Cascade e-Commerce Solutions, Inc.

Take A Hike! | An interview with A Serial Hiker

This is Amanda and her friend at the top of mailbox peak.

Anyone who’s been to the Pacific Northwest (PNW for short) understands that it really is a beautiful place. There’s so much green, so much nature, so many sites to be seen. Because of all this it’s not hard to believe that hiking is a favorite pastime to many who call the PNW home.

Even if you live in the city you’re never more than an hour away from a good hike. With nature being so close to more urban areas, it’s common to see people wearing their outdoor gear (Patagonia, North Face, etc.) even while walking around the streets downtown. There are many avid hikers who are in the city during the work week and in the mountains when the weekend rolls around.

I have a friend I consider a serial hiker who I have interviewed to get her opinion on the best hikes near us. Whether you’ve never hiked before or if you consider yourself a serial hiker as well, hopefully this interview will point you in the direction of your next hike. This rundown should also give you options of hikes both near and far so you can plan for either a quick trip or a weekend away.

(Forewarning, anything in parenthesis is my commentary.)

What is the most difficult hike you’ve been on in the PNW?

Mailbox Peak near Northbend, WA. The original trail is 2.5 miles long with extreme elevation. They’ve since put in a longer trail with more gradual elevation. When coming back down the trail the incline/decline was so steep that if we wanted to stop we needed to brace ourselves with trees to keep us from falling. Although it’s a difficult hike, it’s definitely worth going; the view is great!

Least difficult?

Snoqualmie Falls is pretty easy and kid friendly, but it’s still worth the trip because once you get down to the bottom of the falls it’s beautiful. (It’s not too far of a drive and there’s a really nice viewpoint overlooking the waterfall.)

For those of us that love fun hikes, what would you suggest?

Twin Falls near Northbend, WA. There are a couple of viewpoints of the waterfalls, a cool bridge and this hike gives you a workout without being too hard.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen while hiking?

Cute dogs in hiking gear (I imagine hats and cargo vests), old bridges, old overgrown forests and cool looking vegetation on trees that have fallen.

What hike would you suggest for those of us looking for beautiful scenery?

Mount Storm King near Port Angeles, WA. This hike overlooks Lake Crescent, the Strait of Juan De Fuca and parts of Canada. (I’d like to see this view in person.)

What is your favorite hike in all of the PNW?

Cape Flattery near Neah Bay, WA is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous US. There are amazing views at the end of the hike overlooking an island with a lighthouse, cliff sides and where the Strait of Juan De Fuca meets the ocean. (I want to visit here and be on the northwesternmost point of the country, especially with all those views. This is definitely on my bucket-list.)

Why do you love to go hiking?

It’s challenging and it’s rewarding. Hiking sets your mind at ease and reminds you how much there is to see on earth. Would you rather go hiking or be stuck inside a gym? (I’d much rather be free outside than confined to a treadmill.)

Any tips for new hikers or visitors to the PNW?

Mud! Beware of mud. Wear the right shoes and check the weather before going. Once when visiting Shi Shi Beach it was so muddy that I had to jump from twig to twig to avoid getting stuck and losing my shoes in mud puddles.

Additional comments:

Be careful not to get lost. Just a few weeks ago I tried to go on De Leo Wall trail for a short afternoon hike and ended up in a loop with no view for 2 hours. (Do your best not to get lost. Amanda was able to laugh while telling this story now, but I’m sure being lost wasn’t very funny at the time.)

Thank you so much for visiting our blog! We hope this interview has inspired you to get outside, plan your next hike or two and add a few adventures to your bucket-list. Let us know what you think about these hikes and any other favorites you have. And be sure to follow us on social media!

Amanda at Cape Flattery, her favorite hike!

Is My Business Healthy? | What We Learned from Peter Busacca of Washington BBI

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Chesire cat in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked. “Where do you want to go?” was his response. “I don’t know,” Alice answered. “Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.

–Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

This quote may seem random or odd when discussing the health of a business, but it couldn’t be more fitting. Many businesses are struggling or even dying because they have no vision, no plan…no idea where they want to go. These same businesses wonder why they’re not meeting their full potential. They may ask what they should do, where they should go or what road they should take, but the truth is none of that matters when you don’t know where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will do.

