convincing way to write your web copy is to solve a problem for your audience. You cannot expect your audience to read your site or watch your videos and guess whether you’re good for them or not. Instead, you need to  connect the dots for them. You have to be exceptionally clear of the solution you provide and it has to be the answer to the problem they’re struggling with.

But sometimes your audience isn’t aware of the problem. It may be that the problem is not acute enough yet for them to be entertaining a solution. Sometimes they know there’s a problem but they’re unable to define it. Maybe they’re not sure of the cause or maybe they can’t quite separate it from other difficulties they’re having. Whatever the case may be, if they are unclear about the problem, you’ll have difficulties providing solution-based marketing.

In these cases, you need to find a way to help them better understand their problem before you can provide a solution.

But how do you do that if they don’t know what their problem is? And how do you figure it out? As in other types of marketing, the best way to do this is to be as transparent as possible in the following ways.

What is solution-based marketing?

Solution-based marketing is the approach that focuses on the customer need behind particular businesses. In solution-based marketing you use a problem to shape your web copy. Don’t focus on the negative. Instead, present an opportunity for growth or potential for your customers. For instance, remember the McDonald’s catch phrase “ you deserve a break today”?  That is an example of (assumed) solution-based marketing.The problem that is not directly names is that people are stressed and overworked. McDonald’s is jumping in and suggesting (without directly saying it) they can provide the solution to that stressful existence. They can provide a much-needed break.

Solution-based marketing is its most efficient when the problem it’s solving for is known by the  potential customer. However, in the case of the McDonald’s example, the customer may not even realize how stressed they were until McDonald’s presented the solution in suggesting that they deserve the break.

How Do You Know There’s a Problem?

If your customer doesn’t know there’s a problem, how do you?

Every business has a problem the question is whether the business owner has taken the time to define and understand it.

In many cases what they recognize as the difficulty is not the actual problem but how it is presenting itself. This situation can be compared to a very painful headache. When most people have one, they refer to that as the problem or the reason they can’t do something or why they’re in a bad mood. However that’s just how the problem is presenting itself. There’s an underlying cause of the headache like maybe dehydration. While the headache feels like the problem, it’s really the dehydration that is at the center of the issue. If you really want to solve the problem, you have to fix the dehydration.

Most people look to stop the headache because that’s the pain. This is only a temporary solution. If you’re using solution-based marketing you want to alleviate the pain by getting to the heart of the problem, not just solving how it’s presenting. You can do this several ways.

Look at reviews

Examine your reviews and that of your top competitor. What are the phrases that keep coming up over and over again? Use those words and comments to shape your content and web copy headlines.

Talk to Your Customers

Create a panel of your most loyal customers or if you don’t have loyal customers, talk to some of your most recent ones. Ask them why they bought from you. And if they bought from anybody else. If so, ask them why they bought from that person.

They may bring up price, proximity, or referrals as the reasons why they chose one business over another. These are symptoms just like that headache. You want to dive deeper. Use the words they mention to get to what they’re really concerned about. For instance, if they refer to budget as the reason they selected someone, they’re likely watching the bottom line.

You want to make sure you talk about the danger of the competition that doesn’t stay within your budget or expensive upsells and charges that aren’t negotiated in the original conversation when creating content.

Look at Requests on Facebook

Have you ever noticed people on Facebook asking their following for recommendations on local businesses? When they do, very few people get right to their immediate need such as asking for a veterinarian in New York City. In most cases, they have a story to tell before they launch into their need.

Maybe they’ve gotten burned before or want to make sure they give all the background. Maybe they don’t want to waste anyone’s time or they want to get the ideal fit. But whatever the reason, they tell a story instead of asking for the referral directly.

Because of this, business recommendations can be a wealth of information. Peruse these in your local city group on Facebook or read your friends’ by clicking on the recommendations tab on the left hand side of your Facebook profile.

If you still can’t figure out what the problem is plaguing your potential customers and what’s keeping them up at night, do some research on your ideal demographic. By using your target demographic, you can search for their most common struggles. Through identifying their most common struggles, you can then create content around those difficulties and test how your audience responds to that content.

  • Is that content shared?
  • Do they click on it and interact with it?
  • Did they leave you comments or ask additional questions?
  • Is it a heavily visited post?

Any of these things can indicate that you have struck content gold and are providing something that is a great value to your audience. 

While you could create content that reflects all of the problems that your ideal demographic might face based on research, the easiest and most efficient way to figure out what’s bothering them is to do some A/B testing with questions on social media.

No one has time to write to every possible concern in the world. You have to narrow those things down. Focus on the top three reasons your customers may be struggling. Ask a couple of pointed, open-ended questions on social media that would help you better understand your active audience. Using this kind of crowdsourced R&D can assist you in creating valuable content without a lot of trial and error.

This tactic won’t completely remove the need to do some testing to see what people respond to but it will get you halfway there and provide you with good insights as to what people need from you most.

 

Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com.  

Christina is an introverted writer on a quest to eradicate boring copy and bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.

Solopreneur Survival: The 5 Scariest Things About Working Alone (and How to Control Them)

By Laura Gayle, Business Woman Guide

You’re ready to go out on your own as a solopreneur, and you’ve got major butterflies in your stomach. Who could blame you? This decision is a huge one and can be scary if you aren’t careful. There are so many challenges that you’ll face, including the five below, that it can seem impossible to succeed. But it’s not! With some planning and proactivity, you can overcome these problems and become the success that you deserve.

