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Is Your Point of Sale System Secure and Effective?

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Retail Industry: Is Your Point of Sale System Secure and Effective?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

If you’re a retail business in 2017, chances are you’ve got some sort of electronic Point of Sale (POS) system. It might be stationary in your brick and mortar location, you may be an online retailer with a virtual POS, and if you do events you’ve probably got a mobile POS. This technology is great, but it comes with a unique set of challenges related to not only operation, but security. We have an important question for you: Is your POS system secure and effective?

          How do you know?

Without getting a degree in cybersecurity, it can be difficult to understand and keep pace with all the changes in payment processing and data security, especially for retailers who have so many other concerns on their plates. According to the National Retail Federation, an estimated 8% of data breeches occur within the retail industry, not accounting for credit card company breeches. These breeches put customers’ financial data at risk, and damage consumer confidence in the businesses they shop with. While large retailers make the headlines because of the volume of data compromised in these breeches, small retailers also need to be aware of what they can do to protect their customers’ information.

Join us for our next Small Business After Hours as Ali Harris, Founder and Managing Consultant for Technical Framework, discusses what small retailers need to know about POS systems and cybersecurity. He’ll provide a high level overview of different types of POS systems, how the information they collect travels, security issues this creates, and more. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions from an expert in the IT field and network with other retailers.


Our Presenter

Ali Harris - Technical Framework

Ali is a veteran of the IT world with over 20 years of experience in technology services for small- and medium-sized businesses ranging from five to 300 employees.  Ali founded Technical Framework, an all services provider of computers, networks and secure technology business solutions, in 2010.   Ali’s academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from University of Phoenix.  In his leisure time, Ali enjoys watching sports and studying emerging technologies for business.  




10 Amazing Ways to Motivate Your Retail Sales Team

Thursday, September 01, 2016

10 Amazing Ways to Motivate Your Retail Sales Team

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Innosphere
320 E. Vine Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524 (Map It!)


It's true. 30- 40% of most retailer's sales are done during the Holiday season.
Are you ready?
Have you set the goals for your team?
Thought of contest ideas?
How do you engage your sales team to sell more?
What will set your store apart from your competition?


We will talk about these questions and more when we explore 10 amazing ways to motivate your retail sales team to have the best holiday ever. Be ready to engage with your fellow retailers in this interactive, fun session about how to make the holidays a very special, rewarding season for you, your team and your customers.


Our Presenter

 
Annette Pedersen - Summit View Retail Solutions 


After spending over 30 years in the specialty women's and men's apparel business, Annette Pedersen decided to take her passion for training and retail knowledge to independent retailers throughout the United States. As a regional vice president for a national women's retailer she was responsible for up to 120 store locations and prided herself in building revenue and sales by focusing on the development of teams, providing training in leadership, merchandising/display, hiring/training, mastery of customer service, marketing and inventory management. Having graduated with a Masters in Organizational Leadership, she has much to teach and share with others. Additionally, she can relate firsthand with the struggles of independent retailers since she owns her own better women's consignment boutique. Her retailing consulting firm, Summit View Retail Solutions, strives to build financial security for independent retailers by providing them the best expertise in the industry.




Small Business After Hours - Food Trends

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Food Trends

Tuesday, September 13, 2016
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Innosphere
320 E. Vine Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524 (Map It!)
You’ve probably tried “savory” yogurts by Chobani and Larimer County’s own Noosa Yogurt, but have you tried algae? Do you know what Poke is? How about Baobab? Hear about new ethnic flavors that trend-setting restaurants are promoting.

Get the latest info on gluten-free, non-GMO, and organic food trends, including the demand for better nutritional transparency and labeling, not just at home but in restaurants and commercial institutions as well. What does a “clear label” mean? What is the impact on the business owner from these customer expectations?

More and more customers are seeking better nutrition, and better nutritional information. What expectations does this create for the food business? How should the business operator respond?


