Loveland Business Owners Give Their Top Business Tips

The Loveland Chamber of Commerce has a significant interest in small business owners. In fact, 75% of Loveland Chamber members are small business owners. As we near National Small Business Week, April 29–May 5, 2018, we will be spotlighting a couple of those small business owners.

To start the conversation, the same question was asked of nine Loveland business owners:

“What would your top business tip(s) be to offer up to other business owners who are starting or growing their business?”

Here are some of the answers the Loveland Chamber received:

  • Know your customer.
  • Don’t try to be all things to all people.
  • Find a lane and stick to it.
  • Be present in the community.
  • Value your team above yourself.

Clay Caldwell
Mo’Betta Hospitality Group
141 E. Fourth St., Loveland, CO 80537
Mo’Betta Gumbo, Loveland TapHouse, Miss Daisy’s BBQ & Blues

 

  • Build meaningful relationships with customers and others. View competitors as potential partners, which could positively impact your business in incredible and substantial ways.
  • Set realistic goals/milestones and focus on achieving incremental steps toward them with a vision of what the business should become in years to come.
  • View obstacles as opportunities. Each problem, or failure, can become a positive learning experience.  Don’t dwell on the negative – live, learn, and succeed.

Ray Steele, Jr.
Friendly Pawn
200 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland, C0 80537

 

  • Do not expand too quickly. Make sure you have a good foundation in existing entities before going bigger or adding new elements. When I first started the catering business, I did this well. I only took events and created menus I was comfortable with. I gradually increased the size and gradually expanded the variety of foods we served. While doing this, I experienced no growing pains and was able to meet (and hopefully exceed!) all client expectations. I was again attempting to move slowly even when I opened the café. I kept the menu relatively simple and the hours limited. I was asked to submit a bid for a second café in April of 2017. This was an extremely good opportunity, so I went for it and was awarded the bid. However, there were enough differences with this café, and the type of business was different than expected. Because of this and the fact the downtown café and catering were still relatively new, I did not have the foundation to keep things running smoothly. I grew too fast and experienced growing pains!
  • Invest in quality staff! Spend the time to establish a good team and train them well. This will guarantee you long-term employees, loyalty, and the assurance that your product and reputation are superb. Not only do turnover and inconsistencies cost money and cause stress, but these employees are the face of your business.
  • Be involved in the community. This provides networking opportunities, sources of information for self-education and bettering what you do, knowledge of what is happening, an opportunity to give back, forming of good relationships and friends, and simply fun!

Tracie Reeves Hartman
Fresh Plate Catering & Café
325 N. Cleveland Ave., Loveland, CO 80537

 

  • Be persistent – It takes a stubbornness that no matter what happens, I’m going to make this work!
  • Be good at problem-solving.  Think creatively – when something comes up that doesn’t work, there’s usually a different approach that might.  Don’t be afraid to fail – you learn as you go!
  • It helps if you genuinely like people. You can’t fake customer service or handling employees.  It doesn’t mean letting them walk all over you.  But if you respect everyone you deal with, there is usually a win-win solution to every issue.

Kim Bernhardt
Quick-Print Shop
215 E. Seventh St., Loveland, CO 80537

 

  • Don’t ever think you know it all!  Find a group of honest, trustworthy business professionals you can get advice from, share your ideas with, and voice your concerns openly.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit when things aren’t going well!  Every business has its ups and downs.  When things aren’t going well, it is how you handle it that will make you successful.
  • READ!  Read a lot of business development books. The first one I recommend for start-up businesses is “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” by Michael E. Gerber. Read or listen to Napoleon Hill, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Steven Covey, and more! These guys are fantastic at providing positive, encouraging business insights and help you remain in a positive mindset. Find them on YouTube or Audible if you aren’t a book person.

Gail Snyder
Bob Snyder Insurance Agency – Farmers Insurance
1424 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland, CO 80537

 

  • Have a plan. Take time to write out your business plan and set your growth goals. It might be helpful to have mentors, other trusted business advisors to help you with this. Most of us love to help others, so make sure you are not afraid to ask for help.
  • Join the Chamber! Quality networking groups are a must, but the Chamber of Commerce is a one-stop shop for clients, vendors, trusted advisors, government contacts, and more, truly the most powerful network available.
  • Keep learning. Read books, go to lunch and learns, listen to podcasts, surround yourself with positive successful people. We are a product of what we intake.

Bob Snyder
Bob Snyder Insurance Agency – Farmers Insurance
1424 W. Eisenhower Blvd., Loveland, CO 80537

 

  • Become friends with your competitors. You may find a mentor. You may find a partner with whom you can exchange referrals when one of you is unable to help a customer. You may even find someone who will someday retire offer to sell his/her business to you! In any case, knowing and being on friendly terms with the competition is the best approach.

Gail Hoffman
Pop-A-Lock of Northern Colorado
(970) 282-1706

 

Don’t go solo. Find someone who has been successful and have them be a mentor/resource for you.

  • Network – Join your Chamber and other networking groups, then go!  You won’t benefit by just paying your bill.  Building personal relationships will help grow your business faster.
  • Always be learning – find workshops and classes to gain additional knowledge in how to build/grow your business.

Kevin Lemasters
EnviroPest
455 Denver Ave., Loveland, CO 80537

 

Take risks and learn from them. Not every risk pays off, but there is always something to learn when something works or doesn’t work.

  • Make friends. Meet other business owners, be involved in the community, and get to know city staff. People and partnerships are invaluable resources.
  • Give back. It’s not just good for karma, it’s good for business. Support the community, and they will support you.

Sara Turner
Studio Vino
6055 Sky Pond Drive Unit P172, Loveland, Colorado 80538

 

One of the most exciting aspects of running a Chamber is watching the growth of Chamber members. Hopefully these tips from seasoned business owners will help you as you develop your own business and work through the challenges of business ownership. If you aren’t already an active Chamber member, contact Dixie Daly at dixie@loveland.org and be our guest at a Business After Hours event.

Mindy McCloughan – Loveland Chamber of Commerce CEO & President

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