What does the Chamber do for my business?

It doesn’t matter what your industry is or what business you are in, support is key. Support from like-minded people can help you to find success.  There are many resources that we all tap into, like online groups or social media, but a largely untapped resource is on the community level. The Chamber of Commerce in your local community can be a huge untapped resource.

Helping Keep Small Business Alive

Every community has a Chamber of Commerce, or at least they should. The goal of any Chamber is to help to further the interests of small businesses in a local area. The activities can range from hosting events, to lobbying local representatives to charitable works for the betterment of the community.

How Can it Help You?

  • As a small business owner it is imperative that you network. The Chamber of Commerce gives you the opportunity to meet with other local business owners and network. Of course they also present business owners in a positive light to the community.
  • The Chamber of Commerce is essential to the growth and in some cases the revitalization of a local area. Through lobbying activities and grant preparation activities the Chamber of Commerce can help to find some much needed funding to improve a local area.
  • Free marketing. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce you will get free promotion. Many people use their local Chamber as an authority to find products and services. Of course that free promotion spills over to your ability to market business to business because you will have access to the list of other business owner members.
  • Exclusive advertising perks are also a benefit of the Chamber of Commerce. In many local publications members of the Chamber of Commerce are listed. It also adds credibility to your business when you are a member.

The Chamber of Commerce should be viewed as your business partner. It is a valuable tool for any small business owner and it should be fully embraced.

Located in downtown Dallas Oregon, the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce is home to a diverse community populated by unique businesses. We believe that a healthy business community results in a thriving community. It is our desire to be a catalyst for business growth and development. Learn more about becoming a member by emailing us at info@dallasoregon.org or calling 503-623-2564

5 Common Questions Answered About Chamber of Commerce

What is a Chamber of Commerce?
A Chamber of Commerce is a panel of businesses and commercial organizations that typically exist on a variety of levels, ranging from state, county, city, and town. Despite common misconceptions, a Chamber of Commerce is more akin to a fraternal organization; in most cases, a Chamber of Commerce does not receive public or governmental funding – a large majority of Chambers of Commerce is existing today survive as a result of donations and membership dues.
 
What Does a Chamber of Commerce Do?
The role of a local or statewide Chamber of Commerce varies on a case-by-case basis. In certain cases, a Chamber of Commerce will hold meetings in order to discuss current events taking place within the commercial or business community existing within a particular jurisdiction; in other cases, the Chamber of Commerce will create structuring and developmental plans with regard to the establishment of a local commercial and business community.
Although the bulk of Chambers of Commerce of do not retain any legal or civic jurisdiction over the events taking place within their respective locality, a Chamber of Commerce may exist as a ‘grassroots’ organization interested in the upkeep and oversight of locally-owned businesses.
 
 
Where Does a Chamber of Commerce Get its Funding?
Although there exists no uniform standard for a procedure with regard to the funding of a Chamber of Commerce, a bulk of Chambers of Commerce in existence maintain their respective operations as a result of private donations, membership dues, and fundraising; it is not uncommon for a local Chamber of Commerce to sponsor an event within their respective area of residence in order to not only raise funding, but also to raise awareness with regard to the presence of that particular Chamber of Commerce.
Types of Chambers of Commerce
Due to the fact that a Chamber of Commerce will typically operate as a private organization, membership may be limited as per applicable regulations. However, this also allows businesses and commercial operations to convene and organize their own respective Chamber of Commerce. In many cases, members of a particular Chamber of Commerce will share commercial similarities; some examples of various types of Chambers of Commerce are as follows:
A Chamber of Commerce consisting of locally-owned and operated business and commercial operations
A Chamber of Commerce consisting of many service providers existing in a specific location
A Chamber of Commerce interested in raising awareness of local businesses, which may result in petitions to disallow national chains or retail stores from entering a specific location
A Chamber of Commerce may allow for a systematic network of products and service within its individual location; this can include local manufacturers connecting with local retailers in order to localize business and commerce
 
 
What are Some Issues Discussed by a Chamber of Commerce?
Although there exists no set standard for meeting itineraries undertaken by the varying natures of Chambers of Commerce, a specific Chamber of Commerce may address the following concerns:
Reports of commercial profits rendered by local businesses
The formation of subcommittees in order to protect local businesses and commercial markets
The proposal of reforms to local and state governments
The application for grants and funding

7 Ways to Get involved in Dallas

I’m a firm believer that getting involved in your community is beneficial for both your mind and your body. There’s a sense of connection, solidarity, and strength that comes from organizing or participating in an event within your own neck of the woods.

