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National Small Business Week - Celebrate with Brighton!

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Last year, Small Business Partners hosted 900 events around the country for National Small Business Week. Are you ready to join the Brighton Economic Development Corporation to make the party even bigger this year? Mark your calendars: Plan to Celebrate Small Business in Brighton with activities happening each day from May 1- May 5th.

On Thursday May 4th  from noon till 3:00, the Brighton Economic Development Corporation will host “Access to Capital” day.  Brighton EDC partners including North Metro Denver SBDC, the Small Business Administration, Colorado Enterprise Fund, Accion, Colorado Lending Source and private banks will be on hand to discuss your lending needs.  There will be a lenders panel with Q&A with the banks and nonprofits lenders answering group questions.  Additionally, Colorado Enterprise Fund will conduct their “Business Acceleration” presentation for those in attendance.

On Friday May 5th North Metro Denver SBDC at Brighton with our partners Brighton Economic Development Corporation and Front Range Community College will host the Business Development and Resource Day at Front Range Community College Brighton Campus with a variety of workshops, business resources and one-on-one consulting for business owners.

Key People to Add to Your Business Team

Monday, July 18, 2016
  By Kat Rico
  

You’re in business for yourself, yes, but you should never be in business by yourself. In order to be productive, you need a team of people behind you! Here are some key people we recommend that you have on your side for better and for worse while you’re in business (in no particular order).
  1. Accountant – You don’t have time to learn all of the tax and bookkeeping ins and outs, and you shouldn’t have to. Of course you should have a basic understanding of the concepts, but an accountant can help you figure out where your business might be hemorrhaging money, opportunities to save on taxes, and whether you have adequate cash flow to hire that first employee.

  2. Attorney – Things happen. Contracts go bad. Maybe you said something you shouldn’t have. Whatever the case, your attorney is there to help you and go to bat for you. They can also help you before you make a potentially bad decision by helping you select an entity type, review a lease, draw up a standard contract to use for jobs and more. Along with your accountant, your attorney can be a strong business ally. The best option is to have an attorney before you need one.

  3. Mentor – This is a person who has business experience, preferably in your industry, that you can bounce ideas off of and will give you constructive advice without sugarcoating reality. Your mentor needs to be someone who doesn’t have a stake in the business (so no investors), they only have a stake in your success. Meet them once in a while and catch up on the good, the bad and the ugly of how your business is doing. Don’t use your mentor just to vent or brag, but to learn about how you can do your business better. As a shameless plug for our services, this is the best area where the SBDC can help!

  4. Banker – Don’t just have a bank, but a banker. A real person you can call at your bank when you don’t understand a fee, need to buy some equipment or need to order checks. Communicate with them on a regular basis. Your banker is your friend and can alert you to potentially fraudulent activity, but only if they know how you normally spend your business money.

  5. Marketer - Your marketer should be able to help you identify who your customers are, how to reach them, and understand if you're reaching them. The best description we've heard comes courtesy of Larimer SBDC Social Media Specialist, Amy Alcorn, who told us, "Not having a marketing person for your business is like trying to flirt and winking in the dark." Don't invest money in advertising, online or otherwise, without talking to your marketer about your strategy.
Of course, there may be a couple of other people you want to regularly consult with about your business depending on your industry, but these are a good starting point to build a supportive network to help your business succeed.


Key Results - Providing Insightful Solutions to Maximize Business Results

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Owner: Marge Fajardo
Story by: Chris McCloskey


Key Results is a small company with a long reach. For almost twenty years, Owner, Marge Fajardo, has worked with individual leaders globally and a variety of business groups from small local companies to large governmental agencies in Washington D.C. The ultimate goal of Key Results is to improve the interpersonal health of an organization and build on their people-power to produce better results. 

