Small Business resource guide COLORADO 2020
START GROW EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS
Small Business Resource Guide 1
2 U.S. Small Business Administration
CONTENTS Colorado Edition 2020
Local Business Assistance
8 Local Success Story
24 National Success Story Jennifer and Jeff Herbert’s meadery has expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise thanks to SBA assistance.
Rick Schmidt has always been on a mission to make things better. With the SBA’s assistance, his vision has blossomed.
11 Local SBA
27 SBA Lenders 32 Financing 101 33 Need Financing? 34 Go Global with
Resource Partners 12 How to Start a Business 15 Your Advocates 16 Entrepreneurial Resources 17 Emerging Leaders 18 10 Tips to Help Build and Grow Your Brand 20 Opportunities for Veterans 22 Write Your Business Plan
International Trade 36 R&D Opportunities for High Growth Startups 38 National Success Story
Cheeseburger Baby owner Stephanie Vitori persevered through a financial storm and a natural disaster.
42 Surety Bonds
44 National Success Story Jennifer Rahn steers the course for Admiral Engineering, succeeding as a small business subcontractor. 47 Government Contracting 48 SBA Certification Programs 49 Woman-Owned Small Business Certification
ON THE COVER Rick Schmidt and a co-worker; Jeff and Jennifer Herbert, courtesy of Superstition Meadery; Stephanie and Gabrie Vitori, courtesy of the SBA; Nikolas Williams, courtesy of Workshops for Warriors
Small Business Resource Guide 3
U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION A MESSAGE FROM THE ADMINISTRATOR
I t is my honor to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, leading a dedicated team of talented individuals across America who are focused on helping entrepreneurs start, grow, and expand their small businesses. The SBA is here to support the prosperity and longevity of our nation’s small businesses with timely and innovative resources to help them thrive in today’s economy. America’s entrepreneurs are innovators, risk-takers, and the catalyst for employment opportunities within their communities, and they are what makes our economy so strong and dynamic. As we enter a new decade of possibilities, small businesses have a remarkable opportunity to continue building upon the success we’ve seen in our economy over the last three years. As the voice for America’s 30 million small businesses, I am eager to advocate on entrepreneurs’ behalf as a member of the President’s Cabinet. Whether it’s seeking access to capital, government contracting opportunities, business mentoring, or assistance with disaster recovery, the SBA is ready and determined to help our customers succeed. The SBA remains committed to continuing our support of America’s entrepreneurs and making an even bigger impact in communities across the country. In particular, the SBA is focused on elevating female entrepreneurs and our military veterans, expanding access to SBA resources
among entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities, and continuing to prioritize disaster relief. Within this resource guide, you will learn more about the tremendous tools the SBA provides small businesses through our 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners, such as our Small Business Development Centers, our SCORE mentoring network, Women’s Business Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. Featured in this guide are some of the remarkable success stories of entrepreneurs who partnered with the SBA to take their businesses to the next level. The SBA encourages you to also utilize these resources to help strengthen and meet your business goals. Sincerely,
Jovita Carranza SBA Administrator
WE MAKE SMALL BUSINESS OUR BUSINESS. START • GROW • EXPAND • RECOVER
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Copyright: New South Media, Inc. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohib- ited without the express written permission of the publisher. © 2020 NEW SOUTH MEDIA, INC., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Marketing & Customer Service directs the publication of the Small Business Resource Guide under SBA Contract #SBAHQ-17-C-0018. SBA publication winter 2020 national edition #mcs-0134
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6 U.S. Small Business Administration
I t’s an exciting time in the Centennial State: growth continues and Colorado products and services are in demand. Our state ranks near the top in the country for economic and employment growth. Colorado is the perfect place to set up your new business, grow or expand your existing one. As the nation’s first stop for small business assistance, the SBA helps make the American dream of small business ownership a reality. We are the only federal agency dedicated to helping our 30 million small businesses start, grow, expand, or recover after a disaster. This guide points you to many local resources and partners that will help you navigate each stage of small business development, powering your small business dreams. We often hear the small businesses are the engines that drive our nation’s economy. In Colorado you can say small business is actually big business, since 99.5% of all our companies are designated as small, employing nearly half of all Coloradans. Small businesses make all of Colorado’s nearly 270 towns and cities great places to live, work, and play. Colorado has such a high rate of new business formation, especially from women, veteran, and minority- owned firms, for many great reasons but namely our spirit of entrepreneurship. We have an entrepreneurial culture and a population of risk takers, as well as a climate that supports new businesses and diverse industries, especially within disadvantaged communities. Stay up to date on SBA events near you and get valuable local business information by following us @SBA_Colorado. Register for email updates at sba.gov/updates. Use our Small Business Resource Guide to power your dream of starting, growing, or expanding your small SBA Colorado District Office SBA Colorado District Office 721 19th St., suite 426 Denver, CO 80202 (303) 844-2607 sba.gov/co @SBA_Colorado
District Director Frances Padilla (303) 844-4293 firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy District Director James Holloway (303) 844-2159 email@example.com Business Opportunity Specialists JoAnna Sandoval (303) 844-6504 firstname.lastname@example.org Justin Smith (303) 844-0528 Justin.email@example.com John Floyd (303) 844-5638 firstname.lastname@example.org Lead Lender Relations Specialist Steve White (303) 844-5237 email@example.com Lender Relations Specialists David Benavides (303) 844-0509 firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Martin (303) 844-6508 email@example.com Economic Development Specialists Eric Phillips (303) 844-6503 firstname.lastname@example.org
business in Colorado. s our community continues its recovery from the health, social, emotional and economic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, we hope you know you can continue to count on SBA for small business assistance. We're in this together.
