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Learn how to improve your online review rankings

SUN Columnist

More and more, people are going to review sites to find out about a community and more and more people are also placing reviews — not just when they have a bad experience, but a good one, as well.

Do you know how to manage and respond to comments about your facility? How do you improve your online review rankings? How can you take a negative comment and turn it into a positive experience?

On Tuesday, March 25, the first Business Bites of 2014 will be tackling online review sites. How can you make these services work for your business? What are people saying about you and how can you take pride in your efforts, build repeat clientele, identify a potential problem and correct a problem or poor review? Find out from a panel of local business owners how they utilize these online review sites to their advantage. You will also find out how the Town Tourism Committee uses these sites to market Pagosa Springs.

Business Bites will be held at Boss Hogg’s beginning at noon on March 25. It will last about an hour. The cost is $12 for Chamber members and $15 for nonmembers. This price includes lunch (tax and tip included) and a wealth of information. Walk-ins are welcome, but we would ask that you RSVP for the event so that we can get a headcount for food.

Improve your
QuickBooks skills

On Thursday, March 20, the Chamber will host a full-day seminar in conjunction with the Fort Lewis College Small Business Development Center. The class will be taught by SBDC advisor Bart Mitchell.

The class will cover QuickBooks basics such as invoicing, billing and basic general ledgers, as well as balance sheets and profit-and-loss statements.

The full-day session will be held on March 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chamber. This is a must-take class if you would like to become more familiar with QuickBooks, understand your financials better, or want to set up your own books.

The fee for the class, which includes materials and breaks, will be $25 for Chamber members and $30 for nonmembers. Please call the Chamber at 264-2360 to sign up for the class or go to https://clients.coloradosbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=170340025.

This is just the first in a great lineup of classes all throughout the year that the Chamber will be offering. Other classes (part-day and Business Bites luncheons) include more social media tips including blogging and mobile apps — what works for your business, qualifying for Enterprise Tax Zone Credits and WordPress 101. We will also offer more specialized classes including Managing Windows 8.1, using Word Press to manage your website, Excel: from formulas to tracking your business, and much more.

Let the Chamber help you run the best business that you possibly can. One or two small tips can change the way you do business, improve revenues and customer service response. Don’t be complacent in running your business — look to always improve.

Wearing of the green

Join St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church for a day of celebrating the wearing of the green — where everyone has a little Irish in them. Saturday, March 15 will be a day of Irish music and dancers, food, craft booths, vendors and a mini-parade. The mini-parade kicks off the event at 11 a.m. and includes bagpipes and an array of “floats.” The Durango Irish Dancers will perform at 1 p.m. Vendor booth space is available for free. For more information about booth space or entering the parade, call 731-5801 and leave a message for them to get back with you.

There will be no town St. Patrick’s Day parade this year. Instead, come out to South Pagosa Boulevard and St. Patrick’s Church for a day of celebration, great food and fun for the whole family.

Calling all chocoholics

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs will host their annual chocolate auction on Saturday, March 22. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. the Pagosa Youth Center will be filled with the aromatic smells of baked lasagna and garlic bread and your mouth will water as you peruse and identify the delectable chocolate desserts you want to bid on. For an evening of gastronomical proportions, the admission price is only $10 in advance and $15 at the door. A cash bar will also be available. Proceeds from the event will benefit the animal shelter and community animal wellness programs. Tickets are available at the Humane Society Thrift Store and shelter. Don’t miss this opportunity to obtain a chocolate creation from some of Pagosa’s best commercial and amateur bakers.

Seussical family fun

Also on Saturday, March 22, Seeds of Learning will present their second annual March to the Movies celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

At 10 a.m., “Horton Hears a Who” will be shown, and at 1 p.m. you can watch “The Lorax.” Prior to and in between the movies, you can also get your face painted or enjoy some delicious snacks for a nominal fee. You might even run into some special “guests.” Attendees are encouraged to come in costume as your favorite Dr. Seuss character.

Tickets are available at Seeds of Learning in advance or at the door (cash only) for $5 per movie. Support one of Pagosa’s treasures and quality early childhood educational programs. For more information, contact Seeds of Learning at 264-5513.

Business news

The next Maximizing Your Membership class will be held on Monday, March 24, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The February class was full and we look forward to another full session in March. Find out how we can help you market your business better and take advantage of your Chamber benefits. Don’t just sign up to be a Chamber member — use the tools that are offered to you. We ask that you sign up in advance so that we can ensure enough food for lunch — a free lunch is included in the training. Please call 264-2360 to reserve your space.

We thank and welcome back our renewing members this week. Getting ready for the summer season, we have Crazy Horse Outfitters, Moore Chiropractic, Flying Dutchman, AAA Colorado and Directory Plus.

A reminder to community organizations, churches or businesses — remember to list any upcoming events on the Chamber website. The summer time is busy and people in the community want to know what is happening and want to avoid any major event conflicts. You do not have to be a Chamber member to list your event. Go to the Chamber website, click on the “activities and events tab” and then click on “submit an event” from the drop-down menu. We want to give our locals and visitors as much information as possible. As a side note — the calendar of events page is one of the most frequented pages on the Chamber website. Make sure your event is listed.

This story was posted on March 13, 2014.