It’s time to make your business New Year’s resolutions

SUN Columnist

Here it is — 2013!

We’ve made it through another year of highs and lows for our business community. We had a major fire in the forest, but this devastation will bring new life. We are working through issues in our community concerning vacant buildings, Reservoir Hill, the continuation of the Visitor Center, business attraction and a voice for the business community.

All of these topics affect the future of our community and our residents should get involved and weigh in. Find out the facts, listen to opposing sides and give input and suggestions on making our community the best it can be so that new life can be brought into our town.

The Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to continuing to improve our community. We will move the downtown improvement initiative forward and not let another study fall by the wayside. We will gauge the temperature and voice of the business community and report outcomes to the decision makers. We will work with businesses to improve the way they do business.

But, we cannot accomplish some of these goals without involvement of our business owners. We cannot report back to the decision makers if the business community does not weigh in through surveys and inquiries. We cannot help you improve your acumen if you do not take advantage of the classes, networking and consulting opportunities made available to you.

Most of us are in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. Often, we make way too many resolutions in our personal lives, then only hold true to one or two.

Start off the New Year by making only one or two resolutions.

While making a personal resolution, make one or two business resolutions. Here are some suggestions. 1. Attend at least one class or seminar the Chamber offers. There are classes from an hour to half day sessions. This year’s classes will include everything from handling and reducing stress in your life, to improving the financial handle on your business, knowing your product and that you are offering the right product to the customer. 2. Attend a Maximizing Your Membership Class. This free two-hour presentation will give you a better idea of what benefits you have with the Chamber, how you can take better advantage of them and how can you make these benefits work for you. 3. Attend a SunDowner. Meet some new people. We are seeing new business owners at these functions as well as a resurgence of interest from companies looking to get involved again in the networking scene. You never know what you might take away from a SunDowner. 4. Make sure you participate in a Chamber survey. We will send surveys out online or by phone to gauge opinion and report results to the government agencies as a voice of the business community. Is three minutes of your time worth it to you to have a voice and make a potential impact on the future of the community? 5. Participate in a Chamber event. Attend the event, be a sponsor or engage your business in some way. For example, if you allowed your staff to dress up in Renaissance garb to support the festival, visitors would be intrigued about what is going on in the community and your business might get more attention because you are engaged in the local events. 7. Invest a little in marketing. 8. Is your company’s hospitality the best it can be? Don’t underestimate the importance of good customer service. Attend a training class or ask the Chamber to create a personalized training session for your business.

These suggestions are but a few, and are geared to help you succeed and create an edge for your business. If you want your business to stay the same, just keep doing what you’re doing. However, you could try to make some small changes. Know that the Chamber of Commerce is here to help you through a range of services. Take just one or two small steps in 2013.

An Ocean of Opportunities

This tagline is the theme for this year’s Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and celebration on Jan. 19.

We will be celebrating individuals and businesses, successes and improvements to come. The evening will consist of a silent auction, with fantastic items available through the generosity of our businesses. Businesses can also offer specials to attendees.

The evening’s entertainment will be provided by Bob Hemenger and a delicious dinner will also be served.

The evening will conclude with the awards ceremony for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, Green Business of the Year, and the Small Business and Nonprofit of the Year. The nomination deadline has been extended to Wednesday, Jan. 9, and Jan. 11 for the Green Business Award. Make sure you nominate an individual or business or self-nominate. We want successful businesses to be examples and mentors to other businesses in our community. Don’t be shy to nominate yourself. Strut your stuff and celebrate your successes. Nomination forms are available in hardcopy at the Chamber office or you can access them online from the Chamber’s website. The important part is to nominate deserving people and businesses in our town and celebrate them.

Tickets for An Ocean of Opportunities are now available for $40. This price includes a wonderful evening of dinner, music, laughter and celebration. You can purchase tickets online or at the Chamber offices. The evening begins at 6 p.m. and the event will be held at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Don’t forget to cast your ballot for three of six nominees for the Chamber Board of Directors. Running this year is Nancy Gilbert owner of Elk Meadows River Resort, representing the lodging community. Paul Gomes is the branch manager for Wells Fargo Bank and represents the banking and financial industry. Flynn Fierro is the store manager for Old Town Market and Deli and has a history of large retail experience, creative thinking and planning. Kiel Steck is the manager for the San Juan Motel and represents the lodging and hospitality industry. Jerry Smith is the president and owner of Pagosa Verde and has a great interest in the nonprofit world and entrepreneurial spirit. Nick Tallent is the financial advisor with the local Edward Jones office and represents the financial arena. Read each candidate’s bio if you do not know who they are. Please call the Chamber offices if you are not able to log on to the Elections Online website with your Chamber user name and password.

Business News

Don’t forget, if you are opening a business, have a business under new management or have relocated to a new address, that the Chamber would love to perform a ribbon cutting for your business. Just give our office a call and schedule a date and time. We’ll be there with red ribbon and the ceremonial scissors.

Renewals that close out the 2012 year are The Buck Stops Here; The Loft at the Metro; and The Springs Theatre Company.

Utilize the resources provided by the Chamber of Commerce in 2013. Our success comes with helping our businesses and providing a strong business core. If you are not a Chamber member, we welcome you to come in and speak to us about our organization and what being a Chamber member means. Thanks to those businesses that continue to be Chamber members. Happy New Year!

This story was posted on January 3, 2013.