Month: April 2016

Small Business After Hours: Your Creative Advantage

Your Creative Advantage

Colorado is a global leader in the creative industries, which include six creative sectors: design, film and media, heritage, literary and publishing, performing arts, and visual arts and crafts. The “Creative” Industry is as big as the imagination.  So how do you make yourself not only stand out as an artist, but also thrive?
 
Please join our panel of diverse, creative Artrepreneurs for some peer networking with refreshments, followed by a panel discussion on topics such as:
•         I’ve created, now how do I get heard/seen?
•         Making a living with your art
•         The new creative class –  What works in today’s marketplace 
•         How to attract and delight your ideal “customer”

 
Amelia Caruso

Amelia attended the Arts Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati. She studied Documentary Photography and brings that sense of “composing inside the viewfinder” to her paintings. Her work as been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including Ft Collins Museum of Art and many Art in Public Places projects in Colorado. Amelia worked on television’s Will & Grace. Now she has found a more purposeful & powerful work with the introspective look of her current direction. Amelia also has a very successful fabric line called “Effervescence” with industry leader Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
 

 
Dawn Duncan

is a music industry executive and the owner of Yellowbright, Inc., an agency dedicated to licensing and consulting for musicians. Additionally, she is the founder and President of Sugarfox Records, an indie label founded in 2014 and designed to co-brand between companies and bands as a way of cross-marketing and also funding album recording and promotion. In 2015, she assumed the role of Managing Editor of Scene Magazine, a 26-year old music, nightlife, entertainment, and lifestyle publication for the Front Range of Colorado. She has been a Fort Collins resident and entrepreneur since moving to Colorado in 1994 from Minnesota and is a graduate of the University of North Dakota.

 
Jennifer Spencer

Moved forward by an insatiable curiosity of life and learning, Jennifer Spencer has explored song writing and recorded songs, invented and patented products, been the CEO of start-up ventures, successfully commercialized products on an international scale and sung in rock&roll bands.  Jennifer is currently focusing her creativity on abstract oil painting.  She is a consultant and mentor to new businesses at the Small Business Development Center.  

 
 Peggy Lyle

A native of Santa Fe, Peggy is passionate about the arts and creative approaches to business and communications. With 20+ years of event production, marketing, and programming for Downtown Fort Collins and The Rhythm Co., she’s aided musicians, performers, galleries, artists, non-profits, small businesses and events navigate promotion, audience cultivation, programming and business strategy. Highlight Projects/Boards: Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, FoCoMX, Colorado Brewers’ Festival, FC Gallery Walk, Downtown Fort Collins Creative District and TriMedia Film Festival.

 
 Gregg Adams

began as a musician, performing at venues throughout the U.S.  After a stint in the corporate world, Gregg began
to concentrate on artistic and philanthropic pursuits.  He joined 2-time
Grammy award winning band Arrested Development as business affairs manager,
generating substantial increases in revenue and visibility for the band.  In 2008
Gregg, along with his wife and business partner Wendy, founded 2 Fat Farmers
Productions, a production company committed to creating personalized
entertainment and training options for corporate and private customers. Gregg
has personally managed a variety of artists, including Young Ancients, the
Holler!, Michael Kirkpatrick, Carlton Pride and Fierce Bad Rabbit, for whom he
secured a synchronization deal to provide music for New Belgium Brewing’s first
national TV commercial, to name a few.

Thank you to our event sponsor:

Key People to Add to Your Business Team

  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 our 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.

7 Steps to Start a Business

  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.
*Full legal 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 “So You Want to Start a Business” or “Make It Official” for classroom training, or register for consulting.