SBDC consultant Leanne Pressly interviewed local Chaffee County SBDC consultants for her podcast show “Business of Craft”.  We’ve offered these shows to our local SBDC audience in an effort to introduce our local counselors and share their knowledge.

BUSINESS OF CRAFT – Jamie Billesbach

Welcome everyone to the second season of Business of Craft where our theme is wantrepreneurship— and our episodes are covering all the baby steps you need to take to launch your new business in 2020. My guest today is Jamie Billesbach, she is the Center Director of the Small Business Development Center for the Central Mountain Region of Colorado. Jamie has more than 20 years of experience in brand development, merchandising, graphic design and marketing planning for companies such as LavAzza coffee, Clif Bar, Annie’s Gourmet and Hershey’s. She also worked for the Mexican government developing the Mexican Chiapas Shade Grown Coffee company with over 25,000 growers.

  1. Let’s start by discussing the importance of a business plan. [2:40]
  2. I think a lot of people make the mistake of confusing marketing with sales. What’s the difference? [3:34]
  3. Let’s break down some of the components of a basic marketing plan. Give us the broad overview of the most basic pieces that should go into a good plan? [4:20]
  4. How do you coach clients to identify their brand messaging? [5:12]
  5. How do you advise clients that they identify their target audience? [8:41]
  6. Can you define SWOT analysis for us and walk us through it? [10:08]
  7. There are so many marketing vehicles available these days. Do you have any tips for helping clients figure out which vehicles they need to focus on? [11:27]
  8. Tell us more about the power of purpose as a component in a marketing plan. [14:50]
  9. I know you’re a big proponent of Richard’s Leider’s work: Work Reimagined-Uncovering your calling. Tell us what you appreciate about his book? [17:00]
  10. I think it would be good to review some of the different types of sales methods so beginners know what types are out there? [19:13]
  11. How does reading some of these books change your plan? [22:30]
  12. How about a budget? How do you guide new business startups on how much to spend on the marketing plan? [23:34]
  13. How do you reassure clients who come to you feeling like there are just too many moving parts to the marketing plan or it’s just too much work to do it? [27:37]
  14. If you need help, how do you find those people? [29:45]
  15. Can you tell us a little bit more about SBDC? [31:55]
  16. Do you have any books or websites or resources you use to help people with the process of creating a marketing plan? [34:02]

Additional Resources

BUSINESS OF CRAFT – Susan Dunn

Welcome everyone to the second season of Business of Craft where our theme is wantrepreneurship— and our episodes are covering all the baby steps you need to take to launch your new business in 2020. My guest today is Susan Dunn, she is a graphic designer by trade but a whiz with the numbers. She’s been a consultant with the Small Business Development Center in Colorado for 10 years and her specialty is helping new business owners get their  financial books set up.

  1. Help our listeners understand a little bit about what is an SBDC consultant is and how they can guide a new business owner on their path to launch. [2:30]
  2. I want to start by layout out an overview of the different types of financial documents that you recommend for a beginner business. What do you think are the must-have elements of a good financial plan? [4:17]
  3. Let’s first talk about the break even analysis since that is one that most new biz people want to put together before they even launch because that is important for internal planning. What goes into the break even analysis? [7:42]
  4. How far out should someone do the numbers on a break even analysis? One year? 5 years? What do you recommend? [9:41]
  5. I think some people won’t really know what the numbers are going to be and I know garbage in is just going to produce garbage out so what tips do you have for the person who’s thinking, “I have no idea how many widgets I’m going to sell”? [12:22]
  6. The other document you mentioned is the P&L or the sometimes called a profit and loss or an income and expense statement. Why is that an important financial document? [14:14]
  7. Can you give us an example of what “cost of goods sold” might look like? [19:31]
  8. Next we’d want to see some cash flow projections? This is NOT necessarily how much money is in the bank correct? What does this analysis show us? [25:45]
  9. And it’s important to know how long your lag time will be between billing someone or selling something and actually getting the money right? Getting that wrong could seriously put you in trouble with cash flow. How do you consult clients on that piece? [28:49]
  10. I think it’s important to point out that a good book or software program will give you templates or worksheets you can use so you’re not having to reinvent the wheel with these spreadsheets? [31:09]
  11. I also think every good business owner is going to need an excellent accountant to rely on to answer tax questions since that is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax correct? [35:25]
  12. What do you recommend for time frames for updating the financial information? I know my bookkeeper does some things monthly, but other things quarterly and some only at year end? [38:57]
  13. I think another area that can be tricky is whether you’re going to have employees or not and if they’re going to be actual employees in the eyes of the government or just contractors which are paid differently and therefore represent a different kind of expense on your financials. Can you explain the difference briefly for us? [40:50]

Additional Resources

BUSINESS OF CRAFT – Shawn Allison

My guest today is Shawn Allison, a business and marketing consultant with the Central Mountain Small Business Development. Shawn has more than 20 years of experience in business development, direct marketing, strategic planning, budgeting, marketing automation and graphic design. Shawn is joining us today to give the down and dirty lowdown on how to write an effective business plan.

  1. We always hear about the business plan being a must-have component of a successful business. Would you agree with that? Do we absolutely have to have a biz plan to launch? [2:19]
  2. There are a lot of components to an extensive business plan we won’t have time to go through all of them in detail today but maybe we can start with a few of the most critical elements and then let’s unpack those bit by bit? [3:37]
  3. How do you assess whether or not you have the skills for a successful business? [5:23]
  4. What are some of the components of the mission statement? Is that something listeners could do quickly just to get started on the process? [7:39]
  5. I read this quote from venture capitalist Andrew Anker I’d like you to comment on. “First and Foremost you have to have passion. You’ve got to understand why you’re going to be wildly successful. And you have to be able to sell it to people. It’s very easy to write a business plan with lots of pretty charts and graphs and if you can’t present it to coworkers, employees investors and ultimately to the customer, you’re not going anywhere. You always have to be the passionate person who lives, breathes, eats and sleeps the idea” Could you expand on this for us? Perhaps provide some examples? [10:39]
  6. What would you say is the next biggest chunk of the plan that people need to tackle? [12:52]
  7. What resources are out there to help people get an understanding of that financial piece? [14:36]
  8. What would be the third most important piece of the business plan? [18:20]
  9. What advice do you have for people who struggle with the marketing piece? [22:00]
  10. Would you agree the owner is the best person to do the selling or are you better off to hire a great sales agent and insert them into the business? [25:25]
  11. I think a lot of listeners today are wantrepreneurs who will be doing it all themselves or have really small staff and one of the struggles they have is determining if and when they can afford to hire. Do you have any advice on navigating that piece of the puzzle? [27:53]
  12. Do you think there are parts of the plan that are deemed more important and deserve more focus? [29:25]
  13. I think one reason people don’t write a business plan is because it can be really tedious and time consuming. Do you have any tips to make the process less painful? [31:11]
  14. What is the biggest mistake people make when writing a business plan? [34:58]
  15. Do you have certain time frames or benchmarks where you advise people to revise the business plan? [36:13]
  16. What about having different scenarios to run the numbers and guide you? [37:37]
  17. Do you have any books or websites or resources you use to help people with the process of creating a marketing plan? [39:46]

Additional Resources