Valentine’s Day is almost here!

I’ve heard many people say Valentine’s Days is a holiday you either love or hate.  Well, I love it! Of course, I love being spoiled and getting things, but I also love doing things to remind my husband that he is “My Valentine”.   Ladies, it’s not just a woman’s holiday anymore.  There are so many creative ideas for men too!

Before I go any further I have to make a confession.  As much as I love celebrating one another on Valentine’s, I am one who has been known to say, “don’t just buy me flowers because it’s a special occasion”.  I think we should celebrate those we love all year long by sending flowers, buying cards and gifts and doing special things for no occasion.  Getting something for no reason at all is always special to me.  I know Brian likes it when I surprise him as well!

With that said, you still better make plans for Valentine’s Day! Man or woman, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like “feeling the love” and your Breckenridge Chamber businesses have you covered! From masculine tools, to chocolates, beautiful bouquets of flowers, dinner, and gift certificates, we can help you treat your Valentine special.  Call the chamber if you are having trouble finding the perfect gift. I don’t want anyone to have to sleep in the doghouse Thursday night! Happy Valentine’s Week!

Annual Awards Ceremony

This week is an exciting week for the Chamber! Thursday is the Chamber’s Annual Awards Ceremony. We will have Carolina Witcher, Marketing Director for Chick-fil-A Abilene (South Clack location) as our guest speaker. Of course, I LOVE their food, but I have always admired Chick-fil-A for their dedication to customer service. I’m looking forward to hearing first-hand how they DOMINATE the industry in customer satisfaction.

In addition to a great speaker, we are going to have a great meal, catered by The Rusty Rooster. The menu includes green chili chicken enchiladas, beef enchiladas, Mexican rice, charro beans, Mexican street corn, chips with fire-roasted tomato salsa, and Texas sheet cake for desert.  YUM! The chamber received several bids for amazing meals.  Not awarding bids is one of hardest things for the Chamber Board to have to do, especially when the quality of the bids were all top-notch. We appreciate the Rusty Rooster and all the businesses who submitted bids.

Another challenging task the Chamber Board faces is selecting recipients for Business of the Year, Citizen of the Year, and Ag Citizen of the year.  Breckenridge is filled with so many amazing, well-deserving people.  Narrowing nominations down to one recipient is hard, and not taken lightly. Please remember if you nominate someone and they are not the winner this year, nominate them again next year!

We have a few seats left for Thursday night.  If you didn’t get your RSVP in by the deadline, you have one last chance (first come, first serve). I encourage our members to attend this event. (Actually, I want our members to attend as many chamber events as possible!  We work hard to make events informative and enjoyable. Use these opportunities to enhance your public profile, network with other professionals, and get helpful tips for business development!)

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at The First United Methodist Church on Thursday at 6 pm!

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Have you ever been on vacation and ready to stop and eat for lunch but end up passing restaurant after restaurant because you didn’t recognize them? I certainty have! I have looked at the building as we drove by and said, “I’m not eating there”!  Chipped paint… tall grass… if it doesn’t look clean, I don’t want to stop.  My dad however, looks for the “hidden treasures”. He doesn’t want to stop at a box name. But, there have been several times when traveling with him we have stopped (against my judgement) and I’ve ended up eating the most amazing meals.  I tell you this to make two points: 

  1. As a business owner, make a good first impression!  They say people eat with their eyes and I think it begins when you see the building. Take time to beautify. If your exterior is run down, people will assume the interior is as well. Be welcoming, be clean, and be appealing!!!
  2. As a consumer, remember you can’t always judge a book by its cover. A faded sign says the place has been in business a while. So they must be doing something right. I have eaten at a few places that the exterior was not impressive but walked in to be “wowed” by the atmosphere and the food. 

 Look for the inner beauty! And happy dining!

What kind of consumer are you?

The past few weeks I have been posting tips for our local business owners. Today I am changing it up a bit. Today, I want to know, “What kind of consumer are you?”

Do you support local businesses?  Often we SAY we support local, but we don’t BUY local.  Supporting local means spending money and actually doing business with local businesses. So often we fuss when we see a business shut their doors, yet we haven’t walked through those doors in months.