Our Panelists

 
Ashley Colpaart - The Food Corridor 


Ashley is the Founder and CEO of The Food Corridor, a virtual food hub that provides real-time search and discovery, online booking, financial transactions, specificity and fit, and user verification to enable food businesses access to commercial kitchen spaces they need.

The Food Corridor is the first food technology start-up aiming to regionalize food systems through reducing redundancy, increasing efficiencies, and providing a seamless user interface for any user seeking out commercial kitchens, commissaries, processing, co-packing and food storage spaces. At the same time, we allow institutions and businesses to more effectively utilize their assets, providing additional revenue streams to commissaries, schools, food banks, churches, restaurants and more.

 
Betsy Craig - MenuTrinfo


Betsy Craig an Award Wining, expert in the food service industry on menu labeling and trends with a passion for those with special dietary needs. She is the CEO and the Founder of MenuTrinfo®, LLC and AllerTrain by MenuTrinfo, LLC, a leading company providing accredited nutrition & food allergy solutions. Her expertise extends to food safety, managing food allergens in the food service space and Gluten-free solutions thanks to AllerTrain. The nations only ANSI accredited training for food service for food allergies. Betsy writes for many national publications and a much sought after speaker in the hospitality industry.

 
 Tina Mooney - The Fox & The Crow


In November 2014, Tina opened The Fox & the Crow, an artisan cheese and meat shop in mditown Fort Collins. She is a certified cheesemonger with an educational background in art history, which means eh really loves the stories behind the cheeses she sells. While her shop takes cheese seriously, they bring a levity to the intimidating nature of artisan cheese. Her employees are all well versed in cheese, and are happy to explain what makes each one special and offer recipes and pairing suggestions. T o make it to her grand opening, she worked closely with the SBDC while developing her plan, and has now expanded her shop offerings to include catering.



Small Business After Hours: Your Creative Advantage

Monday, April 18, 2016

Your Creative Advantage


Colorado is a global leader in the creative industries, which include six creative sectors: design, film and media, heritage, literary and publishing, performing arts, and visual arts and crafts. The “Creative” Industry is as big as the imagination.  So how do you make yourself not only stand out as an artist, but also thrive?
 
Please join our panel of diverse, creative Artrepreneurs for some peer networking with refreshments, followed by a panel discussion on topics such as:
•         I’ve created, now how do I get heard/seen?
•         Making a living with your art
•         The new creative class -  What works in today's marketplace 
•         How to attract and delight your ideal “customer”


 
Amelia Caruso
Amelia attended the Arts Academy of Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati. She studied Documentary Photography and brings that sense of “composing inside the viewfinder” to her paintings. Her work as been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country including Ft Collins Museum of Art and many Art in Public Places projects in Colorado. Amelia worked on television’s Will & Grace. Now she has found a more purposeful & powerful work with the introspective look of her current direction. Amelia also has a very successful fabric line called “Effervescence” with industry leader Robert Kaufman Fabrics.
 
 
Dawn Duncan
is a music industry executive and the owner of Yellowbright, Inc., an agency dedicated to licensing and consulting for musicians. Additionally, she is the founder and President of Sugarfox Records, an indie label founded in 2014 and designed to co-brand between companies and bands as a way of cross-marketing and also funding album recording and promotion. In 2015, she assumed the role of Managing Editor of Scene Magazine, a 26-year old music, nightlife, entertainment, and lifestyle publication for the Front Range of Colorado. She has been a Fort Collins resident and entrepreneur since moving to Colorado in 1994 from Minnesota and is a graduate of the University of North Dakota.
 
Jennifer Spencer
Moved forward by an insatiable curiosity of life and learning, Jennifer Spencer has explored song writing and recorded songs, invented and patented products, been the CEO of start-up ventures, successfully commercialized products on an international scale and sung in rock&roll bands.  Jennifer is currently focusing her creativity on abstract oil painting.  She is a consultant and mentor to new businesses at the Small Business Development Center.  
 
