Category Archives: Chamber News

Guide to Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loans

As part of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, Congress has passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a “Second Draw” PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans. Congress has also made changes to other programs – including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL Program), the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Venue Grant program, and SBA loan programs –that will benefit small businesses. Here’s everything small business owners need to know now: Contents: How Do These Changes Impact My Existing PPP Loan? I Exhausted My Initial PPP Loan, How Does This Help Me? What If I Never Received a PPP Loan? Which Changes to Other Programs That May Help My Small Business Have Been Changed? Expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit EIDL Grants Grants for Shuttered Venue…

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Six Principles of Persuasion

I am always amazed at people who have mastered the art of persuasion. Persuasion and buy-in by people work far better than force. The successful business or organization understands how persuasion works so much more effectively than cramming a new program, product, or purpose down someone’s throat. By mastering the power of persuasion, you get more commitment, greater engagement, and a positive attitude.  To understand the power of persuasion, it is useful to understand the behavioral principles behind it. The principles are simple, but powerful, when used in combination by a person who has mastered the art of persuasion. Here are six fundamental principles of the art of persuasion: Personal Relationships. If there is one underlying foundation to the power of persuasion it is the concept of building and maintaining personal relations. Building personal relationships takes time and energy, but it pays enormous dividends. I have watched dozens of people…

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Congressman Gonzalez provides the Framework Summary of the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020

Framework Summary December 9, 2020 Total: $908 Billion Support for State, Local and Tribal Governments Agreement in principle to provide $160 billion as the basis for good faith negotiations Unemployment Assistance Extension of all pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 16 weeks, from their expiration at the end of December Federal supplemental unemployment insurance benefits expanded by $300 per week for16 weeks, from the end of December into April 2021 $1 billion for state systems for technology modernization and fraud prevention Small administrative adjustments, e.g. to certification requirements and overpayment standards Paycheck Protection Program & Small Business $300 billion to Small Business Administration Funding to allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)loan. Eligibility would be limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees that have sustained a 30 percent revenue loss in any quarter of2020. Small 501(c)(6) organizations that are not lobbying organizations…

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Three Things to Consider as You Lead

As business leaders, it is more critical today for leadership in your business or organization than ever before. There have been so many changes and pivots in the local markets over the last ten months that many businesses don’t know what to do or where to look. And that is where business leaders can step forward to lead and make a difference. Everything has shifted rapidly in the last ten months, and leadership is needed desperately. Here are three critical things to consider: 1. Leading in uncertainty. As a business leader, your big challenge is making sense of everything that is happening. There is so much uncertainty about what can happen next and what opportunities are all around you and your business. The challenge for you as a leader is leading during ambiguity and chaos. Decision making and outcomes are going to be uncertain and trying. A strong leader is…

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McAllen Entrepreneur takes second place in a multi-state sales pitch competition

By: Benjamin Treviño Robert Rivera is an owner-operator truck driver by trade. About two years ago, he had a “eureka moment” while performing routine maintenance on his tractor. As Rivera tells it, he was fumbling through his toolbox when he came across a screwdriver with a screw holder permanently attached to the head. “It was an older one from the 70s,” Rivera recalled. “I really didn’t trust the screw not to fall out, but I thought it was a good idea. It was just food for thought at first, but about a year later I finally devised a mechanism that holds screws in place.” According to Rivera, the problem with existing non-magnetic screw holders is that they’re permanently attached to one screwdriver. He felt it would be better to have one detachable device that would work with all screwdrivers, and with a wide selection of screws. It also works on…

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If Life was Only Like an Etch A Sketch

When I was a kid, one of my favorite toys, besides my army men, was my “Etch A Sketch.” You remember, the toy in the red box with the silver screen and two white knobs. You could almost draw anything with the “Etch A Sketch.” I could play for hours with the toy. Over time, I could draw houses, circles, my name, and mountains or hills.  What I liked best about the “Etch A Sketch” was that if I made a mistake, I could shake it and start over. I had a clean slate; fresh and brand-new, with no evidence of my past mistakes. It would be neat if life was like that “Etch A Sketch.” We could start over and totally erase our mistakes. Here are some of the things I would erase:  Erase past failures. I would erase past failures and the times I really messed up: the…

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TRAVEL TIPS BEFORE YOU “TAKE-OFF” THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

McAllen International Airport shares tips and reminders when traveling by air this holiday season  Prior to arriving at McAllen International Airport (MFE), be sure to check the safety guidelines for the destination that will be visited, including hotel of choice or accommodations. If traveling to an international destination, visit the United States Department of State website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel.html for the most up-to-date information. For domestic travel, be sure to visit the official website of the State you will be traveling to for the latest health and safety guidelines in that community. For travel during this pandemic, airline partners have implemented increased opportunities for contactless service including self-check-in kiosks and free downloadable apps to connect travelers directly with the airline in real-time while providing airline and flight information at one’s fingertips. Some examples of airline app tools include booking flights, completing the pre-boarding registration process, access to flight status, and current airline…

