SBDC Template


Fall Crash Course: Business Builder Intensive Open for Enrollment

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) announces the fall Crash Course: Business Builder Intensive, a 6 week hands-on intensive workshop for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs from October 6th to November 18th.

The Crash Course: Business Builder Intensive is designed for entrepreneurs who are challenged to create sustainable growth, sound marketing strategies and manage resources.  Based on the work by Steve Blank, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur's Business Model Canvas and Lean LaunchPad principles, The Crash Course: Business Builder Intensive helps business owners find viable product market fit that’s both scalable and profitable.

The course includes classroom presentations, customer development, and expert counseling sessions to help break through challenges to growth, identify market opportunities and determine financial profitability.

Utilizing a hands-on, practical and immediately useful approach to business planning and execution, the course is equally beneficial to new entrepreneurs and seasoned business owners.  Initially piloted in fall of 2013 with 10 local entrepreneurs, participants gave the course five stars.  Said one participant, “This class was incredible for me in the sense that I was lacking this kind of business savvy and it gave me a big burst of understanding and confidence…I would highly recommend a course like this to other entrepreneurs.”

Taught by entrepreneur and master facilitator Ariana Friedlander of Rosabella Consulting, this interactive workshop is designed to help get you “unstuck” and outfitted with the tools essential for a thriving business in the 21st century.

For more information about whether this class is right for you, attend a free informational session Monday, September 15th from 12-1 at the Larimer County Small Business Development Center, 320 East Vine Drive, Conference Room, Fort Collins

The workshop begins October 6 and runs each Monday afternoon through November 18.  The cost for participating is $295 per team.

For additional information and to register, visit our workshops at

More information about Ariana Friedlander is available at

Larimer SBDC Deserves City Support

Thursday, September 04, 2014

What do Little Bird Bakery, Pateros Creek Brewing Company, Green Ride Shuttle, and Rain Boutique have in common?   Answer- they are all clients and success stories of the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC), an organization that has provided FREE confidential consulting and business workshops to Fort Collins small businesses and startups for over 25 years.  This year, our organization will provide over 2400 free consulting hours of assistance, up 40% from last year, to 350+ local businesses and individuals. Our consultants provide unbiased expertise in marketing, accounting/finance, operations, startup basics/planning, plus offer a broad range of industry-specific insights.  We also perform business recovery assistance, including support to Estes Valley businesses impacted by the September 2013 flood.

Over the last three years, our local SBDC helped 78 new businesses start, created and saved over 800 jobs,  and increased client sales by $9.0M. Through our relationships with local commercial bankers, we helped clients raise $13M in capital for product and business expansion. We provide resources and tools for organic growth, to businesses and individuals here in Fort Collins. Additionally, we have performance objectives to support women-owned, minority-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.

The Larimer SBDC is funded at $65,000 per year by Front Range Community College (FRCC), a marvelous “unsung hero” of this program.  We also receive $65,000 per year of federal Small Business Administration (SBA) funding, for a combined $130,000 contribution EVERY YEAR to local “main street” businesses. Over the last 25 years, these two organizations contributed over $3.2M to our small business community!  This year, the City of Fort Collins awarded the SBDC a competitively-bid, one-time $17,500 grant. The City’s 2015/16 proposed budget DOES NOT FUND the SBDC’s $40,000 annual request, despite “Support Larimer SBDC” being a recognized initiative in the City’s own Economic Health strategic plan.  I believe this oversight needs to be corrected. 

I recognize the City has multiple “offers” competing for funding, and faces difficult choices. Given that, doesn’t it make sense to fund a program that’s already contributed over $3.2M in support of Fort Collins local businesses?  The City of Loveland supports its local program with over $100K of funding annually. So this year, if you are a Loveland business utilizing consulting/training help, the City of Loveland is investing in you at a 9-to-1  MULTIPLE over your Fort Collins competitor, on a per capita basis. Statewide, “competing” municipalities consistently and significantly fund their local SBDC centers.  

City of Fort Collins Council, I strongly encourage you to help support local businesses in your 2015/16 budget by funding offer #46.7 for the Larimer SBDC.  I believe FRCC and the SBA  deserve to see that their generous long-standing financial support  to the Fort Collins business community is reciprocated and appreciated.

Fort Collins businesses, please make your voice heard to City Council at  As a former Fort Collins business owner, I feel the Larimer SBDC is an importance asset for our small businesses.

