If you’ve been anticipating 2023 by putting a long-term dream of starting your own business at the top of your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve got powerful market-savvy friends right here in Central Colorado to help you.
Thanks in part to U.S. Small Business Administration (USSBA) funding, entrepreneurs in Chaffee, Lake, or Park Counties can now avail themselves of free or low-cost workshops and professional consulting through the Central Mountain Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Salida.
“We offer training available through the SBA, but we also offer our own workshops and mentoring,” notes Jamie Billesbach, SBDC director.
The Salida center offers hands-on workshops on all aspects of starting a business, emphasizing detailed preplanning before the business enters the marketplace.
The Center’s “Lean Up” program, for instance, aims at helping prospective business owners define who their customers will be and thereby be “early adapters.” At the same time, participants also concentrate on product development, and create what Billesbach calls “their own value” in the marketplace. (Keep watching Ark Valley Voice for an upcoming story on this program.)
Partnering with the Buena Vista and Salida Chambers of Commerce, the SBDC Director says an upcoming Center series will help entrepreneurs refine their business ideas.
“The first session we offer gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to clarify their goals and prove their ideas way before they’ve gone all in,” says Billesbach. “This saves them future time and money.”
Surveying a future business’s prospective market, she adds, can help an entrepreneur know if their business idea “is on target for their particular market before they even enter it.”
The Center also is committed to mentoring women who have ideas for small businesses but want to learn more about how and where to start.
“Because women starting businesses face special challenges, we assist them through our ‘Power of We’ program,” Billesbach says. “So we encourage anyone interested to contact us.”
One upcoming SBDC program first introduces entrepreneurs to the basics of small business and unfolds in several segments. The first segment covers preplanning and start-up basics.
SBDC Training Segment I
In the Center’s Segment I, prospective business hopefuls will create a one-page business plan, define their businesses’ purpose and customer target base, and learn how to solve their future customers’ problems to better meet their needs. The session is slated from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Weds. Jan. 11 at the Buena Vista Library; and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thurs. Jan. 12 at the Salida Scout Hut. Cost is $25. ($15 for Chamber members.)
The SBDC is located in the Sherman Building Lofts, 123 G Street, Suite 29, Salida, Colorado 81201