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CMC expanding small business resources

JULIE SUTOR

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Are you tired of toiling away for someone else’s profits? Does your boss stifle your creativity and dismiss your brilliant business ideas? Do you have fantasies of opening up your own deli, landscaping business or rafting company?If so, Colorado Mountain College (CMC) may be able to help rescue you from your workaday doldrums.CMC is developing new resources for aspiring entrepreneurs through its Small Business Development Center. The college just hired a new director, Kaye Jacobson, who plans to ramp up small business education and counseling in the nine counties CMC serves, including Summit.”It’s tremendously important to take advantage of these kinds of services,” said Jim Rodkey, a Frisco business owner who teaches two introductory business classes at the Summit campus. “Most people have no idea what it takes to start their own businesses. Younger people are either fresh out of school or don’t have college degrees. A lot of older people have worked for big companies, but this ain’t nothing like General Motors,” he said of owning a small business.Jacobson is organizing a series of single-day workshops that will cover topics such as bookkeeping, cash-flow analysis, marketing and Internet commerce.Within the next few months, she’ll also recruit part-time counselors at each CMC campus to provide one-on-one advice by appointment. In the meantime, Jacobson will travel to Summit County to offer her expertise.The first workshop in the new series, “How to Start a Business,” will be Wednesday at CMC’s Glenwood Springs campus.”The entrepreneur who plans is the entrepreneur who succeeds,” Jacobson said. “A business plan isn’t a document you write up and put on a shelf and forget about. It’s your most important management tool. It’s a living document that guides you in your business decisions.”Jacobson also plans to create small business resource centers at each campus in addition to the existing center at the Glenwood Springs campus.”I have a whole lot of wonderful, free resources for anyone who wants to start a business, including some highly specialized information you won’t find in a public library or things that would take hours to find online,” Jacobson said.Jacobson has sample business plans and information on opening a restaurant, obtaining a business license and making contact with trade associations.”We even have a collection on what the competition is doing, especially the big chains that are out there today,” Jacobson said.Jacobson has first-hand experience with the difficulties of running a small business without such resources and training. She owned an auto body shop for eight years in Colorado Springs.”We were spending $500 a week on advertising before we found out that good customer service and word of mouth referrals were how we were really attracting and retaining our best customers,” she said.Jacobson is actively reaching out to potential instructors and students for her expanding program.”We’ve got so many retired professionals in Summit County,” said Heidi Bimmerle, workforce training coordinator for the Summit campus. “If someone here is interested in teaching workshops or being one of the counselors, they should step up and let Kaye know.”Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998 x203 or jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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