Monday, June 4, 2012

Protect You and Your Customer's Who, What and When

This past weekend Clovis Chamber member First California Federal Credit Union hosted “Document Shred Day”.  It was great community service event where you could bring up to 3 banker’s boxes of paper to be shredded free of charge and additional boxes for a small donation to support the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, who was on site with the Zoo Mobile. This family event was not only fun filled but it provides a very important service and reminder to us all about the importance of protecting one’s identity.
If you don’t have a good quality home office shredder, then get one. Or you can set aside your shredding for community events like this one. You can also take your shredding to Clovis Chamber member  Office Depot @ 685 W. Herndon in Clovis and they will professionally shred it for .99/pound. That may seem like a lot of time, money and effort to get rid of your trash but it is well worth it. If you’ve had your identity stolen in the past your nodding your head yes this is true. If you have not been the victim of identity thief yet then now it the time to make sure your taking good measures to protect your personal information, your credit and your assets. 
If your a business with large amounts of shredding like old customer files and company records you can call Shred-It Fresno, a Clovis Chamber member, @ 256-2303 for your volume document destruction needs. 
So what items should you shred and what can go into the recycling bin?
Shred this stuff:
  • Any paper with your name and address
  • ALL receipts 
  • ALL bills or statements for any credit cards, utilities, car loans, etc.
  • ANYTHING from your bank or investment accounts
  • ANYTHING with your passwords, users names or PIN numbers
  • ALL credit card applications that you receive in the mail
  • Anything you print that has personal information, preferences or descriptions

Recycle this stuff:
  • Envelopes
  • Junk mail addressed to Resident
  • Catalogs &  instruction manuals
  • Mailers
  • Brochures 
  • Any printing that does not have your personal information

This is just one of many strategies you can use to guard yourself against identity theft. It’s important to be aware and monitor your personal and financial information. When it comes to your privacy and personal information an once of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The "Stay"cation Clovis Style

One of the new trends that has emerged in recent years is the idea of saving money by foregoing a traditional vacation and opting for a "stay"cation. Some chose to spend vacation funds on DIY home improvement projects some chose to take day trips to local sites that are often overlooked.

Here are some things you can do this long weekend if you've opted to save gas, stay close to home and just relax.
  • TONIGHT is the Clovis Farmers Market from 5:30 - 9:00 pm in Old Town Clovis. This is a certified farmers market with entertainment, great food, kids activities and more! You can't go wrong buying fresh local produce for your Memorial Day BBQ's and Picnics. 
  • Clovis Memorial Run Saturday, May 26, 2012. 5K run/walk, 2‐mile walk, 1/2 mile kid’srun, 1/2 mile SAFE Senior Walk & Roll. Resource fair starts at 7:30 a.m., first event at 8:00 a.m., pancake breakfast at 8:15 a.m.
  • Visit the Fresno State Farm Market has it's first of the season nectarines and plums corner of Chestnut & Barstow
  • Memorial Day Concert Date: Monday, May 28, 2012 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
    Venue: Clovis Veterans Memorial Building, Clovis
  • Yosemite National Park & Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks have endless natural beauty to enjoy in our own backyard.
  • The Pines Resort @ Bass Lake has 80 degrees and bright sunny skies forecast for the weekend. 
  • Fresno Cash Mob - Saturday 5/2 @ 11:00 am FresnoAg corner of Gettysburg & 1st Fresno

Leadership is for Everyone

This week the Clovis Chamber celebrated the Second Annual Clovis Leadership Day by hosting a luncheon to honor volunteers whose leadership and hard work make our community a better place to work and live.

This event reminded me that being a leader is not a function of your title rather it is part of who you are. Certainly you’ll agree that not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers. In order to be successful at leading others one must practice and master self-leadership. The leadership hat is one everyone wears at least on occasion but more likely you’re wearing it more often than you think. As a parent, a manager, a little league coach, a senior employee, an older sibling, a volunteer, a teacher or trainer and in countless other roles you are in the position to lead others. Your leadership can make or break a project or opportunity to learn so it’s important to be aware of what you can do to be a more effective leader and build loyalty and cooperation from those who you support.

Here are 5 personal characteristics that are often seen in those who lead well. You’re probably doing some if not all of them and this is just a reminder.

  1. Lead by example
  2. Seek out and learn from diversity
  3. Set worry aside and focus on things that are in their control
  4. Collaborate with others and share their resources and knowledge
  5. Practice getting things done and have work habits that sustain productivity

But if you’re wondering how to step up your game and go from being a good leader to being a great one then look forward to future blog posts discussing these areas and things you can put into practice that will take your leadership to the next level.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Do You Have the Right to go Postal?

The United States Postal Service is broke and losing money every day. You may have seen some news or online discussion about what will finally come off Capital Hill as a solution or as some may call it a “bailout”. It seems that there is a lot of talk around losing Saturday mail delivery to help offset the enormous financial weight the Postal Services pension obligations. So would you miss your Saturday delivery? Does snail mail matter to you? Is your mailbox a glorified trash receptacle filled with unwanted “junk” mail? Have you joined the eco-friendly option of paperless billing and statements? The bottom line is the postal service is being used less as e-commerce reaches into everyday life.

