December 21, 2012

SLV SBDC Success Story

Troy Duran likes making old stuff look good at his new business, AA Detailing & Wicked Stitches Upholstery.  He also likes to make it easy for customers by offering free estimates and locating “hard to find” upholstery matches.  Troy is working with the SLV SBDC (589-3682) to develop his business.  He is feeling the typical entrepreneur pressure of “I’m doing everything myself” from customer service, to bookwork to the detailing.  He has been open just under one year, and is expanding at his location to include a show room.  The business is located on Highway 285, across from CDOT, in the former Lucy Taco’s building.
Troy’s passion for cars and bikes goes back to when he was young and bought a ’55 Chevy at the age of 14.  He discovered he was good at restoring cars, and graduated from Wyoming Tech Institute in 1991 with a special trade in Trim and Upholstery Technology.  One technique that he has mastered is repairing and restoring convertible tops.  One job like that can consume 12-16 hours.  He has restored quite a few vehicles that have been in the Early Iron Festival as well as the local Father’s Day car show.  Troy was interviewed by David Miller during the 2012 Early Iron festival for a potential article, called “Drive What You Build.”
As you enter the showroom, you will also find bar stools, custom chairs, and restaurant booths that he has restored.  Troy is able to locate old car parts, such as a recently found ’38 Chevy pick-up grill.  He has an eye for detail and can match old material to new.
Troy is proud of his 1956 ½ ton Studebaker 4 wheel drive pick-up, that he and his family found in New Mexico in really bad shape.  He’s spent the last 3 years restoring it.  It’s his pride and joy – and he’s happy to show it off in the nice weather months outside of his business.  This past summer he was amazed by the number of people who stopped by to take pictures and tell stories as the truck conjured up memories for them.  Troy can be reached at 719-480-2931.

December 14, 2012

7 Holiday Marketing Tips on a Limited Budget

When we think of holiday marketing - which can be critical to your business success - we often think only of promotions and discounts. But you don't have to cut your margins or break the bank to stand out from the crowd any more. Here are seven budget-friendly steps you should consider to promote your small business while meeting the needs of your customers this holiday season.

1. Host an "Open House"

If you operate a retail business, restaurant or any gift-oriented business, why not plan an open house event in mid-November? Use it to showcase holiday season gifts, menus and merchandise. Offer up a glass of warm cider or mulled wine, and really get people into the spirit of the holidays. This will give customers an opportunity to check out your merchandise or holiday menus in advance. You could throw in a special offer or coupon that customers can redeem anytime up until December 24.

2. Work the Holiday Magic for Your Faithful Customers

Think of ways to generate repeat holiday business from your existing customers. Special offers, sneak previews, free shipping, or secret sales are all great ways to make your faithful customers feel special without breaking the bank.

3. Feature Product/Services of the Day or Week

I love this low cost marketing idea from Ivana Taylor at SmallBizTrends : why not create 12 days of "your product" or a product or service of the month? Feature and market a product or service every day or every week during the holidays. Think about focusing on high margin products or items your customers don't know about. "Companies in the food business use this strategy a lot," explains Ivana. "Think beer of the month, cheesecake of the month, or coffee of the month... Maid service companies could feature an extra cleaning detail each month, trainers or consultants can offer featured webinars, reports or newsletters."  And don't forget to communicate this themed promotion on your website, social media, email, posters, and flyers.

4. Offer Gift Certificates

Whatever your business, selling gift certificates, gift cards and e-certificates is a great way to give your customers a convenient gift option. They also help you generate sales well into the New Year, with recipients often spending more than the value of the certificate.

5. Partner With Other Businesses

It's likely that many of the businesses in your community also rely heavily on the holidays for a good chunk of their income. Is there a way you can partner with complementary stores or restaurants to cross-promote each other's businesses? For example, a cosmetic store and a hair salon might develop a promotion that offers a time-limited discount off each other's respective goods and services, if the customer frequents both. SBA guest blogger Rieva Lesonsky offers more tips in her blog: Forget the Competition, It's Time for Co-opetition.

6. Get Involved in Community and Charitable Events

Getting out there and supporting charities or sponsoring or getting involved in community events is a great way to generate awareness for your business during the holidays. Even if you don't have the budget to donate large sums of money, think of other ways to get involved, such as offering volunteer services, equipment or even space.

7. Use Your Website and Social Media to Promote your Holiday Activities

Your online presence, email marketing, and social media networks are a great way to target and connect with local consumers through timely updates and compelling calls-to-action. Develop holiday themes for your email templates and update your website and Facebook profile picture with a festive look.

Then be sure to channel any offers or promotions through social media. You can even offer deals or events exclusively to your social media fans to help drive foot traffic and generate leads. And don't forget to engage in two-way dialogues. Ask your fans about their holiday activities. For example, a restaurant might highlight a holiday dish of the day on Facebook and ask fans to chime in on their favorite dish or items they'd like to see on the menu.
 This weeks tip is brought to you by the Caron Beesley and the SBA

December 12, 2012

Create Your Own Website

Create Your Own Website

Seating is limited.  FREE to Conejos Chamber members.  $15/person for non-chamber members.
Thursday, January 17, 2013  4:00-6:00 p.m.
Conejos County Library in La Jara, Colorado,
17703 U.S. Highway 285,  81140
Just off Highway 285 by the Conejos County Arena
*Website is hosted for free up to one year by Google/Intuit platform.
Please RSVP to Donna Wehe at 719-589-3682 or