Small Business

T3: Tips, Tools and Tricks: Support and Services for Every Stage of Business

Support and Services forEvery Stage of Business from the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network

Ten years ago, Colorado Companies to Watch was just a great idea until the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade brought it to life through the support of the State’s Business Retention & Expansion program.

“CCTW started right here in our office with Stephanie Veck,” said Kelly Manning, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (OEDIT). and State Director of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC). “The state obviously believes that small businesses are our backbone, where our economic vitality is linked to their success.”

She said that’s why the SBDC, a department within OEDIT, offers so many programs and resources to benefit companies of every size, from every corner of Colorado.

“We have resources aimed at helping both startups and growth companies, as well as resources that can help all businesses involved in the CCTW program,” Manning said. “The SBDC works with 2nd Stage CCTW companies to keep them in business and help them maintain healthy growth. However, we also want to work with the businesses that didn’t win or didn’t become finalists so we can figure out how we can help get them over that hump and become a winner next year.”

The SBDC is a public-private partnership that offers free business consulting, networking events and other small fee services to growing Colorado businesses.

“We do a lot of unique things like helping business owners look into importing and exporting to diversify their portfolios and look at other avenues of revenue,” Manning said.  “We have valuable market analytics that we can provide to business owners , as well as really concrete data that can help them make educated decisions on what to do with their business—questions like: ‘Should I stay on this path? Should I grow in this direction? Do I expand? Do I stay steady or do I look at an exit strategy, and what does that look like?’ We work with all companies to help them figure out how they can grow up to be a top company in Colorado.”

Manning said the SBDC aims to spend 5 hours with each business to encourage progress toward more hires or better loans. She said they will even take a deep dive into a Colorado company’s financials.

“If their financials are unstable and they are positioning themselves to grow, it doesn’t matter how much data they have and what the data looks like, if they aren’t financially stable, then they shouldn’t be taking that next step,” Manning said. “We will work with them and help them along that path.”

The SBDC is also a Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC), which means that representatives will work with tech companies on their growth strategy and commercialization, or help with general social media, websites and marketing plans.

Though the SBDC offers an enormous amount of resources, it’s not to compete with private sector companies.

“Our goal is to get these businesses to a place where they can hire for these services from the private sector,” Manning said. “If they’re just starting their company, we put them through training. If they are already in business, they automatically get a one-on-one consultation session. Based on their needs, we pair them up with services. So, if they have financial problems we pair them up with a financial consultant, a CPA or someone who can help them. If they need marketing, we send them in that direction and so on.”

The first step in any direction, no matter what the business’ unique challenges are, is to get in the SBDC system. Go online, fill out your company’s information and it will automatically populate to the closest Small Business Development Center.