For me, my mailbox is usually filled with direct mailers and magazines and on occasion a greeting card. Not a monumental event on any given day. So I wondered do I care about Saturday mail service? I know folks in rural areas are caring quite a bit more than the urbanites, like myself who recyle most of their postal deliveries. Then the funniest thing happened, Saturday's mail arrived. When I took a moment to browse through it I was struck with irony. This Saturday’s delivery was filled with 5 items that I was really quite excited to receive. So I have to share.

First, the City of Clovis sent out their flyer about the our Community Clean Up project and schedule. Great news as I have been spring cleaning, like many, and have some discards I’d like picked up. This service is part of your City of Clovis trash, water and sewage charges so you should take advantage and check out list and specifications of items the City will remove from your curbside in the coming weeks.

Second I received the Clovis Chamber of Commerce's flyer about reserving your advertising space in next year's Member Directory. Check your mail or just contact Dave Waligorski @ (559) 252-7174 or There are ad solutions for everyone and now is the time to reserve your space. This is a great tool for any member wanting to reach out to the community.

Third, the State of California sent me my “Official Voter Information Guide”  for our Presidential Primary Election Tuesday June 5, 2012. I not big on talking politics but I will say I’m proud to have the right to vote and my Saturday mail delivery reminded me of that.

The interesting mail continued. As kindergarten parent I receive the Connecting with Clovis/CUSD Today publication it was filled will important information on the pending Measure A vote and it’s impact on the district and it also had the Clovis Community Calendar which I’ll use to update my Summer calendar.

Lastly the big bonus was a coupon for a free “$5 Exterior Express Wash” from Waterwheel Express Car Wash @ 1750 Villa Ave. I already take advantage of their great eco-friendly service I also appreciate no additional charges to use their high powered vacumes. So this Saturday’s mail actually paid me.

Well my experience has prompted me to ask you to support your right to go Postal and take a moment and hand write a note or card to someone you’ve been thinking of. Invest the .45 cents in making someones day. Everyone enjoys receiving mail that has a message they want to read and if Saturday mail delivery matters to you the Post Office needs your business. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Traditions Old and New

The 98th Annual Clovis Rodeo is here again and with it brings a chance to celebrate traditions old and new. The signs are up to clear the streets for the big parade tomorrow morning and people everywhere are donning their boots and cowboy hats as they go out to make new memories. In Clovis we have a long list of community traditions, like Big Hat Days, The Clovis Rodeo, Clovisfest and our summer Farmer’s Market. These events bring people and businesses together to enrich our lives with fun, friendship and community pride.
Traditions are not only for family, friends and the community. Your business probably has many of it’s own traditions. Some formal and some very casual ones. It could be as simple as “casual Fridays” or having “summer hours” or “bring your kid to work” day. Honoring these traditions creates moments and memories to reflect on that go beyond the daily grind of work. Traditions afford us the opportunity to take a step back and connect with each other and the past, but they also allow us to celebrate the moment.
Hopefully, you have also extended the notion of traditions to your customers. Maybe it’s a “customer appreciation day” or an annual open house event. It could be a simple birthday or holiday card or as elaborate as a customer retreat where you host a get away to thank them for their continued support. Regardless of the details behind your customer traditions they have meaning and impact. They create a connection and contribute to creating and sustaining customer loyalty. In today’s business environment it is harder and harder to compete on price or product. So creating new traditions and honoring established ones is a means of differentiating your business and standing out in the crowd.
Take a moment today and contemplate the value of having traditions that make you and your business special. The Chamber offers many opportunities to help build and sustain your traditions by participating in events and sharing your special traditions with other members and the community. The summer is on the horizon and there is never a better time than right now to share your traditions and celebrate new ones. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Money Multiplier Effect

In the world of economics and finance the money multiplier is a tool used to measure the impact of money loaned by commercial banks on the money supply, in other words the economy. Today’s post is about the money multiplier effect at the local level. Here’s how it works. Your customers pay you. You then pay your company’s bills. You pay rent, taxes, salaries and spend lots of cash keeping your business running smoothly. When your vendors and your employees take those funds they spend them on goods and services of other businesses, who in turn spend those funds on their expenses. Each dollar spent is spent again multiple times, this is the money multiplier. This brings me to the very important message that the Clovis Chamber of Commerce exists to support, spend local and grow the local economy.
This past weekend the Clovis Chamber played host to one of the biggest annual events in the Fresno/Clovis area, Big Hat Days. Despite the downpour of rain for most of last week the event went off as planned and without any serious weather issues. I attended the festival both days and so did 1000’s of other locals and I’m sure many who traveled in from surrounding areas to put the money multiplier into action. It’s no surprise, I’m a woman and shopping was at the top of the day’s agenda. If you went you know there was a huge selection of local and hand crafted goods, literally there was something for everyone. By the end of the day I had more shopping bags than I could carry. It felt good to buy local goods from small business people, rather than from a chain store that sends their profits to it’s corporate headquarters in some other city to be spent somewhere that isn’t here. When we spend our money with local businesses we keep those dollars in our local economy and that translates to more jobs and better jobs for our residents. The better the job market is the better the housing market is. As property values go up it makes our City more desirable and it attracts more business. That is the essence of the money multiplier effect.
Spending local really does make a difference, even if you spend a little bit more than you would at a large national chain store. You can rely on local businesses to give you better service and to be available when you need them. So I encourage you to browse the new Clovis Chamber Directory, share it with your customers, colleagues and neighbors and support the local economy that supports your business and buy local whenever you can. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How Many Hats Do You Wear?