Prior to starting Key Results, Fajardo worked in business, government, and education for more than 15 years. “I saw a lot of untapped potential and conflict that drained the energy of organizations and distracted them from being the best they could be. I wanted to provide skills and solutions to help leaders build on their own strengths and unlock the potential of their people,” Fajardo said. To address these challenges, Key Results continually researches the field of human potential, leadership, and team development. They provide cutting-edge assessments, workshops, coaching, and organizational development strategies tied to the outcomes of the organization.  

“The people-part of business is complicated and ever-changing. When people understand, trust, and value each other more, the whole organization changes,” says Fajardo.
 
In working with leaders and companies, Fajardo draws on her professional background and experiences, her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Management, and several certifications in professional coaching, mediation, assessments, and her training in business mastery. She also partners with a cadre of certified coaches with backgrounds in psychology, human resources, and organizational development, to deliver customized programs.  

When leaders are brought in to restructure a team, Key Results coaches are there to provide assessments, strategies, coaching, training, and leadership support. Fajardo said, “We help them assess where they are and create a vision of where they want to be. Then we help them fill in the gap to get there. To be successful, it takes great communication-both speaking and listening, emotional intelligence, and an understanding of how humans adapt to change. The Key Results approach helps teams learn how to develop trust, deal with conflicting ideas in a constructive way, build commitment in all team members, and hold each other accountable to create the desired results.”

Fajardo showed her commitment to providing even more value for her clients by participating in the Small Business Development Center’s Leading Edge class.

7 Steps to Start a Business

Wednesday, July 06, 2016
  By Kat Rico
  


Ok, so it can end up being more complicated than 7 steps, but we’ll do our best to keep it concise for you. Do yourself a favor and hold off on the business cards until you’ve completed these steps.

*Disclaimer: Depending on your industry, where your business is located, and the type of business you are operating, this may not be a complete list. As a business owner, YOU are responsible for complying with the law. Do your due diligence BEFORE starting your business.*


  1. 1. Location check – Where will your business be located? If you’re operating out of your home, you need to check with your landlord or HOA to make sure you are not violating any clauses about home based businesses. If you’re renting a space, verify with your landlord and the city/municipality that your business will not violate any existing zoning laws.

  2. 2. License check – Some businesses require special licenses that can take months to apply for. Colorado has an “Occupational License Database” online at: http://www.advancecolorado.com/business-colorado/occupational-license-database.

  3. 3. Local registration – You may or may not need to register your business with your city or county, you’ll want to check both to make sure. This can also vary if your business is home based. The key to look for is a “Business” section on their website, from there you should see information about potential licensing requirements. While you’re there, pay attention to how to pay sales and use tax if this applies to your business, you may need a separate tax license.

  4. 4. State registration – In Colorado, you must register your business with the Colorado Secretary of State. Again, look for a “Business” section and you’ll find information about how to register your business. The entity type you register as will affect your taxes as well as how much legal separation there is between you and your business, so choose carefully. It can also be difficult and expensive to change your entity type after you’ve started, so again, research is key. You can search here and make sure your desired business name is available in your state as well.

  5. 5. Federal registration – For tax purposes, you’ll likely need to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS online. Your entity selection will affect how income from your business appears on your tax return and whether or not you’ll be responsible for paying estimated taxes.

  6. 6. Separate your banking – This is a really big deal, even for small single owner businesses. Set up a separate bank account! Your banker will need your EIN and to see you’re in good standing with the Secretary of State. Both your accountant and attorney will recommend you don’t ‘pierce the corporate veil,’ which in essence means that you are walking, talking and acting like a business, and this is especially important with finances. If you co-mingle funds or operate your business from a personal bank account, not only will your accountant charge you more to sort it out, but it can put all of your funds in a legally liable position if something goes wrong.

  7. 7. Walk the walk, talk the talk – Now you can do things like buy business cards, technology for your business, take jobs and make sales under your official business name. You’ve still got a long way to go towards building your dream business, but you’re going in the right direction!

Still lost? Check out our upcoming workshops for "Start-Up Orientation" for classroom training, or register for consulting.

DOL Rules - What You Need to Know

Thursday, June 30, 2016

by Stacy Stolen

Real Value Consulting/VolkBell Insurance




The rules are here … now what?

