January 29, 2014

QuickBooks Workshop

Helping businesses start,

grow and prosper 

QuickBooks for Beginners

Where: The Bistro
  When: February 12th 2014
Time: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
 Cost: $25

Presented by Donielle VanGieson

We are looking forward to your participation in our upcoming QuickBooks for Beginners Class!  We've set up a new way to register for SBDC workshops online.  Going to this link and registering will put you in the class that is filling up quickly:


The class will be held upstairs at the Bistro Rialto in Alamosa.  We held it there specifically to give participants a chance to attend the Chamber Business Network downstairs from 6-8pm.  The Alamosa Chamber of Commerce holds monthly CBN meetings, which have a main purpose of networking to promote your own business and they always have interesting speakers who cover on practical business topics.  This CBN will be a special annual meeting for the Chamber and Dr. Michael Tomlin, Professor of Business and Chair of the School of Business at ASU will be the featured speaker.  You won't want to miss it.  You may order food and drinks off of the menu at either the QuickBooks workshop or the CBN - or both!

The San Luis Valley SBDC is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through such funding does not constitute and express or implied endorsement of any of the cosponsor(s)’ or participants’ opinions, products or services.

January 10, 2014

CDOT/ Contractor Event

The Colorado Department of Transportation has several city projects and construction jobs coming up in the spring and summer of 2014.

Would YOU like a piece of the $45,000,000 pie?

There will be a number of opportunities in CDOT’s  Region Five area.  These opportunities exist in a variety of locations:  Ridgeway, Ouray, Durango, Cortez, Pagosa Springs, Poncha Springs, Buena Vista, Alamosa, Antonito, La Veta Pass, and other locations as approved.  These prospects can take many different forms –design or construction, prime contractor or subcontractor, traffic control, flaggers, laborers, electricians, landscapers, equipment operators, drivers, or other jobs as needed.  Remember that these are not guaranteed open positions, but rather a notice that there will be openings in a number of different roles.  

January 21, 2014
Alamosa Maintenance Facility
1205 West Avenue
Alamosa, CO  81101

10am-11am: Introductions and overview of upcoming projects
11am-12pm: DBE specification changes
12pm-1pm: Lunch and networking
12:15-12:45 DBE Fencing Information
1pm-2pm: CCA workforce presentation/Bonding & Access to capital
2pm-3pm: DBE/ESB success and certification

The following material is accepted as the most up-to –date information from CDOT.  It should NOT be seen as an offer of employment or a promise of upcoming jobs, but rather information about potential contract, subcontract, and consultant work through the Colorado Department of Transportation.  This information, including budgeted amounts, may change without warning.  

Projects in the SLV Area
Project Number
 Project Name
Ad Date
SLV Fencing Project ** ESB
Del Norte to South Fork in SLV
Antonito North
North of Antonito
South of ALA
South of Alamosa on Hwy 285
La Veta Pass
11 miles to summit  (SLV side)
Poncha Spgs Intersection
Poncha Springs near Salida
Jan 2014
Antonito Reconstruction
Highway 285 South
Preventative Bridge Maint
Bridges Around Region 5
Projects in the Durango Area
Project Number
 Project Name
Ad Date
US 550 Cribwall Phase 2
US 550
US 160 NM to Towoaoc
South of Cortez

 US 550 Cribwall Phase 3
US 550
 6 X Culverts
 Around Region 5
 US 160 Hes to Dgo Rsrfcng
Hesperus to Durango
 FY 14 Rockfall Mitigation

*This is a SHORT list of the current projects slated to go to ad this year.  It is not intended to be a complete listing of all projects that are currently going on in Region Five.  

Please contact Mnica Vialpando at 719-587-6589 or e-mail monica.vialpando@state.co.us to RSVP.

January 9, 2014

New Year, New Hires – Growing Your Business With New Employees

If the new year could mean new hires for your small business, there’s a lot to think about. Here’s some insight to consider from experts interviewed for SBA’s Learning Center Series, “Strategies for Growth.” They’ve shared some lessons they’ve learned that can help you develop a plan for expanding your team.

Short and sweet job descriptions
Casey Wilson, Retail Industry Manager, Maryland Small Business Development Center, asserts the importance of a clear, well written job description: “The position needs to be well defined in how it will contribute to the business’s growth and success. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but direct and to the point with the main responsibilities for the person.”

