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Signs Your Small Business Will Succeed

Getting a business off the ground can be a bit tricky. Here at Region 10, we know this intimately, but that’s also why we are here. We offer business resources and classes for Montrose, Hinsdale, Ouray, Gunnison, Salida, San Miguel, and Delta County at our range of regional offices. If you’ve gotten your small business up and running, or are looking to start one, and want to know how your business is doing, we have a range of signs to give you a basic idea. None of these are guaranteed to tell you if your business will succeed, but a healthy income and these signs are good indicators.

You’re Not the Only Person Doing the Work

If you are working on your business and you’re alone, it’s best to get a bit of help. Doing things the hard way can work for a bit, but covering everything from accounting to running the counter and doing inventory is beyond difficult, it’s irresponsible and mistakes are bound to be made. A select few people can do this for a time, but the bottom line is that this isn’t scalable and, eventually, you will need to hire on more people. Being able to trust others in elements of your day-to-day running of the business is important and helps the business thrive in a variety of ways.

Your Business is Flexible

Having a solid business plan is important, but being able to make adjustments when issues are found in the plan or structure of the business is critical. By being able to make changes in business, you can adjust as necessary and find what really makes your business thrive.

You Make Decisions with Legal, Marketing, and Accounting in Mind

Every single choice you make will affect your company. If you have a big idea for a new product, service, hire, or whatnot, having your legal, marketing, and accounting specialist or departments in agreement, it means it’s a good call and a good sign. These three areas not only affect each other, but are critical to your success. Marketing can give you feedback about your services, products, and outreach. Legal specialists can help you understand potential legal issues and how to avoid them. Your accountant will inform you about the financial impacts of the move and their benefits. If you are making big decisions with these three areas in agreement, you’re on the right track.

You Plan For the Future

Looking at quarterly goals is important but, a business that only looks at the short term will almost always fail. As you get started, remember to plan out your business’s big steps. Keep in mind that there are often hold-ups and market fluctuations that businesses have to weather. Having a solid business plan from the get-go and keeping it up to date as you go along can help you to keep a solid plan and idea for how to weather the worst of it.

Your Network is Growing

As your business grows, your network and resources should grow with it. Reach out to regional organizations and increase your reach online and in social media. These days businesses make it or break it largely from their online presence. If your networks are constantly expanding then you are doing it right and your reach will help to keep you afloat whether your business is E-commerce or local business in scale.

You’re Receiving and Responding to Customer Complaints

When you get customer feedback, it’s good to look for patterns. If a lot of people are complimenting one aspect and critiquing another, and you are changing it, then you’re ahead of the curve. An adaptive business that listens to customers is a great way to turn from a good business to a great business, and often times that is the difference in success.

You Invest in Your Business

Any business can use constant upgrades and investments. This can mean extra help, more marketing, or better equipment. But having an eye for what is needed and where, and then getting what your business needs, when you can afford it, is a great way to know that your business won’t stagnate.

Although none of these signs are guarantees of success, they are good to keep in mind when reflecting on your business practice and growth. If you live in Montrose, Hinsdale, Ouray, Gunnison, Salida, San Miguel, or Delta County in Colorado, Region 10 is the small business resource center for you.

Broadband Update- Fall 2017

Broadband Update- Fall 2017

Notice of Final Settlement and Certification of Completion was issued for the Delta construction. Final construction audit is underway for the City of Montrose. Both communities are “live” and Anchor activations continue.

Region 10 and FastTrack Communications continue to develop operations planning while the Operations and Maintenance contract is under legal review. It is anticipated that the contract will be executed in mid-November.

The EDA Equipment Request for Proposal (RFP) draft was approved by Economic Development Administration (EDA) last week. The proposal has been published on the Rocky Mountain Bid Network and the pre-bid conference was completed Monday, October 2. In conjunction with the publishing of the RFP, the Tri-State Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) agreement is slated to be on the Tri-State board’s docket for their November board meeting.