Here's What You Need to Know

Anyone earning less than $913.00 per week; or $47, 476 annualized base:
• Is now (most likely) entitled to overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a week
• Is now required to track and account for all hours worked within respective time keeping periods

How you make and communicate required adjustments to an individual's current salaried compensation is up to you, and there are several options you might consider. Here are five simple steps you must take now to comply with the FLSA’s latest changes, and make sure you stay in compliance in the years ahead.
1. Increase salaries of current exempt employees to more than $913 per week or $47,476 per year. Exempt employees earning more than that will not be entitled to overtime.

2. Reduce bonuses for exempt employees whose overall compensation exceeds the new minimums. Increase salaries by the bonus amounts.

3. Reclassify exempt employees as nonexempt and pay them hourly. Of course, you will still have to pay overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week.

4. Reclassify exempt employees and pay them on a commission or fluctuating-workweek basis. Consult your attorney to learn more about the fluctuating workweek system, which pays a salary to nonexempt employees whose schedules vary from week to week.

5. Increase staffing levels to eliminate unnecessary overtime.

You can be assured that the DOL, which has already increased its investigative force by 33% since 2010, will put employers under even more scrutiny in 2017 by visiting many employers and auditing; be sure to reach out if you need more information!

DOL Labor Standards Changes

Monday, June 27, 2016

by Stacy Stolen

Real Value Consulting/VolkBell Insurance



On May 18, 2016 The U.S. Department of Labor released its final rule regarding the changes to the overtime threshold for the Fair Labor Standards Act.  Among other things, the Department has doubled the minimum salary needed to qualify for these exemptions, from the previous level of $455 a week (or $23,660 a year) to $913 a week (or $47,476 a year).


Key Provisions of the Final Rule

The Final Rule focuses primarily on updating the salary and compensation levels needed for Executive, Administrative and Professional workers to be exempt. Specifically, the Final Rule:

  1. 1. Sets the standard salary level at the 40th percentile of earnings of full-time salaried workers in the lowest-wage Census Region, currently the South ($913 per week; $47,476 annually for a full-year worker);
  2. 2. Sets the total annual compensation requirement for highly compensated employees (HCE) subject to a minimal duties test to the annual equivalent of the 90th percentile of full-time salaried workers nationally ($134,004); and
  3. 3. Establishes a mechanism for automatically updating the salary and compensation levels every three years to maintain the levels at the above percentiles and to ensure that they continue to provide useful and effective tests for exemption.

Additionally, the Final Rule amends the salary basis test to allow employers to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments (including commissions) to satisfy up to 10 percent of the new standard salary level.

The effective date of the final rule is December 1, 2016. The initial increases to the standard salary level (from $455 to $913 per week) and HCE total annual compensation requirement (from $100,000 to $134,004 per year) will be effective on that date. Future automatic updates to those thresholds will occur every three years, beginning on January 1, 2020.

For more details:
https://www.dol.gov/featured/overtime


Access Business Conference 2016

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

In conjunction with the Access Broomfield Chamber, we would like to invite you to an upcoming event, the Access Business Conference. On March 24, join us for an all day event featuring guest speakers, breakout sessions and networking. So often business owners find it hard to get away from the day to day operation of their business that they forget the importance of stepping back to plan the larger picture. See the information below, we're sure you'll find this to be a valuable event.

Presented by


Thursday, March 24, 2016

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

Cost: $99 for Broomfield Chamber Members
          $149 for Non-Members
 





500 Interlocken Blvd.
Broomfield, CO 80021

   

Thursday, March 24, 2016

4:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Seperate tickets for the After Hours Event only
Cost: $20 for both Chamber and Non-Chamber Members
   
 

The registration fee for the main event includes:

  • - 2 Keynote speaker addresses
  • - Panel discussion
  • - All breakout sessions (3 sessions total,  6 different topics)
  • - Lunch
  • - Entrance to Xhibit After Hours Event
  • - Business Expo
  • - Networking
  • - Food
  • - Two drink tickets