Running Low on Motivation

Trying to stay motivated to complete your day-to-day tasks is hard enough when you’re employed by someone else. But when you’re your own boss, you’re going to find your energy flagging from time to time. And since you’re totally solo, you can’t take many days off! Thankfully, the Mayo Clinic outlined some of the easiest ways to stay motivated, which you can easily integrate into your lifestyle.

Start by setting goals that you know you can reach. Long-distance goals are essential, but you also need smaller ones that help you achieve the bigger picture. And, most importantly, try to make everything as fun as possible. If you’re genuinely enjoying your time as a solopreneur and having fun with it, you’re going to experience more success and stay as motivated as possible.

Doing Your Taxes

Nobody likes tax season, and few hate it more than solopreneurs. Unlike other businesses that have a broad base of income on which to draw for paying taxes, you’ll be paying taxes out of your own pocket. This situation can be frustrating and scary if you try to embark on it with no help. There are so many mistakes that one can make when doing taxes that, in the worst-case scenario, you might freeze up and struggle to get them done at all.

Thankfully, you don’t have to take this difficult step on your own. Instead, you can hire a professional tax firm to handle most of the difficult elements for you. And you can also consult tax-preparation apps online to help you get an idea of what to expect. Remember that, as a solopreneur, just about every element of your life can be used as a tax write-off in some way. So don’t hesitate to get smart — but stay legal! — with your returns.

Being Solely Responsible

People who go solo are going to find that they have to make all the big decisions for their business: Which computers and hardware to work from? Which software platforms to use? How to secure insurance and retirement benefits? Whom to consult for accounting, payroll, taxes, bookkeeping? How to safeguard client and company information? 

The answer to the last question is, happily, becoming a no-brainer: Cloud storage is becoming the standard solution for storing precious data that is both safe and easily accessible from almost anywhere with an internet connection. A safe spot in the cloud almost virtually ensures that you won’t run into info storage complications down the road.

Operations and logistics questions are sometimes easier to answer for solopreneurs. Often the harder part, in the face of so many potential pitfalls, is maintaining self-esteem. Remind yourself as often as possible that you’re an intelligent and skilled person who is working hard to become even more successful — you wouldn’t have gotten this far if you were anything else! 

Staying Afloat with Unreliable Income

Though you can make great money as a solopreneur once you get into the game, you’re also going to run into patches of low income. This situation can be a challenge to anybody — troubles with overhead costs, loss of security, or substandard benefits. However, you can overcome this problem if you’re clever about the ways you use your income.

Try to find ways to minimize your overhead costs, such as cutting back on office space you don’t need or reducing your travel expenses. And try to find inexpensive health insurance to keep yourself healthy while on the road. You may even want to consider moving to a less expensive city — such as Kansas City, for example, with its robust job market and low rents — to ensure that your income remains flexible and your overhead less demanding.

Being Lonely

Being a solopreneur is a thrilling and unforgettable adventure for most, but it can also be a lonely one. Taking advantage of industry groups, co-working spaces, chambers of commerce, local business meetups, and other business-related opportunities for networking can help you build a base of professional contacts and colleagues. 

The problem of loneliness and isolation can be farther-reaching, though, particularly if you travel a lot — and with a solo business, you almost certainly will, at least at first. Without a home base from which to operate, you might find you have a hard time meeting people outside of work. Thankfully, there are ways to expand your social network while traveling:

  • Hostels — Stay in these low-cost travel centers to not only save money but also meet unique people during your travels.
  • Day tours — Take a break and meet new people while visiting exciting areas in the city.
  • Night events — Sign up for a pub crawl, cooking class, or any other event that piques your interest, and meet a group of engaging and fun people while you’re doing it.
  • Couchsurfing apps — Meet people using the “hangout” function travel apps.

There are many simple activities that can help stave off some of the loneliness of being a solopreneur. However, you may also want to take steps to meet someone outside of work who’s interested in the same kind of lifestyle or activities as you — whether it’s sports, science, the arts, travel, or whatever. This kind of connection can help you beat loneliness (and focus on work during the hours it’s called for).

The many challenges of being a solopreneur aren’t impossible to overcome if you’re smart and persistent. With careful management of your time and energy, you can stay happy and focused, becoming a successful and satisfied person while on this life journey. So get out there and do it!   

Paid Family Leave Legislation

Paid Family Leave (HB 2005) is the last remaining Paid Family Leave (PFL) Bill under consideration. OSCC is still awaiting amendments for a new paid family leave bill that would implement a new 12-week paid family leave program for all businesses down to the first employee. Employers with under 25 employees would not be required to do an employer side payroll withhold, only an employee payroll withhold.  We don’t have final language on the proposal, but we can share a sheet that shows the features of the new proposal. 

Previous versions of this proposal under various bills including HB 3031 provided up 32 weeks of leave and required employers with 1 plus employees to do employer side payroll withholds and didn’t accommodate or recognize like or better plans already provided by business.  Based on feedback from business organizations including chambers (our letter to legislators), the remaining PFL bill has been revised to a more manageable size/set of requirements.

Remember, several business organizations have asked for passage of this proposal, thereby increasing the likelihood of passage. The theory was that if business did not support a paid family leave proposal in the 2019 session, we would be confronted with a ballot measure in 2020 that would propose a far more costly and unwieldy system