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Keep McAllen Beautiful Announces Holiday Home Lights Contest 2020

The Holiday Home Lights contest, sponsored by Keep McAllen Beautiful, is an opportunity for residents to show off their holiday spirit and decorating skills to help beautify and illuminate the McAllen landscape by lighting up their McAllen home. “I really love Christmas and one of my favorite traditions is driving around town and looking at all the beautiful holiday lights and decorations,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.  “Whether those decorations are religious or traditional, whether homes use white lights or multi-colored lights, or even if they use a simple wreath, this is a beautiful way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.  And this is a dazzling way to keep McAllen beautiful!” Residents interested in competing in this year’s KMB’s Holiday Home Lights Contest should follow four simple steps to register to become a contestant – and possible winner. Go all out on holiday home decorations; Snap a…

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Two Things Customers Want

The last eight months of COVID-19 have posed challenges, as well as opportunities, for small businesses on so many different levels. One key question we get asked many times is, “How should I continue to do my marketing, and should I be marketing at all?” Marketing is storytelling and branding, and branding is critical during tough times. What it all comes down to are image and one critical question – what do your customers want?  So how you talk to your customers and who you want to gain as a customer are important and more critical today than ever before to your success. Humans are complex creatures who may not articulate precisely what they want or what they are looking for, but know it when they experience it. So, it comes down to doing two things for your customers:  THEY WANT THEIR PROBLEM SOLVED THEY WANT TO HAVE A CUSTOMER…

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SHIPLEY DONUTS “MAKE LIFE DELICIOUS” – DAVID DUFF, FRANCHISEE

Everybody loves a good donut. What better way to enjoy the delicious treat than heading over to get a freshly baked Shipley Donut. “McAllen loves their donuts!” David Duff, franchisee of Shipley Donuts, said. “Over these 40 plus years, I’ve come to see it as a generational thing. I look out at our customers and see the kids who used to stand on the chairs and watch me make donuts coming in with their kids standing on the chairs watching the employees make donuts. Now, as those kids graduate from college, get married, and bring their kids in to watch, it will be the fourth generation of families that has followed us.” Duff, born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois, sixty miles south of Chicago, moved to the Valley with his family as a senior in high school when his father cried, “Enough!” “In 1975, we had a 500-year winter and…

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WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN THE McALLEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

By Gerry Garcia:   I spent a moment remembering an article I read in 2015 by David Larson of the Pleasant Grove Chamber of Commerce that gave six reasons a business owner should join its local Chamber of Commerce, and during this pandemic, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the reasons and see how the McAllen Chamber has instilled the changes we’ve had to adapt to make it work.  And even though you might feel you are already busy with work, these six reasons give great benefits not only to your business but to your personal life as well.  1. Relationships The article mentions how building relationships is not only about networking but about actually gaining friends, associates, and advocates. Not only will you gain friends, but you could gain lasting relationships. As you go on in the Chamber world, when our lives adapt to a new…

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MEET YOUR AMBASSADOR – MURPHY JEFFRIES

Murphy Jeffries Account Executive NBC, Channel 23   Murphy Jeffries, a father of three who plays guitar, loves to ride motorcycles, and play golf, is an account executive at NBC Channel 23.  He is the personification of a Chamber Ambassador.  He is an extrovert who loves to meet people with high energy and optimistic personalities, who found his niche in sales. “My degree is in Broadcasting/Journalism, but I found it not as exciting as expected,” said Jeffries. “After some years in medical marketing, a friend suggested I join the sales team at Channel 23. I told her I didn’t want sales again but went to the interview anyway and was hired right away.” As you might have guessed, he found his love in TV sales. “Being able to meet so many different people and help them grow their business is what I like best.” Becoming a Chamber Ambassador was a…

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Sally Fraustro Guerra

If you don’t know Sally Fraustro Guerra, you are missing out on someone who always sees the best in people and situations and someone who knows how to connect with a wide range of people. Sally has been involved with the Chamber for 25 years. She is a person who has a passion for her businesses and her charitable efforts. Sally is a “go-getter.” We all want good things to happen. Sally understands the “Slinky Effect.” We all remember the childhood toy, the Slinky, the wired metal wrapped in a cylinder, that when you would set in motion down a staircase, it would fall and fall over itself down the stairs. Sally knows working and spending time investing in people will pay off; maybe just not immediately.  Just like the Slinky, the efforts Sally makes create the energy, and the results follow. Sometimes things happen slowly, and Sally understands, better…

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Click and Collect Business Model

For the last five months, I have written about the emerging role of online sales for small businesses. The survey the Chamber has conducted shows local retail stores that had an online sales platform saw an 18% increase in sales. The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgency for small retail businesses to create another business model of online sales. So how does a business blend brick and mortar with online sales? Click and collect. Click and collect is a strategy where shoppers order their items online and pick them up in the store. Retail businesses that have had several business models have found that sales due to click and collect has grown 155% in the last four years. Also, over 33% of shoppers this last holiday season were click and collect customers. The click and collect model allows for a more integrated shopping experience, plus creates a more seamless process. Here…

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