Frances Padilla District Director
Stephen Collier (303) 844-4041 email@example.com
Small Business Resource Guide 7
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
How I Did It
Rick Schmidt Tipping Point Solutions Colorado
8 U.S. Small Business Administration
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
R ick Schmidt has always been on a mission to make things better. Whether it was during his extensive career as a Naval Information Warfare officer or starting Tipping Point Solutions (TPS), his goal has been the same—to exercise a disciplined approach to solving organization’s greatest challenges. In the case of TPS, that focus has been on providing training solutions that address the needs of organizations backed with a quantifiable return on investment. And together with the SBA’s assistance and being named Colorado’s 2019 Small Business Person of the Year, Rick’s vision has blossomed. In 2008, Rick retired from the U.S. Navy as a service-disabled veteran after 20 years of service. In his last position as Director of Training for the Navy’s Center for Information Dominance, his focus was developing the nation’s next generation of information warfare specialists. That’s when it dawned on him—the training industry was sorely lacking in quality content that could provide entities with truly impactful data.
What was the solution? Joining the 8(a) program for sure. I knew that being an 8(a) participant would encourage large businesses to be more inclined to work with me. There are a lot of things that make us great from a sub-contracting standpoint. When I looked at all that, it would have been foolish to not consider the program. In business, you have to play the cards you’re dealt as it’s hard to be a business owner in any industry. So it’s important to take advantage of any opportunity. As a disabled veteran and a Native American, the 8(a) program opened up opportunities for my company and my employees. What was the benefit? Where to start? Revenue increases, business expansion, and increasing our workforce. Since joining the 8(a) program, we’ve had more than 445 percent growth. In the past three years, from 2017 onward, we’ve gone from 12 employees to having 80. This has resulted in $10 to $12 million in annual revenues. Tipping Point wouldn’t be where it is today without the 8(a) business development program.
So in 2011, Rick started Tipping Point Solutions. The aim of TPS was to create a training development firm specializing in the creation of highly- effective and engaging classroom, computer-based and mobile training solutions, delivering impactful results. And quickly, the need was apparent: the company’s first years saw sales growth of 42, 17, and 29 percent consecutively through 2014.
What challenge did you have? Any business owner looks for pportunities to differentiate
themselves from the competition, and Tipping Point Solutions is no different. I looked for ways to become more competitive for defense and governmental contracts, which meant seeking out opportunities to serve as a sub-contractor. I knew about the 8(a) program but never considered myself eligible as I don’t present many of the typical indicators that would qualify. Early on, through conversations with contracting officers, it would come up that I was Native American. Over time, they encouraged me to review the program and that’s when I made the decision to apply.
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
SBA Resource Partners No matter your industry, location or experience, if you have a dream, the SBA is here to help you achieve it. Our SBA Resource Partners offer mentoring, counseling, and training to help you start up and thrive at all stages of the business life cycle. These independent organizations operating across the United States and U.S. territories are funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants.
950 + 100 300 + +
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTERS
Achieve your dream of business ownership and remain competitive in an ever-changing global economy with assistance from your local SBDC. Access free counseling and free or low- cost training on topics like regulatory compliance, technology development, and international trade. Find an SBDC adviser at sba.gov/sbdc .
Join the ranks of other business owners who have experienced higher revenues and increased growth thanks to SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors. Experienced executives share real-world knowledge to fit your busy schedule. SCOREmentors are available for free as often as you need, in person, via email or over video chat. Find amentor at sba.gov/score .
WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTERS
Women entrepreneurs receive business counseling and training from this national network of community-based centers. Each center tailors its services to help you navigate the challenges women often face when starting or growing a business. To learn about SBA resources for women visit sba.gov/women .
VETERANS BUSINESS OUTREACH CENTERS
Veteran and military entrepreneurs receive business training, counseling, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . Receive procurement guidance to better compete for government contracts. VBOCs also serve active duty service members, National Guard or Reserve members, veterans of any era, and military spouses.
10 U.S. Small Business Administration
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
SBA’s Resource Partners are independent organizations funded through SBA cooperative agreements or grants. Our Local SBA Resource Partners Small Business Development Centers Boulder SBDC 1001 Arapahoe Ave. (303) 442-1475 Central Mountain SBDC 339 E. Highway 50, suite 104, Salida (719) 221-0374 O'Connor Belting, a Delaware family-owned business, expanded with the help of an SBA-guaranteed 7(a) loan.
Aurora-South Metro SBDC 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, Aurora (303) 326-8690 South Metro (Englewood) SBDC 1000 Englewood Parkway (303) 326-8686 South Metro (Centennial) SBDC 9200 E. Mineral Ave. (303) 326-8686 Southwestern SBDC 1000 Rim Drive, room 140, Durango (970) 247-7009 West Central SBDC 145 S. Cascade, Montrose (970) 765-3130 SCORE Contact your closest SCORE office first for an appointment. Denver Chapter 721 19th St., suite 426 (303) 844-3985 Grand Junction office 2591 Legacy Way (970) 243-5242 Steamboat Springs/Yampa Valley office 1131 Bob Adams Drive (970) 870-4491
Colorado Springs SBDC 559 E. Pikes Peak Ave., suite 101 (719) 667-3803 East Colorado SBDC Kepner Hall #0025 800 17th St., Greeley (970) 351-4274 Larimer SBDC 320 E. Vine Drive #303 Fort Collins (970) 498-9295 North Metro SBDC 3645 W. 112th Ave., Westminster (303) 460-1032 Northwest Colorado SBDC 500 Broadway Eagle (970) 328-3414 Grand Junction SBDC 2591 Legacy Way (970) 243-5242 San Luis Valley SBDC 610 State Ave., Alamosa (719) 589-3682 Southeast SBDC 1802 Colorado Ave., La Junta (719) 384-6959 Southern Colorado SBDC 121 W. City Center Drive #150, Pueblo (719) 549-3224
Veterans Business Outreach Center Veteran entrepreneurs or small
business owners can receive business training, counseling and mentoring, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . This is also the place to receive procurement guidance, which can help your business better compete for government contracts. 5201 Eagle Rock Ave. NE, suite 2A Albuquerque, NM (505) 383-2401
Colorado Springs Chapter 559 E. Pikes Peak Ave., suite 100 (719) 636-3074 Leadville office 400 Harrison Ave., suite 100 (719) 293-2316 Monument/Tri-Lakes office
Women’s Business Center Mi Casa Resource Center 345 S. Grove St., Denver (303) 573-1302
166 Second St. (719) 481-3282
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Adriana Medina, owner of Fuerte Fitness, in Seattle, WA, received counseling from a SCORE mentor and a Women's Business Center adviser.
How to Start a Business in Colorado Thinking of starting a business? Here are the nuts & bolts.
» Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (303) 894-7855 or (800) 886-7675 colorado.gov/dora Name Registration
The Startup Logistics Even if you’re running a home-based business, you will have to comply with many local, state, and federal regulations. Do not ignore regulatory details. You may avoid some red tape in the beginning, but your lack of compliance could become an obstacle as your business grows. Taking the time to research regulations is as important as knowing your market. Being out of compliance could leave you unprotected legally, lead to expensive penalties, and jeopardize your business. Market Research View consumer and business data for your area using the Census Business Builder: Small Business Edition, https://cbb.census.gov/ sbe . Filter your search by business type and location to view data on your potential customers, including consumer spending, and a summary of existing businesses, available as a map and a report. Business License & Zoning Licenses are typically administered by a variety of state and local departments. It is important to consider zoning regulations when choosing a site for your business. Contact the local business license office where you plan to locate your business. You may not be permitted to conduct business out of your home or engage in industrial activity in a retail district.
Register your business name with the county clerk where your business is located. If you’re a corporation, also register with the state at sos.state.co.us . » Secretary of State 1700 Broadway, suite 200, Denver (303) 894-2200 Taxes As a business owner, you should know your federal tax responsibilities and make business decisions to comply with tax requirements. The IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center, irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed , includes information on paying and filing income tax and finding an Employer ID Number. As the IRS continues to implement some of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions, your tax obligations may change. For the latest tax reform updates that affect your bottom line, visit irs.gov/tax-reform .
