2012 Tigard Shining Stars Community Awards Ambassador of the Year Named

The Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) is pleased to announce that Jacqueline Triem, Loan Coordinator with Washington Federal of Tigard is the 2012 Shining Stars Ambassador of the Year.  The Ambassador of the Year Award is presented to an Ambassador 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! Jacqueline exemplifies these characteristics with her cheerful attitude, welcoming smile to visitors, guests and members and her wide spread involvement in chamber networking events including  the annual Chamber Golf Tournament, Speed Networking, Holiday Luncheon, After Hours and any other activity that she is asked to do.  There is no hesitation in her “Yes I can do that” response.   She has been a member of the chamber since 2010 and a chamber Ambassador since 2011. Upon joining the Ambassadors, Jacqueline became the Ambassador Secretary of this group of ambassadors and has gone above and beyond her duties. She is an exemplary ambassador and a great role model for others in the group.  Jacqueline immediately stepped up to be the secretary of the ambassadors and has been diligent in keeping all of us informed as well as helping the Ambassador Chair in coordinating many functions. She always has a smile and a positive attitude no matter what the task or obstacle. Jacqueline is a true example of what a chamber ambassador should be. In addition to her volunteer activities Jacqueline is a Tigard resident, a Wife, a Mother, a Grandmother (lovingly referred to by her grandchildren as G.J.) and so much more.  She has a heart as warm and as big as her smile.  All of  this and more is what makes Jacqueline such an outstanding person, and a valued member of the Tigard Chamber and the Ambassadors. The Ambassador of the Year award will be formally presented with other Tigard volunteer and business awards at Tigard’s 2012 Shining Stars Community Awards Celebration sponsored by Platinum Title Sponsor West Coast Bank and held on Friday, April 27th from 6-9 p.m. at Embassy Suites –Washington Square, event location host.  With a theme of “Escape to a Night in the Caribbean”, thisCaribbeanthemed dinner event includes dinner, silent auction, steel drum music, limbo, awards, and more.  Tickets are only $35/person, dress is casual, tropical.  Come Join Us and celebrate Tigard. For further details about Shining Stars, please contact the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce at 503-639-1656 or at info@tigardchamber.org  or go to our webpage at www.tigardchamber.org  About Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) The TACC, established in 1955, is a forward thinking membership organization which provides opportunities for consistent and sustainable long-term business growth!  The TACC is creating a strong, interconnected business community where strength through collaboration and power through partnerships makes Business Soar.  We do this by building a strong local economy, providing business networking, being involved in our community and representing the interests of business with government. About Washington Federal Washington Federal believes that banking is more than a series of financial transactions.  It is a commitment to building relationships with clients, shareholders and the community at large.  Each and every transaction holds a deeper meaning — an opportunity to own a home, a deposit toward a future goal, an investment in a thriving business.  We believe a good bank understands this and provides a secure financial foundation that helps our clients accomplish their goals so that all can benefit.   That kind of business model takes a long-term perspective and a commitment to the communities we serve. It means we are truly “invested here.”  Find out more at www.washingtonfederal.com  