 Peggy Lyle
A native of Santa Fe, Peggy is passionate about the arts and creative approaches to business and communications. With 20+ years of event production, marketing, and programming for Downtown Fort Collins and The Rhythm Co., she’s aided musicians, performers, galleries, artists, non-profits, small businesses and events navigate promotion, audience cultivation, programming and business strategy. Highlight Projects/Boards: Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, FoCoMX, Colorado Brewers’ Festival, FC Gallery Walk, Downtown Fort Collins Creative District and TriMedia Film Festival.

 
 Gregg Adams
began as a musician, performing at venues throughout the U.S.  After a stint in the corporate world, Gregg began to concentrate on artistic and philanthropic pursuits.  He joined 2-time Grammy award winning band Arrested Development as business affairs manager, generating substantial increases in revenue and visibility for the band.  In 2008 Gregg, along with his wife and business partner Wendy, founded 2 Fat Farmers Productions, a production company committed to creating personalized entertainment and training options for corporate and private customers. Gregg has personally managed a variety of artists, including Young Ancients, the Holler!, Michael Kirkpatrick, Carlton Pride and Fierce Bad Rabbit, for whom he secured a synchronization deal to provide music for New Belgium Brewing’s first national TV commercial, to name a few.


Thank you to our event sponsor:








Restaurant & Food Products - Competitive Advantage

Monday, February 15, 2016

Restaurant & Food Industry - "Competitive Advantage"

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Panel Event


A quick search of Larimer County restaurants yields nearly 2,000 results, not including food products. With so many food based businesses, how do you set yourself apart? For our March “Small Business After Hours Event,” we’re bringing together a panel of experts to discuss Competitive Advantage in the food industry. Some of the points we’ll be discussing are:

How do you position your business versus your main competitors?
How do you present your business to new potential customers?
How do you evaluate new products/services to better position your business?
What’s worked/what hasn’t from businesses who have been there?
How do you strategically price your offerings?

Join us for this great event and take advantage of the opportunity to learn and network with potential partners for your business. We’ve all got to eat, learn why we should eat what you’re selling!

Our panelists for this event will be:


Jennifer Lopez is the owner of Swallowtail Foods, LLC, in Fort Collins, which manufactures a line of instant chai latte mixes called Pi Chai. Pi Chai made its debut in 2014, and is sold at local stores & coffeeshops in Colorado. Jennifer has 25+ years of experience in the food & beverage industry.
 

Owner of Loveland's Generations Wine & Martini Bar, Erin Borsdorf came to Larimer county in 2006, operating/managing several restaurants including Cafe Vino, Vincent, Woody's Wood Fired Pizza, and Basil Flats (Longmont) among others before working at Loveland's Pourhouse Bar and Grill for two years. During this time she developed a business plan to open present day Generations. She has a background in secondary education, has worked as a political strategist in IL, and holds degrees in theatrical design, social sciences, and communication, as well as licensing as a secondary educator and real estate agent.

Ken King has operated, rescued, designed and built over 100 independent restaurants in his 40-year food service career. He has owned a successful steakhouse, family restaurant, hot dog stand, prime rib house, and European bistro.Ken is an expert at improving business performance, creating new brands, identifying opportunities, and working with clients on specific operational and development challenges. He is available to SBDC clients for troubleshooting, business evaluation, and specialized assistance.
Patrick O'Neill is a Colorado native, born to an entrepreneurial family. Patrick served 6 years in the Marine Corps as an intelligence analyst. He graduated from CU Boulder in 1991 with a degree in political science. Patrick then managed his family’s industrial painting business and later entered a career in law enforcement. In 2012 he and his wife, Stefanie, bought Vern’s Toffee House from her family and continue to nurture its growth.

Thank you to our event sponsor:












Top 5 Business Real Estate Tips

Friday, February 12, 2016
by Kat Rico

Our first 2016 “Small Business After Hours” event drew another great crowd! Presenter Andy Smith of Chrisland Real Estate Companies gave us some valuable information on expectations for leasing real estate for a retail business. In case you missed it, we wanted to give you a recap of what was discussed!