Communicate your vision and mission
Wilson also stresses the important of being able to clearly communicate your company’s vision statement – and mission statement, which is how you’ll accomplish that vision. Be able to “explain your reason for being” in a 30-second elevator pitch in an interview.

By clearly communicating “who” your company is and how you accomplish your goals, you’ll have a better idea during the interview process if a potential hire will be a good fit in contributing to your business’s success.

Incentivize current employees
Your current employees may be a great resource for new hires. Some business owners, like Jeanna Sellmeyer of ASSET Group, Inc., offer cash incentives to employees who refer qualified candidates. If those candidates become part of the team and stick around for a certain amount of time – usually a year – that referring employee gets a little something extra in the next payroll.

Your employees can help bring in talent on par with your standards; after all, they don’t want to compromise their own jobs. Making it financially work their while to help grow the company can help keep your employees motivated and give you confidence that you’ll have promising prospects.

Clients can help
Mary Tappouni of Breaking Ground Contracting has said that clients can be a great source of advice on personnel decisions. Customers that her company has had for years have become friends, and she values how they can look at potential hires not only as someone who might be a good fit for the company, but also as someone they’d want to do business with.

It’s important that as the company grows, Tappouni says, clients feel comfortable that the people you’re hiring will take care of them with the same level of quality that’s always existed in the business relationship.

So, involve some of these trusted clients in the interview process and gather feedback as you move forward with making a decision.


January 8, 2014

4 Marketing Resolutions to Make This Year

If there’s one area of operations most small businesses can stand to improve, it’s marketing. As a small business expert, I get more questions about marketing than any other aspect of business—and it’s been that way for the last 30 years. Since the New Year is all about improving oneself, how about making some marketing resolutions for your business? Here are four to consider.

1.  I resolve to make a marketing plan. Many small business owners market haphazardly, throwing time and money at one marketing method and then, when it doesn’t pay off immediately, switching gears to the “next big thing.” This scattershot approach does nothing but waste your resources and leave you frustrated and frazzled, convinced that marketing doesn't pay off. Instead, resolve to sit down and set goals for your marketing this year. What exactly do you want to accomplish—more leads, more sales closed, more inquiries? Once you've got goals on paper, figure out the marketing methods that are most likely to get those desired results. Finally, figure out how you’ll track results from each marketing
method so you can see what’s really working.

2.  I resolve to market consistently. It’s easy to fall into the trap of marketing only when you’ve got the “spare” time for it (which often means “never”). Or maybe you market wildly right before your busy season, then do nothing for months on end. As a result, your sales pipeline slows down. Keep your pipeline full by marketing consistently all year long. That doesn’t mean you need the same level of marketing year-round—for instance, a toy retailer would obviously market more before and during the holiday shopping season than in, say, July—but it does mean you need some level of marketing all year. Create a marketing calendar that sets out what you’ll do each month and breaks it down further into weekly and even daily marketing efforts. Then put someone in charge of making sure it’s all carried out.

3.  I resolve to keep learning new things. Is your marketing stuck in the past? Advertising only in the print Yellow Pages might work if your clientele is solely seniors…and even seniors are increasingly going online to find businesses instead of letting their fingers do the walking. If you want your business to grow, you’ve got to keep up with the (marketing) times. Resolve to regularly read industry blogs and publications, attend networking events and conferences, and take webinars and seminars to learn more about new marketing trends and how they’re affecting your industry. Pledge to learn something new every month, and at least try some of it. Marketing is moving fast, and if you don’t keep up you’re going to get left behind.

4.  I resolve to do market research. Many small business owners see market research as something they do once—when starting their companies—and then never do again. But what happens when your market changes? The 20-somethings you might have targeted with your extreme sports company in 1998 are now in their 40s. Even if they’re still buying extreme sports products, the way you market to them needs to be different now from what it was then. Keep tabs on the demographics of your target market so you can adjust your marketing approach to changes in their incomes, lifestyles, media consumption habits and buying behaviors. Use both secondary research from other sources and primary research—that is, simply asking your customers what they want and need.

These four simple resolutions will make a big difference in your results—I promise.

What are your marketing resolutions for 2014?

--Rieva Lesonsky