The Blog

BLOG: Don’t Get Stuck During Mud Season

While most ski resorts have closed for the season, Mother Nature apparently didn’t get the memo. It’s still snowing. Go figure …. Tis the season. it’s mud / snow / sleet / rain / get-me-the-heck-out-of-dodge season in Summit County. 

This is a tough time to live and work in Summit. Businesses shut down. Friends vanish for weeks and post photos on Facebook and Instagram of tropical drinks and waves and desert sunsets. While you’re “stuck” in Summit County, trudging through heavy, wet snow.

Instead of dreading this time of year and getting “stuck” in the mud, here’s our attempt to lift you up and offer a new perspective on mud season. Here are a few reasons to love, okay maybe just “like” mud season:

1. 2-for-1 dining deals. All of those award-winning restaurants that you typically can’t afford, are now luring you in with 50 percent off deals or other tantalizing deals. Eat like a tourist. A rich one but for less, like 50 percent less.

2. Keep skiing. If it keeps snowing, keep skiing or riding. A-Basin and Loveland usually stay open through early June. 

3. Go grocery shopping in less than 15 minutes. There’s no need to play “frogger” with out-of-town tourists in the produce section. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you can navigate through the store, pay and get to your car parked right out front. Savor it. (but, be aware – you might run into your neighbors, former colleagues or ex, which could derail your 15-minute-or-less plan)

4. Use this “down time” to organize, strategize and re-focus your life and your business/work. If you’re lucky enough to have a lull in your workload, take that opportunity to hunker down and focus on that back-burner project that’ll help you be more productive and effective. 

5. Get out … of your home office, your comfort zone and connect with a few new prospects or new potential partners or even just a few like-minded colleagues. Don’t hide under the covers and sulk on the sofa. Get out, network and connect. Check out our weekly workshops and other events in April and May. 

6. Keep active. It’s easy to get lazy in between ski/snowboard season and bike/hike season. Join the rec center, sign up for a yoga class or start running. The Bolder Boulder is right around the corner. Join the ELEVATE crew for a run or bike ride. 

7. Get a business coach to help you stay focused and positive. Let us know if you need some recommendations or check out the Small Business Development Center and their free business consulting program. It’s well worth the 5 minutes to register on their site.

See – Mud season can be an inspiring, fun, uplifting time to be in Summit County. It all comes down to your perspective and outlook. Let us know how you’re planning to spend mud season. Now, get out there and get muddy. 

BLOG: Why We Created a Coworking Space … To Spark New Ideas & Innovation

By Amy Kemp

People ask all the time … why? Why did you and your two other cofounders start a coworking space in the mountains.

My answer is … this.

And this …

And this…

To translate into words, the reason we created ELEVATE was to host events like Startup Weekend.

Events (and programs and a shared workspace) that give people – our people, our community – the chance to not just talk about their dreams. But, to do something. To bring them to life.

To say it a different way, ELEVATE was created to be the space for people to do awesome stuff … to think differently … to dream … to inspire … to create … to innovate … to elevate their lives and our community and ultimately our world. (and, oh yeah, the WiFi is super fast and that is a big, big deal)

I’m on the organizing committee for Startup Weekend and was incredibly proud that ELEVATE co-hosted Summit County Startup Weekend April 10-12, 2015. Startup Weekend gave people the space and the inspiration to do awesome stuff. Scott Byker’s team created software to quickly detect malaria. Another one – Skillit led by Michael Lazarus – built a functioning app to teach young dudes to cook … In one weekend. In less than 54 hours, people. That’s ridiculously fast. I was blown away by these two teams – and their skills and passion and tenacity (and no sleep).

Merrily and her Team Savvy created a real-time counseling support program to college-age students and Eazy Shade developed an entire plan to market a new retractable sun shade for your car’s windshield as swag. The winning team – Adrenaline Escapes – is launching a site and app to connect adventure travelers to local “guides” around the world all because they believe in nudging people out of their comfort zone and trying something new.

Brilliant stuff.

Awesome stuff.

Inspiring stuff. From all of the teams. From each and every person.