Andy gave us definitions for nearly 30 common real estate terms, a few worth noting are:
Baseline rent – This is typically the advertised rent cost for a property. Lessee beware though, this may not include all of the property fees, such as maintenance, snow removal, parking arrangements, etc.
Triple Net/Net Lease/NNN – A type of lease that includes the tenant paying maintenance, real estate taxes, and insurance premiums.
Rent escalator – The agreed upon amount of increase for costs associated with the lease, including rent. A common rate for a rent escalator is 3%.

Along with all of the great terminology, here are the top 5 tips we’ve pulled together from Andy’s presentation:
1. Everything is negotiable - This includes everything right down to the tenant finish costs; can the landlord front the cost for any finishing and add it to the monthly cost of the lease? It’s worth asking!

2. Find a real estate broker to represent your interestsThe landlord has a broker, but that broker is working for the landlord’s best interests. You want to have a broker working for your best interest. If you engage a broker, your broker has a fiduciary duty to you and only you. Worried that the landlord will not want to work with your broker? Actually, it’s the opposite; most landlords prefer to work with someone (like a broker) who already speaks their language.

3. Think about your timeline, now double itThese things take time! The days of 2-3 page leases are gone, most are more like 20-30 pages now. Along with a broker, it’s recommended that you retain an attorney to review and interpret the lease for you, so you know what you’re getting in to.

4. Location, location, location - Is the space you’re looking at good for its convenience or as a destination? If it’s for convenience, it’ll probably be easily seen from a major street and have ample parking and your customers will be going there for you. If it’s for a destination, your customers will go to the area as an attraction. Destination spaces tend to have a higher rent premium. 

5. Parking and pedestrian traffic - Does your lease include specific parking spots for your customers or employees? Is the parking in front of your business leased to another nearby shop? Clarify these details before signing a lease. Also, the city should be able to provide you with vehicles per day and pedestrian counts for the area you’re looking at leasing, but you have to ask.

Of course this doesn’t encompass every question that was asked last Tuesday, but hopefully it gives you a good idea of what was covered. Are you looking at leasing a space? Meet with an SBDC consultant to discuss what that means for your business before you make the leap! Schedule an appointment by calling 970-498-9295, or send us a request at: http://www.larimersbdc.org/consulting.

Health & Wellness Business - Funnel Vision

Monday, October 26, 2015

Health & Wellness Business - Funnel Vision

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Speaker: Reu Smith, Customer Acquisition Expert

Do you have all the pieces for a great marketing plan but don't know how to start putting them together? 
Funnel Vision will help you understand the right piece to use as your starting point, and how to put your marketing pieces into action to complete the entire marketing puzzle picture. We will discuss how to attract strangers to gain visitors, how to connect visitors into customers and how to delight customers into brand champions. 

Funnel Vision will help you decide when and how to use social media, call-to-action, blogs, newsletters, posts, tweets, pins, pluses. 

Funnel Vision is taught by an experienced and eccentric marketing agency owner who will keep your attention while laughing and learning. You will have serious fun at this event!

Thank you to our event sponsor:






Hiring, Connecting With, and Keeping Employees

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On October 20th, the Larimer SBDC held our second Small Business After Hours event targeted at the restaurant and food product industry. We pulled together a great panel covering a variety of restaurants and a food manufacturer to specifically address workforce issues faced in these industries.

       
Carolyn Reed
Silver Mine Subs Franchises
Ryan Houdek
The Melting Pot,
Rodizio Grill, Social
Mark Havens
Cafe Vino
Josh Skow
Canyon Bakehouse

Restaurants and food product companies face unique issues when it comes to workforce. Some restaurants, like the Silver Mine Subs franchises owned by Carolyn Reed, are looking for entry level employees. Others like The Melting Pot, Social, and Rodizio Grill owned by Ryan Houdek, or Café Vino which is managed by Mark Havens, are looking for experienced restaurant staff who match the culture of their establishments. For food product manufacturers like Canyon Bakehouse, CEO Josh Skow says finding someone whose character traits align with the company goals is most important. Regardless, they all face the same larger problems of hiring the right person that fits with their company values, overcoming generational issues, and employee retention. 

