December 2012 - Small Business in Colorado!

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December 2012

Colorado District Office Newsletter

Brought to you by the U.S. Small Business Administration

Happy Holidays from the Colorado District Office!

7 Holiday Marketing Tips on a Limited Budget

When we think of holiday marketing – which can be critical to your business success – we often think only of promotions and discounts. But you don’t have to cut your margins or break the bank to stand out from the crowd any more. Here are seven budget-friendly steps you should consider to promote your small business while meeting the needs of your customers this holiday season. > Read more


SBA Unveils New Learning Portal for Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs

Often times, small business owners will share stories about how SBA’s resources have been vital or how they are in need of finding the right help. This is one of the reasons why SBA continually strives to ensure that small business entrepreneurs have access to the resources they need for their business, including information on startup how to’s, marketing, financing, contracting and more.

We’ve learned valuable feedback from entrepreneurs who rely on our website to educate themselves about small business ownership and listened to what they said. We acknowledged that the user experience to access online resources needed to be easy, efficient and engaging. Today I am pleased to share that SBA is launching a new online learning center.

The learning center is a redesigned, online learning portal for small business entrepreneurs. It has a streamlined, searchable catalog of small business educational resources including self-paced courses, videos and web sessions. The resources may be sorted by topic, making it easier to quickly locate helpful information. For instance, if you want to take a course on how to write your business plan, the learning center is a one-stop destination to find the course as well as other supporting content.

We know that your time is precious, and the Learning Center’s design significantly reduces the number of site pages that users have to visit to find a video or online course.

The learning center’s features include:

  • Information available everywhere at any time for small business entrepreneurs
  • Improved navigation that gives users one-click access to small business courses, videos or web chat sessions
  • A quick snapshot of each form of media, including a brief description and system requirements
  • Free online courses on topics such as How to Write a Business Plan, Essential Guide to Starting Your Own Business for Young Entrepreneurs, Government Contracting 101, Green Business Opportunities and Encore Entrepreneurs: An Introduction to Starting Your Own Business
  • Recommended courses, videos or web sessions based on selections that the user makes while navigating

Bold Lead Designs - SBA Success Story

bold lead designs

Similar to a child losing their precious toy, Katrina Boldry's loss of a 17 year old dog leash was a new beginning for her and surprisingly many others around the world.

It all started because as a child Katrina owned every animal imaginable. She even had the perseverance to raise a guide dog, Poco. The sturdy, multipurpose leash for Poco broke after 17 years and there was no such quality product to replace it. Katrina's willpower kicked in, she decided to buy the tools needed to make a leash of her own. It was a success!

Katrina knew her skill could help others. In fact her market consisted of 20,000 service dogs nationwide. She pursued her talent and combined her affection for animals and passion for helping people to establish Bold Lead Designs in 2006. In the beginning, she sold to family and friends, then moved up to craft and pet shows, and eventually moved her business online where she now sells internationally to several countries including: Canada, UK, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Croatia.  

bold lead designs

When she first started her business, Katrina knew she had unique skills to make the product but wanted to improve her knowledge. She completed a 13 week business success course through Colorado's Women's Business Center known as Mi Casa Resource Center. Katrina states,

“Mi Casa has been an invaluable resource. As a solo entrepreneur, I would never have gotten the business off the ground so successfully without the guidance of the wonderful counselors at Mi Casa. They are compassionate and understand how complex starting a business can be, and helped me focus on the important details necessary to get started. They have been there for me every time I have a technical question about business licenses, taxes, even how to start a email campaign. They have a rich network of other professionals and services to recommend as well.” 

Katrina’s business took flight with her strong dedication and the help of Mi Casa’s success course. Within her first year, Bold Lead Designs marked growth and brand recognition and earned first year profits. Since then sales have essentially doubled each year and are on track to double sales again in 2012. 

bold lead designs

Katrina’s next challenge was taking her business to the next level and doing it right. She focused her efforts to make exactly what service dog owners want and need. Along with her business efforts she volunteered with service dog groups and gained feedback from owners of service dogs and incorporated what they needed into her products.

Katrina was then asked to design a harness for balance and mobility. At first the project seemed impossible but with her love and support for guide dogs she had the confidence to give it a shot. Katrina asked skilled animal surgeons and therapists to come up with the best design for stability and movement. The harnesses are now one of her bestselling products.

Katrina’s unknown craftiness led to a rewarding career. Bold Lead Designs continues to succeed, grow, and fill the need for service dog equipment all while being a local, handcrafted, women-owned small business.

If you have comments, questions, or topics you are interested in hearing about in our newsletter please email suggestions to Taylor Marshall, taylor.marshall@sba.gov

UPCOMING EVENTS

8a/HUBZone/WOSB Workshop: 

An overview of selling to the federal government including: program requirements, the self-certification process, and steps to take to compete for contracts.

When?

December 11th

When?

9-11:30am

Where?

Colorado District Office 721 19th St. Denver, CO 80202

RSVP to 303-844-2607 

Our experts host workshops on a monthly basis, check out our other workshop dates


Recent SBA Lending Activity

Loan activity in fiscal year 2013 - 211 loans totaling over $84million.