Metaphorically I bet you can count a dozen or more different hats in your closet. There is the employee or manager hat, the parent hat, the spouse hat, the volunteer hat, the friend hat, the tax payer hat, Sometimes you probably wear a jugglers hat or is that the joker’s hat? If you run a business I’ll bet you also wear a banker’s and or a marketer’s hat. Needless to say in any given day you will wear many hats and often more than one at once. Since we are coming up on Big Hat Days, brought to you by the hard working folks at the Clovis Chamber of Commerce and the sponsorship of Table Mountain Casino, I’d like to share some thoughts on the Chamber Member Hat that we all wear.

Wearing the Chamber member hat is symbolic of many things. Top of that list is civic pride and followed closely by community involvement. Even if you don’t have time to take advantage of all the great benefits membership provides your dues and financial support of the organization speaks loudly to your commitment to being a business leader in Clovis. When you’re wearing your Chamber member hat you are sending a message to your customers, that you care about the citizens of our community and promoting economic development which brings jobs and growth to our town.

Here are SIX roles you can play when you wear a Chamber member hat which can make a difference in your success. I hope you wear it proudly.
  1. Networker – Your membership instantly enables you to grow your network by connecting with other members at mixers, workshops, luncheons and events.
  2. Ambassador – Sharing is caring and in this role you can share the benefits of membership with other business leaders who should be members.
  3. Philanthropist – By donating time, goods and services and money to the many non-profit causes the chamber supports you give directly back to the community and can see your generosity at work locally.
  4. Marketer – The Chamber has many opportunities for you to promote your business success, some are even free, like the “Good News” section or the Chamber Insider or here in the Chamber Connections blog. Many others are available at discounted rates in the Chamber publications or for sponsoring Chamber events.
  5. Civic Leader – Show your support and participate in political and legislative activities that protect and promote local small business.
  6. Successful Business Person – This role is naturally occurring for those who take on one, some or all of the above.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Learning Key to Success

These days not only do you have to be at the right place at the right time you better be prepared because you may not be the only person with their sites set on that opportunity. My business experience has taught me that success is found at the intersection of opportunity and preparedness. One of the many benefits of being a Clovis Chamber of Commerce member is that the Chamber puts a lot of emphasis and effort into preparing you for success. Aside from the networking and being connected with the business community there are many learning opportunities available to members to help you master new skills, develop your business and be prepared when opportunity comes knocking.
Last week the Women Business Owners Roundtable held at Andiamo Ristorante Italiano in Clovis had over a dozen women gathered to hear Melissa Tosetti share some of her secrets to Savvy Living. Melissa is the author of Living the Savvy Life, The Savvy Woman’s Guide to SmartSpending and Rich Living. Melissa told some great stories about her own experiences and how she has developed a balanced outlook on personal financial planning. She laid some seeds of thought about how prioritizing your needs and wants then applying smart spending techniques can free up funds to spend enjoying a meal at your favorite restaurant or splurging at the day spa without guilt. She also shared some thoughtful ideas about leveraging the investment you make in your wardrobe and accessories and how to avoid buying "orphans" that just don't fit in. By bringing her perspective on getting the most out of your money after your convert into a possession was profound. She says don’t buy it unless you love and you will use it. Of coarse we all admitted that we too buy things then set the bag down in a closet and just forget about it. If you don’t go home and put your purchase to work right away, or into your closet to be worn in the near future did your really need to spend that money?  Right about now you are probably adding up how much money is sitting in your garage or hall closet right now? So here I’ve past along a little insight into last week’s learning and should mention that the learning continued when I received Melissa’s “What’s Important to You?” questionnaire via email and links to her Savvy Living Money Saving newsletters. For the cost of a delicious meal I really came out ahead. I learned some new tactics for making the most of the money I spend. I met some great ladies who are in it to win it like myself and squeezed a bit more value out of my Chamber membership.
Learning really is fundamental and it is fun! So mark your calendars and make time to take advantage of your membership and attend the next Chamber hosted Free Business Information Seminar this Thursday, April 5th, at ITT. The topic is timely and if your business is on Facebook you should attend. Travis Huff of Real-Time OutSource is going to tell you all about the new changes on Facebook. In a discussion titled, "FaceBook is ALL Different - AGAIN!. NowWhat?", he'll tell you about what is going on with the popular social media website and how you can use it and other social media sites to promote your business. Please note: This is a 2 hour seminar starting at 11 a.m. Please RSVP to Beth Bridges at 299-7363 or