Starting a new business can be risky. But some local entrepreneurs say a low-cost workshop offered by the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center can make a big difference in getting a new concept off the ground.
I kind of went into the class thinking I didnt need it, but I was so glad I went afterward, said Dorothy Weigman, co-owner of Artisans World Bakery & Coffee Deli at the Durango Public Library.
Weigman already had a business degree when she and her husband, Rich, decided to open a coffee and pastry shop in the lobby of the library. Her business background, Weigman said, is partially why she didnt initially see the benefits the Starting Your Own Business workshop might offer. But in the end, Weigman said she walked away feeling some of her hard-earned higher education had been refreshed, and she was blown away by how much new information she gained.
It gave me so many different ideas, some of which I still am working to implement, she said. Im very thankful for how much knowledge they imparted in the class.
The next Starting Your Own Business workshop is slated for Oct. 13 at the Durango Public Library. The course will cover topics such as business planning, marketing, legal structures, bookkeeping and funding a business. Participants also will learn about other programs offered by the SBDC.
SBDC Director Joe Keck said the workshops average 10-18 participants, but the numbers are growing. Attendees take a survey on their experience, and about 90 percent of them rate the course a 9.5 on a 10-point scale.
Thats not surprising for past participants such as Weigman and Pagosa Springs business owner Sandy Kobrock.
Kobrock took the course recently after deciding to make her hobby businesses full time. She quit her day job and the companies needed to make money, Kobrock said.
Pass Creek Yurt, a year-round adventure company offering backwoods wilderness accommodations and outdoor sports, and Wolf Creek Avalanche School and Guiding, which offers multilevel avalanche training courses, are growing and doing well since the workshop, Kobrock said.
My business has tripled since I started working with the Small Business Development Center, Kobrock said.
The workshop provided information about the centers services and helped her feel more confident about her business plan, financial matters and the legal aspects of her companies, Kobrock said. Without those helpers and the information they provided, Kobrock said, I probably would have given up.
I just cant say enough about those guys, Kobrock said of the SBDC volunteers and staff. They have this great way of giving you information and then letting you do it on your own.