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
An O'Fallon Casting Inc. Employee at work in O'Fallon, MO. Owner Vince Gimeno grew his business thanks to expert SBA business conseling.
» State Tax Colorado Department of Revenue 1375 Sherman St., Denver (303) 205-8411 colorado.gov/pacific/revenue Denver Treasury Division 201 W. Colfax Ave., department 1009, Denver (720) 913-9300 » Sales tax Colorado Department of Revenue (303) 205-8411
central . For forms, see uscis.gov/forms . For the employer hotline call (888) 464-4218 or email Ifirstname.lastname@example.org. E-Verify is the quickest way for employers to determine the employment eligibility of new hires by verifying the Social Security number and employment eligibility information reported on Form I-9. Visit e-verify.gov , call (888) 464-4218 or email email@example.com. Health & Safety All businesses with employees are required to comply with state and federal regulations regarding the protection of employees, visit employer.gov and dol.gov . The Occupational Safety and Health Administration provides information on the specific health and safety standards used by the U.S. Department of Labor. Call
Many cities and counties levy local sales tax. The Colorado Department of Revenue collects taxes for 214 of these local governments. There are also 59 home rule entities that collect their own tax. Social Security If you have any employees, including officers of a corporation but not the sole proprietor or partners, you must make periodic payments, and/or file quarterly reports about payroll taxes and other mandatory deductions. You can contact the IRS or the Social Security Administration for information, assistance, and forms at (800) 772-1213 or visit socialsecurity.gov/employer . You can file W-2s online or verify job seekers through the Social Security Number Verification Service. Employment Eligibility Verification The Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to verify employment eligibility of new employees. The law obligates an employer to process Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service offers information and assistance through uscis.gov/i-9-
(800) 321-6742 or visit osha.gov . » U.S. Department of Labor (720) 264-3250 » Wage and Hour Division (800) 487-9243 1999 Broadway, suite 710, Denver
For a copy of the Small Business Handbook, visit dol.gov > Agencies > Wage & Hour Division » Colorado Department of Labor and Employment 633 17th St., suite 201, Denver (303) 318-8000 colorado.gov/pacific/cdle » Workers’ Compensation colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/dwc
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
» Secretary of State’s Office Trademark Division (603) 271-3244 or (603) 271-3246
Employee Insurance Check your state laws to see if you are required to provide unemployment or workers’ compensation insurance for your employees. For health insurance options, call the Small Business Health Options program at (800) 706-7893 or visit healthcare.gov/small- businesses/employers . Association Health Plans allow small businesses, including self-employed workers, to band together by geography or industry to obtain healthcare coverage as if they were a single large employer. For information, visit dol.gov/general/ topic/association-health-plans . Environmental Regulations State assistance is available for small businesses that must comply with environmental regulations under the Clean Air Act. State Small Business Environmental Assistance programs provide free and confidential assistance to help small business owners understand and comply with environmental regulations and permitting requirements. These state programs can help businesses reduce emissions at the source, often reducing regulatory burden and saving you money. To learn more about these free services visit nationalsbeap.org/states/list . » Environmental Protection Agency Small Business Division epa.gov/resources-small-businesses » Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 4300 Cherry Creek Drive S., Denver (303) 692-2000 colorado.gov/coepht » Colorado Department of Agriculture 305 Interlocken Parkway, Broomfield (303) 869-9000 colorado.gov/agmain Accessibility & ADA Compliance For assistance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, call the ADA center at (800) 949-4232 or the Department of Justice at (800) 514-0301. Direct questions about accessible design and the ADA standards to the U.S. Access Board at (800) 872-2253, TTY (800) 993-2822, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit access-board.gov .
Child Support Employers are essential to the success of the child support programand collect 75%of support nationwide through payroll deductions. You’re required to report all new and rehired employees to the State Directory of NewHires. If you have employees in two or more states, youmay register with the Department of Health and Human Services to report all your employees to one state. Find electronic income withholding orders and the Child Support Portal, which can be used to report information to nearly all child support agencies, at acf.hhs.gov/ programs/css/employers . Send questions to email@example.com. Intellectual Property Patents, trademarks, and copyrights are types of intellectual property that serve to protect creations and innovations. For information and resources about U.S. patents and federally registered trademarks consult uspto.gov , call (800) 786-9199 or visit the Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, uspto.gov/ denver For inventor entrepreneur resources visit uspto.gov/inventors . There are three types of patents: • Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine,
Copyrights protect original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical and artistic, and certain other intellectual works, such as computer software. Copyrights do not protect facts, ideas, and systems, although they may protect the way they are expressed. For general information on copyrights, contact: » U.S. Copyright Office U.S. Library of Congress James Madison Memorial Building 101 Independence Ave. SE Washington, DC (202) 707-3000 or toll free (877) 476-0778 copyright.gov » Colorado Secretary of State (303) 894-2200 sos.state.co.us > Businesses, Trademarks, Trade Names Economic Development Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry 1600 Broadway, suite 1000, Denver (303) 831-7411 Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade 1600 Broadway, suite 2500 Denver (303) 892-3840 choosecolorado.com Chambers of Commerce To find your local chamber of commerce for networking and events opportunities, visit cochamber.com .
manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement.
• Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for a manufactured article. • Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one provider from others. Trademarks and service marks can be registered at both the state and federal level. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office only registers federal trademarks and service marks, which may conflict with and supersede state trademarks. Visit uspto.gov/trademarks .
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Your Advocates The SBA offices of advocacy and ombudsman are independent voices for small business within the federal government.
To report how a proposed federal regulation could unfairly affect you, contact advocacy.sba.gov . To submit a comment about how your business has been hurt by an existing regulation, visit sba.gov/ombudsman/ comments .
Advocacy When you need a voice within the federal government for your interests as a small business owner, SBA advocates are here to assist. They analyze the effects of proposed regulations and consider alternatives that minimize the economic burden on small businesses, governmental jurisdictions, and nonprofits. The office, advocacy.sba.gov , helps with these small business issues: » if your business could be negatively affected by regulations proposed by the government » when you need economic and small business statistics The SBA Office of Advocacy also independently represents small business and advances its concerns before Congress, the White House, and federal agencies.
Ombudsman Entrepreneurs who have an issue with an existing federal regulation or policy receive assistance from the SBA national ombudsman. The ombudsman’s office helps you: » resolve regulatory disputes with federal agencies » reduce unfair penalties and fines » seek remedies when rules are inconsistently applied » recover payment for services done by government contractors Make your voice heard by participating in a Regional Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Roundtable or a public hearing hosted by the SBA national ombudsman. These events are posted periodically on the ombudsman website, sba.gov/ombudsman .
To submit a comment or complaint through the online form, visit sba.gov/ ombudsman/comments . Your concerns will be directed to the appropriate federal agency for review. The SBA will collaborate with you and the agency to help resolve the issue.
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
Regional Innovation Clusters Create jobs and grow the economy through an SBA Regional Innovation Cluster. Who should join Small businesses driving innovation in one of these tech industries: • advanced composites • agTech • bioscience • food processing • data sciences
Online Learning Find free short courses and learning tools to start and grow your small business at sba.gov/learning . The SBA’s free Online Learning Center is a great resource for every entrepreneur, especially rural business owners looking for easy access to vital business training. Courses include: • writing your business plan • understanding your customer • buying a business • marketing to win customers
• medical sciences • power and energy • unmanned aerial systems • water tech • wood products
• legal requirements • financing options • disaster recovery
How it works Each industry cluster is based in a geographic region. Your small business must be located in or near that region in order to join the cluster. For example, the AgLaunch Initiative cluster, which focuses on agricultural technology, is located in the Tennessee area. A small agTech business in or near Tennessee will connect with other agTech suppliers, service providers, and related institutions through that innovation cluster. How it benefits you Network with other industry innovators and connect with resources that will help your small business find funding. You’ll also receive guidance on how to better compete for government contracts and other opportunities for growth and expansion. Receive free technical and legal assistance to develop your tech and get it to market for government and industry buyers. Get involved Find an SBA Regional Innovation Cluster near you by visiting sba.gov/localassistance . Select the regional innovation clusters on the drop-down menu.
Native American Workshops Tribal enterprises and business organizations can receive entrepreneurial training at an SBA Entrepreneurial Empowerment Workshop. These workshops cover business concepts important for starting, growing, or expanding a small business. RedWind instructors, SBA contractors, identify and help participants avoid common pitfalls. Learn how to prepare a business plan, gain access to capital, and basic book keeping. Request a workshop in your area by visiting nativesmallbusiness.org .
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE Emerging Leaders
Learn the skills to grow your small business in this seven-month course.