In Gunnison County, the 10G circuit from CenturyLink has been installed tested and turned up. Region 10 Network equipment has been installed on the Western State campus and the link is active. Provisioning for use at the university is underway and live traffic should be underway in the next two weeks. Construction estimates for the Carrier Neutral Location’s (CNL) in Gunnison and Crested Butte will be finalized on Tuesday, October 3 for consideration by the Local Technology Group. Anchor construction estimates are being finalized and will be issued prior to the next Local Technology Group meeting.

Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) continues to work on easement perfections in Delta and Montrose counties and is making great progress. We are currently involved in discussions for fiber access at CNL locations in Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, and Crawford in an effort to eliminate overbuilding existing assets and further developing the partnership. We continue to work on construction estimates for Montrose County to add anchor locations and determine how best to partner to deliver service to Olathe, working together with the county and DMEA.

Fiber access options for Ridgway and Ouray continue to be explored with Zayo, San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), Tri-State, and DMEA. An engineering order has been submitted for a 10Gbps wave from Montrose to Ridgway. We fully expect to complete CNL locations in both communities this year.

Crested Butte Yoga Studio Gets a Boost from Region 10’s Loan Fund

Crested Butte Yoga Studio Gets a Boost from Region 10’s Loan Fund

Yoga for the Peaceful in downtown Crested Butte has offered yoga classes for residents and visitors alike for the past 10 years. In June, new owner Brittany Phelps opened a second yoga studio geared toward the local, full-time residents of CB South, Crested Butte’s bedroom community seven miles south of town.

Phelps sought to remodel a 600-square foot garage space to house her new yoga studio at 310 Elcho Avenue. She contacted Crested Butte Bank seeking a $10,000 business loan to do the remodel and purchase yoga mats and other props. As a new business, however, with no credit history and possessing few assets, she was unable to get a bank loan, she said.

Crested Butte Bank steered Phelps in the right direction when it encouraged her to contact Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning in Montrose.

Phelps met with Region 10 Business Loan Fund director Dan Scinto, who explained the process of obtaining a small business loan, looked over her business plan, and assessed whether she would be able to pay back the $10,000 loan.

“We were able to approve the loan,” Scinto said. “Region 10’s Loan Fund fills the gap that exists in the banking industry.”

Since 1972, Region 10’s Business Loan Fund has helped 250 local businesses and nonprofits with more than $9 million in loans.

“We like to leverage public and private dollars on projects that we work on,” Scinto said. “We typically work in partnership with banks on projects,” though sometimes, like in Phelps’ case the Loan Fund is the sole lender.

Within a few weeks of acquiring the loan, the remodel was completed, and Phelps was in business. CB South’s Yoga for the Peaceful grand opening took place June 6 – an event Scinto attended.

“The Loan Fund takes a vested interest in the business’s success,” Scinto said. “It’s a place to develop a business and technical relationship.”

Phelps has already hired five yoga instructors and plans to employ six additional teachers this fall.  The studio offers different styles of yoga, and 20 different classes, ranging from beginner level to intermediate. Phelps is also looking to become a teacher-training center; she already offers workshops in various specialties.

“Our slogan is ‘all types of yoga for all types of bodies,” Phelps said.

Phelps started repayment of the loan two months after she closed on it.

“It was very affordable,” she said. “Interest rates are half of what they would be at a large bank.”

Region 10’s assistance didn’t end there. Phelps has continued to consult Scinto and Region 10’s Small Business Resource Center about various issues, such as bookkeeping and marketing.

“Region 10 is such a strong asset and resource for me as a small business owner,” Phelps said.

It’s important to note that Region 10’s Business Loan Fund program provides ongoing technical assistance throughout the term of the loan, Scinto said.

Region 10 Business Loan Fund serves 18 local communities in San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Hinsdale, Gunnison and Delta counties.

For more information visit: www.region10.net/blf/. Scinto can be reached at (970) 765-3126, or email: dan@region10.net

To see a schedule of classes, or for more information about yoga in Crested Butte and CB South, visit www.yogaforthepeaceful.com.

