Big Stories: August, 2018   
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  Salem, OR 97308
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South Ace Hardware
Earns Earthwise Certification

Ace Mitch Thompson,
Craig McBride, Donna Hyland

    Locally-owned South Salem Ace Hardware has been officially EarthWISE certified by Marion County.
    South Ace earned the designation by implementing several environmentally- friendly practices such as recycled paper towels and toilet paper, a battery and technology collection system and an expanded mixed recycling program.
    Alan Pennington, the Waste Reduction Coordinator at Marion County Public Works Environmental Services, who administers certifications, was impressed by the Ace's efforts to lessen their environmental impact and commit to sustainable practices.
    "Their attention to reducing waste and conserving resources is just as great as their attentive customer service," said Pennington. In the wake of a growing movement for green practices, Ace wanted to do its part.
    These efforts will help the hardware store reduce their costs and as well as their environmental impact. Store owner Matt Haddad is looking forward to adopting the new standards.
    "The benefit of sustainable practices are environmentally responsible, cost-effective and of benefit to the Salem community," said Haddad. "By changing our policies to be more sustainable, we set a standard within the hardware industry for a renewed commitment to green practices."
    South Salem Ace Hardware is located at 706 Madrona Ave. SE, Salem, OR 97302. acesouthsalem. com, (503) 763-6323.

Small Business Gearing up
for 2018 Elections

Oregonians have a proven track-record
of supporting ballot measures
that protect their own pocketbooks.


    The General Election of 2016 was full of surprises.
    About this time two years ago, few Oregon voters would have accurately predicted what happened on election night. Republicans picked up a seat in the Oregon Legislature in a presidential election year. Voters soundly rejected Measure 97, the gross receipts tax on sales in Oregon. They also elected Dennis Richardson as Secretary of State, making him the first Republican state executive in over 30 years.
    Unsurprisingly, Oregon went for Hillary Clinton, but the rest of the country had other ideas in mind, electing Donald Trump as the nation's 45th president. Heading into the election season of 2018, pundits, pollsters, and politicos should probably be worried whether anyone will listen to them. So many things have happened in Oregon (and national) politics that "aren't supposed to happen" there are plenty of reasons for us to be skeptical of any self-identifying political expert, claiming to know how things are going to turn out this year.
    However, we do now have a pretty clear picture of what will be on the Oregon ballot. This is a midterm election, and neither of Oregon's two seats in the U.S. Senate are up in 2018, so your representative in the U.S. House will be at the top of the ticket. Nationally, both the House and the Senate are in play, and the president's party tends to lose seats in the first midterm election, but President Trump has proven to be a wildcard, so anything is still possible.
    Back here in Oregon, voters will be voting for governor, again - for the third time in six years. When former Gov. John Kitzhaber was reelected in 2014 for a fourth term, who could have predicted that now Gov. Kate Brown would be running for re-election in 2018, after winning a 2016 Special Election to serve out the remaining two years of the Kitzhaber term?
    The 2018 General Election for governor of Oregon will be a rematch between Democrat Kate Brown, Oregon's current governor, and Republican Knute Buehler, a twoterm state representative from Bend. They first faced-off against each other in the 2012 race for secretary of state, when, like today, Brown had the advantage of incumbency and a significant voter registration advantage.
    At that time, Buehler was a political newcomer, and has since demonstrated an ability raise money and win elections in a Democratic district. A recent poll of likely Oregon voters put this race neck-and-neck.
    Control of the Oregon Legislature is also in question, however, it isn't so much which party will control the Legislature, but by how much. The legislative map looks good for Democrats who are just one seat short of a supermajority in each chamber. If they are successful in doing so, they can pass tax increases on a party-line vote.
    Republicans, however, have put forth several good candidates in competitive seats, hoping to keep the numbers the same (35-25 in the House, 17-13 in the Senate) or improve them. A total of five statewide measures have qualified for November ballot. One is a legislative referral on local bonding for affordable housing projects, two others deal with immigration enforcement and taxpayer funding for abortions, and two more are business-backed efforts to protect Oregonians from new taxes on groceries and higher taxes and fees passed by the Legislature.
    The two tax policy measures will be of particular interest to Oregon's small businesses because both of these measures, if passed, would have lasting impacts on Oregon's tax structure. Both are constitutional amendments, meaning that the Oregon Legislature cannot simply pass a bill to change them or repeal them without subsequent vote of the people. And if history is a good indicator of where voters will land on these, Oregonians have a proven track-record of supporting ballot measures that protect their own pocketbooks.
    But it seems the past hasn't been a good predictor of the future, at least in 2016 it wasn't. The moral of the story here is that in these uncertain and unpredictable times, your vote probably matters more than it ever has before, so regardless of what you think is going to happen on election day, do your homework on the candidates and the issues, tell other people what you think, and then make sure to vote!
    Anthony K. Smith is Oregon state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

Where is My Mailing List?...
And Other Stories from Excel Hell


    No offense to Microsoft, but if you're still keeping your business mailing and prospect list in Excel, you are certainly in a special place called "Excel Hell."
    This is a horrible place filled with lists and worksheets and workbooks and mysterious missing or misaligned columns that will slowly drive you insane. Worst case scenario, your precious customer database could be irretrievably lost. What you need is a CRM (customer relationship management) system.
    Excel horror stories fill the internet. Everyone has had the experience of mis-sorting columns so the mailing list is a nightmare to recreate. In fear of data loss, you save eight versions of the list in various folders and struggled to find the most recent. Worse yet, if your data is not saved on the cloud and your computer fails, you probably won't be sending out Christmas cards this year.
    The stories go on and on. Don't feel bad, even the 2012 Olympics oversold 10,000 tickets to a swimming event due to a spreadsheet error. It can happen to anyone and it can ruin your business. Just Google "spreadsheet horror stories" if you aren't convinced.
    What's CRM? It is a Customer Relationship Management system or tool that helps you with contact management. Widely used in sales, CRM systems (especially those stored on the cloud) are ways to keep track of customer demographics, conversations with clients/ potential clients and maintain profiles with notes. Such systems are now more accessible and affordable for all types of businesses. Technology experts are suggesting that CRM systems are going to be one of the primary places that businesses will put most of their technology investments in the next five years.
    What can CRM do for you? Like many of your on-site platforms (website, etc.) your CRM can have a dashboard that allows you to see all your customer data and link your email communication and social media profiles to the account. It could even pull in data from other public sources. In addition, a cloud-based system allows you to work from any computer or phone from any location. Organized well, it can connect to other professional applications, so you can sign documents, gather photos, send bills and track projects, all in one place.
    So, how do you find a CRM system that is best for you? First, find out what your industry colleagues are using. Choosing something that is designed for your industry and widely used by those in your field is a good place to start. Check with your professional association or do a quick internet search.
    Why wait? You may feel that there isn't time to research, implement and learn a new database system. Don't let this mindset hold you back.
    Waiting will cost you and while your competitors are forging ahead with a lightningfast system, you may be left behind sorting through note cards, searching Excel and hanging out in Myspace.
    Mary Louise VanNatta, APR, CAE is the CEO of VanNatta Public Relations a PR, Event Planning and Strategic Communications firm located in Salem, Oregon., @ PRSalem.