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New Year’s resolutions for your business

With the start of the new year, it’s a time when most people set their resolutions for improvement or try to quit some old, bad habits.

We really don’t need to wait until the beginning of the year — we can set new guidelines at any point in time because “each day is the first day of the rest of your life.” But, New Year’s Day is often the benchmark, the starting point. So, how about setting some guidelines for your business?

This will most likely be a year of growth for our community. Whether a big box comes into town or not, just the possibility one might be built here has created a stir in town. It has led to serious thoughts on the part of business owners who might be affected, causing them to wonder how they can compete against the “big boys.” One thing is certain: businesses must change, with or without a big box. Here are some ways you can make sure that you and your business stay up with the changes.

Get involved. Attend a town council, county commissioner or planning meeting — even occasionally. Sign up for the agenda if there is something that affects your business. Take some time and attend a meeting. Complete the upcoming Chamber survey. It is short, and it also gives you an opportunity to comment on pertinent issues or something you would like to see the Chamber address or focus on. This survey will be used to help the board of directors in a strategic planning session that will focus on the next three to five years for the Chamber.

Take an education course sponsored by either the Chamber or Small Business Development Center. Perhaps one of these courses will help you save time and money, or improve your knowledge of particular areas in business such as social marketing, insurance coverage or federal law compliance. Invest in yourself and your business. A $10 or $20 class could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. You just need to commit the time and energy.

We try to start off the year with personal commitments. Add a business commitment in there. If you do what you’ve always done, you’re going to get the same results. I doubt that any successful business has remained static year after year. They make changes, add new products, streamline and modernize. Make sure your business is in that category. The Chamber has created a new website and database that offers lots of online services and information for our business. Attend a Maximizing Your Business free seminar, and find out how you can make your Chamber membership work for you. Utilize some of the amenities that we offer. Use the Tools for Business Success located on the website, use the referral tools that we have and see how people can find your business easier and faster. Let us help you attain some of your New Year’s business resolutions. We look forward to a great 2012 for our businesses and our community.

Nominations due

Nomination forms for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, as well as the Green Business Leadership Award, are due Monday, Jan. 9. These awards will be given out at the Chamber Annual Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 21. Nomination forms can be obtained at the Chamber, from the Chamber website or they can be faxed to you.

There are so many people who should be recognized for their selfless efforts in this community. Please be as descriptive as possible, as the voting committee, made up of some Chamber board members and at-large community members, may not know your candidate as well as you do, nor know all the attributes your candidate possesses.

In both categories, successful nominees must give back to the community through time or financial assistance. They must also contribute their efforts outside their normal work duties, expecting nothing in return for their service. For the Citizen of the Year award, the individual, couple or organization must have been in the community for at least three years. They must also contribute to the community in at least one of the following four categories: Lifestyle, Philanthropic, Cultural and Economic. Again, the contributions made must be out of the scope of their normal work environment and involve giving to the community with no expectation of reward.

In order to qualify for the Green Business Leadership Award, a business must demonstrate practices in at least three of the following categories: Leadership and Innovation incorporating green business practices into their work environment; Efficiency and Conservation Measures with energy and water; Transportation – offering options and alternatives to single occupant vehicles, reduction in reliance on fossil fuel vehicles or incentives for alternative transportation methods; Pollution and Waste — reduce, reuse and recycling practices; Manufacturing and Purchasing – focusing on local, sustainable or cooperative processes; Other — which includes education, civic engagement, environmental preservation, etc. A business may either be nominated or can self-nominate.

This year, the businesses will be broken into different categories such as utility companies, small and larger businesses. There will also be an award for the most improved business. Even if you did not get nominated last year, but implemented some “best practices” you feel qualify your organization for demonstrating the most improved green business, please submit your qualifications and gain some “bragging rights.” Southwest Organization for Sustainability would like to honor those businesses that make an extra effort in reducing the carbon footprint, while utilizing healthy and profitable business practices. Nomination forms can be obtained at the Chamber, we can fax them to your place of business or you can download them from the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. The Green Business form is listed on the home page with the other nomination forms.

