Vail Valley: Start-up seminar for businesses stresses planning
July 15, 2010
Seth Bounds opened Green Limousine six years ago, and it’s finally time to have a tighter business plan.
Bounds was one of a handful of Vail Valley entrepreneurs who came to a recent seminar by Jack Taylor, who runs the Colorado Small Business Development Center in the region (Taylor isn’t the former State Senator who used to represent Eagle County, by the way). Taylor’s office is in Summit County, but working through Colorado Mountain College, he provides free consulting services to small business clients through much of northwestern Colorado.
At the seminar, Taylor went through nearly 90 minutes of tips for budding business owners. There’s a lot more to opening than just a storefront and some inventory – hiring a lawyer and accountant, understanding insurance, even registering with the state.
The top tip, though, might be the entrepreneurial equivalent of real estate’s “location, location, location” – planning. Business owners need to plan their marketing, plan their approach to competition and, especially, plan their cash flow.
That planning needs to be checked often, too.
“Don’t wait for the end of the quarter or the end of the year,” Taylor said. “You need to have your numbers for June by the end of the first week of July.”
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That quick access to information is crucial to making changes, if needed, Taylor said. It’s also critical when it’s time to talk to lenders.;
Planning also involves making good decisions with cash. Taylor said one of the biggest mistakes he sees is business owners using a line of credit for capital purchases when that money should be used to cover operating expenses during slow times.
Using money wisely also means using time wisely. While many entrepreneurs believe they need to do everything themselves, Taylor stresses outsourcing.
“Every minute you spend worrying about changes in tax law is a minute when you’re not concentrating on your business,” he said.
After the session, Bounds said he got new information from Taylor’s presentation.
“I’m interested in business structures,” Bounds said. “This was really helpful.”
Eric Meyer runs three businesses, and said he came to the seminar to refresh his information.
“There was great stuff here today,” Meyer said. “It’s a good opportunity to learn.”
Taylor said he puts on several seminars every year – some for free, others for a nominal fee – and plans to spend more in the Vail Valley, working with groups including One Eagle and the Vail Valley Partnership, which hosted the Avon seminar.
Taylor said he’s also working with Colorado Mountain College to put together more sessions for businesses.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.