With that being said, below are seven ways you can get involved in your own community.

1. Look for Local Events

Keep an eye on local Facebook groups, websites and newspapers. Whether it’s the Dallas Concert Series, Art in the Park, Krazy Dayz, Community Awards or a special one off event, there’s always room for help! www.exploredallasoregon.org

www.dallasoregon.org

www.dallasoregon.gov

2. Volunteer Your Time

There are TONS of ways you can volunteer your time in Dallas. For example, you might volunteer to read to the elderly at retirement homes or volunteer in any non profit organization. Just think about what’s important to you, reach out to that organization, and ask! Visit the link below for some of the amazing organizations that could use your help! https://business.dallasoregon.org/list/ql/family-community-civic-organizations-9

3. Donate Your Resources

If you don’t have time to volunteer, then donate. Actually, donate anyway! Some donation ideas include donating:

– Clothes and household goods to your H2O, Jinett’s Free Clothing Closet or Goodwill.

– Food to Dallas Food Bank or the Kindness Club.

– Books to Dallas Public Library

There’s DEFINITELY nothing wrong with donating money, too, but I feel like actual products get you more involved in the community.

5. Join a Class or Group

Two summers ago I joined a class hosted in my town from one of our local community colleges, which – surprise! – is located in my town. I met like-minded people, learned more about an activity I enjoy, and spent registration money – you guessed it – locally.

Check out resources for local classes at www.chemeketa.edu

6. Support Your Local Sports Teams

You might not even be aware of how many sports teams are in Dallas! Think about it. Does Dallas have a Little League? Think about high school and – can you go support them? Remember: Players play because they love the game, but seeing fans in the stands can make a world of difference.

7. Organize Your Own Event

OK, so maybe you don’t feel qualified (or have enough time) to organize something as involved as a music and arts festival or marathon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t team up with a few friends and organize a fun event! Think about special kids’ events at the library, car washes to raise money for your church, or putting together goodie baskets for hospitals and retirement homes.

The Genius of Asking ‘What If?’ Questions

Again we feature a guest writer.  John Hittler, Father of 7, husband, difference maker, transformational business coach, generous, bold. Author of The Motivation Trap (Oct, 2018)  Featured writer for forbes.com

“Ever wonder how leaders change the world? It’s simple, really. They make declarations that do just that. They can sound something like this:

  • “I’m going to get into the best shape of my life this year!”
  • “Our team is building our second product, and it will be twice as profitable as the first.”
  • “We’re going to take the White House and change the course of history!”

Declarations can be pretty dramatic, or they can be simple and straightforward. But one thing is certain: Without them, nothing changes. We simply stick with the current paradigm or the old declaration.

Where, then, do declarations come from? The most effective place is a “what if?” question.

Why Start Things With A Question?

That’s a great question, really.

Questions literally open up (and close) pathways in your brain. Like an itch, questions need to be scratched. When a great question is posed, whether in a team meeting or at a family dinner, our brains race to answer them (or in the case of teenagers, avoid them like the plague).

Consider the relative power of questions that we hear often:

  • “When will you be home from the movies?”
  • “Where are we going on vacation?”
  • “How do we get this project moving forward again?”

With questions such as these, our brain knows pretty much what to do since there are similar precedents and experiences we have from the past. Our brain uses these precedents to find or quickly create an acceptable answer.

So why, then, is a “what if?” question so much different? And why do leaders and visionaries use “what if” questions so fluidly?

The Power Of A “What If?”

With a normal question, your brain quickly and transparently uses previous information, data or situational experiences to concoct an acceptable answer.

With a “what if?” question, your brain usually holds no previous precedent, paradigm or example to rely upon for an acceptable answer, so the answer heads to a different area of the brain. When this happens, we often say out loud, “Great question!”

“What if?” questions force us to imagine or create, often calling forth strong emotions. Consider the structure and possibilities of the following two questions:

  • “Where are we going on vacation this year?”
  • “What if we enjoyed our best vacation ever this year?”