Hiring Processes

Harness Technology – Using a digital application process helps Carolyn efficiently sort through applicants. She sets the metrics on the program to give weight to people with prior restaurant experience.Interview Best Practices – Sometimes it’s easier to find out if they’re not a right fit. Ryan asks disqualifying questions during the interview; if a candidate is expecting to always make $300 per shift, they’re probably not a good fit for his restaurant.Company Culture as a Hiring Tool – All of our panelists agreed that they are looking for candidates that fit their company values and culture. If there is a mismatch in the beginning, it is likely to cause a variety of problems later.

Generational Issues

Millennials Are… Different – Between a difference in learning styles, work ethic and a need to like their boss, millennial present a new set of challenges for business owners with generationally diverse workforces.Communicating with Millennials is… Different – According to Carolyn, you need to set your expectations for millennial workers upfront and in a clear manner. When communicating and coaching them, you have to decide if you will take a less direct tone or if the employee is worth the time it may take to get them trained.
An Intergenerational Approach is…. Different – The need to like their boss presents a unique opportunity for millennials in intergenerational workforces. “We are the missing element in learning a work ethic,” says Ryan. At the Canyon Bakehouse, they have a shift that is managed by a baby boomer with mostly millennial workers. Giving the team well-communicated shared goals helps them work as a team.

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Employee Retention

Compensation is More than a Paycheck – Providing benefits like health insurance add to the value an employee gets from their paycheck. Café Vino also has a profit sharing program. Mark says this gives him an extra 35 bosses telling him how he can do it better, and it also helps employees feel vested and take ownership of the business.Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly – Normalize feedback and coaching processes and address issues quickly and casually. From the manager standpoint, always document even verbal warnings, and don’t be afraid of using write-ups as a second step. The kindest thing you can do for your employees is let them know what the issue is and how to correct it quickly and professionally.
Honor Employees on a Regular Basis – Say goodbye and thank you to employees every evening, keep gift cards for when you catch employees doing something right, celebrate employee milestones on a regular basis. Hire the right management, because they will properly train your employees and provide them the right encouragement.
Of course it is difficult to capture a panel discussion like this in a few hundred words, but we want to make sure to share these insights with you. Are you in this industry? We’re planning for 2016 right now, so send your feedback on possible topics to kat@larimersbdc.org!

We will be continuing with our Small Business After Hours series with a Health & Wellness Businesses “Funnel Vision” workshop coming up on November 10, 2015.

10+ Retail Holiday Boot Camp Takeaways

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Our Small Business After Hours series is proving to be a hit! Nearly 30 people representing a wide variety of retail shops throughout Fort Collins attended our September 22nd event.

