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The Compass Newsletter

- Monday, August 6th 2012
The Compass - Spring 2012 - Click here to download PDF.

TO GROW AS AN OWNER, BECOME "THE EXPERT"

When one thinks of a business staying on the cutting edge of the latest technology, you typically don't think of an onsite sewage system (septic system). Yet with increasingly more knowledge of the importance of safe-guarding human health and the environment for future generations, water treatment and recycling through proper onsite system maintenance has become just one more critical issue of our time.

With new systems costing as much as $25,000 it is important to keep the systems operating as designed. "There have been more technology changes in wastewater management in the last ten years, than in the previous 30 years" says Alex Mauck, owner of Goodman Sanitation Inc. As a leading practitioner in the field, Alex is a founding director of the Oregon Onsite Wastewater Association (O2WA). The nonprofit organization was formed in 1995 so the onsite industry would have a voice in the legislature, and to educate the public regarding the importance of responsible onsite sewage treatment and how doing so protects property values and water resources.

And if an active phone is any indication of an indispensable service, Goodman Sanitation's reputation as a knowledgeable service company makes it a leader in the industry. "We know a lot more today than yesterday about the treatment and release of waste water thanks to research and recent technological advances." Most people don't want to even think about waste, yet it is a by-product of our civilization. Alex' company is licensed to treat septage waste and recycle it as a soil amendment.

It's difficult to imagine, but as Alex explains it, some sites are small enough, that the waste can be placed in treatment pods, where UV treatment can bring it back to "almost drinking water level." While liquids can be treated for other uses, solids are typically spread in fields for breakdown by baccteria and microbes.

The next big area of concern after fossil fuels, according to Alex, will be water. With our planet's water resources dwindling, technology to reecover and treat household waste water (what some might call "black and gray water" from sewage, hand washing, showers, etc.) will be the next big environmental issue challenging the country and the world.

Goodman Sanitation has been a family business since 1948. Alex bought control of the family business in 1995 from his father. He operates his business as a full service onsite service - pumping, installing, designing, operating and maintaining. It's a full time business. Citizens who live in incorporated cities with community sewer systems would be surprised to know that one third of our state is on a septic system.

Companies like Alex's are licensed through the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). There are Federal standards that the state has to follow for treatment and land application of bio-solids (treated septage/sewage). The rules and regulations are thorough and complicated. "With the many rules in place and the difficulty in finding and keeping qualified staff," people are amazed that someone would even want to be in this business. "But I offer a service that is critical to our customers, to our state, and to everyone's future. What we do here is critical to the health and environment of our community."

While Alex is busy helping his clients stay knowledgeable and up to date with the current standards and technology, he relies on Lewis & Clark Bank for the same quality of care when it comes to his finances and growth options. "It's the only bank you can walk into, and at first it seems to be no bank at all. It's personable. Their main focus is helping small businesses grow. I have the impression that big banks are too busy building branches."

"In my business we need to stay up with the most current technology," adds Alex. "I appreciate the fact that Lewis & Clark Bank keeps me up to date with current strategies and business financial planning through their strategy events and financial forums." Alex has been attending the Strategic Business Series events put on by the Bank, as well as being an integral participant in the first Strategic Business Forum. "The events have been great. Sometimes you get so involved in your day-to-day operations that you lose sight of the trees for the forest. The events and forums offered by Lewis & Clark Bank really help keep perspective - the big picture - excellent for a business owner to guide their business."

"I'll be interested to see what Lewis & Clark Bank does in the future. They are innovative and creative, focusing on us, and not just retail oriented to sell us new products."

To learn more about Alex and Goodman Sanitation Inc go visit www.goodmansanitation.com or call 503-666-2280. Goodman services Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties and has actually provided services to American Samoa and St. Thomas in the Caribbean. "We go anywhere our services and expertise takes us and opportunity exists."
 
COMMUNITY SUPPORT

At Lewis & Clark Bank, community is not a commodity. Being a Partner for Community means more than just making donations. It means that the people in the bank, and we as a company, show that Lewis & Clark Bank is invested in its community. Our community partnerships are driven in large part by the passions found in the service of our employees. This summer, the Bank has decided to support a few causes that are close to heart with either our employees or avid supporters. Here are a few of them:

The Children's Center - Employees and the Bank continue to support the sole child abuse assessment center in Clackamas County, committed to the capital campaign for their new and expanded facility which opened last April.