 Conference Agenda

 
8:30 am Registration
9:00 am Welcome & Opening Comments
9:15 am - 10:00 am Morning Keynote Speaker
     Brad Bernthal - Silicon Flatirons Center
          Entrepreneurship Initiative Director
10:15 am - 11:15 am Access to Capital Panel Discussion
11:30 am - 12:45 pm Lunch & Keynote Speaker
     Mayor Randy Ahrens - City and County of Broomfield
          State of the City and County Address
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm Breakout Session #1
  • - How to Get Local Customers with Social Media, Email Marketing & SEO
  • - Bridging the Gap of Misunderstanding Between Corporate America and Our Nation's Veterans
  • - Speed Lending
2:15 pm - 3:15 pm Breakout Session #2
  • - Creating Your Organizational Culture: Aspire. Hire. Fire.
  • - Avoid the 50 Fatal Errors or Running a Business
  • - Speed Lending
3:30 pm - 4:15 pm Breakout Session #3
  • - Relationship Building: Grow Your Network
  • - The Proven Process that Executives Use to Generate Revenue







Top 5 Business Leasing Tips

Monday, February 15, 2016
by Kat Rico

Leasing property is confusing, but it gets exponentially more complicated at the business level. At one point or another, many businesses are likely to need to rent property, either for a retail storefront, manufacturing or for storage. What do you need to know? What should you expect from your landlord? Here are five great tips to help you get started asking the right questions when it comes to leasing property as a business owner:
1. Everything is negotiable - This includes everything right down to the tenant finish costs; can the landlord front the cost for any finishing and add it to the monthly cost of the lease? It’s worth asking!

2. Find a real estate broker to represent your interestsThe landlord has a broker, but that broker is working for the landlord’s best interests. You want to have a broker working for your best interest. If you engage a broker, your broker has a fiduciary duty to you and only you. Worried that the landlord will not want to work with your broker? Actually, it’s the opposite; most landlords prefer to work with someone (like a broker) who already speaks their language.

3. Think about your timeline, now double itThese things take time! The days of 2-3 page leases are gone, most are more like 20-30 pages now. Along with a broker, it’s recommended that you retain an attorney to review and interpret the lease for you, so you know what you’re getting in to.

4. Location, location, location - Is the space you’re looking at good for its convenience or as a destination? If it’s for convenience, it’ll probably be easily seen from a major street and have ample parking and your customers will be going there for you. If it’s for a destination, your customers will go to the area as an attraction. Destination spaces tend to have a higher rent premium. 

5. Parking and pedestrian traffic - Does your lease include specific parking spots for your customers or employees? Is the parking in front of your business leased to another nearby shop? Clarify these details before signing a lease. Also, the city should be able to provide you with vehicles per day and pedestrian counts for the area you’re looking at leasing, but you have to ask.

Are you looking at leasing a space? Meet with an SBDC consultant to discuss what that means for your business before you make the leap! Schedule an appointment by calling 303-460-1032, or send us a request at:http://www.northmetrosbdc.com/consulting.

10+ Retail Holiday Marketing Tips

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Our partner location the Larimer SBDC recently held a "Retail Holiday Boot Camp" after hours event. Presenter Alyson MacMullan of Peak Retail Group gave some great takeaways that we wanted to share for retailers to remember as they enter their holiday planning period.