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Telluride Active Apparel Company Benefits from Region 10 Loan Program

Kelly and Will Watters were working as skiing and fly-fishing guides when they began searching for functional, yet stylish clothing that would be stretchy, breathable, and water-resistant, and also appropriate for wearing downtown to meet a client.

“We started out of a personal need,” said Kelly, who with her husband founded the active apparel company Western Rise in 2014. “We discovered a lot of clothes were not the style we were looking for. They were not something we’d wear every day. We were hunting for more classic, timeless clothing we could incorporate into our wardrobe.

“We wanted one set of apparel that would perform for all of those things; less is more.”

Looking to grow their company, the Watters turned to Region 10, a Montrose-based nonprofit that offers assistance for new and expanding businesses in six western Colorado counties. The Telluride-based company got a major boost in June after it received a loan from the Rural Business Loan Fund Statewide Collaboration through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

“It’s a new funding source available; Region 10 was the first Loan Fund in the state to successfully disburse the funds,” said Region 10 Business Loan Fund director Dan Scinto, noting there are additional funds available for similar start-up projects.

The loans are geared toward businesses in underserved markets (the Western Slope, for example where there is less access to capital). The program also distributes loans based on the companies’ merits – “the people operating the business versus the proven cash-flow of the business,” Scinto said.

Will Waters is a third-generation fiber manufacturer who understands how to custom-design fabrics to be high performing.

“They have a true passion for the fibers and the process of materials that go into their products,” Scinto said.

Region 10 provided valuable business advice and helped them navigate the loan application process, Kelly said.

The loan they received allowed the Watters to grow their team, focus on reaching “higher sales goals,” and purchase inventory. Western Rise generally launches new collections seasonally, but is looking to move toward a monthly collection launch, Kelly said.

The company brought on three new employees this year, doubling its team members from three to six.

“We expect to add two more employees in spring of next year,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to grow our base office in Telluride. It’s been a great community for our business. Telluride is an awesome place to product test – if it holds up in Telluride, it will hold up anywhere.”

Region 10’s Business Loan Fund assists local businesses and non-profits located within Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties. The Business Loan Fund focuses on loans that help create or retain jobs, and/or establishes or expands needed businesses in the region.

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

Two Colorado Companies to Watch Based in Western Colorado

 

Two Western Slope-based businesses were each named a 2017 Colorado Company to Watch – an award recognizing companies that have passed the start-up stage, are growing, and contributing to their local economies.

ShadeScapes in Hotchkiss, and Mayfly Outdoors in Montrose – were among the 50 companies honored this summer at the Colorado Companies to Watch ninth annual Awards Gala in Denver. More than 500 companies throughout the state were nominated.

Jo Edmondson, ShadeScapes founder and CEO, distributes high-quality shade products such as umbrellas and cabanas, for five different companies in Belgian, South Africa, Montreal, and Germany.

With a warehouse in Delta and an office and showroom in Hotchkiss, Edmondson employs 14 people – including two in Delta and 10 in Hotchkiss. ShadeScapes sells to contractors, landscape architects, dealers, designers, commercial businesses and private homeowners.

The Rural Economic Development Initiative awarded a $65,000 grant to Edmondson toward the purchase of a 1905 mercantile building in downtown Hotchkiss because of the company’s potential to revitalize a depressed part of Colorado. The building at 122 Bridge St. was purchased and renovated in 2015, and the company moved in March 2016.

Not only has Edmondson created jobs in the North Fork Valley – an area hurting from coal industry job losses – the showroom has “breathed some life into the community,” Edmondson said, by serving various nonprofit groups after hours. Delta County Memorial Hospital, Rotary Club of the North Fork Valley, the Hotchkiss Chamber of Commerce, and Kid’s Pasta Project have all used the building for events and/or meetings.

Nancy Murphy, director of the Small Business Development (Region 10) and West Central SBDC, Satellite Office in Montrose, nominated ShadeScapes for the award because of the “amazing” things the company is doing for the community.