10 Easy Ways to Increase Sales

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / olivier26 One of the most obvious ways to boost revenue in your business is to make more sales. Here are ten ways you can start doing that today: 1. Do You Have A Sales Strategy? Most businesses think they have a strategy, but they don’t.  Now is a good time to develop one.  You need to consider who your ideal customer is and what are the products and services that provide the best return for you.  The sales strategy should be a brief one-page roadmap that encapsulates: what you want to sell  who you are going to sell to where you are going to sell  how you are going to sell  when you are going to sell  Keep it simple and keep referring back to it. 2. Are You Missing Opportunities? You could best sum this approach up as ‘preach to the converted’. Your current customers are likely an excellent source for new business.  You may have a product or service that they may not know about that might suit their business.  Essentially, the first port of call should be the clients that have already bought from your business. 3. Back to Basics Chambers mentor businesses that have sales issues all of the time.  Oftentimes the problem is businesses have veered from their target market and fail to realise it.  Take an honest look at what your market is and where you are at the moment.  If sales are not at a level that you would like you might need to ask yourself some tough questions such as ‘Have I focused too much on one sector of my business?’ or ‘Have I deviated from my sales strategy and forgotten about my target market?’.  The second question is quite a common question.  In struggling economies many businesses survive by ‘throwing everything at it.’ But the economy is largely picking up now. It’s time to assess the business and get back to selling the right products to the right customers. 4. Customer is King Simon & Garfunkel knew this 45 years ago when they sang ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’.  In an age when almost anything can be bought or sold online at any time of the day or night by anyone, the need for excellent customer service has never been greater.  Some businesses have built their reputations on looking after generations of families.  Your business can do that too by ensuring that staff are properly trained and that customers get consistent excellent service every time that they deal with your business. 5. The Price is Right Have you considered how your product or service is priced?  What research have you carried out to make sure that it is competitively priced and that overheads and margin are factored in?  It is very easy to sell too cheaply just as it is very easy to end up broke. 6. Be Ruthless What you are not selling is as important as what you are selling.  Take a look at the products or services that are simply glued to the shelves and get rid of them.  Don’t be reluctant to retire certain products or services.  One of the secrets to success is being able to detach yourself from the emotion of a business decision.  If something is not selling don’t stock it and don’t waste money marketing it. 7. Open Your Eyes The first quarter is a very good time to take a look at what your competitors are doing. It is also an excellent time to look at similar businesses in different geographical areas to see how they are trading and to see if lessons can be learned.  Tip: Use events such as the Chamber networking events to meet new people and to gain market intelligence. 8. Raise Awareness You know all about your business, as does your family, but never presume that your target audience does.  Think about how you how can market your business.  Go back to your sales strategy in point 1 and identify your ideal customers and then target them where they are. 9. Look the Part When was the last time you looked at your branding?  Branding isn’t just a logo or a website. It is everything from an auto signature on an email to letterhead to company vehicles.  There are more options available now to help you to get your branding right.  There are countless examples of how you can carry out a brand audit online.   10. Stay in Shape Just as much as the New Year provokes people to get back in physical shape, the first quarter should also be a time when you identify training needs and areas for professional improvement.  There’s a good chance your local chamber can help you with training through networking and other learning-based events.  They are also a great resource on what your community offers. Every company needs sales to be successful. In order to do so sales and marketing strategies should be reviewed periodically to ensure they are the most effective for your business. Adjusting your tack every so often is the best way to stay on course.     Brian Cleary is the Chief Executive of Clonmel Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business services organizations in Ireland. He’s also the past director of Chambers Ireland. He writes for a number of online publications and is a regular co-presenter of the ‘Small Business Show’ a syndicated radio program broadcast on a number of stations throughout Ireland and available as a podcast.  

Tigard’s 2012 Shining Stars Community Awards Chamber Volunteer of the Year Recipient Named