The Clackamas County Historical Society - The Bank is excited to sponsor The Museum of the Oregon Territory and help rededicate the Arch Bridge this October.

The Blue Star Mothers of Oregon - The Bank is a marquis sponsor for the 4th Annual Run for the Fallen on August 18th. Some employees are participating, too. Join us!

We are also excited to sponsor and participate in the The Clackamas Community College Foundation and The Oregon City Chamber of Commerce golf tournaments this summer and help support these community based organizations that foster partnerships and relationships locally.
 
UPCOMING TAX REFORM IMPACT: "RESEARCH & PREPARE NOW"
Special Strategic Feature
 
The elections are coming, that much is clear. What we don't know is what the results of the election will be. And while there are signs that an economic turnaround is on the horizon, there will definitely be changes that could positively or negatively affect your business and personal finances in a new tax rate environment.

On May 3rd, Lewis & Clark Bank was proud to present the second installment in the Strategic Business Series featuring Roy Hutchinson and Carol Wachter of Deloitte Tax, LLP.
Carol and Roy are local experts on personal and business tax planning and pay very close attention to what is coming down the line. The main message: research and prepare now! Whether you are a business owner or someone who is looking at how to allocate their personal investments in a fair and protective manner, you should start having those discussions now with your accountant because the only thing that is certain after the elections is tax reform.

Timing is everything. As a business owner it can be difficult to keep your mind out of day-to-day operations and think strategically. It is a great time to be proactive.
Carol and Roy spoke about various tax-related topics, like:
  • The current tax environment
  • Planning in an increasing tax rate environment
  • Estate and gift tax opportunities
  • The legislative outlook
  • Prospects for tax reform
  • Tax policy and the 2012 elections
Carol and Roy's message of preparedness reinforces Lewis & Clark Bank's belief in helping small businesses be ready. Whether it's forming a network of resources, reshaping a mindset to look at the big picture, or simply sharing experiences - Lewis & Clark Bank will be there to help foster business success.

Save the date of October 4, 2012 for our next presentation featuring an expert panel discussion on critical Real Estate decisions that can impact you and your business. More info to come.
 
MEET LARRY SNYDER

Lewis & Clark Bank is very pleased to announce and welcome Larry Snyder to the commercial lending team as a Senior Vice President and Area Manager.

Larry has over 30 years of experience in banking. From being a branch manager to leading and founding a community bank as a CEO, Larry has strengths in all aspects of commercial lending.

He currently serves on the loan committee of the Oregon Business Development Corporation, as committee co-chair of the Rotary Club of Greater Bend, the committee chair of the United Way, a higher education committee member of Economic Development for Central Oregon, and on the advisory board of the Boys & Girls Club.

Mr. Snyder is a great addition to the Lewis & Clark Bank team and we are excited to see what he can do!
 
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Stay in touch and interact with us in a new way. "Like" us, "Follow" us, see what we are talking about - and it won't be about a banking service or loan product. Rather, Lewis & Clark Bank is engaging in constructive conversations about our community, client success stories, business strategies, and upcoming events.
Here are the online platforms where you can find us:

FACEBOOK
www.facebook.com/LewisAndClarkBank
TWITTER
twitter.com/#!/Bankerpreneurs
GOOGLE+
gplus.to/LewisAndClarkBank
LINKEDIN
www.linkedin.com/company/Lewis-&-Clark-Bank
 

FROM MY DESK: "STRATEGIC PLANNING"
By Trey Maust
 
Your mission statement is solid. You've worked with your management team and advisors to develop a vision for the future that's ambitious, but not a pie-in-the-sky impossibility. Now, how do you translate that vision into real-world success? Strategic planning lets you bring method - and intention - to the process of realizing your vision.
 
Understand the Landscape
Each year, we begin our strategic planning process with a comprehensive overview of the broader landscape in which we operate the bank. For us, this involves understanding long- and short-term trends in the economy, the financial services industry, capital markets, demographics, competition, etc., both nationally and locally. I always ask the question, "What do we need to understand about the environment in which we operate in order to effectively plan for the next three to five years?" That helps frame the data that's needed to get everyone on the same page when we hold strategic planning discussions.
 