“They’ve turned the building into a hip, urban style office that showcases their stunning shade structures in downtown Hotchkiss, which has added vibrancy to the community,” Murphy said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch is a big deal, Edmundson said.

“We’re definitely energized by it; we’re grateful for it. It will help get the word out about who we are – we’re a Colorado company, with beautiful products in a small town.  The award helps us to spread our wings.”

Each of the 50 winners is expected to host an event that publicizes their awards.

“We’ll do that in Hotchkiss (October 6) but we also want to tell our story around the state and so we are going to go on a tour,” Edmundson said. “We’re going to have pop-up showrooms in Aspen and Denver.”

The Western Slope’s other Colorado Company to Watch – Mayflower Outdoors – is an outdoor product investment company that focuses on businesses that are under-managed, or under funded, said Mayfly president David Dragoo.

“We take over, operate them and turn them around,” he said.

Dragoo founded Mayfly in Colorado Springs in 2012, from where he already operated two businesses – Abel Reels and Charlton Reels, makers of fly-fishing reels and accessories. He moved his company to Montrose in August 2016 after purchasing Ross Reels, a Montrose business founded in 1983. Mayfly’s office and factory are located at 11 Ponderosa Court. The company employs 50 people  – 33 in Montrose, and 16 in California.

“The award brings recognition to Montrose and is good for the community,” Dragoo said. “And it’s beneficial for local and statewide recruiting. One of our goals is to create more jobs here.”

Dragoo is encouraging other businesses to set up shop in Montrose with the development of a business park along the Uncompahgre River where he has purchased property and is building a new factory for Mayfly. Dragoo is also improving fish habitat along a stretch of the river and is partnering with Montrose, the city recreation district, and Great Outdoors Colorado to construct a walkway along the river.

“One of our goals is to create a nice path, a good place to fly fish, and quality fish habitat,” he said.

Being named a Colorado Company to Watch shows that Montrose has a “compelling economic environment for business people like us,” Dragoo said.

Both Murphy and Montrose Economic Development Corporation executive director Sandy Head nominated Mayfly for the award.

“They’re working to develop (the riverfront property) into an outdoor recreation manufacturing hub – along with other businesses,” like restaurants and brewpubs, Head said. They’re going to develop a piece of land that has been idle for years. It will attract other manufacturers. Mayfly is most deserving of Colorado Company to Watch.”

Region 10 and Partners Lighting Up Broadband in Delta and Montrose Counties

Region 10, partners light up broadband

Photo by Pat Sunderland Officials from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta and Montrose county commissioners, Delta County Economic Development and Delta-Montrose Electric Association grab onto a fiberoptic cable as Irv Halter, DOLA executive director

In a symbolic gesture, state, county and city officials gathered to light up the fiberoptic cable that will deliver high speed broadband to both Delta and Montrose.

Phase one construction, and the building of the fiberoptic network in those two cities, is complete following more than three years of planning, engineering and construction.

“Today marks the start of affordable broadband for our communities,” said Delta Mayor Ed Sisson. “This regional access point in Delta is the culmination of many years, long hours and organizations working together to make it happen.”

The carrier neutral location is housed in the city’s municipal light and power building. It serves the Delta County Library District and soon, the school district. From that location, internet service providers can deliver gigabit speeds to businesses and residents.

Michelle Haynes, executive director for Region 10 League of Economic Assistance and Planning, said it’s fitting the lighting ceremony was held at ML&P, which generated the electricity that moved the community forward in the ’30s and ’40s. “Now this is where we’re locating one of our regional hubs, which will take our community into the next step, into the next century, and help us move forward with economic development.”

The collaborative effort began in 2013 with a planning grant from the Department of Local Affairs. In 2015, DOLA made a $5.2 million investment in the design and construction of a middle-mile system for the Region 10 network. The project became a reality with buy-in from the cities of Delta and Montrose, Delta County and Delta-Montrose Electric Association. Additional funds were provided by El Pomar Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, in recognition of the economic impact mine closures held for Delta and Gunnison counties.

