January 30, 2013

Financial Statements De-Mystified!

Hands on Workshop for Small Business Owners

$10 per person

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Del Norte Computer Lab
1025 Spruce Street in the La Hacienda Development 

donna@slv-sbdc.com or (719) 589-3682.

January 24, 2013

Move your Business Forward with Pinterest

Getting Started With Pinterest: The Top Questions from Small Businesses

You may have heard of the hottest new social media tool, Pinterest.  Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board that allows users to find and curate images and videos. Unlike other photo sharing sites, Pinterest is focused much more on the discovery and curation of other people’s content, not storing your own. That’s why it’s caught the attention of so many organizations—big and small. It’s helping them spread brand awareness and is driving lots of web traffic.

Here are the three of the top questions I’ve heard from small businesses looking to get started:

1.“What are the differences between Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter?”
Pinterest is not an entirely different world of social media marketing- it uses a language that most social media users already know. Often, people are intimidated when they hear terms like “pin” or “repin,” but put them in the context of “tweet” or “retweet,” and finally they make sense. And when it comes to liking, commenting, and sharing—these are things you’re probably doing every day on other sites.
Certain features do make Pinterest unique though. For example, there’s a major difference in how users approach Pinterest compared to sites like Facebook or Twitter.Many people log on with a “shopping mentality.” That doesn’t mean every user is going to spend money, but they’ll approach your content with the intention of gathering, which could lead to an eventual sale.

2. What are some of the different ways that I can use boards?”
If you’re new to Pinterest, start by creating at least three new boards:
A board about your products or services: This board can be a great way to start contributing to the community and to showcase your business.
A board designed to help: Create boards that your customers can use. If you’re a clothing store, create a board about fashion tips, or if you’re a marketing company, create  a board with pictures that link to blog posts—anything that will showcase your expertise.
A board that’s just fun:  The beauty of Pinterest is that you can showcase your business and have fun. Think of something you love and that your customers will find entertaining. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

3. “How can I get more exposure?”
Connect to other social networks: 
Pinterest makes it easy to share your activity across your social networks. Use Pinterest’s social sharing buttons to share pins with your other networks and the Pinterest “embed” code to add pins to your blog or Facebook Page.
Follow and interact with brands and Pinterest users: Build your audience is by joining someone else’s. Use Pinterest’s “search” feature to find stuff that’s relevant to your industry. Follow other users and show them you like what they’re doing with a repin.
Send an email: Users love to hear that their favorite brands have started pinning. Let your readers know you’re on Pinterest and invite them to follow along!.

Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9's Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.

January 18, 2013

5 Online Legal Mistakes You've Probably Already Made


"Congratulations!  You launched your website!  But, little did you know, you broke the law the second it went live. In this video, Eric Spellmann explains the five common legal mistakes businesses make online.  Don't be one of the surprised business owners who are served a cyber-lawsuit simply because your web
developer was legally naive." -Eric Spellmann                                 Watch Video

January 11, 2013

SBDC Success Story

Local Story Teller Julie Moss Herrera stopped by the local Small Business Development Center (589-3682) to find out if there was any assistance to someone who wanted to make their next career in life as an entrepreneurial story teller.  Julie founded the local storytelling group and led the way for story telling hour on local public radio.  Through the assistance of the SBDC, Julie navigated her blog and blossomed her online presence.  Finally, the big day arrived…her first book has been published! She is now a published author and story teller.
Julie visited China in 2008 with other storytellers as part of the National Storytelling Network and People to People Ambassador Programs.  She visited Beijing, Shanghai, and Guizhou Province over the span of two weeks and was engaged in learning more than a dozen Chinese folktales.  During the trip they met scholars, storytellers, folklorists, museum guides, school children and rural villagers.   She vowed to herself and to her hosts that she would share these stories from the Chinese culture and help other people understand the meaning in these tales.  She is currently striving to fulfill this pledge, and by doing so, she published the book “Old China through the Eyes of a Storyteller.”  The trip significantly changed her perspective of China.  Prior to the trip, her opinions about the county were shaped in part by memories that her mother’s close friend disappeared during Mao Zedong’s so-called Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.  She quickly learned, however, that Chinese people are basically the same as Americans are: They love their families and they work hard for a living.  Julie believes that these stories can help bridge the gap between the two cultures.    
You may contact Julie directly (Julie@storiesbyjulie.com) to purchase her book or hire her for a program or event.  Her number is 719-588-2583.  Or you can visit her web site at www.storiesbyjulie.com.  The book can also be purchased on-line at www.parkurstbrothers.com.  Click on the catalog link.

January 10, 2013

Tax Workshop for the Self-Employed

Tax Workshop for the Self-Employed

$20 per person

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taught by CPA Bob Gjellum

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Monte Vista Info Center, Monte Vista

 Please RSVP to Donna at 589-3682 or donna@slv-sbdc.com

The San Luis Valley SBDC is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through such funding does not constitute and express or implied endorsement of any of the cosponsor(s)’ or participants’ opinions, products or services.