Brian Castellanos, an Associate Agency Manager with COUNTRY Financial®, is the 2012 Tigard Chamber Volunteer of the Year Award recipient.  The Chamber Volunteer of the Year 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.  The award recipient 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 the Tigard Chamber more effective in serving the Tigard community. Brian exemplifies this award through his numerous volunteer activities with the Tigard Chamber.  Brian quickly engaged with the chamber after joining in May 2010.  His volunteer contributions to the Tigard Chamber are numerous and include:Helped repaint the chamber meeting room in September of 2010, along with several other volunteers, giving up part of his Saturday. Leveraged his connections to get the chamber a landscaper who provided a cost effective solution for removal of a dead hedge in the chamber landscaping.  That landscaper has since joined the chamber and maintains our landscaping on a semi-annual basis. Since 2010, Brian has served on the newly formed Fundraising Subcommittee whose role is to look for creative ways to generate additional funds that the chamber can put towards member programs. This has resulted in some residual for the chamber. Was the Title Sponsor for the Sept 2010 Tigard Chamber Annual Golf Tournament  and also joined the Golf Committee. In 2011 Brian stepped up again as the Title Sponsor for the chamber Golf Tournament, and acted as the unofficial chair of the committee. In this role he spent countless hours connecting with the golf course, negotiating tournament pricing/deposits, pro shop credits, clarifying details on cart sponsorships etc.  He also engaged other members in sponsoring, injected some new game holes to enhance the tourney and gathered high value raffle prizes.  Brian set a personal goal to really blow the doors off the tourney. The results were a significant increase in per player and sponsor income as compared to the 2010 tourney. Despite a recent move to a Beaverton office location, Brian has agreed to chair the Golf Committee for 2012 and planning for this years event has already begun. In keeping with his ambassadorial role with the chamber, Brian also became a Member of the Chamber Board of Directors  for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, attending monthly board meetings to review and discuss chamber business in addition to his other chamber volunteer activities. In his tenure with the Tigard Chamber, Brian has recruited 4 businesses into the chamber.  He is always connecting and advocating on behalf of the chamber and has expanded this to include advocacy of the Tigard Area Farmers markets to businesses interested in sponsorship. Brian always brings great energy and a positive outlook to all his interactions with the chamber.  Without volunteers like Brian, the Tigard Chamber would not be the vital, growing organization it is today. The Bert Tousey, Tigard Chamber Volunteer of the Year award will be formally presented with other Tigard volunteer and business awards at Tigard’s 2012 Shining Stars Community Awards Celebration sponsored by Platinum Title Sponsor West Coast Bank and held on Friday, April 27th from 6-9 p.m. at Embassy Suites –Washington Square, event location host.  With a theme of “Escape to a Night in the Caribbean”, thisCaribbeanthemed dinner event includes dinner, silent auction, steel drum music, limbo, awards, and more.  Tickets are only $35/person, dress is casual, tropical.  Come Join Us and celebrate Tigard. For further details about Shining Stars, please contact the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce at 503-639-1656 or at info@tigardchamber.org  or go to our webpage at www.tigardchamber.org About Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) The TACC, established in 1955, is a forward thinking membership organization which provides opportunities for consistent and sustainable long-term business growth!  The TACC is creating a strong, interconnected business community where strength through collaboration and power through partnerships makes Business Soar.  We do this by building a strong local economy, providing business networking, being involved in our community and representing the interests of business with government. About Country Financial® For more than 80 years, we’ve been helping people like you balance your need to protect what you have with your desire to build for the future. Our COUNTRY Financial® representatives are local people you know and trust. They’re knowledgeable, down to earth and backed by a team of professionals. Whether you’re starting your first job, raising a family, putting your children through college or nearing retirement, we can provide a tangible plan for your future financial security. Let us put our experience and financial strength to work for you. http://www.countryfinancial.com/  

MINIMUM WAGE FACTS

The Tigard Chamber since last year has taken a no position on increasing minimum wage in Oregon.  We are concerned about the impact to business, our residents and our economy.  We are opposed to a significant increase in minimum wage for the following reasons.1.Raising the minimum wage would raise costs for fixed income seniors with no ability to pay for increases  2.Oregon economists estimate increasing Oregon’s minimum wage to $12/hr will cause a reduction of 52,000 jobs statewide  3.There will be a negative impact on small business because they don’t have the ability to absorb the increased costs  4.Minimum wage workers at $12/hr would no longer qualify for Oregon Health Plan and would be forced to pay additional health care costs wiping out the increase in their earnings.  5.Increases in minimum wage would force non-profit charitable organizations to cut back on services Business leadership did come to the table to work on alternative minimum wage proposals which were circumvented by the Governor’s own Minimum Wage Proposal.  Read about business efforts herewhich included representatives from the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Grocery Association, Oregon Business Association, Oregon Health Care Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries, Portland Business Alliance Some background facts on Oregon Minimum Wage: (1)Oregon’s minimum wage is currently: $9.25/hour.  It is automatically indexed each year based on Portland consumer price index (CPI). $2.00/hour more than the federal minimum wage. the 8th highest state minimum wage in the US. (2)Oregon minimum wage statistics (Current Population Survey Data by US Census and US Dept of Labor): Only 8% of state’s workforce earns minimum wage Only 30% of minimum wage earners are single adults, or 2.4% of the state’s workforce Only 15% of minimum wage earners are single parents, or 1.2% of the states workforce Average income of an Oregon family with a minimum wage earner is $42,000/yr The answer to low wages & poverty?  Get Oregon’s economy moving, make it easier for business to grow and create family wage jobs here in our local communities.  (4)The Governor’s minimum wage proposal will: Raise costs on fixed income seniors who can’t afford it Cause a reduction of 55,000 jobs that our local communities desperately need Severely damage small business ability to compete and grow in Oregon because they can’t absorb the costs Make it harder for people to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and cause them to lose additional income on increased health care and daycare costs. Would force local nonprofit charitable organizations to cut back on critical services. Click the links for more information on positions on minimum wage by business groups previously working on a minimum wage proposal including the Portland Business Alliance and the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA)