When you need something do you give local stores a chance? Do you assume they don’t have what you need and look elsewhere? There have been several times I have needed something last minute and had a local business come to my rescue.

Personally, I like shopping local for several reasons.  First, it’s convenient. I can run by and grab what I need and without long lines, or waiting on delivery.  Second, I LOVE the customer service of local business.  I love that business owners know me and whether we admit it or not, we all love personal attention.  Yes, shopping local boost our economy, but it’s so much more than that.  I trust local business.  I trust the quality of merchandise and service.

As a consumer, do you really support local? My challenge for you is to take time this week to stop by at least one local business that you haven’t been in during the past 3 months. You will be glad you did!

Lion vs. Gazelle

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows that it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up, and knows that it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. The moral…. It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or gazelle, when the sun comes up–YOU HAD BETTER BE RUNNING!
Stay motivated members! Run with endurance the race set before you!

Our plan for 2019

Last week I shared business tips for our members as they planned for the new year.  Today I want to share a few of the chambers plans for the new year.

First, the chamber wants to keep you connected! We will have the first networking event (Coffee & Connections) tomorrow (Jan.8th) at 8 a.m. at Coffee State Farm.  I encourage our members to take advantage of this opportunity.  It’s a great way to share what you have going on, hear from colleagues, and meet other members.

The chamber will also work this year on providing more resources to our members. I am posting blogs to the Chamber website and posting on Facebook in hopes of keeping you current and motivated.  Please, send replies! Let me know which type articles and tips you like and/or issues you would like me to address.  I am here to help you!

So is our office manager, Bo Asher!  He does an amazing job of posting information for our members.  We want to promote your business as much as possible! Be sure when you post to Facebook you tag the Chamber so we can share. You can also email event details to the chamber so they can be added to the website and our marquee display.

From the many referrals we make, to the events we host, we want you to see results of the Chamber working for our members this year.  Stay tuned for more of what’s to come in 2019!

Here’s to a Happy New Year

With the end of 2018 upon us, we all find ourselves thinking about New Year resolutions, New Year plans and New Year goals. Lose weight, eat healthier, spend wiser, we all have our list (last year my resolution was to be a better listener). We all look at these things from a personal aspect, but we often overlook them in our professional/business lives.  Our businesses need refreshing just like we do.  Here are 10 tips to help your business as you start a new year:

1. Update your Business Plan

Maybe it has been pushed to the side, maybe you haven’t assessed it in a while… whatever the case may be, it’s time to pull out that business plan and consider updating it. Have your goals changed? Has your target market changed? Change it to meet these changes, this is a living breathing document that needs to be looked over throughout the year.

2. Create your New Year business resolutions

It’s a new year and you have the perfect opportunity to set some new goals. Get specific, create an action plan to gauge your progress. Set milestones throughout the year to measure your results and come December 31st you can see what you’ve accomplished.

3. Evaluate your marketing 

Marketing is a catalyst in new businesses. Overlooking your marketing could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in your business success. Take time to analyze what marketing tactics you’re taking, decide if they’re giving you any return on investment (ROI) and change them to adapt to the new technologies. Create a new marketing plan if you need to or find a consultant, those steps are worth the money!

4. Review your online branding

Have you ever googled yourself? Google your business! Find out what is on the web about your business and work on refreshing those old “About Us” pages. Create an online marketing strategy that fits the needs of your company. 

5. Invest in new technology

Money is always tight for any new or small business, but have you updated your computers lately? Purchased the most recent program software? It’s time to stop dragging your feet and go ahead with it. Updated technology will help your efficiency, your productivity and your patience!

6. Network

Have you been to any networking events lately? The Chamber of Commerce will be holding networking event opportunities. Go to an event, show some face time with local business owners and market your business. Person-to-Person marketing is almost always the most effective means of marketing. Go to a conference, learn from experts and spread the word about your business. Who knows you could even meet potential clients. Networking is one of the most vital parts of business marketing. 

7. Get organized

They say that the smartest people have messy desks. Even if this is true, organizing your work space will make you feel rejuvenated. There’s nothing like coming back from the New Year holiday to a clean and tidy desk. Another organization option is getting your calendar in order for the new year. Sit down and take time to write out (or type out) upcoming events, holidays and vacations! Write down the month your goals should be completed. Organize your days and your year will already feel productive! 