“Now with the work of DMEA, we’re looking at gigabit-level service to every home in the Delta-Montrose county area in the next five to six years,” Haynes said.

Delta County commissioner Doug Atchley said the county committed $750,000 in the belief broadband is essential to economic development not only in Delta County, but all of western Colorado. He thanked all the partners for their vision and the push to make the project a reality.

“There’s lots more to do, but congratulations!” said Irv Halter, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs. “I can’t wait to see what this will do for your community as you move forward.”

He commented on one individual who did not attend the lighting ceremony on July 24, but is committed to connectivity across the state — Governor John Hickenlooper.

Phase two of the project, which is currently underway, will extend that connectivity to communities throughout Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

Local internet service providers (ISP’s) can leverage Region 10’s network to build strong business models to provide low-cost access for their customers. Region 10 explains gigabit broadband is the next-generation technology that enables the world of tomorrow, including telemedicine and telehealth, improved education and distance learning, more efficient and effective government, economic development and job creation, enhanced public safety, and smart grid and energy management systems.

Additionally, the network can be used by internet service providers, cellular companies, and phone and cable companies, to lower their costs and improve services.

In a press release issued last week, Region 10 broadband project director Chris Kennedy said, “Abundant, affordable, and reliable broadband services are no longer a luxury in rural areas, but are more like a utility like water or electricity. In terms of attracting and retaining businesses locally, we can now compete more effectively with other, larger urban areas.”

Region 10 Broadband in the News!

‘Middle mile’ fiber optics network up and running

A project to bring high-speed internet to select areas in Delta and Montrose counties started offering broadband services this week.

The Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning said those services have been deployed in the cities of Delta and Montrose, said Region 10 Broadband Project Director Chris Kennedy.

New fiber optic lines installed in the two cities as part of a larger grant program to provide high-speed internet to much of the Delta-Montrose-Gunnison region are designed to fill “the middle mile” between the internet as a whole and direct delivery to homes and businesses, Kennedy said.

“Local last-mile providers have an option now to access more affordable broadband so they can build a business case to offer broadband services to smaller, rural communities,” he said. “That’s the idea. It’s an open-access broadband network.”

Those providers would pay Region 10 and its partners, the cities and counties of Delta and Montrose, for the right to use its lines, but because it is a public-private project conducted by a nonprofit group, they will get cheap rates, which they can then pass on to their customers, Kennedy said.

After more than three years of work, phase one of construction of a fiber optic network through the two cities is complete. Phase two of the project will be to extend fiber optics throughout the region, including to the rest of Delta and Montrose counties, as well as to Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale and San Miguel counties.

The new network is available to local service providers to offer lower-cost access for their customers, Kennedy said.

The network connects area schools, hospitals, libraries and city and county offices.

This project is being done in conjunction with a similar one being implemented by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association.

That project is attempting in its first phase to connect about 7,500 homes and businesses, focusing first on south Montrose, Paonia and Orchard City. Cedaredge also just recently joined the ranks of cities with fast internet, according to DMEA. Once completed, the project not only will augment the middle-mile needs of the area, but also act as a direct internet service provider.

It also will be able to offer fast connection speeds, up to one gigabit, at rates cheaper than seen here in the Grand Valley, Kennedy said.

“DMEA is sharing fiber with us, and we’re sharing some fiber with them in order to help them deliver services, and for us to then be able to take a regional approach outside their original footprint,” he said. “Then we’re looking to establish (connections) in Gunnison, Crested Butte, Ridgway and Ouray. Farther down the line, we’re working with San Miguel County.”

Region 10 communities awarded support for Colorado Blueprint 2.0

Region 10 communities awarded support for Colorado Blueprint 2.0

Several Region 10 communities—Montrose, Ouray, and Delta—received great news from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) on July 21st. In a press release, OEDIT announced the recipients of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiative. State resources have been set aside to better serve rural communities around the state and help them identify economic solutions that make them more resilient.