Accelerate Growth Small business executives looking to grow their business, create jobs, and strengthen their communities will find their next challenge
in the SBA Emerging Leaders program. This seven-month course offers about 100 hours of training and provides the opportunity for high-potential small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors while developing connections with peers, local leaders, and the financial community. How it benefits you Since the start of the program in 2008, Emerging Leaders graduates have reported creating over 6,500 jobs, gaining more than $300 million in new financing, and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts. Participants produce a three-year strategic growth plan that connects them with the necessary tools and resources to reach major performance targets. What you learn The curriculum is research-based and nationally scalable, enabling you to engage in focused development and expansion strategies, including options for accessing new capital and securing government contracts. Who’s eligible Small businesses having annual revenues of at least $250,000, in business for at least three years, and with at least one employee.
HOW THE SBA HELPED ME SUCCEED When April Broderick wanted to expand into government contracting, she turned to the SBA. A&A Fire and Safety Co. in Cabot, AR serves the fire protection and service needs of businesses, schools, and fire departments across Arkansas. She took over from her father, Alan, in 2014, becoming one of the few women executives in her industry. With the help of the SBA Emerging Leaders program, April received business training and networking opportunities to help her better compete in the public marketplace. April committed to the program because she wanted to develop a three- year growth plan with business experts. Since graduating from Emerging Leaders, she has grown her business to six full-time employees, seven part time, with a projected 2019 revenue of $1.7 million.
Get involved To register online, visit sba.gov/ emergingleaders .
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LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a Stand-Out Small Business Brand Build a better business with these time-tested tips.
Elliot Henry, who received SBA- backed 7(a) and 504 loans, runs UnlimitedWater Processing in St. Louis, MO.
The United States loves small businesses. That’s according to a survey by the Pew Foundation reported by Small Business Trends, smallbiztrends.com , which found that 71% of Americans view small business more favorably than any other institutions, including religious organizations. Why is this? Well, small businesses are seen as a positive influence. But it’s more than that. Small businesses are in a unique position to create valuable customer experiences. Their products and services are often
niche, the target customer is very defined. Business operations are agile and unconstrained by corporate rules and processes. Small businesses are also trusted for their integrity, community engagement, and customer service. When was the last time you called a small business and got put through to an automated call center? These things come together to create a hugely competitive value proposition, the linchpin of your brand. But what can you do to leverage these experiences and grow the appeal of your brand without breaking the bank?
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1 What is Your Brand? It’s important to understand that your brand is much more than your logo, merchandising or products. It is all the experiences customers have with your business, including the visual elements of your business. It also includes what you do, how you do it, customer interactions, and your marketing. All of these elements help establish the trust and credibility of your business. 2 Stand Out If your brand is going to be strong, you need to be able to pinpoint what makes you different from competitors. A SCORE mentor, sba.gov/score , can help you use competitive differentiators to build your business brand. Don’t forget to weave your differentiators into your company’s messaging and marketing. 3 Have Great Products and Services Word of mouth is often a small business’s greatest lead generator, so having great products and services that people talk about is a critical part of your brand. Even the most outgoing and charming small business owner is not going to succeed in bringing customers back unless the product or service they provide delivers and exceeds expectations. Don’t lose sight of your product, keep refining it, testing new offerings, and making sure you always put product first. 4 Make Sure Your Customers Know the Face Behind the Product One of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail is because of the persistent absence of the business owner. You only need to look at a few episodes of business makeover TV shows to witness what can go wrong when a business is left to run itself. Without an actively engaged owner, employees lose motivation and structure, which can quickly lead to sloppy service, a poor product, and customer churn. Yes, your business needs to be able to function without your constant presence, but it’s important to strike a balance. Find ways to make sure your customers know you and connect with the face behind the business. Businesses thrive when the energy of the owner is present. 5 Get Your Name and Logo Right It’s important to get this right the first time because changing your name and logo later can be costly. Your logo and name should be easily recognizable and reflect the nature and tone of your business as well as appeal to your target market. I’m a dog owner, and two of my absolute favorite small businesses cater to pet owners: my local provider of dog walking services and a healthful pet food store. When I see their logos, it makes me feel good; I feel an affinity with them. That’s what you need to shoot for.
