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Chamber Corner

steve chaviraSilver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Steve Chavira will provide a weekly column to the Beat, featuring items and announcements of interest to the community.

“Crisis!” Before this week, what thoughts did that word conjure up in your mind? I never thought about a nationwide pandemic that would reach into our own little part of the world, but, none-the-less, here we are.

As a Business Coach, Motivational Speaker and Economic Development Professional I am, by nature, a positive person. I see your cup as “half full” in every interaction you and I have and then I will encourage you to be diligent in your efforts to fill your cup even further! I would like to see you spending time working ON your business so that when tough times present themselves to us you are ready to handle the adversity.

I have had many, many, conversations over the past couple of weeks about the COVID-19 virus and the current slowdown that we are being forced to endure and I must tell you that I am worried!

I’m worried about our community and I’m worried about YOUR business. It’s hard for me to even share these words in a public setting but I want you to understand how I feel. My worry doesn’t stop at bars and restaurants either! I’m worried about all of the small, local, businesses that sell retail products, provide lodging and perform services for other businesses. These businesses are suffering and not by any fault of their own. So, yes, I worry every day!

I worry about your business because you are letting employees go and you are not earning enough business to be sustainable in even the slowest of times. Your business has been cut back so drastically that you are reinventing a way to continue to serve your customers by depending on services (takeout & delivery) that previously represented a fraction of your overall operation.

I worry because you ran your business on margins so slim that you left yourself little wiggle room when it came to your ability to absorb increases in your costs. These margins are supposed to be what you put in the bank, or the rainy day fund, just in case you needed to dip into it and now you don’t have enough to dip into… if you have anything at all!

I worry because I know that some businesses, dare I say many businesses, won’t survive this downturn. Coming back from a slowdown like this will take weeks or months. Heck, we don’t even know how long this downturn is supposed to last! Each time our Governor or President steps up to the lectern it seems like they leave a trail of bad news in their wake. I worry because we are left to pick up the pieces and keep it all together! But, how do we do that?

If you haven’t started doing this yet then you must start right now. TAKE THIS PANDEMIC SERIOUSLY! This is real stuff folks and the sooner we realized that the sooner we can get over it. Stop over-buying and just get what you need from local stores! If we just buy what we need then there will be enough for everyone.

Then we take action by doing everything we can be done to support ALL local businesses. When you spend your money in LOCAL companies your money stays in our community. Local money means local benefit! It doesn’t take much to support a business but the little thing you do will make a huge difference.

Business owners. What are you doing to make your online presence visible? Can people find you online? Have you checked your website lately? Do you have a website? Can I purchase a gift card from you? Help me help your business. Take this time to look inward at your processes and adapt to the new normal.
I remember when I was a child and my mom would send me over to our next door neighbor, Dona Gabriela, to borrow a cup of sugar or to give her some fresh tortillas she had made. We were neighbors and we helped each other out. Today is no different. If some nefarious character had climbed Dona Gabriela’s back fence and tried to get into her house we would have done anything to protect her. COVID-19 is that nefarious character but he has already gotten in.

Let’s work together to help our neighbors remain safe from any further harm. Shop local, stay healthy, #dontgetitanddontspreadit, and help your neighbors. Neighbors helping neighbors is the only way we get through this.

 

We are living through a crazy time in our life right now! (I apologize if my use of the word “crazy” is politically incorrect!) If you are like me, you probably thought that the Corona Virus was going to be “a thing” that only affected other places in the world. I never thought that COVID-19 would rear its ugly head here in Grant County! This is God’s Country after all! (I won’t apologize for the use of THAT one!)

Five short days ago the staff of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce and the Grant County Veteran’s Memorial Business & Conference Center was preparing for a busy weekend. We had just had a short string of events with lots of visitors to the Conference Center for the High Desert Gun Show and we were preparing for the Spring Fling with the Grant County Home Business Network when BAM!!! The Corona Virus debacle made its presence known in a big way.

Unless your last name is Firestone or Goodyear you are, more than likely, not in the business of reinventing the wheel. Having said that, most small business owners spend their time doing just that! Why do you think that is?

Think back to the day you started your business. You took your passion and started the process of bringing it to the masses. This passion is the key component to launching a startup. Passion is what gets you out of bed in the morning! Passion drives you to talk about your business and it is evident when you are promoting your business to others. Passion has been the catalyst for getting nearly every other successful startup off the ground. But passion isn't enough!

Competition is KEY!

How does your business fit into the marketplace? I talk to small business owners frequently about this and it’s evident that most fledgling businesses aren’t prepared to answer that question. How are you prepared to answer that question?

I recall a time in Las Cruces when the first Wal-Mart Super Center in town had moved to a bigger location and the second super center was under construction. I know that many people were up in arms with the typical, “big box is shutting down small business,” rationale that tends to prevail when one of those businesses comes to town. My father-in-law and I were discussing this when he made an interesting remark that really made me think. He said that those big box stores can’t be everything to everybody and small business can compete if they know how. My father-in-law who ran a small cash register/timeclock business, “Cole’s the Cash Register” in south Texas talked about how small business can thrive in an environment with a big box retailer but they need to understand what their own strengths are before they give up. In other words, they need to know how to compete!

Well… It’s that time of year again! The holidays are over, all of our relatives who came to visit are now safely tucked away in their own homes far, far away. The holiday haze has lifted and we realize that our bills need to get paid so we’re ready to focus on work again and start looking for ways to drum up business. What to do… What to do… What to do…

Most business owners go to their standard, tried and true, business development (BizDev) tactics which their customers have come to expect while others are truly going to make 2020 the year of vision and do something new. Which category do you fall into? Whether you do something new or stick with tradition my advice to you is to lead with innovation!

Hey Business Owner… What do YOU do with all of your extra cash? Everybody knows that business owners have cash coming out the wazoo! Right? The reality is that most business owners are doing everything they can to keep their business running toward the positive and extra cash, if any, is usually put back into the business to help with operations.

Small business owners get hit from all different directions by necessary expenses. Expenses such as Accounting or Bank Fees, Employee Benefit Programs, Rent on Office Space, Maintenance and Repair Costs, Payroll, Taxes, Insurance, Marketing, Capital Costs, Utility Costs… These are just a few of the typical expenses we have and the list goes on! Small business owners often find themselves evaluating their expenses and prioritizing between “must-do” and “want-to” expenses.

When I started as a Small Business Coach in February 2004, I entered into a world that was rewarding and frustrating all at the same time. I decided to launch my own business for a very specific reason. I love sales and I wanted to help other people love it too! Now, before you say, “Steve, please… NOBODY LOVES SALES!!!” just keep reading and let me tell you what I mean.

If you are a small business owner, I can almost guarantee that you didn’t start your business because you wanted to spend your day selling. You likely started your business because you found a product or service that you fell in love with and you wanted to share it with the rest of the world. You loved this product so much that you knew it would be a no-brainer for your friends and family. “All I have to do is tell them about it and they will love it… because they love me!” This is what is commonly referred to as your warm market which is the group of people whom you can go to anytime and they will trust your word and accept your recommendations simply because of your relationship with them. Like I said, a “no-brainer!”

Live from Silver City

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