Workshop aims to boost small businesses in Steamboat

SCORE, CMC event to discuss topics for entrepreneurs

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If you go

What: “Next Steps,” a workshop hosted by SCORE and Colorado Mountain College for small business owners and prospective entrepreneurs

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 19, 21, 26 and 28

Where: CMC’s Alpine Campus in Steam­boat Springs, Bogue Hall, Room 300

Cost: $80 total for four evenings; light snacks and coffee will be provided

Contact: For information or to register, contact Randy Rudasics at 970-870-4491 or rrudasics@coloradomtn.edu.

— Throw an October snowball in downtown Steamboat Springs or on Copper Ridge Drive, and it’s hard not to hit someone running their own business or taking a stab at something new.

Even in the lingering throes of the so-called Great Recession, as tightened regulations check banks’ lending ability and capital can be hard to find, Steamboat is flush with entrepreneurs.

Randy Rudasics thinks it has something to do with the independence, energy and make-your-own-way spirit of people who settle in Steamboat.

“Those are the same kind of personality traits that often foster entrepreneurship,” he said. “Not only that, but there’s not a lot of cubicle jobs in Steamboat. … You look around town and most of our restaurants, retail shops, service businesses are all home grown.”

Rudasics, manager of the Bogue Enterprise Center at Colorado Mountain College’s Alpine Campus, is trying to fuel that entrepreneurial fire even more this month.

Through CMC and Yampa Valley SCORE, Rudasics is hosting a four-session workshop that starts next week and will offer an array of instruction and tools for those looking to start a small business or improve one already running.

SCORE is a volunteer arm of the U.S. Small Business Administration and has been offering the workshop, called “Next Steps,” annually for the past six years.

Rudasics said the recession has spurred a focus on lending, working with banks and financial planning.

“It’s more challenging to borrow money, and we’re very honest about that,” he said. “Even if you have a killer idea and business plan, it can still be hard to borrow if you don’t have the financial history” or collateral.

This year’s workshop includes presentations from local professionals about topics including finance, insurance, location, borrowing money, customer service and more.

Mike Forney said he’ll speak for about an hour during one of the sessions about financing options for budding businesses.

He said a solid business plan that projects financials throughout at least two years and assesses customer potential and other market factors is essential when approaching a lender.

“You really have to go into the bank with a good idea on what you want to accomplish and what it’s going to cost,” he said.

He also stressed the importance of knowing your credit score and having solid collateral, such as home equity or equipment assets.

“There’s not many institutions these days that are lending just on a signature,” Forney said.

Forney said, in his experience, the Next Steps workshop provides good information across a range of business topics.

“It’s a great program to kind of lay the groundwork for people to get a business plan together and start moving forward,” he said.

Rudasics said the quality of speakers and information justifies the workshop’s $80 cost.

“To buy this kind of training would be very expensive in the metropolitan area, so we think it’s a swingin’ deal,” he said.

For information or to register, contact Rudasics at 970-870-4491 or rrudasics@coloradomtn.edu.

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