Both deal with the quality and details associated with an annual ritual for many families, a great break designed for fun, relaxation and togetherness.

With the first structure, “Where are we going on vacation this year?” notice how your mind immediately conjures up options that are most likely known entities: perhaps a traditional family meeting spot or a favorite “comfort” vacation like a lake house or cottage.

With the second structure, “What if we enjoyed our best vacation ever this year?” you notice that the structure of the question produces a new mandate: “best ever!” That standard or mandate could certainly be achieved by the structure of the first question, however, it is not required. Hence, the power and the subtle genius of “what if?”!

When SpaceX was founded, which question do you suspect Elon Musk asked: “How do we create private space travel for individuals?” or “What if we create a private space travel company for individuals?”

The second question leads much more easily to a beautiful, powerful act, namely a declaration of a previously impossible (or improbable) outcome.

How To Start

If “what if?” questions are so powerful, when can you utilize them best? The answer is simple: Anytime when a change, large or small, is what you’re after.

Consider these areas/themes to ask great “what if?” questions:

  • Health: “What if I felt energetic, focused and ready to go every morning?”
  • Adventure: “What if I took the most outrageous adventure of my life this year?”
  • Wealth/Investments: “What if I had $5 million in liquid assets invested by 2025?”
  • Learning: “What if I finally learned to paint with watercolors?”
  • Team: “What if we doubled our sales this year?”

The list seems endless. Where the mind can conceive it, the question can be asked and then answered in the form of a powerful, world-changing declaration. Declarations have that power. Simply asking the question and making the declaration to change shifts your entire world and the quality of your life.

What Comes First For You?

If you are going to change the world, or at least your little part of it, start with one theme or category. Pick a simple theme that will pay big dividends. Health is a great one, as everyone can envision a higher version of vitality, energy, weight and strength.

Ask a simple question, like, “What if I were in the best shape of my life?”

You’ll transform your world more so than if you were standing still.”

National Get to Know Your Customers Day

In light of today’s national “get to know your customers” day, we’re featuring an article from woocommerce.com author Maria Scarpello, “a classically-trained designer who is passionate about the customer experience, and strives to deepen research practices among designers.” Find her on Twitter at @msdesign21.

“At WordCamp US 2016, Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word outlined a vision for WordPress being design-led. Since then, WooCommerce has doubled down on our efforts to follow suit.

From growing our one-person design team to five (and still hiring!) to talking more to our customers — hearing what’s most important to them, and how eCommerce fits into their lives – we’re just getting started on our journey to make this transition, and we’re learning a lot!

Our hope is that you can take some of the lessons we’re learning and apply them to your business, no matter how big or small.

It’s never too soon or too late to start talking to your customers, understanding who they are, and how they made their way to you today.

  1. Understanding and mapping a customer journey

One key component of the design process is understanding your customer’s experience, often referred to as mapping a customer journey.

This involves examining a customer’s path from the first moment they interact with your brand to the endpoint of that task. For example, purchasing a product, completing a course, or booking a reservation.

These touch points can then be mapped to understand the overall picture.

To understand and apply this to your business, ask yourself:

  • What tasks am I wanting them to complete?
  • Why would someone need or want to complete this task?
  • How easy is it for them to complete the task?
  • What are the blockers?

From here, write out steps for each task.

We use the diagram below to help map each step, ensuring we consider what customers may be thinking and feeling alongside external factors that could interfere.

For example, if there are limitations with their device, connectivity, or environment that prevent them from easily completing a task and leave them feeling confused or frustrated, we note that.

Once every touch point is mapped, you can then vote on which are the most important areas to focus research.

When thinking about tasks, it’s important to consider what stage your customers are in via interactions with your brand and products.

Each stage has its own sets of needs and states of mind. For WooCommerce, we apply the Six Universal Experiences from IBM, which breaks down the customer journey into six distinct phases:

  • Discover, Try, and Buy
  • Getting Started
  • Everyday Use
  • Manage and Upgrade
  • Leverage and Extend
  • Get Support
  1. Talking to customers: smart listening and uncovering insights

One way to examine each of six phases is to talk to customers while they are in each stage. What initially brought them to you? Why did they want get started? How do they use your product or service? What happens next?

When talking to customers, it’s critical to ask the right questions. Rather than having them to talk about what they want, ask customers why they do what they do. Have them show you how they use your product or website, then observe how they go about it. Listen to what they say, but also take notes on what they do.