How to Give Your Business a Facelift

Businesses need to evolve periodically. Whether you like it or not, you have to look at the trends going on around us and make decisions accordingly. These decisions may involve reaching out to a new demographic, offering new services or products, or changing the way you do things like tailoring your marketing writing to Google’s ever-changing rules.

If it’s been a while since you’ve innovated in your business, now might be the time to consider a facelift.

Many business owners embrace tradition and refuse to yield. That worked for Blockbuster, too. But seriously, no one stopped watching movies. They just changed the way they did it. The same may be true of your business. To keep from closing your doors, you need to watch for trends. Here are a few that may influence how you think about your business.

Three Not-So-New Trends That Are Shaping Today’s Businesses

When you talk innovation, very few people have the intestinal fortitude to be on the bleeding edge of adopting completely new approaches. That’s why this article features trends that aren’t so new that they haven’t been tested but are still new enough that they may give you some exciting ideas.

Subscription Boxes

If you sell products, you may have been watching this trend. Today, you can get hobbies, pet toys, clothing, beauty products, razors, books, teas, coffee, wine, fitness equipment, snacks, dinner, and so much more sent to you weekly or monthly. They have sample and full-sized boxes. Some companies allow you to control your selections, delivery frequency, preferences, and many other customizable options.

But for most of the boxes, you don’t know what’s coming in them until they arrive (or you see an early opener on YouTube). The boxes always boast a value of more than you pay for the subscription service.

Why it works: it surprises and delights recipients. Often it streamlines something they need or want and offers an attractive entry price. Many box services use word of mouth and offer discount codes to influencers in their target market like mommy bloggers or YouTube beauty experts.

Divesting Resources

It used to be when you started a company, you needed to invest in resources and other start-up expenses. These days, a new type of business is putting that onus on contractors. Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, and others aren’t ponying up the necessities for their business operation, contractors are. From homes to cars, boats to crafts, there are businesses that are building their entire empire on things they don’t own or need to worry about maintaining.

They pay their contractors a portion or charge them a fee to be listed on their site. Some of them cover the contractors under an insurance policy to ensure the property is protected but the contractor is in charge of their own maintenance, production, and other critical components.

Another idea that’s similar is how direct marketing companies work. They make the product and then have an army of contractors sell it for them. Each contractor runs their operation as a mini business adhering to the manufacturer’s rules for selling and they receive a commission when they move product.

Why it works: fewer start-up costs to hamper growth.

Reshaping a Mission

The final trend that more companies are embracing is telling their “why,” and in doing so, embracing a culture of giving back. Many businesses find a cause to support now and give a portion of proceeds (either of the whole business or a particular product line) to that group or cause.

Why this works: a study has found that young people (especially) are willing to pay more for a product that supports a good cause.

If it’s been a while since you rethought your business strategy, it might be time to open yourself up to some of the newer trends out there. These ideas won’t work for every business so consider your offerings and your target market before making any big decisions. However, you might just find that these ideas get you thinking about one that’s an even better fit for your operation.


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 and the Event Manager Blog.  

Christina is a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.