Explore the Possibilities
A SWOT analysis is a helpful exercise to brainstorm dangers and opportunities that should be considered in our analysis - with the ultimate goal being to whittle down to a few select initiatives that will move the company forward over the next year. As a reminder, SWOT stands for (S) internal strengths of the company, (W) internal weaknesses, (O) opportunities that can be capitalized on, and (T) threats that may prevent the company from achieving its goals. Working through a SWOT or similar exercise helps get everyone on the same page as to the company's internal resources (i.e., strengths and weaknesses) and external factors impacting success (i.e., opportunities and threats).
 
Set the Course
Most of the strategic initiatives we focus on during an upcoming year were derived from the SWOT exercise. The re­sults of the SWOT are rarely a complete surprise, but breaking everything out into these four categories really helps clarify the three to five initiatives we want to make substantial progress on over the next year.
 
We've also found that it works best to focus on three to five initiatives, because if you don't have at least two or three significant initiatives to focus on, you may be aiming too low - and if you have more than five, you probably aren't being realistic about what's really achievable for your company.
 
For each initiative, we always identify a measurable target. What will success look like? Does success mean doubling revenue in five years? Does it mean improving profit margin by 20 percent in the next twelve months? Is it developing a written career or professional development plan for each employee by December? Whatever success is for you, distill it down to something that is measurable.
 
Be Resourceful
Having identified the three to five key strategic initiatives and their measurable targets, we always reduce these to quarterly goals by asking "How can we chip away at the annual targets during the next quarter? And just as important, who will own the success - or failure - of each quarterly initiative?" At the bank, we establish three measurable targets to be achieved by the end of the quarter for each of the key strategic initiatives. Each has a champion assigned to it. Tackling an annual goal can oftentimes be too overwhelming, or be put off until the month before it's due. Breaking it down into small quarterly successes means it's more likely to be achieved and much easier to track progress.

Put these quarterly objectives into an easy-to-read document that you can share with your management team and your board, so everyone can easily understand your strategy and how you plan to implement it.
 
Review the Progress
Make sure you assess progress every quarter. We have found color-coding - green, yellow and red in our case - is really helpful to visually indicate progress.

Ask yourself, have you achieved all of this quarter's objectives? If not, where did you fall short - and why? What can you learn from your failures, and how can you apply those lessons moving forward? If an objective was missed, does that mean you need to readjust your strategic plan? Or did you set your sights on an objective that didn't make sense to start with?
 
As you go through your quarterly assessment, you'll want to revisit your mission statement and your long-term goals, and ask yourself:
  • Is the company still pointed toward that vision? Or has it veered off-course?
  • Is our vision still the right one?
  • What actions can we take to get back on track?
  • Are we moving quickly enough? Too quickly? What can we do to improve our pacing?
Quarterly appraisals not only help you adjust your plans, they also allow you the satisfaction of seeing how far you've come. It's a reward for your intentional effort - and that reward can go a long way towards fueling your efforts as you begin to work on next quarter's goals.
 
Want a quick overview of different models for strategic planning? We like this article from the Free Management Library.
For a list of useful questions to ask yourself as you create a strategic plan, take a look at this article published by the American Management Association.
Visit lewisandclarkbank.com/blog/strategic-insights.html for more strategic articles from Trey.
 
 
MODERN TOOLS FOR YOU
We know how busy life can get, and managing a website or depositing checks may be the last thing on your list.
 
First, if you have visited our website recently you may have noticed a new button on the side navigation bar that says "Partners for Discovery". Like you, we were really interested in knowing how we ranked in search engine results, and how those rankings stacked up against our competition. We also wanted to know what we could do to improve our position. That's when we discovered this really helpful website analysis tool. In fact, we found this tool so useful for understanding our website's search optimization - and what we could do about it - we purchased a license for ourselves and others. We are passionate about the growth and success of our clients and supporters, so it just made sense for us to share the usefulness of this report with you. Go to our website and give it a try!
 
Secondly, coming this fall, from your phone or computer, qualified Lewis & Clark Bank clients will soon be able make check deposits remotely. You will be able to scan, review, and submit checks securely with our new technology. We know you are looking for ways to maximize efficiencies while saving time and costs. Stay tuned for more information!

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