1. Lay all your key dates from November through January (yes, January) on a physical calendar
• Sometimes you may see correlations on paper that aren’t obvious in a digital format.• Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year!
2. Determine your goals for the holiday season
• Do you want more sales in dollars or in transactions? Do you have targets for how much inventory you want to move? Are you aiming for less January markdowns?• If you don’t have data from last year to drive your goals, make sure you begin collecting it this year! What works? What doesn’t?
3. Pick a color pallet for your store displays and stick to it!  
• Highlight high margin inventory in your displays.• Hint: It doesn’t have to be red and green, in fact, your store’s brand colors work very well! 
4. Consider all elements for the in-store experience: Sights, sounds, smells 
• Offer extras like a free stocking stuffer, free gift wrapping and bounce back offers with every purchase.• Do everything you can to keep shopping stress-free and easy for your customers. 
5. Proper staffing is a challenge for retailers during the holidays
• Signs are your silent salespeople. Make them informative and interesting so customers can answer their own simple questions.• Arm your salespeople with mobile payment options so they can help customers avoid lines at the register.
6. Social media is your friend!
• Post every day! Use a planning/scheduling service like SnapRetail, Hootsuite or SproutSocial to help you plan out several days in one easy shot.• People love contests and flash sales, utilize these techniques!• An image is worth 1,000 posts. Show your staff decorating the store!
7. E-mail is your friend too, but be cautious.
• Find an e-mail template and stick with it for the season. It will make your life easier and your customers will recognize your communications.• ONE offer per e-mail only, and keep it clean and concise. People are already stressed during the holidays, your communication should make it easy for them.
8. 12 Days of Christmas Promotions are very effective!
• Drive traffic into your store by offering serious discounts (50-75% off) on a high margin, highly stocked item each day.• These are top secret deals! Resist the urge to reveal the promos early. Pre-schedule deal communication to save yourself a headache.
9. Your merchandise assortment shouldn’t vary dramatically during the holidays; the majority of your stock should be tried and true items
• NEVER run out of your top sellers, that’s a missed opportunity!• Don’t accept late deliveries from your vendors. Communicate clearly and directly when you need your merchandise by and if they can’t meet your deadlines, don’t accept deliveries.
10. Restock key items for January and mix up the look of your store

Sound like a lot of information? We assure you, this was only the tip of the iceberg! 

If you’re a retailer and need help digesting and applying this information, we encourage you to schedule with a North Metro Denver SBDC consultant now to help with planning out your holiday strategy!

Leading Edge Fall 2015 Registration Open

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Spring 2015 Leading Edge Graduates

Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted. Most of us were never taught to be business owners: we were taught to be employees. This 10 week course is designed to help entrepreneurs develop a business strategy and/or business plan through a discovery process that starts with a business concept, moves to designing and testing for a viable (profitable) business structure that results in a executable plan of action (business plan). It is in a blended learning format that combines an online learning platform with classroom time. The online learning platform will be filled not only with the information needed to write a business plan, but to actually start and run a business. Class time will be dedicated to interactive learning exercises and guest experts to act as guides for your business success. Depending on individual needs, you will complete either a formal written business plan or an internal working strategy that outlines actionable steps with measurable outcomes and time-bound deadlines. The course registration fee includes one participant and access to the online training materials and business resource library.

For multiple registration or more information, please call 303-460-1032 after your initial registration. Unregistered guests will not be admitted to the course. Seating is limited. 

WHAT TO EXPECT:

  • - Peer learning with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs
  • - Minimum of five hours of one-on-one consulting assistance
  • - Access to an online resource library with videos, white papers, financial spreadsheets and templates to help you build your plan of action
  • - Ten three-hour weekly classroom sessions including interactive group work and guest speakers; plus reading assignments, online presentations, group discussion forums, and homework assignments
  • - Introduction to potential lenders at a funding options panel
  • - Feedback on your business plan or strategy three times during the course
  • - Entry into a business plan competition for a chance to win prizes and have your business plan reviewed by a banker and an accountant
  • - Optional participation in Trout Tank, a pitch event held one month after graduation where you will pitch your idea to lenders and receive feedback from a panel 

IMPORTANT DATES 

Free Info Session | September 15, 2015 | 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm | Click here to register
Registration Deadline | September 26, 2015
Weekly Course Sessions | September 29, 2015 - December 8, 2015 (Skips November 24)
Tuesday evenings | 6:00 pm - 9:00 p.m.

10-week course
$495 Regular Course Fee
Additional Guest - Please call 303-460-1032

Register for the Fall 2015 10-Week Course


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