National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day

March 29th is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day which celebrates small business owners. These individuals spend countless hours nurturing and growing their young enterprises. The workload demands, and lack of a hired staff, often translates into long and late hours, and many missed family and personal events. But, all in all, they love what they do. After all, they are their own boss.

New businesses have always been a vital, yet not fully appreciated, part of the US economy. On the retail side, they bring different and unique products to the marketplace. They provide stellar and personal service support. When you call, you are most likely getting a real, live person. And unlike big national chains, they know their products. They are outstanding performers in the niche markets. In manufacturing, they create many new concepts and ideas, making them creators of new products.

Celebrate National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day by showing your support and shopping their stores today and every day. Dallas is blessed to have many Mom and Pop Businesses, people that you know and who know your name in return. Businesses such as Grandma’s Attic, Dallas Antique Mall, and Main St. Emporium for shopping. For food be sure to visit West Valley Taphouse, El Pique, or Washington Street Steakhouse and Pub. Stop in today as they are always happy to see you!

Communicate to Impress

Effective communication can impress anyone, at any time, in any place, and through any medium. Some of the best communication opportunities happen in the most unlikely places. A great example when you see someone use an “elevator pitch”. This term was first coined to define the scenario of a chance meeting with someone important in an elevator. The goal is to have a clear, concise message that can be delivered within the time it takes to ride an elevator, which would then lead to an exchange of business cards or an interest to continue that conversation outside the elevator.

The concept of creating an impression in two minutes or less is even more powerful in a world full of urgency and instant gratification, such as ours. Chance meetings can happen anywhere, not just elevators or city sidewalks. They can happen online through social media, online forums, or even within the comment sections of blogs you frequent. Many of the elements of an effective elevator pitch can be translated to social media interactions. Some of the best talent can be discovered through these chance meetings.

Remember, KISS – Keep It Super Simple! Your message should be professional, but able to be understood by anyone regardless of their level of education or literacy. This means replacing complex concepts and jargon with common terminology in such a way that anyone in your audience can appreciate not just the message, but the direction and the impacts that your message communicates.

Know your stuff. Know the subject matter of what you are talking about. Always be prepared for follow-up questions and how they need to be answered. This means doing your research and tailoring your message to the audience. Tailoring your message can be a challenge when chance encounters happen in person. However, when communicating to impress on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is easier to understand your intended audience.

Secretly sell yourself. Highlight your unique abilities and accomplishments as well as the value you add to the potential relationship. Showing off your assets without overtly selling yourself leaves a lasting impression. Top talent is drawn to leaders that know how to subtly sell the organization, especially when done in a way that they can see themselves blending nicely into the goals and culture of that organization.

Follow up. Timely follow-up via phone, text, or social media keeps the conversation at the forefront of the mind. Regardless of the situation, following up a day or two after the initial meeting shows your interest and professionalism. This could be the difference between becoming memorable or quickly forgotten.

Perfecting your elevator pitch can make a huge difference in how effectively you communicate in a variety of social situations and how you are viewed by those who can be the next great asset to your team or partner to your goals.

Identity Theft Prevention at the Office

Do not share your login credentials.

Not with the public, your coworkers, or even the Service Desk. What happens while you are logged in is your responsibility.

Change default passwords.

Always change standard or factory passwords immediately. This applies to company-issued cell phones, PCs, email services, voicemail, FTP servers, members-only websites, routers, etc. Check your password strength at www.howsecureismypassword.net. Never use the same password on multiple sites.

Do not use your person email for business.

Or it may be subject to management scrutiny and public records requests. Don’t forward business emails to your personal email. Likewise, do not use your business email for personal use.

Do not use your personal business email to correspond with clients.

Instead of first.lastname@oregon.gov, use a generic email, such as info.dcbs@oregon.gov, especially if a client is belligerent. In some cases, you may want to use your first name only. Check with you manager.

Avoid putting confidential information in email chains and group emails.

“As much as necessary, as little as possible.” Best practice: truncate Social Security Numbers and medical records in your communication. Even better: Use a generic ID, such as a policy account, or case number.

