SBDC Template


Babette's Feast Catering & Bakery

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Written by John Feeley, Photos Courtesy Bob Wonch, LifeStorm Creative Media

“I needed help. We wanted professional advice. We were starting to grow.”
Rudy Burns,
Co-owner, Babette’s Feast Catering and Bakery
Client, Small Business Development Center
Pictured with wife and co-owner Angi Burns

What’s a CPA working as a health-care administrator to do for a second career? Follow his passion. What’s a nurse practitioner to do in her off hours? Dream up cake creations.

Rudy Burns’s passion is to feed people, and his wife, Angi, has a creative side. While living in Arkansas, Rudy attended the Arkansas Culinary School in Little Rock. They consulted with a Small Business Development Center, where they were counseled to stay away from opening a restaurant. But catering – there was the opportunity to follow his passion.

Moving to Fort Collins to follow their dream, they settled on buying an existing business – Babette’s Feast Catering and Bakery. (Yes, it’s named after the movie.)

Three years into the business, they focus on the bakery – meaning custom cakes; catering – weddings and lunches; and wholesale baking – supplying hotels and independent coffee and tea shops with quiches, croissants, sweet breads, and carrot cake and other desserts.
A year after taking over the business, they realized Rudy needed some more advice. As a CPA, he had the finance side of the business down pat. And the cakes, with Angi’s assistance, were hitting a creative sweet spot.

“We needed help,” Rudy says. “We wanted professional advice. We were starting to grow. We had no marketing background, and the business was about to take off.” The business has grown 150 percent. And it’s no longer just the two of them. They have three employees.
Says Angi, “We wanted to make sure we were realistic in our expectations.”

The Larimer Small Business Development Center helped them start down the path by giving objective advice. They met one-on-one with a business consultant, a marketing consultant and a social-media consultant (find Babette’s on Facebook, Pinterest, and the web).
Their business plan includes maintaining the fundamentals that has made Babette’s successful – things like traditional recipes and natural food and flavors – and adding a retail cake shop. Custom cakes are their speciality, but they see a niche in Fort Collins for a walk-in store. And they’re ready with a name: Daddy Cakes Bakery. That would be Rudy.

“So far, it’s been a lot of hard work,” Angi says, “and we will keep working hard to become as successful as we possibly can be.”


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Imagine a place where authors, inventors, and thought-leaders meet and compare stories! Consider the new possibilities when creators interact with those outside of their field…that scene is the Quid Novi Conference!

Take your Book, Invention, or Idea through the door of success! Let’s get busy marketing your creative output.  Take your creativity from tired brainstorming to the new, exciting rolestorming

Don’t miss the big 5th annual!
October 25, 2014! 
Full Conference fee: $195.00.   
(Educational Discount Tickets: $45.00)

Business Protection Summit & Resource Day

Thursday, October 02, 2014
You are invited to join the Colorado SBDC for a full day summit focusing on disaster preparedness, designed to connect you with valuable resources and information! This is set to be a fantastic event, and whether or not you were affected by the recent floods and fires across our state, you will come away from the event with more knowledge about what to do when disaster strikes.

         Wildflower Pavilion at Planet Bluegrass
         500 W. Main St.
         Lyons, CO 80540

         Friday, October 17, 2014
         8:00 am - 5:30 pm
         Registration is $25

Click here to register online now!

Don't miss this unique opportunity to connect with a wide variety of resources, as well as other local business owners!

Presented by

5th Annual Northwest Colorado Women's Small Business Conference

Monday, September 15, 2014

Registration is open for the 5th Annual Northwest Colorado Women's Small Business Conference on October 10 at Copper Mountain, and session topics and speakers have been posted

This year's conference will feature keynote speaker Sylvia Theisen, founder of She Takes the Lead

Theisen provides keynote speeches, training and coaching to women and women-focused businesses, combining her natural empathy and business savvy with a generous dose of humor. Theisen's innate ability to take personal development topics and naturally weave them into the fabric of a conference provides a lively and interesting alternative to industry-specific presentations. Her keynote, "Straight Talk to Boost Your Bottom Line," will teach women how to recognize and eliminate one of the top offenders in women's speech habits, what your customers may not be telling you but you need to know, and why silence is often your best negotiating strategy.

Breakout sessions and speakers include:

  • Creating a Community-Wide Marketplace | Katherine Correll, Downtown Colorado Inc.
  • Build Business Confidence Through Accounting | Rosy McDonough, Colorado SBDC
  • Sell Yourself Easily | Jolina Karen, Jolina Karen Inc.
  • Fuel Efficient Search Engine Optimization | Kristy Lee Gogolen, KL Creative
  • Your Happiness and Fulfillment IS Your Bottom Line | John Longhill, Swan Center Outreach
  • Women and the Art of Negotiation | Janesse Brewer, 23.4 Degrees
  • Success Strategies for Female Entrepreneurs | Michele Markey, Kauffman FastTrac
  • Growing Your Business Using Cloud-Based Technology | Bob Dowski, Colorado SBTC
  • 5 Steps to Crafting a Billion Dollar Message | Gerry O'Brion, What Big Brands Know 
  • Integrated Digital Marketing that Works | Kimberly Graham and DJ Horton, Layer Cake Creative
  • The Story Behind Social Media | Stefanie Kilts, Stefanie Kilts Consulting
  • Creating Your Roadmap to Success | Julia Gentry, Crankset Group
  • Build Meaningful Relationships | Alana Muller, Coffee Lunch Coffee

The conference will also feature a "Money Cafe," where attendees can sign up throughout the day to meet one-on-one with lenders from local, state and national traditional and non-traditional lending institutions.

For session descriptions, speaker bios and more information, click here. 

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.