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Health & Wellness Business – Funnel Vision

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Speaker: Reu Smith, Customer Acquisition Expert
Do you have all the pieces for a great marketing plan but don’t know how to start putting them together? 
Funnel Vision will help you understand the right piece to use as your starting point, and how to put your marketing pieces into action to complete the entire marketing puzzle picture. We will discuss how to attract strangers to gain visitors, how to connect visitors into customers and how to delight customers into brand champions. 
Funnel Vision will help you decide when and how to use social media, call-to-action, blogs, newsletters, posts, tweets, pins, pluses. 
Funnel Vision is taught by an experienced and eccentric marketing agency owner who will keep your attention while laughing and learning. You will have serious fun at this event!
Thank you to our event sponsor:

Hiring, Connecting With, and Keeping Employees

On October 20th, the Larimer SBDC held our second Small Business After Hours event targeted at the restaurant and food product industry. We pulled together a great panel covering a variety of restaurants and a food manufacturer to specifically address workforce issues faced in these industries.

Carolyn Reed
Silver Mine Subs Franchises
Ryan Houdek
The Melting Pot,
Rodizio Grill, Social
Mark Havens
Cafe Vino
Josh Skow
Canyon Bakehouse
Restaurants and food product companies face unique issues when it comes to workforce. Some restaurants, like the Silver Mine Subs franchises owned by Carolyn Reed, are looking for entry level employees. Others like The Melting Pot, Social, and Rodizio Grill owned by Ryan Houdek, or Café Vino which is managed by Mark Havens, are looking for experienced restaurant staff who match the culture of their establishments. For food product manufacturers like Canyon Bakehouse, CEO Josh Skow says finding someone whose character traits align with the company goals is most important. Regardless, they all face the same larger problems of hiring the right person that fits with their company values, overcoming generational issues, and employee retention. 

Hiring Processes

Harness Technology – Using a digital application process helps Carolyn efficiently sort through applicants. She sets the metrics on the program to give weight to people with prior restaurant experience.Interview Best Practices – Sometimes it’s easier to find out if they’re not a right fit. Ryan asks disqualifying questions during the interview; if a candidate is expecting to always make $300 per shift, they’re probably not a good fit for his restaurant.Company Culture as a Hiring Tool – All of our panelists agreed that they are looking for candidates that fit their company values and culture. If there is a mismatch in the beginning, it is likely to cause a variety of problems later.

Generational Issues

Millennials Are… Different – Between a difference in learning styles, work ethic and a need to like their boss, millennial present a new set of challenges for business owners with generationally diverse workforces.Communicating with Millennials is… Different – According to Carolyn, you need to set your expectations for millennial workers upfront and in a clear manner. When communicating and coaching them, you have to decide if you will take a less direct tone or if the employee is worth the time it may take to get them trained.

An Intergenerational Approach is…. Different – The need to like their boss presents a unique opportunity for millennials in intergenerational workforces. “We are the missing element in learning a work ethic,” says Ryan. At the Canyon Bakehouse, they have a shift that is managed by a baby boomer with mostly millennial workers. Giving the team well-communicated shared goals helps them work as a team.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Employee Retention

Compensation is More than a Paycheck – Providing benefits like health insurance add to the value an employee gets from their paycheck. Café Vino also has a profit sharing program. Mark says this gives him an extra 35 bosses telling him how he can do it better, and it also helps employees feel vested and take ownership of the business.Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly – Normalize feedback and coaching processes and address issues quickly and casually. From the manager standpoint, always document even verbal warnings, and don’t be afraid of using write-ups as a second step. The kindest thing you can do for your employees is let them know what the issue is and how to correct it quickly and professionally.

Honor Employees on a Regular Basis – Say goodbye and thank you to employees every evening, keep gift cards for when you catch employees doing something right, celebrate employee milestones on a regular basis. Hire the right management, because they will properly train your employees and provide them the right encouragement.

Of course it is difficult to capture a panel discussion like this in a few hundred words, but we want to make sure to share these insights with you. Are you in this industry? We’re planning for 2016 right now, so send your feedback on possible topics to!
We will be continuing with our Small Business After Hours series with a Health & Wellness Businesses “Funnel Vision” workshop coming up on November 10, 2015.

