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Pagosa Springs
Thursday, August 18, 2022

Health department warns of scam

By Mary Jo Coulehan
Pagosa Springs Area
Chamber of Commerce

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) has announced that there may be a possible scam circulating in La Plata and Archuleta counties. A business would be notified of a hearing that they must attend related to violations of public health orders. Businesses may receive a letter from a source misrepresenting SJBPH and the letter actually refers to a case number. 

SJBPH does not send out violation orders in this manner. Should your business actually be in violation of a public health order, SJBPH would issue you a violation through a process server and would refer to specific violations or infractions. The current letter circulating does not refer to specific infractions, but asks that you report to the SJBPH offices at a specific time. The information is falsely represented on SJPBH letterhead. 

If you have received one of these letters and believe it to be false or you are unclear of the article you may be in violation of since you have not had notification previously from SJBPH, contact our local law enforcement agencies for them to investigate fraudulent actions. 

Currently, SJBPH does have a business self-assessment certification application. It guides our businesses reopening to really look at how they are responding to the COVID pandemic and opening their businesses back to the public safely and responsibly. While not required in Archuleta County, completing this form is encouraged as it is a thorough guide with the mind-set to open your business as safely as possible to your employees and customers. Over 950 businesses have filled out the self-assessment forms; has your business? 

Create, Innovate, Pivot

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) held a webinar on Monday, June 15, titled Create, Innovate, Pivot. This informative webinar, facilitated by seasoned and successful business consultants Jasper Welch and Rich Linblad, reviewed some of the successes and failures of why businesses fail. In today’s market, with “the new normal” still not having been set, have you really looked at your business model? Have you made any changes to your business actions or internal workings? Here are just a few gemstones taken from the webinar.

First off — have you even looked at your business and the way you are doing business? Are you just waiting for the times to change and hoping that things will get back to the normal of pre-pandemic conditions? Have you or can you step back and look at your business from a neutral position? Once doing that, have you assessed things you can stop doing, keep doing, start doing and even change or modify? How do you do this? Stop doing things that don’t make money for you. What are items or products that are not selling? Are you just offering them on the off-chance that someone will purchase it because it’s always been there? What equipment might be a lead weight on your business? Can you sell it or “reconstitute” it so that it becomes productive?

Here are some other wise analytic tactics. Now is the time to really assess the costs associated with your business. Do you need all the products you carry, is your inventory laden with items that are stagnant? If you could offer another item, product or service — what would your customers want? You can only find that out by actually talking to your customers. What added value do they want? Can you drop something you’re providing or doing and pivot to a new service or product? Is there something you could be doing that tracks alongside of the new “trends?” Ordering online, for example. Most of us are used to ordering online now and finding that instead of waiting in line at the restaurant, it’s easier to order in advance and just pick up. 

Are your sales and service lines providing you with the products and needs you need? If not, drop them. Websites are becoming more and more important as we use the virtual world more and more. I know, personally, I went with a service a company was providing because the competitors’ websites were so user unfriendly and cumbersome. I got so frustrated that I just dropped the other companies. The price the company was offering was very competitive, so ease of website navigation was very important. Look at your website; make some modifications and make it user friendly. Get feedback on your website.

Welch and Linblad reinforced some of the concepts of why businesses fail. The owner is not willing to change. They have this concept in their mind that they are right, what they offer is right and whether they are struggling or not, they are not willing to change. “I’ll just wait until this pandemic is over.” 

I’ve often said that customer service starts at the top. Unfortunately, some business owners shouldn’t be at the front counter. They have poor people skills with the public and with employees. Are you sure you should own a business? Are you really happy owning this business? If not, it might show and you could change careers. If you are ignoring feedback, customer or employee, you are at risk of failing as well. Ask for help. Do you have a mentor or someone you can talk do? If you do and still don’t listen, you are risk of failing. This is why complaints are also often very important. If you get a complaint multiple times about the same thing — you have a problem. Look at fixing it, not just ignoring it.

We want our businesses to succeed. Now is an important time for our businesses to really look at their business models. The SBDC has a cadre of talented consultants that can assist you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or have someone that can see your business through a different set of glasses help guide you. You can contact the SBDC located in the new Innovation Center in Durango at www.sbdcfortlewis.org. They have workshops, consulting, and other services that can help you succeed.

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