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Five Technology Solutions That can Help You Grow and Protect Your Business in 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015
 

Friday, August 21, 2015

12:00 - 1:30 PM


Five key technologies that you should be using in 2015 to take your business to the next level:
  1. 1) Network Security & Data Backup -  Is your network and data really secure?
  2. 2) Customer Relationship Management (CRM)  - Are you nurturing your existing clients and bringing on new ones?
  3. 3) Social Media & Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Can potential customers find you on the web? 
  4. 4) Client Service & Support Ticketing systems – Are your customers experiencing world class customer service? 
  5. 5) On Line Payments & Electronic Invoicing – Want to get paid faster?
You will walk away with an actionable game plan for evaluating how important these technologies are for your specific business.   The course will provide an outline for how to implement a solution that best fits your needs and at a price you can afford.   Technology doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  




Our event sponsor for this session is:

 

Larimer SBDC Success Story - From Surviving to Thriving

Friday, May 15, 2015
Story and Photos by: Kat Rico

Some entrepreneurs wear the label of ‘serial entrepreneur’ proudly, and Diane Muno is no exception. She spent 15 years in healthcare management as part owner of a Chicago business that was successfully sold. She began looking for a business to buy when she found The Spruce House in Estes Park. “It had a cozy feel, like Grandma’s house, along with good financials.” In 2010, she celebrated the grand opening of The Spruce House and The Christmas Shoppe.

After she took ownership of these two businesses, she discovered a fellow business owner wanted to sell her retail shop, The Bean Blossom, which Diane jumped at the chance to buy and convert her vision for The White Orchid. She had a bridal store concept simmering and decided the brand provided her the perfect opportunity to expand. In 2012, The White Orchid Bridal was opened. 

This was about the time Diane had her first brush with disaster. In June of 2012, the area surrounding Estes Park was plagued by wildfires. She recalled taking delivery of inventory as the fire helicopters flew overhead, but her businesses survived. 

Diane wasn’t done with disasters yet though; in September of 2013 Estes Park was hit with flooding not seen for well over 100 years. “The flood almost bankrupted us,” Diane said, “but while I was busy worrying about how to meet payroll, my staff were dealing with not having a place to live. Seasonal employees just packed up early, but longtime residents were forced out of their homes and really struggled because there were no rentals available.” One of Diane’s businesses closed for 75 days and another for 10 days, but the impact of loss of tourism lasted longer.

Facing the difficult decision of whether to continue the businesses, Diane applied for an SBA Disaster Loan. “When I got the check, I cried. I was glad that I could continue my businesses, but afraid to take on more debt.” Through this assistance and United Way grants, her businesses were able to continue, but the tourism-based economy didn’t bounce back quickly. She continued working with the Larimer SBDC to apply for the Recover Colorado Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), which she was awarded in early 2015. “The SBDC outreach and assistance helping us get organized for the application process was crucial.”

Diane worked with the landlord of the White Orchid Bridal property when she saw businesses to the left and right of her store closing. After proposing another business venture, a wall was brought down to expand the shop for Diane’s latest brainchild: a shop with trendier items called Liz & Jo’s. The grant money allowed her to finance the expansion, purchase inventory, advertising, a website upgrade for all her shops and even shoot a commercial.

When asked about the most exciting part of owning multiple businesses Diane says, “It’s about seeing them thrive versus just surviving. Consumerism has changed; the way people has vacation has changed. The silver lining of the flood is that it forced us as a community to deal with changing competitive tourism.”

To help with ongoing economic recovery and planning, Diane contributes to several boards. The town has received an EDA grant for economic development she hopes will move the economy from seasonal to a more sustainable year-round economy. Diane is proud to help move the community forward, both as a business owner and an active individual. “Our contributions will pay off in the future.”

More information about Diane's businesses can be found online at: 
     Liz & Jo's

Hear more about Diane's story:

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.

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

       Date/Time/Registration
         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!

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