8. Assess your hiring needs

Are you just too busy? Take time to consider your needs and think about hiring a helping hand. Creating a new job adds to the economic development of the area – as well as giving you a little room to breathe. Tight budget? Think about hiring a free-lancer, volunteers or interns. There are many options for people who have tight budgets, but don’t let this year create stress in your life because you’re understaffed. 

9. Explore trainings

There are tons of webinars, and free training classes offered by local community colleges and online companies. Explore the idea of fine tuning your training on programs, and skills that you don’t feel confident on. Consultants are always available to train you on a business avenue that you aren’t 100% on. With a new year, learn a new skill and start training yourself and your employees to be better!

10. Become a role model

Have you ever had an amazing mentor? Have you ever BEEN an amazing mentor? Be a role model. Your team and your community are watching you, what behaviors do you want them to see? Are you being someone that you would want to meet? Make that a personal goal this year to be a person (business or not) that you would want to know. Attitude reflects leadership.

We’re excited to see what 2019 has in store for the Chamber and our community. We are here to help our businesses succeed! Thank you for your continuous support this past year. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you. I wish you each a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!

5 days until Christmas

Last night it hit. The feeling of ‘When am I gonna get everything done?’  On top of work, needing to pick up a few last minute gifts, needing to grocery shop, and an upcoming 6 hour trip (one way) to spend a few days with family…my hubby had to have his gall bladder removed yesterday!  Everyone knows a sick husband is a full-time job!!!!

I admit, I was feeling a little overwhelmed.  But why???  Our local chamber businesses are life savers, and they make life so easy!  After work today, I can stop and grab all the groceries I need here in town, without any hassle. Tomorrow I can run by and find some unique gifts (I couldn’t have found in box stores) and then finish up with a few local gift cards! No long lines, just friendly faces, and I will be done shopping! 

Don’t stress yourself out.  Call and let the chamber make referrals for your last minute needs! 

Our Deepest Sympathy

As members of our Chamber family mourn, we mourn with them.  The Chamber of Commerce expresses sincere sympathy to the family, friends, and loved ones of Mitchel and Terry Sullivan.   

Many of our business associates, who do a wonderful job taking care of us, have been effected by this tragic loss.  May we all take time in the weeks to come to return the love and support.  

24 Hour Rule

Isn’t it fascinating how our perspectives change over time? 

I was listening to a story this morning about a young man who was offended by a ladies comments regarding his business, and how he wanted to ‘give her a piece of his mind’. Fortunately, he restrained himself.  I couldn’t help but think about how hard that is to do.  Being able to handle conflict hasn’t always been easy for me. 

Although most who meet him would never know, my son (Colt) has Tourette syndrome.  He battles with anxiety and OCD and would often come home from school upset. He struggled through elementary school. Not with grades, but with anxiety.  Anxiety that he bottled up all day, and saved until he was home.  Explaining it to teachers was hard, because they didn’t always see it. I have to say, Colt was blessed with some amazing teachers who loved him.  But, when our kids get hurt, we hurt.  Let me tell you… you upset my kids and the mama bear comes out!

I remember going to the school because I felt like a teacher wasn’t following Colt’s accommodations. I arrived (with my sharpened claws) and the principal scheduled an appointment for me to come back the next day. The next day??? I was furious! I needed this resolved immediately! Why the next day?

It was simple.  When we are upset we are defensive, and we lack perspective.  He was implementing the “24 Hour Rule”. 

I tell you all of this because, often we look at our businesses as “our babies”.  We love and nurture them. So when they hurt, we hurt. When someone says something offensive, we are offended.  How do we react to that?  Regardless if it’s a conflict with an employee, customer or friend, we should all use the 24 Hour Rule.  It gives us time to gather our thoughts and to address issues logically, rather than out of anger.  Take time to see all sides of the situation.  Schedule and appointment and be prepared to discuss the issue calmly. And “Thank You” to the principal who sent me home, teaching me the value of the 24 Hour Rule.