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Marketing Matters

Marketing is one of the fundamental pillars of running a business. How much should you charge for your product or service? How do you let your customers know you exist? What’s the best way to attract and retain customers? All of this, and more, is marketing.

Marketing isn’t as simple as creating a Facebook page and tweeting every day. Marketing is a complex, ever-evolving field that can overwhelm those new to the subject. Luckily, you can get help with your business’ marketing from your local Small Business Development Center. The Colorado SBDC offers a marketing basics eclass on our website which covers the basics of marketing.

There are also several great low-cost/no-cost workshops you can attend all over the State that covers the fundamentals of marketing as well as more advanced topics for businesses of all kinds.

Citizens’ Advocate & Small Business Navigator

Do you have a question for the Colorado Department of Revenue that you can’t find online? Have you tried calling Revenue only to get stuck on hold? If the question can wait a few days, consider using the Citizens’ Advocate. The Citizen Advocate helps customers with Revenue-related inquiries. You can fill out a concern form by going here on the Revenue website. Before doing that, however, double-check to make sure that you’ve thoroughly searched the Revenue website for an answer to your question. There’s even a very valuable FAQ on the Revenue website you should consult as well.

If you’re looking for help with basic business start-up or licensing help, consider calling the Small Business Navigator. The Small Business Navigator is available Monday through Friday during normal business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm). The Navigator can answer basic start-up questions and connect you with resources and information relating to starting a business here in Colorado. You can call the Navigator at 303-592-5920.

COVID-19 Disaster Assistance

Colorado SBDC Community,

With the recent State of Emergency declaration to combat COVID-19’s spread in Colorado, we are dedicating our outreach to support the health, safety and economic prosperity of small businesses across the State. The State of Emergency declaration is an important step to access key resources to protect Coloradans and our economy.
Our commitment is to share the most timely information, processes and resources available.

The first phase of the State’s response must be containment and that includes information sharing, preventative actions and resources to help.

What you should know:
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is leading the State’s multi-agency crisis response. We encourage you and all of your partners to stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information through CDPHE’s website: colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus and the Center for Disease Control .

Coloradans should stay informed and take simple preventive actions.
Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.
Clean surfaces in your home and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
FEMA: Guidance for COVID-19 preparedness
CDC: Getting your household ready for COVID-19
Be calm and prepared.

Additional sources of information:

COVID-19 Hotline: Call 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911
Email COHELP@RMPDC.org.
State public health web page: colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus
Facebook (facebook.com/CDPHE) and Twitter (@CDPHE)
CDC web page cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

Gatherings:
To limit virus transmission, meetings should be conducted via telephone or video conferences whenever possible.

Telecommuting: Where viable, the role of telecommuting should be discussed as a tool to maintain business continuity.

To best protect public health, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment is recommending that Coloradans follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released today (March 16, 2020). The guidance states that the CDC “recommends that for the next eight weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus:
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated state and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for the working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issues by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-1955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Please note that although there is a “How To Apply” button on the SBA link, it may not be activated yet for this situation, because the disaster declaration process isn’t completed yet. Again, we will communicate better information when available.

From our experience with the 2013 Northern Colorado flood, we do recommend you gather key financial documents, if you think you might need to apply for a loan:

· Last three years of federal tax returns for your business.
· Last three years of personal federal tax returns.
· A Personal Financial Statement.
· Articles of Incorporation.
· A Business Plan with Financial Projections might be helpful, but probably not required.

We are here to support our local businesses and entrepreneurs during these very challenging times. We will do our best to communicate useful business resources, and provide support, to mitigate the impacts of this health situation.

SBDC Centers Operation:

As there continues to be new restrictions and recommendations on travel, conferences, work from home policies, and social distancing in order to minimize the spread of the virus, we at the SBDC will continue to embrace these recommendations to help keep our clients, staff, and community healthy. As such, many face to face client meetings may be moved to a phone call or video chat, and trainings will move to online webinar formats.

SBDC Resources

The Colorado SBDC has compiled the appropriate resources for your business on our Disaster Preparedness and Continuity Page. We will continue to provide updates as they come in.

SBDC Day at the State Capitol

Join the Colorado SBDC as we celebrate our client’s success and economic impact as part of National SBDC Day! The event takes place on Thursday, March 19th at the Colorado State Capitol Building located at 200 East Colfax Avenue in Denver. The celebration kicks off at 9:00 am and goes to 11:30 am.

This event will allow members of the small business community an opportunity to network and meet with various legislators, community leaders, and fellow business owners. Colorado SBDC Day will also feature exhibitor tables showcasing some of the best local businesses and local Colorado products. In addition to all of this, there will also be free food and beverages!

If you’d like to attend Colorado SBDC Day on Thursday, March 19, 2020 click here to reserve your free event ticket: National Small Business Development Center Day – Colorado Small Business Development Center Network.

“Do I Need A Business License?”

One of the most frequent questions our office receives regarding starting a business in Colorado is, “Do I need a business license?” Unlike some places, the State of Colorado does not have a general “business license.” However, that doesn’t necessarily mean your business won’t need a license of some kind. The State of Colorado regulates some, but not all, professions, occupations, and industries. The agency that does this is called the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Their website has a searchable list of professions and industries regulated by the State of Colorado.

After checking with DORA, there are a few more places to check online: DORA’s list of “Other Licenses & Regulatory Resources” and The Occupational License Database. It’s also a good idea to check with your local city and county to see if there are any local licenses, permits, or tax requirements they might have! When in doubt, always ask when it comes to questions about licensing or permits. If you have any questions contact DORA.

Finally, with all of this talk about licensing, do not confuse a general “business license” with a Sales Tax License. In Colorado, if you are selling tangible goods, you are required to collect State Sales Tax and will need a Sales Tax License. You can apply for a Sales Tax License via the Colorado Department of Revenue.

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