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Free Business Intelligence eLearning Course

In October, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office launched a free online course designed to teach the general public how to use several online government databases in order to access public information. The 90-minute course was created in conjunction with the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business and shows users how to access both Federal and State databases in order to “work with and analyze public data to make informed business decisions.”

The course illustrates how to navigate a variety of State databases that contain information that could be potentially very useful to small business owners from sources ranging from the Department of Revenue, Department of Local Affairs, and more. The course can be accessed on the Secretary of State’s website on their “Tutorials & Training” webpage under the heading “Business Intelligence Center.”

BizBoost: Free Market Research

If you’re thinking about starting a business consider dusting off your library card to take advantage of the Denver Public Library’s “Bizboost.” Bizboost is a one-on-one consultation with a reference librarian designed to help Denver business owners shore-up their business and marketing plans with “quantitative numbers and statistics.”

Bizboost is offered by appointment only. If you are interested in getting a free 30 to 60-minute appointment fill out a Bizboost appointment request form on the Denver Public Library’s website.

Even if you don’t live in Denver, you can use this service, all you need is a Denver Public Library card. Don’t have a library card? You can get one, for free, online by going here: https://www.denverlibrary.org/library-card.

We All Count: Small Business & Census 2020

It’s no secret that small business is the backbone of Colorado’s economy. And for many communities, small businesses also serve as important common spaces where the community gathers. As such, it’s likely that small business owners across the State will hear members of their community talk about the upcoming census.

Census Day is April 1, 2020, at that time the State of Colorado will begin efforts to count everyone in the State. It’s very important that everyone be counted for many reasons, the biggest being that census data is used to distribute federal funds to our communities. According to the State Demography Office, Colorado is estimated to be allocated 13.1 billion dollars.

As respected members of our communities, small business owners should assure Coloradans that their participation in the census is both safe and very important. For more information, visit State’s Census website: https://demography.dola.colorado.gov/census_2020/.

Celebrate Small Business Saturday!

Thanksgiving is here and with it the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season. Shoppers around the country will flock to retailers both brick-and-mortar and online for that peculiar American phenomenon known as “Black Friday.” But did you know that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is also a major shopping holiday? Small Business Saturday is a holiday that was created initially by credit card company American Express in 2010 but has since taken on a life of its own. Small Business Saturday encourages Americans to do some of their holiday spending in small, local businesses.

Embraced by the small business community, Small Business Saturday has evolved into more than just a day of shopping, it’s become an important reminder that despite the rise of eCommerce and globalism, American communities are full of quality local small businesses. Many businesses have turned the day into a celebration with special deals and parties to attract customers. If you own a business and you want to participate (it’s never too early to get started on planning next year’s Small Business Saturday) the Small Business Administration has a good list of tips. American Express has an entire website dedicated to the event with a lot of good information, including free promotional materials for the event.

Lastly, if you’re a customer in search of a local small business to patronize the American Express website has a handy small business finder.

Do I Need A License?

When starting a business there are many questions that have to be answered but one of the most important is “Do I need a license?” In Colorado some, but not all, professions, occupations, and industries are regulated in order to protect consumers in Colorado. The agency that does this at the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

Before starting on your journey as a business owner, it is very important to check and see if your business is regulated by DORA. Their website has a searchable list of the 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”

The Occupational License Database

Lastly, it’s also a good idea to verify with your local city and county for any local licensing, permit or tax requirements they might have! The City of Denver, for example, has its Business Licensing Center online which details what businesses are regulated by the city. When it comes to questions about licensing or permits when in doubt…ask! If you have questions contact DORA.

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