Chamber Corner

Romeo Cruz ProfileSilver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Romeo Cruz will provide a weekly column to the Beat, featuring items and announcements of interest to the community.

There was once a man caught in a terrible flood. Clinging to a piece of wood, he prayed to God. "Lord," he said, "Please save me from this flood, and I will faithfully serve you." As he drifted through the raging floodwaters, the wood that held him above water could no longer hold him up, and so he abandoned the wood and began to swim.

"God will save me," the man said. The water was cold, and he was tired, but he swam on. He heard a voice cry out, "I've thrown a rope! Grab it and I will pull you to safety!" But the man said, "No, I am all right. God will save me." And he swam on, right past the rope.

Now the cold began to seep into his muscles, and every stroke became a labor. A woman on a kayak paddled near him and said, "Hold on to my kayak, and I will tow you to safety!" But the man refused. "No, I'm all right. God will save me." The woman begged him to grab hold, but eventually he drifted away from her, and she was lost in the driving rain.

Every morning I open the door and let my dog Bleu out. He waits, tail wagging, for the chance to sample the smells and sights that await him in our yard. He patrols the fence line, learning everything he can about what happened while he was away. It's beautiful to see him run, his paws kick up bits of grass and dried leaves. He runs for the sheer joy of it. His joy becomes my joy as I watch him. I see him, and all dogs, as the embodiment of joy, something we as humans desperately need more of. Dogs can teach us about happiness, forgiveness and gratitude. There are some traits that dogs have that we probably should leave to them, like peeing on trees and rolling around in foul-smelling substances. But there are many that warrant emulation as well.

Dogs seek out the new and unfamiliar. Dogs love nothing more than to follow an interesting scent. What if we gave ourselves permission to explore and discover the way dogs do naturally? We might find new interests or discover a new way of looking at the world or even find a new approach to a business problem. Leaving ourselves open to new experiences, as dogs do, will certainly enrich our lives. Yes, there is the possibility that doing this will lead to a face full of porcupine quills or the occasional spray from a skunk, but there's no reward without accepting some risk.

In Danny Trejo's memoir Trejo, he recounts his youth as a criminal, his time in prison, and a moment in solitary confinement that changed his life. In 1968, while serving time in California's Soledad Prison, Trejo was caught up in a prison riot, during which two guards suffered injuries. Trejo was accused of throwing a rock that hit a guard in the head, and for that, he was sent to solitary confinement pending a trial. At that time, his alleged crime was a capital offense. Facing death in a tiny, cold, prison cell, Trejo turned to God for guidance.

He writes, "In that cell, I asked God for help and His answer was 'Help.' I understood: Help others. That's what people used to say in those meetings I went to. 'You can't keep grace unless you give it away,' they said. 'You have to be of service to others; even if they don't get it, you will.'"

Help.

Back in the early nineties, I worked in a large factory producing cars for NUMMI (New United Motors Manufacturing Inc.), a joint venture of Toyota and General Motors. The factory produced Toyota Tacoma trucks and GM/Toyota sedans on different production lines. We worked hard, turning out hundreds of cars a day. This high rate was no accident, and it wasn't just a matter of how hard the men and women on the production lines worked. Assembling complex machines on a production line requires a well thought out and well executed plan. Every aspect of the production process is planned in advance, from the availability of parts to the scheduling of workers, and this planning enables all the elements that go into producing a car to come together at the right time and allow the process to move forward.

Hello friends! It’s been such a fun time for me, over the last 20 months to share my stories and opinions about business and entrepreneurship. The column I’m writing today will be my last to be written on behalf of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce. I have accepted a new role as the Executive Director of the newly formed Grant County Workforce Economic Development Alliance. I’m excited for this new role and I’m thankful that I’m able to stay here in Grant County and continue my work to help improve the economic development of our area.

It is difficult for me to leave my job at the Chamber of Commerce because I have truly enjoyed the work I have been able to do here. I knew, when I first applied for the job, in October of 2019 that I was going to enjoy working in my hometown. I knew that I was coming to work in a community with a rich history and ancestral knowledge of my own family. I knew that, somehow, when my Grandfather Jesus Galvan opened his tienditas in Fierro and Santa Clara, it was predestined for me to work as a champion for the small business owner. Small business has always been my passion and SUCCESS has always been my driving force. Since January 6, 2020 I have been totally immersed in small business and many issues affecting Grant County, New Mexico, thanks to the Board of Directors of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce.

It is now the third quarter of the year, and, in many ways, we are still in the grip of COVID-19. We are carefully watching the delta variant and we are doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe and our businesses open and operational. I always wondered what the "new normal" was going to look like and now we know. Some people are wearing masks while others are not. More than 65% of Grant County residents, older than 12 years old, have been completely vaccinated and many more are getting vaccinated every day. Many businesses are asking you to mask up while others aren't. You, and your neighbors, are doing everything you can to be safe and you are to be commended for your diligence.

I've always said that the recovery of our county is not only based on what we do now. Our overall recovery is based on what we are doing now that will come to fruition in the next two to three years. Now is the time to be thinking about recovery!

If you've ever thought about starting a business, then now might be the time to take the leap and get that business off the ground. If you have a hobby that could logically be transformed into a business now might be the time to explore the possibility of getting that business started. If you have a great recipe, that you share with others which they love, then now might be the time to take your food to the marketplace.

Is it just me, or are you finding that customer service is not as strong as it should be now that we're in a post COVID environment? As a business owner, are you finding that your patrons are not as patient or understanding as they could be? No matter where you stand in this equation, I have to say that you're exactly right!

In the past few weeks, I've heard horror stories about people having a less than ideal experience in their human interactions in the marketplace. I've heard about someone who ventured into the "Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyworld and was astounded at the level of customer service they encountered there. The quality of customer service ranged, in their opinion, from ambivalence to indifference. Best Selling Author Simon T. Bailey (SHIFT your Brilliance), who spent time working in "Guest Experience" at Disney World tells about the training that their cast members go through to ensure that "WE" enjoy our time at the Magic Kingdom, since it's usually a once-in-a-lifetime trip for most of us. Indifference is unacceptable because the customer with whom we are interacting has chosen this day to make a lifelong memory. If your attitude overshadows their expectations, then you, unfortunately, will be part of their lifelong memory.

The purpose of this column is to always be supportive and motivational in my comments to small business owners. I feel a kindred spirit with small business owners because we think alike. It's been said that entrepreneurs march to the beat of a different drum and I whole-heartedly agree. Some of us hear the rat-a-tat-tat of a marching band's snare drum keeping us in step and methodically moving forward, while others hear the free-spirited, totally syncopated and mostly improvised, "in-a-gadda-da-vida-esque" drum beat that stirs the soul while reinforcing the psychedelic sky under which we find our inspiration. Whether we run our business like a military-like field commander or like an avant garde, go-with-the-flow bohemian, we all want the same thing: to learn from our mistakes and create a successful business. Today I'm going to talk about the little missteps that cannot be corrected.

I'm a seasoned Business Coach, which simply means that I've been around for a very long time. Business coaches don't ever offer advice to their clients. Business Coaches take the experience they have gained over years of trial and error and use it for learning opportunities to anybody who will listen. Most of the experience shared comes from the standpoint that, "I've made mistakes and I don't want you to make the same mistakes as me!" If you will allow me, this week's article will be a bit of a tribute to an extraordinary woman we lost recently and a bit of me sharing with you in such a way that helps you avoid a lifetime of grief.

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