Thursday luncheon to feature small business tips

Learn how to acquire capital, use federal resources

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If you go

What: Success Steps Luncheon, offered by Colorado Mountain College and Yampa Valley SCORE and featuring Greg Lopez of the U.S. Small Business Administration

When: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday

Where: Rex's American Grill & Bar

Cost: $15

Call: Call Randy Rudasics at 870-4491 to RSVP.

— The most common questions Greg Lopez hears from small-business owners are, "Why are banks not lending?" and "Why is it so hard for me to get capital?"

He knows the answers are complicated. Lopez, Colorado's district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, said there are resources for small-business owners struggling through the recession. Lopez will share his ideas and offer tips about tapping into state and federal programs during his month's Success Steps Luncheon on Thursday offered by Colorado Mountain College and Yampa Valley SCORE. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. at Rex's American Grill & Bar. The cost is $15.

"I am certainly enthused to have Greg Lopez here : to explain the wide range of services that the SBA offers," said Randy Rudasics, event organizer and manager of CMC's Bogue Enterprise Center. "It's probably a lot more than most people think."

Rudasics said Lopez's duties include implementing economic initiatives and business development programs targeted at small businesses across the state. Lopez, a former mayor of Parker, said Thursday's discussion will include programs and resources provided by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Web resources, federal contract assistance and loan programs are also on the agenda.

And there is a lot that small-business owners can do on an individual level, outside of state and federal resources, to keep their business thriving, Lopez said.

"No business plans to fail, they fail to plan," he said. "They constantly, constantly need to be reinventing themselves."

Lopez said a SWOT analysis - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - always has to be in the forefront of planning for small-business owners. So does a willingness to build relationships with banks.

"There are banks and there are small businesses that if they sit down and get to know each other, and start working on that relationship, they will start to come together and work together," he said. "Right now, the relationships are being stressed because of what's going on in the economy."

In rural communities such as Steamboat Springs, Lopez said, small businesses are especially hurt by the recession's dip in consumer confidence.

"Because consumer confidence is down, those retail businesses that are relying on consumers on a consistent basis are hurt. : They are being supported by their neighbors and their friends," he said.

Call Rudasics at 870-4491 to RSVP for Thursday's event.

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