6 Have a Distinct Voice
A great way to ensure your distinct brand message is delivered consistently across your business is to focus on how you and your employees interact and
communicate with customers in person, on the phone, and on social media. Not sure what your “voice” should be? Look to other brands. What do they do that you’d like to emulate? How do they greet and interact with you? What is it they do that makes you feel good about doing business with them? 7 Build Community Around What you Do A successful brand is one trusted and respected by customers. Building a strong community online and off can help you achieve this. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to do this. In fact, many successful brands concentrate almost exclusively in online and offline community building. Offline participation in community activities, such as local events, fundraisers, and charities, as well as hosting your own events, such as workshops or loyal customer events, can all help you build community and extend the trust your brand has earned. 8 Be an Advocate for Your Business— Not Just a Salesman You don't have to be the greatest salesman to succeed in business. Selling takes many forms, and being a brand advocate gels them. For example, many small business owners strive to be the number one salesman, the number one cheerleader, and the number one fan of their own business. If you are passionate about your business, be an advocate for it. Invite people in! 9 Be Reliable Letting your customers down by failing to live up to your own promises and brand standards can be particularly harmful for small businesses that depend heavily on referrals. The foundation of brand loyalty lies in great service; a happy customer is a loyal customer. Make sure you aren’t making promises that you can’t keep, whether you run a pizza business and pledge to deliver within 30 minutes, or you’re a painting contractor who promises to start a job on a Monday at 9 a.m. sharp. Stand by your promises. 10 Have a Value Proposition Value, not to be mistaken with price, can help define your brand and differentiate you from the competition. This goes back to my second point about standing out. What niche do you serve? What do you do well in that niche that makes you different from everyone else? What are the emotional benefits of what you do? The answers to these questions will help define what your value is to your customers. It could be your great customer service, product quality, innovation, or a combination of these.
written by Caron Beesley , contributor
Small Business Resource Guide 19
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HOW THE SBA HELPED ME SUCCEED U.S. Navy veteran Roberto Ortiz puts his 40 years of aviation ◀ management experience to use as a small business owner in Chesapeake, VA. Bert expanded AVMAC Inc. into the government sector fulfilling aviation and maritime logistical services with the help of his local SBA Veterans Business Outreach Center. VBOCs are the first stop for military community entrepreneurs looking to start, grow, or expand a small business. The VBOC located at Old Dominion University helped Bert obtain government contracting business certifications. With support from his local VBOC, Bert has strategically positioned AVMAC in the federal marketplace to better compete for large-scale government contracts. From AVMAC’s first contract in 2010, this veteran-led company has nearly doubled in revenue and grown to over 400 employees.
AVMAC President/CEO Bert Ortiz, left, and fellow U.S. Navy veteran and electrician Ken Morey manufacturing a power panel bracket.
Opportunities for Veterans
Military community members become more successful entrepreneurs with the help of the SBA.
Who’s eligible? Service members transitioning out of active duty and military spouses. Boots to Business: Reboot, for veterans, National Guard or Reserve members and military spouses, teaches this entrepreneurship curriculum off base in communities. Register for either B2B program at https://sbavets.force.com . For women veterans Receive entrepreneurial training geared toward women veterans, service
members, and spouses through these SBA- funded programs: » Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship in Syracuse, New York
Entrepreneurship training In Boots to Business, explore business ownership and other self-employment opportunities while learning key business concepts. Walk away with an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals, including how to access startup capital using SBA resources. Boots to Business is conducted on all military installations as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program.
» LiftFund in San Antonio, Texas For service-disabled veterans Learn how to start and grow a small
business using these SBA-funded programs: » Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities in Syracuse, New York
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» Veterans Entrepreneurship Program at the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship, Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma » Veteran Entrepreneurship Jumpstart at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania » Dog Tag Inc., affiliated with Georgetown University in Washington, DC Financing Employee called to active duty? You can receive funds that enable your business to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses when an essential employee is called up to active duty in the military reserve. Ask your local SBA specialist or lender about the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Government contracting Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses that want to better compete in the public market receive training from the Veteran Institute for Procurement, nationalvip.org . VIP Start Enter the federal market and become ready for procurement. VIP Grow Strategize to expand and operate within the federal marketplace. VIP International Enter or expand your federal and commercial contracting opportunities overseas. Get certified Learn about the service-disabled veteran- owned small business certification program on page 50. Need assistance? Veteran and military entrepreneurs receive business training, counseling, and referrals to other SBA Resource Partners at a Veterans Business Outreach Center, sba.gov/vboc . For veterans business information visit sba.gov/veterans .
Small Business Resource Guide 21
LOCAL BUSINESS ASSISTANCE Write your Business Plan Lay the foundation for success with a business plan.