Planning can be stressful and difficult for all of us, but it must be done and it’s easier than most of us think. Following through is the hard part. A new friend of ours is incredibly helpful in this process though. We met Peter through the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce. He owns Washington BBI which is a business brokerage firm serving business owners in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. They are business brokers with an end-to-end solution.

One of the best things we have learned from Peter is the important role that a work-life balance plays in a healthy business and therefore an important factor in making your business appealing to potential buyers. When you plan better and execute more effectively, YOU SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT. I’m sure we can all agree that this is extremely important. If you’re someone who thinks that working hard all of the time and never sleeping is the best way to run a successful business, I get the logic, but hear me out. While working insanely hard may produce amazing results for a short while, can you sustain that level of energy and effort for 6 months? 1 year? 3 years?? It simply can’t be sustained for an extended period of time while producing the same results. Your business is better off if you delegate tasks to capable staff or teams. Your life is better off if you keep things more balanced. YOU are better off if you rest, maybe take a vacation once in a while. It may sound impossible, but with a good plan and the right team you can have a healthy business while also having a healthy life.

Along with this work-life balance is the balance between qualitative and quantitative factors that help determine the health of your business. You may think the health of your business is solely based on your financial growth or that is all about the values of your business. It is not one or the other. A truly healthy business has a good balance of both. You should run your business with values always in mind while still keeping the bottom line in the picture. A high quality business can only help the community if it keeps its doors open.

The great thing about a business like Washington BBI is that whether you’re just about ready to sell or you have no idea where to start, they either have ways to help or ideas to get you going in the right direction. Regardless of whether you decide to work with this business or another, the goal is that you’ll find what ways your business could be healthier, set attainable goals to get there and work hard with a dedicated team to achieve those goals. A healthy business is a growing business.

Business Success on the Web

Business owners often ask me, “How can my business be successful on the web?” My response is, “Your business will be successful on the web when:
  1. People can find your business’ website easily,
  2. The text on the website is persuasive and easily understood,
  3. The design of the website is attractive and professional looking,
  4. The website loads quickly and is easy to get around and easy to use on a handheld as well as on a PC,
  5. The intent of the website is clear,
  6. The website offers something that the visitor wants or needs and
  7. The action you are seeking from the visitor is clear and easy to take.
The next question invariably is, “How do you make a website do all those things?” I tell them: research and proper coding. It is necessary to understand what the business wants the website to accomplish whether that be get more customers, sell more products, educate existing customers, and/or support customers. Understanding what the business makes or does and how these products or services differ from those of competitors is also an important element. Keyword research is the next step in making a website successful. The actual words and phrases that people enter into the search engines when they are searching for the products or services offered by the company must be found. It’s best to identify two sets of phrases (those used by the business and those used by prospective customers) and then test these phrases to identify the text that will best represent the business on the web. Studying the competition – what are they selling and how are they marketing their products and services – to see how a client can best represent themselves on the web is a necessary step as well. Visiting competing websites shows how they are doing their marketing. It’s important to report findings to the business owner/executive. I like to include good news, opportunities to improve, statistics regarding keyword phrases and a web plan that details the names of the web pages I would build and the metatags and text content for each page. Based on a discussion with the owner or executive about what is learned through research, it is then possible to proceed with drafting the website design, securing approval of the draft design and building the site to incorporate all of the above. This process is known as web development and search engine optimization. The job doesn’t stop there. It’s necessary to set up traffic tracking for the site. Monthly reports of search engine rankings and traffic to the site show where updates need to be made and points to possible recommendations for further improvements to the website. Sometimes I am asked “Once the website does all these things will my staff be able to update and maintain the website in-house?” “Absolutely,” I respond, “at any point in the process, I can and will train internal staff to make, maintain and improve the website. My philosophy is that the website is a dynamic tool that belongs to the business. As a teacher-type personality I take as much enjoyment out of training in-house staff to successfully maintain and improve a website as I do in doing this work myself.” Helping businesses find success on the web is a passion for me. It is work. There is no magic involved, but when all goes as hoped the happy result feels like magic.