Curriculum for the Denver Metro SBDC Leading Edge Program provided by eL3, LLC

Featured Testimonials

While making a bunch of sticky notes for the canvas today, I had a real Ah-Ha Moment in regards to the “customer segments” portion. Until this point, my partner and I have been making videos for basically any company that wanted to pay us, which is great for now, but I’m really starting to understand the long-term importance of aiming for certain segments and marketing yourself as such. I certainly believe in the value of versatility, but there’s also got to be some clarity and focus. I don’t want to get to a point where potential clients look at our past work and say “I don’t understand what they do...can they help us or not?”
— Zachery W.
“This course so far is the best investment I have made. Just going through all the material in the first unit made me think why I’ve started my business in the first place, why I want to keep going and what changes I need to make to be successful. It’s only been a week, I can’t wait to learn more tomorrow and in the weeks to come. That is my Ah-Ha Moment of the Week!
— Iryna B.

Student Ah-ha Moments from the Leading Edge Course

Throughout the class, students are encouraged to post their ah-ha moments to the online platform. Not only do they share their realizations, they comment on each others as well.

I had moments of inspiration and moments of panic this week—-mostly inspiration, because I realized that a business model leading to a business plan will be the major step I need to make my business really work. I’ve been “stuck” for so many years, puttering along in what I do. But this will be a game-changer for me and I’m pretty excited about it.
— Jennifer Thomas

I had a realization that having an employee or employees will be essential to this and it is scary for me to have to worry about not only being financially viable enough to support me but others as well.
— Kathleen O'Rourke

My Aha is that I will keep asking myself: “What would I do if I could not fail?” A good inspiration to not to let doubt stop me!
— Karen Carpio-Thomas

My Aha moment of the week is having a better understanding of what it means to have a customer-centric business. While I have always looked at things such as pricing and marketing keeping in mind that I am not my target market, there have been many times when I’ve spoken or sold to a client with only my ideas and goals in mind instead of really listening to what their needs and desires are. I think my ability to sell what I think is best has gotten in the way of being able to find solutions for what my clients and customers are really interested in.
— Tiffany Rose Goodyear

My biggest Aha during the unit was definitely readjusting to having the end picture in mind; in thinking about starting a business, I’m very detail-oriented. I worry about what paint scheme I want, what brand deli slicer suits my needs, what font I want on my business cards, which purveyors with common product should I favor when ordering, etc...
Being forced to focus on an end result reminds me of why I really am taking this step- I want to be the best at what I love doing. Pretty good to remember.
— Miguel Vera

I’ve been reading The E-Myth in tandem with my course reading this week and the combination has highlighted the fact for me that I do not want to be a “technician” my entire life. And while I realize that doesn’t mean that I should become an entrepreneur, I know that it is what I want to do, and that doing anything else would not be fulfilling. Discovering how to get to business ownership is why I am taking this course because I can’t do it on my own.
— Tiffany IUng

My “Ah-Ha” had been exactly how important my artwork is to me, and how little it has to do with the business I intend to start. But, at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with that disparity. One doesn’t belittle or reduce the quality and value of the other. I love the outlet that my artwork provides, but I’m no less enthused by the idea of helping bring friends and family together around a table.
— William Hearn

This assignment has really helped me see the big picture of how my business could affect so many different aspects of my life in the long-term. It is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.
— Amber MacPherson

My “Ah-Ha” moments have concentrated around the work of concretizing and verbalizing my personal strengths, values, and traits; and elucidating the reasons why I want to start my business. Powerful stuff. The assignment makes it easy to see where clarity and thinking is still required on the front end of an idea and where things are already strong.
— Lindsey Housel

My big aha is around encountering something I didn’t think I would. I thought I would feel a bit like a little fish a big pond, being young and not being in business currently. Instead I felt like I was amongst a bunch of little fish, not just me. The pond is big and the pond is kind of scary, but I feel like I am swimming in a school of fish instead of by myself. Also, I realized I need to set aside time in the week to get everything done. It’s not too much work, I just don’t want to rush through something and miss it.
— Leabeth Solito

This week’s learning has served to narrow my focus and direct my thoughts toward better planning for my business. It forces me to answer certain questions that require me to look farther down the road. This is definitely different from the more common focus of dealing with the right now- how am I going to solve this current problem, what do we need to sell today to meet our income needs, etc. I am very “first things first.” Business has taught me to be this way. However, I recognize and appreciate the need to look ahead.
My “Ah-Ha” is that no matter how good I think I am at making what I am doing right now align with my end goals, I will always benefit from having those end goals written out and breaking them down into shorter term benchmarks and continually checking the “now” against the goals. Sometimes I get caught up in what I know I need to do now and this course will really help me focus in on all the aspects of a business that need to be developed.
— Justin Windham

My ah-ha moment this week was in using the canvas and seeing that our concept is not really showing the viability we had been hoping for. The canvas is helping us get more specific and you can actually see as you move forward where it doesn’t hold up. We are moving out of the clouds of “our perfect idea” and into a more realistic place and seeing the challenges we have ahead of us. We spent time brainstorming and came up with some other ideas of how our concept may work that seem more concrete and maybe more sustainable.
— Kim McHugh

Working on the Business Canvas this week has shown me that my business may not look like what I had originally envisioned. I had added a few more class offerings that are going better than the original idea that I had. I have also been thinking about all of the things that I can offer as a class, it is way more that I had anticipated. I will just need to hone in on what it is that I actually want to accomplish as an end result.
— Michelle Ohnemus

I realized that in some ways I am making this harder than it has to be. I have a tendency toward perfection and that has been giving me brain freeze. The truth is I know more than I give myself credit for when It comes to the canvas info about my company. I am working hard to keep it simple.
— Matthew Edwards

I’m realizing more and more that I have bigger fears than failure. I fear having a life where I don’t enjoy waking up in the morning. I fear looking back on my life and regretting not pursuing my dreams and having meaningful relationships. I want to have a full life with good relationships. That being said, I believe that building and maintaining quality relationships is the most important thing in life. Community is important in both personal and professional circles. I want this business to help me build my networks and relationships. I also do not want it to come in the way of the important relationships with close friends and family in my personal life. I think the idea of consciously building them into “the big WHY” canvas helps to make sure those relationships stay strong while building a larger plan and keeps those people central in my life. I’m also realizing that relationships need to be the core of the business and that I can’t lose that focus.
— Sara Beth Ford