I am so honored and amazed that I was part of this. It was like watching the miracle of birth. For one, there was a lot of labor. Lots of pain. No sleep. And, it was kinda messy and weird at times. But, wow … wow .. in the end, it was freaking amazing. I had goosebumps and tears in my eye watching the teams on Sunday night at the final pitch night.

So, wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and answer an important question: what the heck is Startup Weekend? If you don’t know, here’s my answer: get off your butt and go and experience one firsthand. But, to give you a teaser to get you to register for the next Startup Weekend, here’s a quick description:

It’s an event designed to help you learn to launch a new business. In one weekend. In 54 hours.

But, it’s so much more than that. I met Bobby, Jason, Jason, Philip, NIkki, Stephen, Scott, Elaina, Jon, Castle. It gave me the opportunity to spend more time with some truly awesome people I already knew but didn’t really know … people like Mike, Mike, Kimberly, Shawna, Kyle, Merrily, David, Tom, Kristy Lee, Kathryn, Katie, Katherine who are brilliant and funny and fiery at times and passionate.  (and if I forgot your name, I’m sorry, I’m still a bit sleep deprived)

I saw the teams and coaches slump in their chairs, jump up and down in celebration, code for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours, practice their pitches, high five each other, hug, smile and support each other. Like I said, brilliant, awesome, inspiring stuff.

This is what life is about. This is what community is. This is why we created ELEVATE and why we sacrifice our nights, weekends, sleep, sanity, savings …

It’s to help someone believe they can quit their job and create their own business. That they can create a better (more elevated) future for themselves and for our community. We – along with the incredibly dedicated Startup Weekend organizing committee, coaches, judges and mentors – did that.

We’re creating a new way of doing things. A new culture of innovation and possibilities, right here at 9,100 feet in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty damn good reason. And I’m damn proud to be part of it.

Join us. We need you to fuel this and keep the momentum going. The time is now. #ElevateIt

BLOG: An ode to the Business Model Canvas

Do you have a business plan? 

Yeahhhh, you say? Okay, so where is it? And when was the last time you looked at it?

Business plans aren’t a “one-and-done” proposition. As soon as you write your 10-page (or 30-page or more) plan, it’s pretty much obsolete. Something changes. The market changes. Technology changes. Your competition alters what they’re doing or pricing. Or, something is bound to change. 

That’s why we’re celebrating the Business Model Canvas. And hosting a workshop in conjunction with the Small Business Development Center on April 9 at ELEVATE coSPACE.

Sign up: 

Here are the reasons we’re praising the Business Model Canvas developed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur:

1. It’s flexible. You use post-it notes that are meant to be stuck and unstuck, posted, unposted, re-posted. Your business WILL change. Why not make sure your business plan can change, as well. (we love post it notes)

2. It’s easy. Seriously. It’s easy to take a quick look and see who your audiences/segments are, where you’re making money and what the challenges are. It’s a simplified, boiled-down version of what’s important in your business plan without the frilly language or excess verbiage. Plus, it allows you to address complex situations, models and assumptions and see how each of the variables interact and impact each other. 

3. It’s visual. For visual and creative people, this is KEY. It’s easy to see what’s important and hone in on what “levers” and areas you need to tweak, enhance, modify or rethink to get the whole business model back in balance and profitable.

4. It focuses on the customer first. Too often, we start with our goals as entrepreneurs or business owners or managers. The Business Model Canvas forces you and your team to forgo your own notions of what will work and puts you in the mindset of your customer segments or personas. 

5. It brings a team together and can help get alignment. If you’re all working on the same whiteboard or big canvas – you’re focused. You’re discussing. You’re interacting. People can easily post and un-post the Post-it notes. Nothing is set in stone and it starts to break down preconceptions or territories. Everyone owns the business plan – the full plan – and everyone sees how it all fits together like an ever-moving, interactive jig-saw puzzle. 

Read more about the benefits of the Business Model Canvas and how it can help your business (whether you’re a startup or existing corporation or small mom-and-pop shop) focus, grow and make more money.