Thank you.

Mike O’Connell
Larimer SBDC Director

Building Your Business on a Deeper Purpose

Monday, August 18, 2014
You’ve been building up your business, delivering great products for your customers with great service. But what happened to those dreams you had when you first started out? You were eager to change the world and make a difference you’d be proud to leave as your legacy.

In this session, Carl Dierschow, Small Fish Business Coaching will help you focus on how to bring out your deeper values through a well-designed business. We’ll look at some inspiring examples, then work through a straightforward process which you’ll be able to customize to your exact situation. You’ll build that foundation for a strong, inspiring company!

"Many of us want to make a difference," says Carl, "but then we get swept away in the day-to-day busy-ness.  Weeks, months and years pass without making much progress on  what's truly important."

This workshop will help businesses engage in a process that brings them back into alignment with their values.

Join us for the final workshop of the Free Summer Series, August 22nd from 12-1:30 at the Larimer SBDC.  The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.  Light snacks and refreshments will be provided and you are welcome to bring a lunch.


Carl Dierschow
Small Fish Business Coaching

Carl Dierschow is a member of Small Fish Business Coaching, located in Fort Collins. With over 15 years experience in business coaching for companies large and small, he helps business owners to create healthy, successful companies. Check out his website and his blog on this topic at

Converting Clicks to Customers

Monday, August 11, 2014

Is your website working for you?  Find out at this Friday's Free Summer Series Workshop, "Converting Clicks to Customers" from 12-1:30 at the Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Let's face it, as a business owner there seems to be a disconnect between clicks on your website and customers engaging on your website. Learn the secrets of how to read your website analytics, understand critical design placement for your website, and be empowered to make intelligent decisions to increase your customer engagement on your website.

While the workshop is free and open to the public, registration is required.  Light snacks and refreshments will be provided and you are welcome to bring a lunch.


Reu Smith
rif Marketing

Reu Smith focuses on helping others achieve success in business by combining his passion for people and fun with his expertise in marketing, creativity, and coaching. His unique style of work uses wit and an innate understanding of his clients to create individualized strategies that represent the soul of each business. Through his years running rfi|Marketing, Reu has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of marketing. He strives to bring each of his clients to the next level and knows that success is often a staircase instead of an escalator.

Raise Money, Build Community: Keys to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Monday, August 04, 2014

Fundraising and collaboration has transformed. Today’s global community is interested now more than ever in helping build strong communities, empowering each other to achieve dreams, and lend a helping hand to meaningful activities and ideas – all of which are being conducted online.

This Friday, August 8th from 12-1:30, Kristin Golliher from WildRock Public Relations & Marketing and McCabe Callahan from Community Funded will share their insights and the key components for building a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Golliher explains, “Crowdfunding gives organizations the opportunity see their ideas or businesses come to fruition all with support from their community. At WildRock, we’ve loved being helping clients identify the ‘why’ behind their crowdfunding efforts and help them craft meaningful stories to build support and brand advocacy before, during and long after crowdfunding campaigns.”

Crowdfunding harnesses all of these ideas, giving companies, nonprofits, individuals and startups a way to personally ask for a helping hand and, in turn, giving supporters an opportunity to give backing to what they’re most passionate about.

“This isn’t about just funding creative projects anymore, which was the foundation for crowdfunding’s initial popularity. Crowdfunding opens a new world of possibility for anyone to make their 'it' a reality,” says McCabe.

Between industry growth projections rocketing into the triple-digit billions in the next five years, and the technology in development in crowdfunding platforms, McCabe sees limitless potential and global reach for Community Funded.

Join the Larimer SBDC, Community Funded and WildRock Public Relations & Marketing to learn the what, why and how behind successful crowdfunding campaigns.

While the event is free and open to the public, registration is required.

Kristin Golliher
Founder & CEO
WildRock Public Relations and Marketing

Recognized as a highly motivated entrepreneur, valued community leader and trusted industry expert, Kristin Golliher has a reputation for delivering impressive results in areas such as media relations, social media, tradeshows, events, promotions, copywriting and crowdfunding campaigns. Over the past ten years, Kristin has seen time and time again the most underutilized and misunderstood strategies in establishing a booming business were public relations and marketing. To address the needs of businesses struggling in those areas, she founded WildRock PR & Marketing in 2012.  Driven by a passion to help clients share their stories, WildRock has partnered with Community Funded to develop successful crowdfunding campaigns for clients.

