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Portland Bottom Line featured in The Oregonian

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Peter Korchnak, Co-Editor of The Portland Bottom Line
Peter Korchnak

The Portland Bottom Line and Mercy Corps Northwest received special mention in an article by Larry Bingham about crowd-sourced books. 100% of profit from books sales will be donated to Mercy Corps Northwest programs. Support economic development and sustainable business practices in one go by buying this book.

Read the full article

Excerpted here

“One thing both books have made clear: The city has plenty of cheerleaders. And in this age of social media, the cheerleaders are more than happy to contribute…

…[Peter] Korchnak’s idea came after he contributed in other books that started through social media and involved input from several people interested in the topic. The 33-year-old moved from Slovakia to Portland six years ago and runs Semiosis Communications, a company that provides marketing for sustainable businesses.

He asked for 400-word essays on sustainable practices and received thoughts on everything from junk mail and aluminum foil recycling to tips on how to engage employees and brand a green business. While he expected contributors to offer practical advice for readers, he was surprised by the emotions behind many efforts.

“So, who are you?” wrote social media strategist Noland Hoshino. “What do your customers think of you and your business? Think of it this way: At the end of the day, what do you want the people to say? ‘We are gathered here today to remember … had a fancy car and cherishes it,’ or ‘… gave his time to transport cancer patients to and from chemotherapy in that fancy car he cherished. It was the ride of their life’?”

“I had wanted case studies, so this was a pleasant surprise,” said Korchnak, who edited the book along with Megan Strand. It taught him something about Portland and the green movement.

“When people do strive to be as sustainable as possible, it becomes personal,” he said. “It’s very intrinsic; it’s not motivated by the bottom line.”

After sales of the $16.95 book repay his initial investment, proceeds will go to Mercy Corps, a nonprofit the 51 small-business contributors voted to support.”

Read the full article


The Book Party

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Mercy Corps Front

What. Portland Bottom Line Book Release Party
When. Wednesday, November 10th 5-8pm, Program at 6
Where. Mercy Corps HQ, 45 SW Ankeny St.
How much. Free! (…just buy a book)

Cool Stuff
Serendipity has it that the Give!Guide and The Portland Bottom Line launch on the same day – we’re so excited. Be the first to pick up your Give!Guide at the event.  In addition, one hundred copies of “The Portland Bottom Line” will be available for sale ($16.95, cash/check only, 2 laptops will be available for online purchases). The contributors to this book have generously selected Mercy Corps Northwest as a beneficiary of book sales. The more books we sell, the bigger the donation, so buy the book!

Also, enjoy some tasty snacks and beverages donated by the book’s contributors and other local businesses.

We’re in for a treat
The contributors to the book (small business owners striving towards the triple bottom line), will be at the event to share their experiences and forge new relationships. Enjoy a short presentation about the making of the book and the challenge of doing business in a sustainable manner.

About the book
Co-edited by Peter Korchnak and Megan Strand, and organized into 12 sections along the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Prosperity, “The Portland Bottom Line: Practices for Your Small Business from America’s Hotbed of Sustainability” explores how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. In their short essays, 51 Portland small-business people share their experiences with sustainability in their companies.

Coming soon: “The Portland Bottom Line”

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Cover of

The Portland Bottom Line (Out in November 2010)

Edited by Peter Korchnak and Megan Strand.

Description: A collaborative exploration of how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. Fifty-one small-business people from Portland, Oregon, share their experiences with implementing sustainable practices in their companies.

Mercy Corps Northwest was selected by the book contributors to benefit from the book’s profits. We are honored to be connected to such a dynamic and important project.

We will be posting more news and updates as the release date approaches.

Click here to learn more about the book

Read about the selection of Mercy Corps NW as beneficiary of the book

Again, we express a heartfelt Thank You to the contributors of “The Portland Bottom Line”!

Selling Shoestrings

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

I got an email the other day from someone who wasn’t able to make it to Peter’s Marketing on a Shoestring class Monday night, but wanted to know if there was some sort of summary or resource online.

