Question: Let’s start with some details about your background and what you’re bringing to the job.
Answer: I took the position Dec. 19 and I was given the position because of my experience as a business owner. I owned my own small business for 10 years in Loveland; a salon that had 10 employees. After 10 years I needed a new challenge, and I sold the business and was offered a job as a financial advisor with AG Edwards. We were, of course, bought out by Wachovia and then bought out by Wells Fargo and I decided it was time to make another change. My passion lies in helping people, that’s my entrepreneurial drive, and no matter where I go, I take that with me. After this last job, I really decided I wanted to do something to give back. I get to go to work every day and help people.
Question: Describe the typical person who comes into the SDBC for guidance?
Answer: It used to be people who wanted to open a new business, but we’ve really been moving toward helping businesses stay in business. Previously we were 80 percent new businesses and 20 percent existing, and last year we were 65 percent existing. Our goal is to move to 80 percent existing and 20 percent new startups. We really want to help those who are in business and want to ramp up, or they want to move to that next level. We help them understand their financials, write a business plan and have a marketing plan. To meet that 80 percent goal, I’ve been out in the community working 10-12 hours a day. Every single night I have an event I go to. I go and do presentations at business classes at Front Range, and I sat on a board for entrepreneurship at Colorado State University, so the word is getting out.
Question: What kinds of tools do you provide for those people who come to you with just an idea and don’t know how to go about implementing that idea?
Answer: The first thing we recommend is our class called “So You Want to Start a Business?” In that class, we talk about business entity selection, tax reporting and marketing plans, among other things. Through that course, there are five worksheets they have to do, and that is the beginning of their business plan, which is what gets them in to see counselor. We walk them through a SWOT analysis, a cash-flow and describing their business and competition. The next class we refer them to is “Business Planning for Success,” which is where they learn to write a business plan.
Question: What are your long-term goals for the SBDC?
Answer: The main goal is to really get the SBDC known in Larimer County. I’m working on establishing a satellite office in Estes Park, and I’ve met with a business development group in Wellington. I’ll also be working more actively with the Loveland Chamber of Commerce to get a satellite established there as well. It’s my directive to provide services to Loveland as well, because they’re a part of Larimer County. It’s my goal to get the word out about what we have to offer, because we have amazing services. We can save businesses that otherwise might not be saved, or we can move them to the next level.