Upcoming events

Pledge forms will be ready next week for the third annual Pagosa Penguin Plunge, happening on Sunday, Feb. 19. Jump into the frigid San Juan River to raise money for your favorite charity or school group. You must be 15 years old to jump and must have parental consent if you are not an adult. Those 18 years and older can jump to their hearts’ content. The registration fee is $25. For more information, visit the Chamber website at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. We will list all the fun WinterFest events in the next couple of weeks so you can prepare that hot toddy, sled or get that costume ready for the plunge.

The Nordic Club will host several events this upcoming weekend. On Friday, Jan. 6 there will be a free Moonrise/Sunset Ski Social. Show up to the site anywhere between 4 -7 p.m. and ski under the colorful skies and in this springlike weather. There will be homemade soups, chile, s’mores and beverages. You can bring an item to share, although it is not necessary. For more information, visit the Nordic Club website at www.pagosanordic.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 7, there will be a free dog harness/skijoring demo day at Pagosa Feed on Bastille Drive. Come out and talk to vendors, test equipment and see how much fun you and your dog can have out in the snow. Then, on Sunday, Jan. 8, come out to Yamaguchi Park for a ski or snowshoe canine skijoring novice fun race. You and your pet can have some fun and see why there is all this new interest in dog skijoring.

Beginning Friday, Jan. 13, the first winter outdoor concert will take place in the athletic field in Town Park. Outlaw Snowdown will be a three-day musical event with well known musicians coming to play in Pagosa in the dead of winter. Don’t worry, there will be seating under a tent, heaters and lots of music. The concerts do not start until 4 p.m. so visitors can enjoy all that Pagosa has to offer. There are special concert, ski, stay and soak passes available, or you can just purchase concert tickets at www.outlawsnowdown.com. Enjoy musicians such as Band of Heathens, the Ben Miller Band, Stoney Larue and Supersuckers, just to name a few of the bands. This event will be happening over the Martin Luther King three–day weekend, so enjoy the holiday in a slightly different way this year.

The Pagosa Center for the Arts will begin “Guys on Ice” Friday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. The performance will continue on weekends until Sunday, Jan. 29. Tickets are only $15 in advance and $20 at the door with champagne opening night being $25 in advance. You will be charmed by the original musical numbers and “Midwestern” humor. For tickets or more information, visit the website at www.pagosacenter.org.

SHY RABBIT’s exhibition continues at the contemporary art center at 333 Bastille Drive daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Jan. 22. This mixed media exhibit features hand-pressed and limited print work, painting, ceramics and other works of art. The gallery and studio is a wonderful space and shows off the art work very well. For more information, visit the website at www.shyrabbit.com.

Membership

We have two new members who joined the Chamber just prior to the year’s end.

We welcome back Tess Challis and Radiant Health Inner Wealth after her short travel hiatus. Tess now has three fantastic and fact-filled cookbooks to help you achieve better eating habits and thereby better health, as well as weight loss programs through better eating. Tess also offers life-coach and dietary counseling and her successes are well documented. She and Carré Otis will host the free movie “Fork Over Knives” at Liberty Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 5. Join them at 5:45 p.m. for a Q&A session before the film begins at 6. For more help from Tess, or to view her cookbooks, email tesschallis@gmail.com.

We also welcome Absolute Comfort Spa & Pool, located on Put Hill. Meredith Pond is the owner. Absolute Comfort offers new and pre-owned spas and are the only dealer in southwest Colorado offering Hot Spring Portable Spas. Along with sales, they also offer service and accessories. Visit their showroom at 1501 W. U.S. 160.

Welcome to both of our new members to start off for a great 2012.

Our renewals this week include: the Econo Lodge; Homespun Comforts; and the San Juan Roadhouse.

Happy New Year, Pagosa.

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