McCabe Callahan
Founder, Executive Problem Solver
Community Funded

McCabe arrived at Community Funded in the most conceivably natural way: his dream to open a second Mugs location at the Oval was thwarted by a combination of economic uncertainty (during the recession) and your garden-variety small business owner struggles, but ultimately supported by volunteer regulars at the flagship Mugs location in Fort Collins. Mugs at the Oval became a reality because individuals in McCabe’s community irrefutably believed in his vision. The stars aligned and McCabe encountered the vision that gave Kickstarter its kick, and McCabe and Blue Hovatter started discussing how to translate the power that crowdfunding afforded the creative arts to the power of community. After months of plotting and adding Ryan Stover to the great-minds machine, the idea of Community Funded was born.

Larimer SBDC Increased Consulting in First Half of 2014 by 62%

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
The Larimer Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided 1304 hours of free confidential consulting for its clients in the first half of 2014, a 62% increase over first half 2013 hours.

“We’ve done a lot of work over the last year to reach out to the business community, and let them know we can be a productive resource . Our consultants have done a great job of delivering value to the 284 clients we’ve served so far this year.”, says Mike O’Connell, Larimer SBDC Director.

Terri Donovan-Keirns, Larimer SBDC Program Coordinator, adds “ we’ve brought in some consultants with specific skill sets to help our clients. We’ve added two restaurant/food consultants, a supply chain expert, and more marketing specialists. We also have beverage/distillery and construction experts going through our consulting accreditation process, and they should be on-board shortly.”

The Larimer SBDC provides free confidential consulting and a wide range of low-cost business workshops.  The Larimer SBDC is hosted locally by Front Range Community College, and sponsored by the SBA, City of Fort Collins Economic Health Office, First National Bank, and others. The Larimer SBDC recently relocated into The Innosphere business incubator at 320 East Vine Street, Fort Collins.

Foodies Rule the Fort! Panel Discussion on Bringing Food to Market

Monday, July 28, 2014

This Friday, August 1st from 12-1:30 our Summer Series Workshops features a panel of four Foodies that will share their experiences and lessons learned on bringing food to market.  While the session is free, registration is required.  


Do you have an idea for a restaurant? Do you want to start a farm? Do you have a great food product that you want to see on the shelves of grocery stores?

This is your opportunity to learn from those who have gone before you in the food venture. Hear their stories and ask your questions.

Panelists include:

Henry Mouton
General Manager Motherlove Herbal Company

Henry Mouton is a business management and operations executive with over 26 years of experience in the restaurant industry as COO/Sustainability Director for The Rio Grande Mexican Restaurants. After helping build the company to 7 locations, Henry left the company in late 2012 to pursue the study of sustainability through Cleantech Fellows Institute, and to provide startups with advisory and mentoring assistance through the SAGE program at Rocky Mountain Innoshere. His areas of focus are operations and management, organizational development, and strategic planning. Henry enjoys the outdoors through hiking, cycling, and snowboarding.

Michael Baute
Spring Kite Farm
Together, Meghan and Michael have over 8 years of experience growing organic and biodynamic vegetables on the Front Range. In early 2012, after months of seeking the perfect land, they connected with the Mead family to lease their family farm on South Taft Hill Road. So began Spring Kite Farm. With formal education in both Soil Science and Zoology, they manage the farm and the land in a way that builds resilience and increases fertility. They can be found at the Larimer County Farmers Market, at restaurants in Fort Collins (including Café Vino, Wild Boar, Jax Fish House, Restaurant 415, Spoons, and others), and also offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares.

Chris Feuille
White Buffalo Kitchen
Chris started WB Kitchen in 2012 with his wife Anna. Creating is what Chris enjoys best. Whether it be new recipes in the kitchen, making spreadsheets, or fumbling through the finances Chris always enjoys a new challenge to navigate. WB Kitchen is constantly evolving and Chris believes making decisions based upon facts, reasoning, and intuition is the best way to run his business. One of Chris’s goals for WB Kitchen is to impact foodies and entrepreneurs all over. Chris wants to show that businesses can succeed and be profitable while utilizing unconventional methods of operation. Really being clear about what you are doing is a constant idea that Chris is constantly returning to. Always remember why it is you set out upon this particular path and what it is you wish to accomplish. In his limited spare time Chris enjoys playing the violin and spending time out in the woods with his family.

