Web site offers resources for small business owners

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The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce is trying to quell a perception that it is all about big business. It’s just not so, said Dave Csintyan, chief operating officer of the Springs chamber.

“I think it’s been difficult to articulate to the small business owner exactly what we can do for them,” Csintyan said. “But you can pick any topic and make a case that it fits for small and large businesses.”

A couple of years ago, Csintyan initiated a small business task force in an effort to inform the Springs small business arena about the chamber, the member benefits and how to connect to others in the business community. Its mission: The small business task force will serve as a conduit for support, resources and opportunities for small and home-based businesses.

The all-volunteer task force met one of its goals last year when the members determined that a communal Web site, which linked small business owners to at-their-fingertips resources, would be advantageous.

Four months ago, the task force launched www.springssmallbiz.com, which Michelle Bracewell, a task force member and the owner of Bracewell Web Works, designed en gratis.

“They asked me to create a user-friendly Web site, and Terry Zarsky (Pikes Peak Library District and task force member) was instrumental in bringing the information to me,” Bracewell said. “I am a sole proprietor, too, and I have found the Web site to be very helpful to my business.”

The Web site is a valuable tool to the harried business owner who needs immediate access to resources.

It’s an easy hook up to agencies such as the library district, the Colorado Department of Revenue, the city planning department, the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator, the Better Business Bureau and other area chambers.

From tax information to business planning to marketing, the Web site lists 22 topics with easy links to dozens of organizations.

“The Web site is a portal of resources,” said Chuck Kocher, task force member and the owner of Action International – a business coaching firm. “We wanted to provide a place to help small businesses grow and develop their businesses.”

The chamber’s small business task force is looking at other areas where they can help small businesses. “It is not our goal to run seminars or duplicate the Small Business Development Center’s programs,” Csintyan said. “We may, however, run a unique seminar that has not been offered in the community. Our goal is to be complementary, not conflicting, with the Small Business Development Center.

“The task force is working incredibly hard on behalf of the small business community, and we encourage everyone to view the new Web site and make suggestions as well.”

- Marylou.Doehrman@csbj.com