TRADITIONAL BUSINESS PLAN FORMAT When you write your business plan, you don’t have to stick to the exact business plan template. Instead, use the sections that make the most sense for your business and your needs. Executive Summary Briefly summarize your company and why it will be successful. Include your mission statement, your product or service, and basic information about your company’s leadership team, employees, and location. You should also include financial information and high-level growth plans if you plan to ask for financing. Company Description Go into detail about the problems your business solves. Be specific as to audience and location. List out the consumers, organizations, or businesses your company plans to serve. Explain the competitive advantages you have that will make your business successful. Are there experts on your team? Have you found the perfect location? Your company description is the place to boast about your strengths. Market Analysis Demonstrate a solid understanding of your industry outlook and tar- get market. This is where it pays to partner with an experienced busi- ness counselor fromyour local Small Business Development Center, SCORE, Women's Business Center, or Veterans Business Outreach Center—all these SBA Resource Partners provide free or low-cost business assistance. Competitive research will showwhat other busi- nesses are doing and their strengths. In your market research, look for trends and themes. What do successful competitors do? Why does it work? Can you do it better? Now's the time to answer these questions. Organization and Management
Business plans help you run your business. A good business plan guides you throughmanaging your business. You’ll use your business plan as a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you—or investing in your company—is a smart investment. Brain storm with a business counselor (visit one of our SBA Resource Partners detailed on page 10) and write a traditional business plan , which uses a standard structure and detailed sections. Once you've got it all down, you can then condense it to a lean startup business plan, which typically contains key points on only one page.
Explain how your com- pany will be structured and who will run it. Describe the legal structure of your busi- ness. Statewhether you have or intend to incor- porate your business as a C or an S corporation, forma general or limited partnership, or if you're a sole proprietor or limited liability company.
Want to see an example of a business plan? View examples of business plans at sba.gov/business-guide/plan/ write-your-business- plan-template
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LEAN STARTUP PLAN FORMAT Write a lean startup plan if requested from an investor, or if your business is relatively simple or you plan to regularly change and refine as you go. Lean startup plans use more visual organization tools and only a handful of elements to describe your company’s value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. They’re useful for visualiz- ing your company's fundamental facts. Your business counselor can help you edit down into the Business Model Canvas, used here—the most well known style, or another lean startup template. Key Partnerships Note the other businesses you’ll work with, such as suppliers, manufacturers, subcontractors, and strategic partners. Key Activities List the ways your business will gain a competitive advantage. Will you sell direct to consumers or use technology to tap into the shar- ing economy? Key Resources List resources you’ll leverage to create value for your customer. Your most important assets include staff, capital, and intellectual property. Leverage business resources that might be available to women, veterans, Native Americans, and HUBZone–certified businesses. Value Proposition Make a clear and compelling statement about the unique value your company brings to the market. Customer Relationships Describe how customers will interact with your business. Think through the customer experience from start to finish. Is it auto- mated or personal? In person or online? Customer Segments Name your target market. Your business won’t be for everybody; it’s important to have a clear sense of who you serve. Channels List the most important ways you’ll talk to your customers. Cost Structure Will your company focus on reducing cost or maximizing value? Define your strategy, then list the most significant costs you’ll face. Revenue Streams Explain how your company makes money: direct sales, member- ships fees, selling advertising space? If your company has multiple revenue streams, list them all.
Use an organizational chart to show the hierarchy. Explain how each person’s experience will contribute to the success of your venture. Consider including CVs of key members. Service or Product Line Describe what you sell or what service you offer. Explain how it ben- efits your customers and the product lifecycle. Share your plans for intellectual property, like copyright or patent filings. If you're doing research and development for your service or product, explain it. Marketing and Sales Your marketing strategy should evolve and change to fit your needs in each context. Describe how you'll attract and retain customers. Show how a sale will actually happen. You'll refer to this section later when you make financial projections, so be thorough. Funding Request If you're asking for funding, outline your funding requirements. Specify whether you want debt or equity and the terms you'd like. Your goal is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next five years and how the investment will be used. Specify if you need funds to buy equipment or materials, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases. Explain how ❒ Executive summary ❒ Company description ❒Market analysis ❒ Organization and management ❒ Service or product line ❒Marketing and sales ❒ Funding request ❒ Financial projections ❒ Appendix TRADITIONAL BUSINESS PLAN CHECKLIST
you'll pay off the debt. Financial Projections
Supplement your funding request with a prospective financial outlook for the next five years. Show how your business will be a financial success. Include forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. For the first year, be even more specific and use quarterly—or even monthly—projections. Explain your projections and match them to your funding requests. If your business is already established, include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years. List collateral you could put against a loan. Use visual organization tools—graphs and charts—to tell your business's financial story. Appendix Here you'll attach supporting documents or other requested materials. Common items to include are credit histories, CVs, product pictures, letters of reference, licenses, permits, patents, legal documents, and other contracts.
LEAN STARTUP PLAN CHECKLIST
❒ Key partnerships ❒ Key activities ❒ Key resources ❒ Value proposition ❒ Customer relationships
❒ Customer segments ❒ Channels ❒ Cost structure ❒ Revenue streams
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