Hiring, Connecting With, and Keeping Employees Read More »

Grant Opportunity for Creative Businesses!

Colorado Creative Industries Grant

As part of the Larimer SBDC’s mission to connect local businesses to helpful resources, we are pleased to inform local “Creative” businesses about a $2500 Career Advancement Award grant opportunity from

Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), the state organization responsible for supporting and growing our Colorado artistic community!

The Opportunity:

This grant helps support Colorado creative entrepreneurs and artists by stimulating their commercial creative business, thus producing improved revenue, new audiences, and/or improved management practices. 
This grant supports activities such as exhibit/festival participation, conference or symposium presentation, purchase of equipment or materials to expand an applicant’s business, enrollment in a workshop or consulting program to build business skills, development of useful technology and promotional materials, and more.
Awards range from $500 to $2500, and funds are paid on a reimbursement basis after receipt of final report and expense receipts.
Applications from all creative industry areas are welcome, and additional points will be awarded to the 2015/2016 strategic priority areas, which are “Film and Video” and “Photography”.   

The Requirements:

Must be an individual artist/creative entrepreneur or creative sector for-profit business, registered in Colorado and in good-standing with the Colorado Secretary of State.
Must have NOT received funding from CCI within 12 months from the application date.
Must be at least 18 years old and a Colorado resident.
Applicants may request up to $2500. Applicant’s requested amount must be matched one-to-one with personal or donated cash from other sources.
This is a competitive award, and not all eligible applications will be funded. Applications will be evaluated based on Artistic Merit (50%), Career Impact (40%), and Budget (10%).
Only on-line applications accepted.
Application deadline is November 2nd at 4pm, for support of program activities during the first half of 2016.  Applicants will be notified of award status by Dec 15th. 

Next Steps and Application Information:

Information shown here is a summary of the program. For complete program information, please go to the program information on the Colorado Creative Industries website.
Detailed instructions for registering and using the on-line grant system should be reviewed BEFORE beginning your application.
To apply, you need to complete a pre-qualification quiz.  If then eligible, you will gain access to the full on-line application.  To access the pre-qualification quiz, click on

Grant Opportunity for Creative Businesses! Read More »

Call For Instructors!

Do you have valuable knowledge or a particular set of skills you’d like to share with small business owners? The Larimer SBDC is seeking instructors to develop and teach new classes for the Larimer SBDC beginning in January 2016. We are entering our planning stages now, so please submit your ideas and contact information to:

Terri Donovan-Keirns
Program Coordinator|
Larimer SBDC

We’re looking for classes that will be unique and challenging for our entrepreneurs. Volunteering to teach a class with the SBDC is a great way to share your expertise with new business owners and contribute to a more diverse economic community. Contact us today!

Call For Instructors! Read More »

Doing Business with the Government

Doing Business with the Government

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

9:00 am  – 11:00 am

Larimer County Building

Have you ever thought about government contracting but didn’t know where to start? Join us for an interactive workshop about what government agencies buy, how you can market your products and services to federal and state agencies, and where to find opportunities.  You’ll also learn about the small business certification programs that can help you get your foot in the door. 

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) will show you basics of getting started.  The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Connect2DOT Program Manager will tell you about working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).  If you want to get a slice of the billion dollar pie, don’t miss this workshop!


9:00 – 10:00: Federal Government Contracting

Learn the steps for doing business with the government
Registering in SAM and using online marketing tools
Presented by Kathryn Rowe, PTAC

10:00 – 11:00: Doing Business with CDOT

What CDOT buys and the certifications that can get you in the door
Forecast of anticipated 2015 CDOT bid opportunities
Presented by Cathy Kramer, Connect2DOT

11:00-12:00: Networking and Consulting

Stay after to network with other small businesses and talk with the business counselors from PTAC and Connect2DOT about your business

This is a FREE event, but pre-registration is required! Save your seat today!

Doing Business with the Government Read More »

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