Scott Hapner
Chef Happy’s Gourmet
Involved in the local food community in northern Colorado for over 14 years, most notably the last 6 years as an associate with the Northern Colorado Food Incubator (NCFI) and BeLocal. Through the NCFI, Scott has been involved with food business incubation and support for farms, restaurants, catering companies, and value-added food businesses, where they successfully created many food business development programs, seminars, events, and winter farmers markets that provide food business start-ups and existing local food businesses an environment to grow, network, and expand their market. As a chef by trade, he has spent over 17 years in the food and beverage industry working his way from the dish tank to a fine-dining chef. He has worked in casual and fine-dining restaurants in Charleston, SC and Fort Collins, CO; from steak houses and Italian restaurants to chalk-board menu cafes and upstairs to fine dining restaurants.

REGISTER and bring your questions.

Growing Your Business with the Power of Video

Monday, July 21, 2014

People love watching videos.

Plain and simple, videos can tell more of a story quicker than printed words. And, entertainment and emotion reach people. Forecasts across the board show a continual growth in internet video consumption which translate to your potential audience growing by leaps and bounds.

However, the numbers aren’t as important as what and why they’re watching it. Telling your company or product story will soon become the bedrock for most marketing web experiences. In this seminar, David Priest and Brenda Rundback of Shadow Play Films, Inc. will provide 10 great ways to use video to help you gain exposure and increase your traffic.  And, we will discuss how to make a good story and why effective storytelling is a key element to your branding, training, and marketing.

Based in northern Colorado, Shadow Play Films produces narrative films, documentaries, corporate messaging, commercials and marketing.  Their clients include film producers, manufacturing, marketers, service trades, artists, non-profits — anyone with a message to tell. Their projects are distributed locally, nationally, and internationally.

Says Priest, "We approach all projects with an entertainment value while keeping the content as the star of each production.  Many businesses are using video in new ways and we hope to share how to reach their customers through video in this workshop".

As part of the Larimer SBDC's Free Summer Series Workshop, this session will take place Friday, July 25th from 12:00-1:30.  While the session is free, registration is required.

Light snacks & refreshments will be provided. You are welcome to bring a lunch. If you are unable to attend, please call us at 970-498-9295 to give your spot to another attendee. Overflow parking is located behind the wooden fence.


 David Priest began his career in the 1980’s and continues to be a key player as director, editor and cameraman. Keeping on top of quality storytelling and messaging trends is equal to his attention to current technology.  






Brenda Rundback began in the production industry when she started working with David in 1987. She enjoys the logistical details of production and office management as well as painting a scene with light and shadows.

More information can be found at as well as



Call For Makers - NoCo Mini Maker Faire 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014
​​Call for Makers is Open!

Applications will be accepted in July and August for Maker Participation

A hands-on celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness

Attention all makers, tinkerers, inventors, hackers and do-it-yourselfers: The call for entries is now open for Colorado’s largest Maker Event to be held at the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology in Loveland. Any groups or individuals interested in participating in this hands-on celebration of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness canfind out more and apply at  TheNoCo Mini Maker Faire particularly encourages exhibits that are interactive and that highlight the process of making things.  The Call for Makers is open from now through August 31.  


The maker community crosses boundaries of science and art, young and old, craftsmanship and technology, coming together to create the innovation economy.  The things we make define us as a society and build our future.  The people who invent, create, and make have the power to change the world.


This unique family-friendly event draws makers from all over the State to celebrate their unbridled creativity. Last year’s event drew thousands of makers and families from across the Rocky Mountain region and this year will be even bigger and better!  We’re creating a wide range of amazing Showcases to show off all of the wonderful things you are making – take a look and join us!  


Fly me to the Moon!
Aerospace, rockets and propulsion, things that take flight.