Alyson MacMullan of Peak Retail Group gave us some great takeaways for retailers to remember as they enter their holiday planning period.
1. Lay all your key dates from November through January (yes, January) on a physical calendar
• Sometimes you may see correlations on paper that aren’t obvious in a digital format.• Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year!
2. Determine your goals for the holiday season
• Do you want more sales in dollars or in transactions? Do you have targets for how much inventory you want to move? Are you aiming for less January markdowns?• If you don’t have data from last year to drive your goals, make sure you begin collecting it this year! What works? What doesn’t?
3. Pick a color pallet for your store displays and stick to it!  
• Highlight high margin inventory in your displays.• Hint: It doesn’t have to be red and green, in fact, your store’s brand colors work very well! 
4. Consider all elements for the in-store experience: Sights, sounds, smells 
• Offer extras like a free stocking stuffer, free gift wrapping and bounce back offers with every purchase.• Do everything you can to keep shopping stress-free and easy for your customers. 
5. Proper staffing is a challenge for retailers during the holidays
• Signs are your silent salespeople. Make them informative and interesting so customers can answer their own simple questions.• Arm your salespeople with mobile payment options so they can help customers avoid lines at the register.
6. Social media is your friend!
• Post every day! Use a planning/scheduling service like SnapRetail, Hootsuite or SproutSocial to help you plan out several days in one easy shot.• People love contests and flash sales, utilize these techniques!• An image is worth 1,000 posts. Show your staff decorating the store!
7. E-mail is your friend too, but be cautious
• Find an e-mail template and stick with it for the season. It will make your life easier and your customers will recognize your communications.• ONE offer per e-mail only, and keep it clean and concise. People are already stressed during the holidays, your communication should make it easy for them.
8. 12 Days of Christmas Promotions are very effective!
• Drive traffic into your store by offering serious discounts (50-75% off) on a high margin, highly stocked item each day.• These are top secret deals! Resist the urge to reveal the promos early. Pre-schedule deal communication to save yourself a headache.
9. Your merchandise assortment shouldn’t vary dramatically during the holidays; the majority of your stock should be tried and true items 
• NEVER run out of your top sellers, that’s a missed opportunity!• Don’t accept late deliveries from your vendors. Communicate clearly and directly when you need your merchandise by and if they can’t meet your deadlines, don’t accept deliveries.
10. Restock key items for January and mix up the look of your store

Sound like a lot of information? We assure you, this was only the tip of the iceberg! 

Thank you Alyson for all of the excellent information you provided!

If you’re a retailer and need help digesting and applying this information, we encourage you to schedule with a Larimer SBDC consultant now to help with planning out your holiday strategy!

Restaurant & Food Industry Workforce Issues Panel

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Restaurant & Food Industry Workforce Issues Panel

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

No matter what business you’re in, attracting and retaining top talent is always an issue. How do you retain and reward good employees? How do you successfully recruit qualified employees? What workforce issues are you dealing with now? What works? What doesn’t?

Just for our restaurant and food businesses, we’ve assembled a great panel of professionals to address these workforce issues. Come prepared with your questions and get answers from people who have been there and done that!

Our Panelists:

  Ryan Houdek moved to Fort Collins in 1995 to work as a Computer Engineer for Hewlett-Packard Company. In 2004, Ryan decided to change careers and open The Melting Pot restaurant in Old Town. Then, in 2008, he opened Rodizio Grill in the historic train station. Later, in 2013, he opened Social with his business partner Ty Fulcher. Ryan currently lives in Rist Canyon with his wife Christine and dog Frodo.

 

  Carolyn Reed is president at Silver Bloom, LLC, a restaurant management company, since October 2012. She has experience with multi-unity restaurant management with an emphasis on restaurant design and construction management. As a restaurant franchisee of several Silver Mine Subs locations stretching from Cheyenne to Denver, her knowledge spans all aspects of restaurant management and operations.

 
  Josh Skow is the co-Founder and CEO of Canyon Bakehouse, a dedicated gluten free bakery located in Loveland, CO. The business was started in 2009 after seeing a need in the market for quality gluten free breads that were nutritious and tasted good. Canyon Bakehouse branded products are now sold in over 10,000 stores across the United States and Canada. Josh is a graduate of Kansas State University. In addition to owning and operating several businesses, he has held operations and sales positions with several major US and International food ingredient companies. Josh and his family reside in Colorado.

 
   Mark Havens is a Fort Collins Native, and after traveling the US in different capacities in the service industry returned home in 2009. Hired as the general manager he reinvented Café Vino taking a staff of 16 to 60 in a few short years. His passion for Café Vino is seen in the staff’s morale, his innovative ideas and providing an exceptional experience for his guests every night of the week. Mark is one of the hardest workers in Fort Collins, if you don’t see him at the door, he might be serving your dinner, making your drink, working as our handyman or possibly washing dishes in the kitchen.