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Chamber Strategic Plan: Advocacy for business members

For the past several weeks, I’ve been unveiling the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Strategic Plan that was developed in May of 2012.

We have lofty plans for this working document and will strive to include businesses, other organizations and individuals to help us accomplish the goals.

The first priority mentioned last week was to help guide our community to a stable year-round economy, where tourism is one of at least three economic factors. This week we will talk about advocacy for business members.

Advocacy comes in a variety of forms, and while the Chamber has chosen not to become involved in political advocacy, we do want to make our members more aware of issues that affect our businesses and community.

We will create a process for the board of directors to prepare position statements. We will survey the membership for clout and leverage where issues are concerned. As mentioned last week, we will continue to investigate a way to give owners of businesses in town, who live in Archuleta County, a voice or a vote in the Town of Pagosa Springs.

We will begin to provide to our members e-mail updates and information provided by CACI (Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry) — the voice of business at the capitol level. They have a comprehensive list of bills before the House and Senate that affect businesses on matters from taxes to health care. We will continue to survey our membership on issues facing our community and report those findings back to town and county entities so they can better hear the voice of the business community.

Each of these priorities will take effort not only from the Chamber board, but also the community. We would be happy to hear what other organizations, businesses or individuals have to say or get them involved on subcommittees. We are encouraged by efforts to eliminate duplicitation by other organizations. We would like to see how we can spearhead more efforts to consolidate similar tasks and help continue to move our community in a positive, forward direction.

Social marketing

In the second phase of our Business Bites Social Marketing series, we will deal with how to work with FaceBook to offer deals and discounts and sign up friends. Once you have set up a FaceBook page, how do you use it to the best business advantage? On Tuesday, Aug. 21, at noon, we will have several successful business owners give examples of how they have used FaceBook to enhance their business and reward their fans. It’s fine if you set up an account, but if you don’t utilize it, it doesn’t do your business any good. Find out how, with some simple steps, you can increase your friend base and potentially generate more business. The cost to attend the short session is $7 for Chamber members and $10 for non-members and includes lunch. The class will be held at the Chamber of Commerce conference room.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, the Chamber will host a more extensive training class about social marketing. We will offer a three-hour course on how to set up a business FaceBook page and how to integrate FaceBook with your website and blog. Marcy Mitchell, owner of MTECH Internet Marketing, will be our facilitator. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops. The course will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and the cost is only $25 for Chamber members and $30 for non-members. This includes the training as well as breakfast items and snacks.

Please R.S.V.P. for either session so we can make sure we have enough room and enough food. For more information or to reserve your space, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.

Upcoming events

The ducks are coming down the San Juan River for the annual Knights of Columbus Duck Race. The festivities will take place Saturday in Town Park. The fun begins with games and a food court beginning at 11:30 a.m. Prize drawings begin at 12:30 p.m. and the ducks take to the river at 3. The first place duck awards the winner $1,000; second place gets $500, third place $250. Duck tickets are $5 and you get the added benefit of trying to find your duck floating down the river. It is a riot watching people watch the ducks, hoping theirs is the winner. Tickets for the ducks are available at the Chamber, at the event and from Knights of Columbus members. You need not be present to win, but it sure is fun if you are there

Business news

Don’t forget to sign up for a Maximizing Your Membership class. The next one will be held on Monday, Aug. 27, at 11:30 a.m. at the Chamber conference room. Lunch is included in this free business session which covers ways that the Chamber can help your business and how you can take better advantage of your membership benefits. Call the Chamber to reserve a spot.

The next SunDowner Business After Hours will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Old Town Market. Chamber members and invited guests are welcome to attend. You will receive your e-vite next week. Look for it in your inbox.

We have one member to welcome back to the Chamber this week — the Pagosa Trail Riders. We have so many people asking about trails for ATVs and information that we are grateful to have the knowledge and maps that the Trail Riders provide. The Trail Riders is a club that encourages ATV riders to join their group and support the education of responsible ATV/OHV use. They arrange group trips and love the trails of southwest Colorado. For more information, contact Ronnie Zaday at 731-3971.

Our renewals this week include Pam Barsanti, our newest Gem Sponsor. Don’t know what a sponsorship level is or what benefits go with the various sponsorship levels? Contact Jan at the Chamber and have her show you how the various advantage sponsorship levels can work for you and your business. Other renewing members are the Aspen Moose Restaurant, Reach for the Peaks and Mountain Waters Rafting.

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