I tried, but it’s kind hard to summarize what Peter did. He said he’s taught this class before and that it always ended up being a laundry list of techniques that you could have googled “shoestring marketing” and found yourself. So this class he decided to make more discussion based, and started out by having everyone go around and introduce themselves and their businesses and any experiences they’d had with shoestring marketing. People came up with things like social media, networking with peer businesses, referrals, doing email newsletters with coupons and raffles, etc. And so they elaborated more on some of those ideas.

Then he focused on the second half about the main part of your marketing being building relationships and focusing on people. And so, maintaining good customer service and providing a good product so that that one satisfied customer will go out and recommend you to more. He suggested doing events that weren’t necessarily focused on selling your product, but that got interested people together and allowed you to demonstrate your quality or your expertise in a fun and memorable way. He emphasized in this relationship-building part that it was important not to pester and bombard people with your sale, but to remember that people want to do business with people they like.

Well, that was the best I could do in the way of summary. It was great to have such a discussion-focused class, even though it made it difficult to condense into any sort of handout! But one exciting development is that we’ve got a group who’s going to help us by filming our classes and trainings so that we can get them up on our website and make them more accessible – so next time (or more accurately, starting with Susan Rich’s seminar on December 14th) I can offer people like him something more concrete!

Blogging 101

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment
Peter and his rapt audience

Peter and his rapt audience

Our Blogging 101 class took place last Monday, the 5th, with 16 participants and our speaker, Peter Korchnak of Semiosis Communications. Peter went through the details of blogging, from an overview of what a blog is, to some resources and sites to set one up, and finally, the specifics of how to go about using it for your business.

Participants said that one of the most useful things they learned was to look at time, rather than money, as the investment they’re making with a blog. Peter emphasized that consistency is key, and he shook his finger at those who pick a catchy blog name and write a post or two and then abandon it (there was some guilty shuffling here, this humble would-be blogger included).

So, from their evaluations, it sounds like they left more aware of the regular and consistent maintenance necessary for a successful blog. But, as one participant noted, they also left with an understanding of “how fun blogs can be!” And that’s such an important thing to remember too… why would you put so much of your time and yourself into something if it wasn’t fun?

It’s clear Peter has a lot of fun with his blog – he talks about shows he watches, lines from movies, and asks his readers for their thoughts. Plus he has a really cool revolving tag cloud, and you can’t get much more fun than that. You can visit Peter’s blog at www.semiosiscommunications.com to see for yourself.

September Highlights at MCNW

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

October is almost upon us, but we’ve kept ourselves pretty busy this September at Mercy Corps Northwest.

The biggest event was our move into our new building on September 14th. We’re now sharing a space with the rest of Mercy Corps in the old Skidmore Fountain building at 43 SW Naito in downtown Portland. One of the most exciting things about the move is our new and improved classroom space.

An artist rendering of the space... we'll have our own pictures up soon!

An artist rendering of the space... we'll have our own pictures up soon! http://www.mercycorps.org/centerforchange/

We kicked off the move with a seminar on using social media for marketing, presented by Peter Korchnak of Semiosis Communications. We got a little blurb in the Oregonian’s business calendar, and had a full class with 19 participants. Despite it being the very first day in the classroom and few technical issues, it was a productive class. Peter went over some of the different social media forms – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, and talked about how to be effective on those sites as a busy small business owner. The class did make us realize that the topic of social media is a huge one, and people are coming at from all different levels and for different purposes, and so for the future, we’re going to try to break it down a little more and be more specific about what the seminar will be covering.

Our second seminar of the month was with Susan Rich of RichWriting Inc, who did a concise hour-long workshop on how to write effectively on the Internet called Write it Rich!. We had 15 people attend this class, and I saw a lot of participants writing down notes on the handout she gave, and we got some good feedback afterward:

“I have been to many seminars, and Susan was very, very, very good!” – a participant.

All in all we’ve started off our educational programs in the new building with some great seminars, and we’re looking forward to more soon in October as well.

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