Track and report incidents

“Incident” definition: Confidential information is disclosed to a person not authorized to see it, or used for an unauthorized purpose. Internal and external reporting may be required, e.g., to the client, your manager, administrator, CIO, Attorney General’s office, or credit reporting agencies.

If you telecommute, don’t use personally-owned devices for business.

E.g., PCs, fax, printer, cell phone, text messaging. This opens up your devices to public records requests and searches by management, even if you have a BYOD agreement. If prosecution ensues, your device could be seized as evidence. Talk to your manager if you don’t have the tools you need. Is your family home? Remember, they’re not authorized to see or overhear confidential information.

Keep confidential information safe during transport

Confidential information transported in vehicles by employees should be logged, inventoried, kept locked and out of-sight when the employee is not in the vehicle. Use point-to-point receipt for mailing if necessary (UPS, FedEx). Use tamper-proof packaging. Always ship password separately from encrypted media.

Let clients know what the agency will and won’t do with their data.

“Privacy involves each individual’s right to decide when and whether to share personal information, how much information to share, and the particular circumstances under which that information can be shared. Privacy is more than security, however, and includes the principles of transparency, notice, and choice.”

Meet with clients in transparent settings.

Don’t let conversations be overheard by fellow clients, coworkers, etc. Stay within view of others. Be aware of appearances. Be safe.

Become a Great Communicator

Every living being communicates. Dogs bark, birds sing, and primates use hand gestures and noises akin to speech. Effective communication is needed in all areas of life. Paul Meyer describes communication best when he says, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal career success.” While basic communication skills are inherent, advanced skills that lead one to becoming a great communicator takes practice.

Effective communication begins with listening. Too many times, people are either thinking about their responses or about something else entirely, and they fail to completely listen to the other person. By doing this, you lose focus on the conversation and may find out, in embarrassment, that your response is completely off base. When you are not listening, you are creating a one-sided conversation that shows others that you really do not care about what they have to say. Showing a genuine interest in learning what others think and feel about any matter they find worth discussing will place you in a position to be the one they go to for encouragement and to brainstorm solutions to difficult problems – because what you say in response will all of a sudden matter, too.

Focusing on your interactions shows respect. Checking emails, texting, or engaging in social media while in a conversation is rude. Great communicators respect those they are with by putting away or turning off their electronic devices when engaged in conversation. One-on-one conversations are becoming a lost art because of the ease of technology. Eliminate the distractions and hone in your listening skills.

When communicating to anyone be specific. Make your message clear. Doing so ensures that you are heard and understood in the way you intended. If giving instructions, provide details in order to avoid confusion and ensure better outcomes. When setting up appointments, be specific about your availability and give details about the time, location, who else will be in attendance. Frustration occurs when specific details are not shared and people have to go back and do something that could have easily been done correctly the first time.

While being specific is very important, it is also important to simplify your message. Make certain that what you are communicating is understandable. If the thought is confused in your mind, it will most certainly be confusing to the person you are communicating with. Take the time to think through what you need to convey. Pauses should not be feared, especially if that pause helps you communicate your point clearly and more effectively.

Finally, ask questions. Great communicators ask questions and they are not afraid to get specific. Taking a genuine interest in learning more about people and what they think, feel, and experience helps keep the conversation going and shows that you are engaged. People appreciate it when someone wants to get to know them better and the knowledge gained through great interactions can help you further yourself both personally and professionally.

Effective communication is a great skill for everyone to have. It is also a necessary skill in order to get along successfully in the world around you. It is a lost art by many that can be easily revived by practicing your listening skills, being specific, and asking questions.

8 Ways to Get More Out of Your Chamber of Commerce Membership

There are many reasons to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Some of the obvious ones are networking opportunities, community involvement, political advocacy, and the trust that Chamber affiliation builds with your customers. Of course, there are many more benefits you receive from becoming a Chamber member, but many people don’t fully enjoy them. They wrongly assume that by simply paying their annual membership dues lots of new business and friends will automatically show up. Without understanding how to make their Chamber experience work for them they give up on the Chamber in frustration.

If all you do is pay your membership fee you will get a welcome letter and a nice sticker to put on your front door. However, if you invest in building trusting, professional relationships with others through the Chamber the rewards in leads, sales, and friendships are potentially game changing for your business. Here are several ways to get more out of the Chamber by investing in other members.