Making the Future – Youth entrepreneurship:
Including a Youth Entrepreneurs marketplace, Middle School Innovation Center, CSU Center for Entrepreneurship


Artisan Hall:
Metal arts, folk arts, woodworking, glassblowing, textiles spinning and weaving, quilting, natural products


Innovation to Commercialization:

Idea creation, Design and Entrepreneurship -  desktoptools, prototyping, market launch services, inventors

Manufacturing/Tools of Production – CNC Milling, 3 D printing, Digitizing, tools manufacturers, craftsman, tool shop, machine shop


Fun & Games:
Cardboard Challenge, Sculpture Games, Legos, Toy Hack


Statewide Robotics competition/Action Works, Robotics Experiences and presentations


Tech tinkerers:
Electronics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the amazing things you do with them! Fort Collins Museum of Discovery take-apart electronics, Sparkfun Soldering booth


STEAM Celebration:
Innovation in education and youth STEAM projects (STEM + A for Arts)


Connectivity paint, wire, National tech artists, Steampunk, fine arts and urban arts


Mad Scientists:
Colorado Labs – NIST, NCAR, CIRES, NREL….., science exhibitors


Pedal Power and Creative Cars:
bikes, boards, scooters, Nerdy Derby, CSU race team, art cars


Character Creators:
Making Stories, presentations from national Animators  andComic Book creators, R2D2s, Stormtroopers, Dalek, CosPlay


Local food and cultivation


In addition, we are creating collaborations throughout the region to bring you community projects that will knock your socks off!  We’re bringing in a manufacturing career faire, a VIP Maker Mixer, and a community-wide art project that you’ll be able to help create!  Stay tuned for more….


The NoCo Mini Maker Faire is an offshoot of the celebrated Maker Faire ( created in the SF Bay area that draws over 100,000 annually from all around the world. Hosted by the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology, the NoCo Faire is supported by Presenting Sponsor by SparkFun Electronics.  Additional Community Sponsors include Action Works Educational Non-Profit and the City of Loveland. To follow the development of the Faire and also learn more about the emerging Maker Movement and community resources for Makers, visit the websiteat or on Facebook at

Cyd Springer - 'Springing' Her Art Business Forward with the Larimer SBDC

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Written by Jonh Feeley, Photos Courtesy Jafe Parsons and Mike O'Connell

Artist Brushes Up on Business, Social Media Skills
After 25 years in northern Colorado as a graphic artist, copywriter, and greeting card designer, Cydney Springer put down the computer mouse and took up an artist’s paintbrush. With two years of study under other artists and a lifetime of interest in painting, she set out to capture the beauty and awe of Colorado landscapes.

She works with oil paint in an Estes Park studio with windows that frame Longs Peak. It’s no wonder landscapes and nature are her forte.

Exhibitions throughout United States
Over the past 10 years, she has exhibited throughout the United States, from the American Artist Professional League Annual Show in 2006 in New York City; Nomadas del Arte exhibitions in Santa Fe, N.M., and Dallas, Texas, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art in Alabama, and seven times an artist featured in the Governor’s Invitational Show in Loveland, Colo.

Several galleries represent her work: Aspen and Evergreen Gallery in Estes Park, Elk Horn Gallery in Winter Park, Mary Williams Fine Arts in Boulder, Rich Timmons Studio and Gallery in Doylestown, Pa. And the newly opened Cydney Springer Gallery at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.

The business side of art
Artists are entrepreneurs, of course. They are their own business. Like many artists, Cydney reached the point where she asked this question: How do I market myself?

She came to the Small Business Development Center and signed up for a course called Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs. It’s a 12-week business class. The Larimer County SBDC offered the class in Estes Park. 

“The SBDC entrepreneur program is multifaceted,” Cydney says. “I learned quite a lot.”

Top-notch consultants for top-notch advice
SBDC puts clients in contact with expert consultants. Cydney worked with Nelia Harper, an entrepreneur and strategist with more than 10 years of small-business ownership, sales, marketing, and business development experience. She also worked with Adam Shake, owner of Neanderthal Productions Social Media Consulting in Estes Park, and Tony Bielat, owner of Estes Park Marketing and a certified Project Management Professional.

“We went over what I had been doing and what I can do with different products,” Cydney said. She is expanding her offerings with prints, and her card line has been successful, too. Her website is set up for sales.

And now her new venture, the Cydney Springer Gallery at the Stanley. About 75 people attended the recent opening. The gallery is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

As if her painting and the new gallery aren’t enough, Cydney is organizing the Rocky Mountain Plein Air Painters to spend a week in Rocky Mountain National Park Sept. 17-28 as part of the park’s 100th anniversary. The gala opening is Sept. 25 at the Fall River Visitors Center. The French in the name of the association says what the artists do – they paint outdoors – in the “plein air.” So instead of being in her studio looking at the mountains, Cydney will be out in nature, her inspiration.