To learn more, read the press release below. Congratulations to all of community members involved in the application process for these awards!

Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne announces
Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiative recipients
DENVER – Thurs., July 21, 2016 – Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne today visited the town of Delta to announce recipients of the first round of the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) launched Blueprint 2.0 last year as a way to examine how best to serve rural communities around the state and identify opportunities to leverage the state’s resources.

“Blueprint 2.0 is a great example of how Colorado is going above and beyond existing resources to support the needs of our rural regions,” said Lt Gov. Donna Lynne. “We congratulate today’s recipients and look forward to seeing how these regions leverage the new services and resources to help strengthen their economies and communities.”

Colorado Blueprint 2.0 Recipients:
* Industry Attraction Initiative: Rio Blanco, Trinidad
* Competitive Advantage: Fort Morgan, Limon, Dillon
* Grow Your Outdoor Recreation Industry: Ouray, Montrose
* Strengthen Local Business Brand: San Luis Valley, Buena Vista, Delta
* Tiny Homes Community Master Plan: Morgan, Steamboat, Pagosa Springs`
* Adaptive Reuse Workshop: Brush, Delta County, Summit County
* Call Yourself Creative: Buena Vista, Rio Blanco County, Kremmling
* Incubator/Accelerator Best Practices: Morgan County, Steamboat, NWCOG
* Tourism Promotion: La Junta, Delta County, Rio Blanco County
* Community-Led Initiative: Custer County

Over the past year, OEDIT hosted 13 strategy sessions throughout the rural regions of Colorado to develop the ten different initiatives that communities would find most beneficial to apply for through Blueprint 2.0. Each initiative includes services not previously provided by the State, and leverages state resources and partnerships with organizations outside of the State of Colorado to provide technical assistance to regions who expressed an interest in pursuing the initiatives.

Many communities applied for Colorado Blueprint 2.0 initiatives, and during the application process, communities and regions were asked to demonstrate collaboration, strong local leadership and solid support for the initiative they chose to pursue.

Initiatives will be deployed between now and December 2016. A new round of Blueprint 2.0 initiatives will be unveiled in 2017.

Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

Olathe incorporates pocket park into Main Street revitalization

This article was originally published in The Montrose Daily Press. Region 10 has received permission to republish this article on our own website. 

Pocket Park will be a Main Street design, activity feature

By Carole Ann McKelvey
Montrose Daily Press News Editor

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

The rendering of a planned improvement in a small park on Olathe’s Main Street was designed by CU students.

A Region 10 grant of Colorado Department of Local Affairs money may not have seemed like a big deal to them, but to Olathe, it is funding a huge improvement in the community.

Monique English, administrative assistant for Olathe, wrote the grant for $5,000 and with a 100% match from the town, it is funding an upgrade on the small park on Main Street, the city hopes to turn into a centerpiece for downtown.

The grant comes on the heels of a $1,200 grant received last year that helped fund a renovation downtown.

As part of beautification efforts the city has organized a “Beautify Olathe Committee.”

The efforts thus far have included new planters and trashcans. Business owners and citizens have been invited to participate by adopting planters, planting and maintaining them, with the city providing watering.

Now in it’s third year, the program has caught on, English said, “and many people have adopted planters and kept them up over time. The program is very popular.”

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

Monique English, Olathe administrative assistant, stands in the small park on Main Street that will be rehabilitated and upgraded with a DOLA grant.

A much larger grant from Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance funds totaled $318,000 and paid for a project that upgraded the main street’s gutters, roadway and storm sewers. It was concluded with repaving in 2015.

English said the little park that now exists near downtown is too small and very dark. The plans call for opening up the space, adding an information kiosk, new benches and other amenities to enhance the space.

It is hoped in the future to have bands play there for street dancing, to have small festivals and farmers market events in the space.

The city’s traditional pine Christmas tree is at the edge of the space and will remain, she said.

The park plans were drafted by students at the Colorado Center for Community Development at the University of Colorado. Student landscape architects submitted three designs from which the current one was picked, she said.

 

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