  1. Sign up for their newsletters or updates.
    A great way to learn more about your peers at the Chamber and how you can support their business is to sign up for their company newsletter, directory, or weekly email.
  2. Support them online.
    Support other Chamber members through any of the social media outlets they use and tell your network about them as well. Have you experienced their service or product first hand? Show your support by writing positive product reviews online. 
  3. Submit their news to other groups you are part of.
    Be sure to share your Chamber peers’ news with other groups you may be part of. Think about professional, LinkedIn, or civic groups for example. 
  4. Invite them to be part of your seminars.
    Invite fellow Chamber members to come speak at your company functions or the business seminars you are hosting. They will appreciate the opportunity to showcase their area of expertise and you will enhance your event with guest speakers. 
  5. Share or trade skills and expertise.
    We are all experts at something. What is your “something”? Share that something with someone else at the Chamber. If you are good at writing ad copy and someone else is good at printing sales flyers then offer to share skills. You will probably help each attract more business this way. 
  6. Introduce them to your friends.
    Be the first person to approach new Chamber members when they arrive. Be friendly and introduce them to others in the group. Your gesture will be remembered and appreciated forever. 
  7. Bring them to other functions.
    Perhaps you are member of other organizations in addition to the Chamber. Invite one or two of your Chamber peers to attend other functions with you as your guest. Introduce them to your other associates. This will increase their circle of connections and you will look like a master networker. 
  8. Use their business first.
    Support your fellow Chamber members by giving them preference when you shop. For example, if you need replacement windows for your home and one of the window companies is a Chamber member, give that company your business. Even if they cost a little more, the goodwill your business generates can be invaluable.

A Message From Pacific Power

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, which is why we’re always looking for new ways to help your business thrive.

Extra love on your energy bill

We’re committed to keeping your energy costs as low as possible. That’s our pledge. Beginning last month, a decrease in your energy bill was applied as we pass on savings from federal tax changes approved by the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Oregon commercial and industrial customers saw reductions ranging from 3 to 4 percent depending on how much power you use.

The power to boost your bottom line

With wattsmart upgrades, like using LED lighting and efficient heating and cooling equipment, you can trim operating costs and save on your energy bill. Pacific Power teams up with Energy Trust of Oregon to help you improve your business by offering cash incentives and expertise for energy efficiency improvements. To get started, visit bewattsmart.com.

We’re here for you

Your trust and loyalty drives us to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to power your business. If you have questions, reach out to our Business Solutions team at 1-866-870-3419.

Performance Evaluations Done Right

Performance reviews usually leave the employee feeling one of two ways: completely exhilarated or completely defeated. These feelings have little to do with monetary gain, but rather revolve primarily around the regularity of the feedback provided and the conversation that occurs during the review.

When managers share feedback with their team on a regular basis (i.e. weekly, monthly, quarterly, or more often as needed) they tend to have a consistently engaged team. Their staff knows where they stand at all times and are more readily able to make any corrections as needed. Frequent feedback ensures that when issues arise, they are not allowed to develop into a decrease in productivity or a depression in morale. It also reduces the element of surprise in the formal review and can be used to enhance the specificity of how the employee’s performance has increased or decreased in the short-term and long-term. This makes organizing and delivering an accurate performance review much easier and time effective for the management involved.

While it is important to share learning opportunities, celebrating successes is even more important. It is often easy to focus on the negative because this is what is most overt. However, only focusing on the negative can do more harm than good in regards to employee confidence, engagement, and morale. Accentuating the positive creates an environment of encouragement. Team members will not only feel better about their work, but will accept any constructive criticism as opportunities to be better at what they already do well. That happiness can become infectious with co-workers providing praise to each other, which will result in an increase in collaboration, team work, creativity, and overall morale in the office.

Not all negative feedback is bad; just ensure your feedback is constructive and direct. When face with a learning opportunity, focus on situations where you can coach a team member. Help the employee learn how to use the talents they already possess to master aspects of their job that do not come easily to them.

When it is time to perform a more formal performance review, follow these four steps to optimize the experience for both you and your staff.