“To design the best user experience, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior. Users do not know what they want.” — Jakob Nielsen

For example, asking our customers what they think of a new WooCommerce feature that we have yet to develop would produce the wrong insights: they’d only be able to speculate on what they think we mean or want to hear. A better approach would be to observe customers complete a related task for the new feature, such as adding a new product.

By observing and talking with customers, we may discover that more control over customizing the product page could be useful because they want to be able to cross-sell a few related items but the theme layout isn’t what they wanted. Asking them what they want would not produce the same result.

As Erika Hall, author of Just Enough Research and co-founder of Mule Design suggests:

“Good research is about asking more and better questions, and thinking critically about the answers. It’s something every member of your team can and should do, and which everyone can learn, quickly. And, done well, it will save you time and money by reducing unknowns and creating a solid foundation to build the right thing, in the most effective way.” — Erika Hall

Erika is an advocate of good research and knows what it takes to uncover insights that can influence how customers use the products you’re creating.

“To make the best use of your time and truly do just enough research, try to identify your highest-priority questions—your assumptions that carry the biggest risk.” —Erika Hall

  1. Laying down assumptions, building empathy and cultivating curiosity

Anything you think you know about your customers should be considered an assumption that needs to be validated, when diving into research. Build your hypothesis and start exploring. For example, if you were to outline high priority questions for your eCommerce website, you might ask:

  • Can my customers easily make it through checkout?
  • What’s blocking them from making a purchase?
  • What information are they looking for?
  • Can they find the information they need to help make the decision to purchase?

From here it’s a matter of finding customers to talk with, setting a time to meet, and planning for your session. Ideally this can be done in person, but that shouldn’t stop you from talking to your customers in other ways.

There are many tools we use for remote user research. If you’re interested in learning more about various research methods and best practices, Usability.gov is an excellent resource.

In addition to Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research, Steve Portigal’s book, Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights goes in depth on interviewing techniques, tools, and how to analyze results. Both books can be purchased via Rosenfeld Media, which we’re proud to say is powered by WooCommerce!

In conclusion, know thy customers!

Learning more about customers and how your product or service fits (or doesn’t) into their everyday life allows you to relate to who they are on a more personal level.

Building empathy for your customers is key to helping ensure your offering is as useful, desirable, and accessible as possible. It’s important to take time to understand the needs and expectations of your customers as it’s been proven time and time again:

“Across sectors, satisfied customers spend more, exhibit deeper loyalty to companies, and create conditions that allow companies to have lower costs and higher levels of employee engagement.” —The CEO Guide to Customer Experience McKinsey Quarterly, August 2016″

 

Free Resources for Businesses

When you start a business, the path that awaits isn’t always a straight shot. The good news is there are a plethora of resources both locally and at the state level that can help guide you along the path that is best for your business.  Many resources are free to you, well you pay for them in your taxes so I guess they are prepaid. Below are a few resources to help you get where you’re going.

The City of Dallas can assist business owners in finding business resources, locating available properties, understanding local government permitting and approval timeframes & understanding current Dallas demographic and economic trends.

Chemeketa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) gives small business owners the tools and environment they need to make great decisions they offer classes, small business advising, and resource materials on loan.

Small Business Administration (SBA) is committed to helping small business in the US succeed. As such, several programs and laws have been sponsored that directly affect small business owners. Here, you can learn more about how legislation such as the Small Business Jobs Act and SBA initiatives such as Emerging 200 program can help you and your business succeed.

Micro-Enterprise Resources Initiatives & Training (MERIT) asks the question. “Have a business idea, but don’t know where to start?”  If you’ve been thinking about starting a business and you’re not sure your idea will make you money, they can help. They can guide you toward the information resources that will help you make a great decision.

Go to our weblink for more details and links to each of these resources.

https://dallasoregon.org/business-toolkit/

Red, White, BOOM! Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day 2018, also known as Fourth of July, is a federal holiday observed yearly on July fourth. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1776.

Dallas will once again be celebrating the Fourth of July in a big way; Red, White, BOOM! We invite you to join us Wednesday for a spectacular day and evening for family fun as we recognize our service men and women with a beer garden, vendors, non-profit hosted games, field games, live band, a DJ, food trucks, and of course the first-rate fireworks show at dusk. The celebration will continue on July 6th with the sanctioned BBQ Competition Smoke of the Dragon!

