Go to any Trinidad City Council meeting or speak with any of the many business owners around town and what becomes quickly clear is the economic progress Trinidad has made over the past few years.
Recently, the Southeast Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC), lead by their Regional Director Mickie Lewis-Gemici, made the push to appoint a Trinidad consultant to keep up with the demands of the town’s small businesses.
Bob Smith, who started with SBDC in 2018 eagerly jumped at the chance to provide help, advice, and resources to the Trinidad area. The Chronicle-News had the opportunity to sit down with Smith and find out more about his involvement with SBDC and what they can offer to Trinidadians.
Q & A
The Chronicle-News: How long have you been with SBDC?
Bob Smith: “A bit over a year as a consultant. I signed on in Oct 2018. I’ve been an SBDC client since the mid 1990s. Whenever I start a new business, SBDC is always one of my first stops. As a solo entrepreneur it’s always good to have a sanity check and sounding board for my new ideas.”
TCN: What are the things you enjoy most about working with SBDC?
Smith: “Helping people start new enterprises is fun and exciting. Plus, we have a new director, Mickie Lewis-Gemici at the regional office in La Junta, whose enthusiasm is nothing short of infectious. We’ve got a lot of great classes and programs lined up for SE Colorado in 2020. I’ll let you know when we start scheduling classes.”
TCN: Could you share with us a little bit about your background in business?
Smith: “I grew up in the dairy-farming region of Eastern Pennsylvania where my dad’s family had a farm, the quintessential family business, and my mother’s family had a retail butcher shop.
I’ve held numerous positions in small and family-run businesses and non-profits as well as Fortune 500 companies. I’ve operated a lawn service, a restaurant supply company, a cultured marble sink and vanity manufacturing company and a tech support, bookkeeping and tax prep service. I am currently the Principal and Certified Trainer (AHA and ASHI) of Front Range Mobile CPR, an OSHA-Compliant safety-training provider. www.FRMCPR.com”
TCN: When an existing business as well as businesses starting out look to improve themselves, what do you feel like you tell businesses most?
Smith: “Short answer: PLAN! Slightly longer answer: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail!” Business plans are not just for borrowing money. You need to write a formal plan for your own sake to keep yourself focused on what you should be doing. Plus, it helps you keep score. Write that plan! The SBDC has lots of great resources for helping business owners write and evaluate business plans. Then go to the library and read a copy of Raving Fans by Ron Blanchard; a personal favorite.”
TCN: What can SBDC do for someone when they schedule a consultation with you?
Smith: “I would first have them take a look at southeastcosbdc.org to see what services we offer or call me with their questions and concerns. That’s really the first thing. We have many resources available to small business owners. We won’t run your business for you but we can sure help get you started. We can put you in touch with professionals such as bankers, attorneys, accountants, marketing pros, etc., all dedicated to getting you up and running.”
TCN: Is there any other information you’d like people to know?
Smith: “SBDC counseling is always free and confidential. Call me at 719-299-5075. I’ll answer “Front Range Mobile CPR” but that’s the right number.”