  1. Request self-audits: Ask team members to complete a brief self-audit. This will give you, the manager, information on how the employee perceives their own performance. It will also allow the employee to prepare for the evaluation. A self-audit should not be a replacement for any managerial preparations for a proper review. It should be one step in that process.
  2. Personalize the review: Some people respond well to a more blunt approach, while others need a more tactful approach or need examples. Great managers understand the variety of personalities represented on their teams and know how to tailor their messages appropriately.
  3. Set goals: Employees are more engaged when they understand the desired end result of their efforts. Part of the preparation process should include distinct, measurable goals that have a defined timeline.
  4. Allow for feedback: performance evaluations are a great time to understand how you can better support your staff. Make sure the team member has time to provide feedback to you. This simple dialogue can help clear up any misunderstandings and increase trust between you and your team.

When managers provide feedback on a regular basis, teams feel that they are in the loop. This breeds collaboration, increased levels of productivity and engagement. While negative feedback is needed at times, this should not be the only time you share feedback with your team. Positive messages will reap huge rewards and create a happier work environment for all.

Yolanda Zuger

2018 was a big year in real estate and a big year for me! Hi… I’m Yolanda Zuger and I love our area!

My family and I have lived in Polk County since 1966. I currently live on the farm that I grew up on, along with my husband Craig and a variety of critters. I have made the Central Willamette Valley the base of my business since 1998 because of my familiarity with the area and the beauty of this part of the region.

I moved my Real Estate License to Keller Williams in the spring of 2018 as part of the Capital City Branch in Salem with my own office as the Cornerstone Team in Dallas. I have seen a 60% increase in sales dollars to my business that I account to Keller Williams technology, my Transaction Manager Amy Bertolini and Marketing Manager Chelsea Metcalfe-Teal, along with and most importantly, all of my clients that return to do business with me or recommend me to family and friends.

With that in mind, do you know anyone who might be buying or selling their home and need assistance from someone honest, trusted and experienced? Or does your business provide a service or product that homeowners and/or future homeowners need to know about? Please connect with me! We want to know and support other local businesses as the citizens of our community change.

Because I love our area, we have launched “Go with Yo” events for something fun & informative to do. We had a blast in December at The Boondocks for a Wreath Making Party and are excited to host a Women’s Self Defense Class on March 13th. Please like our Facebook page to stay tuned on our events, current listings and more!

www.yolandazuger.com

Is the Chamber a Government Entity?

A Chamber of Commerce, or a Board of Trade, is a form of business network. The Chamber of Commerce is a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors, or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO, or Executive Director, plus staffing of an appropriate size to run the organization.

A Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary association of business firms belonging to different trades and industries. They serve as spokesmen and representatives of the business community. They differ from city to city, and region to region.

In many areas Chambers of Commerce are a source of private sector information. The information is usually gathered by surveying Chamber members. This can be used by official governmental departments as a guide to the performance of the economy in the Chambers area.

As a non-governmental institution, a Chamber of Commerce has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It may however, lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses.

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Grocery Outlet Bargain Market

We are excited to inform you that Grocery Outlet Bargain Market will open the doors to its much-anticipated location in Dallas at 258 W Ellendale Ave. tomorrow, February 14th! The nation’s fastest-growing, extreme-value grocery retailer, is creating 40 new jobs in the community. You are invited to the Grand Opening ceremonies, beginning at 8:55 am Thursday morning.

Grocery Outlet has a few special activities planned; including guest speakers from our community. Grocery Outlet will also be gifting the first 200 customers in line with a Grocery Outlet gift card that will range in value from $5 to $200. Additionally, Grocery Outlet has pledged to donate what is equal to the amount their customers save during the first hour they are open, 9:15 am to 10:15 am. The donation will go to benefit Dallas’ own Kindness Club and will be presented at 11 am. Shoppers will also receive a free reusable bag, while supplies last. Last but certainly not least, starting Thursday, February 14th through Thursday, March 14th, customers may enter for a chance to win a Grand Prize of Free Groceries for one year!

Sandy and Jason Thornton, the Dallas store’s independent owner-operators, invite the community to attend the grand opening celebration on Thursday, February 14th, beginning at 8:55 am.

https://business.dallasoregon.org/events/details/grocery-outlet-grand-opening-4738

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