All activities will be held at the Roger Jordan Community Park. Dallas Fire and EMS Department will light off the show from LaCreole Middle School. Citizens are encouraged to grab their chairs, blankets and family for the celebration. Come down early to pick your spot!

If you are headed to Keizer to celebrate this Fourth of July be sure to pick up your ticket to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 12th Annual Patriotic Tribute baseball game. With his family in attendance, the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes will Thank, Honor, and Salute the “Ultimate Sacrifice” of Fallen Marine, Sergeant Ian Tawney of Dallas.  This annual salute to fallen heroes will honor one of our own local heroes.  Tickets may be close to sold out but check for yourself by clicking here.

Look At People As People

Our chamber hosts a monthly business education luncheon. This last month brought the owner of Salem company, Bob Dalton of Sackcloth & Ashes, who talked about using Instagram for business growth. He made some excellent points about the value of Instagram as well as some great tips on using it to its fullest potential.

However, what he closed with was potentially the most impactful thing he said. I asked him to give us some parting words of wisdom. What he shared with us had little to do with social media. He said the greatest piece of advice he could give is to begin viewing people as people as people. We must consider their identity, not their role in the community or the struggles they have or even their best qualities, we must consider them as a fellow person.

It may seem like semantics to say, a person who is homeless verses a homeless person. Or, owner of “business X” verses Lisa. Or drug addict versus person with a drug addiction.  Or, Republican verses Joe. But in reality, when we can think of people for who they are, we place a value on them. A positive value. When people have value in others’ eyes aren’t they more likely to respond well when disagreed with? In my experience, they are.

It may sound like I’m trying to portray a “Pollyanna” sort of reality where everyone thinks positive and the world is better. That’s not realism. But we can be real and kind. Next time you’re tempted to sling mud at a person because they differ from you, think of them as a person like you are a person. No better, no worse. Maybe, just maybe, we can take Bob’s second final word of wisdom and “start to focus on promoting solutions rather than just opposing problems.”

Dallas School District #2

Dallas School District serves a large geographic area of nearly 250 square miles. The students enrolled in the school system represent nearly half of all students served by Polk County schools. A staff of 169 licensed and 152 classified people work in six schools and one administrative building. The District also sponsors Luckiamute Valley Charter School (formerly Pedee School and Bridgeport Elementary)

They believe the school is one of the major institutions through which our cultural, political and social heritage is transmitted from generation to generation and the means by which the members of our society are prepared intellectually to evaluate and control cultural, political and social changes.

The primary purpose of Dallas School District is to provide opportunities for the full intellectual development of each child. The child has the responsibility to himself and society to purposely pursue the educational opportunities provided him. Dallas School District has a shared responsibility with parents and with other institutions and agencies for the social, physical, and emotional growth and development of the individual child.

It is an obligation to our children, community and country to institute those programs necessary to fulfill the education needs of our children and to provide the facilities, materials, technology, and staff required to do so.

Dallas School District is working hard to shape the future.

https://www.dallas.k12.or.us/

Polk Itemizer Observer

If you live in Dallas you are familiar with our trusted news source, Itemizer-Observer. They have been serving Polk County since 1875 and the Dallas Chamber is proud to have them as a Cornerstone Member. We work hard to bring our community great events and the sponsorship and advertisement from the Itemizer-Observer greatly support our efforts. Their support of our community during their time here in Dallas cannot be missed.

Polk Itemizer Observer actively covers sports, events, and works hard to highlight what’s going on in Dallas and give its citizens a voice.

Emily Mentzer, editor at the Itemizer-Observer had this to say, “We have a renewed focus on serving our readers and our local businesses. We have a lot to offer both in print and online, and we’re taking full advantage of it to keep readers informed and help businesses get their message out.” Don’t just take our word for it, Dallas Residents have this to say about Polk Itemizer Observer: “A great way to stay informed on the happenings in and around Polk County!”

“This is a great small town newspaper. They do a really good job of staying local and reporting on the important things in the community. My kids have been featured many times with sports and different school activities. I’m very glad to have this paper in our small town. Thank you!”

  • Matthew H

https://www.polkio.com/