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SHOP LOCAL, SHOP SAFE 

For Businesses

Small Business Relief Program – Apply Now!

As part of the Colorado Special Session, Senate Bill 20B-01 was passed to provide one-time emergency relief payments to eligible small business owners who have been impacted by capacity restrictions as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic that demonstrate a revenue loss of at least 20%. Businesses that are included in this legislation authorizing this funding include:

  • Restaurants (including food trucks)
  • Breweries
  • Wineries
  • Distilleries
  • Caterers
  • Fitness Centers/Gyms/Recreational Sports Facilities
  • Movie Theaters 

For a full list of eligibility requirements and additional information can be found at www.larimer.org/sbr.

Larimer County is opting into this program that will provide eligible businesses one-time relief payments UP TO $3,500 – $7,000. Larimer County is working with three municipal “hubs” to help administer the program county-wide: Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park. Business owners are encouraged to work with their hub closest to their place of business. 

The application will go live (available in English and Spanish) Wednesday January 6, 2021. Please encourage any eligible businesses in your networks to apply as soon as possible, as the application is only open until January 27th, 2021. Any applications received after that time will be ineligible to receive funds. We also encourage business owners to apply as soon as possible in case additional follow up documentation or other forms of follow up is needed.

To better serve our business owners who have a preferred language other than English, Jose Luis Ramos, at the City of Fort Collins, will provide technical assistance for the application process. Contact Jose Luis at jramos@fcgov.com.

Please submit your Small Business Relief (SBR) application to the hub geographically closest to your business: 

    Programa de ayuda para pequeñas empresas – Solicite ahora

    Como parte de la Sesión Especial de Colorado, se aprobó el Proyecto de Ley del Senado 20B-01 para proporcionar ayuda de emergencia económica a los propietarios de pequeñas empresas elegibles que se han visto afectados por restricciones de capacidad como resultado de la pandemia COVID-19 que demuestran una pérdida de ingresos de al menos el 20%.

    Entre las empresas incluidas en esta legislación que autorizan este financiamiento se encuentran:

    • Restaurantes (incluidos los camiones de comida)
    • Cervecerías
    • Bodegas
    • Destilerías
    • Banquetes
    • Centros de ejercicio / gimnasios / e instalaciones deportivas recreativas
    • Salas de cine

    Para obtener una lista completa de los requisitos de elegibilidad e información adicional, la puede encontrar en www.larimer.org/sbr.

    El condado de Larimer está optando por este programa que proporcionará a las empresas elegibles ayuda de $ 3,500 a $ 7,000. El condado de Larimer está trabajando con tres “centros de distribución” municipales para ayudar a administrar el programa en todo el condado: Fort Collins, Loveland y Estes Park. Se anima a los propietarios de empresas a trabajar con su centro más cercano a su lugar de trabajo.

    Para servir mejor a nuestros dueños de negocios que tienen un idioma preferido aparte del inglés, la Ciudad de Fort Collins cuenta con Jose Luis Ramos quien les brindará asistencia técnica para el proceso de solicitud. Comuníquese con Jose Luis en jramos@fcgov.com.

    La solicitud se publicará (disponible en inglés y español) el miércoles 6 de enero de 2021. Anime a las empresas elegibles a que presenten su solicitud lo antes posible, ya que la solicitud solo está abierta hasta el 27 de enero de 2021. Cualquier solicitud recibida después de eso el tiempo no será elegible para recibir fondos. También alentamos a los propietarios de negocios a que presenten su solicitud lo antes posible en caso de que se necesite documentación de seguimiento adicional u otras formas de seguimiento.

    Favor de mandar su solicitud de ayuda a él HUB más cercano a su negocio:

    Free Online Restaurant Academy 

    Do you wish you had all the systems in place to run a profitable restaurant? Want to learn new marketing strategies from experts in digital and social media marketing and much more?

    Based in Fort Collins, the Online Restaurant Academy has a combined 20+ years of restaurant experience and is committed to helping coach your restaurant through what NOT to do. They are offering a FREE online coaching mini-course designed to level up your restaurant business through proven planning and processing tools. It’s time to work smarter, not harder, and enjoy that #restaurantlife you’ve always dreamed of.

    To access the pandemic survival training for your restaurant for FREE – please follow these instructions:

     

    Larimer Approved for Level Up Program – Apply Now!

    Larimer County’s “5 Star” certified business variance program, locally known as the Level Up Program was approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Office.  

    Update to the Level Up Program – with the move to Level Orange, all Larimer businesses may open to the orange capacity effective Monday January 4 at noon. Businesses that have been certified for the Level Up program will need to wait to operate at yellow until the state determines we are eligible based on local metrics. That likely will be one to two weeks if our case trends continue to stay low. The County will continue to accept applications and pre-certify businesses, but businesses will not be able to move to yellow until Larimer is officially told when. 

    Apply for the Level Up Certification Process here (also available in Spanish)

    This application process is long, so the County has provided the components that are required for submission here. All these will need to be submitted, incomplete applications will be returned for completion and not reviewed.

    Questions about this process? Email covidconcerns@co.larimer.co.us or call us at 970-498-5500 (M-F 9-4:30).

      City of Fort Collins logo

      NoCo Nosh offers Fort Collins Restaurants Free Sign Up & Zero Commission Rates

       

      The City of Fort Collins has partnered with NoCo Nosh, a local restaurant delivery service, to help our local restaurants and promote investing in our community. Through the partnership, NoCo Nosh is offering zero commission rates for Fort Collins restaurants until December 30, 2020, and will continue to lower those rates starting in the new year, to continue to keep the costs down for restaurants. Read more details, here. 

      Any licensed Fort Collins restaurant may participate in the program, even if they have an existing contract with NoCo Nosh or any other third-party delivery vendor. Fort Collins restaurants not currently signed up with NoCo Nosh can also be added to the platform at no cost until December 30, 2021. Sign your Fort Collins restaurant up for NoCo Nosh delivery & takeout services today. Encourage customers to use NoCo Nosh when ordering delivery or takeout from your restaurant. 

      Check out the following tools and resources created to help you gain support from loyal customers and community members while ensuring their health and safety through physical distancing.

      Business Marketing Toolkit and Resources

      Check Out Our Social Post Creator

      Download Our Safer At Home Business Plan

      Business Marketing Toolkit and Resources

      We know you’re working to stay open safely and it’s time to tell the community how they can support your business! Use this marketing toolkit to easily communicate and encourage the ways in which the Fort Collins community can rally behind you.

      Ask Your Customers to Buy Giftcards or Pre-Pay for Services

      Just because your customers aren’t actively taking advantage of your services doesn’t mean that they can’t pre-pay for when they will! Encourage customers to call your business or go online to pre-pay for your services by buying a gift card or by creating an option to purchase a service online for a future date. 

      For example, if you own a salon, you can ask that haircuts or nail appointments are booked and paid for in advance or, for our restaurant businesses, offer gift cards for a future round of drinks. These transactions can be handled over the phone or online.

      Tips:

      • Make it as easy and seamless as possible for your customers to purchase from you by integrating an online transaction tool into your website
      • If you can’t accept online payments, use an online form to gather information and call to collect payment 
      • Send handwritten thank you notes to those who do purchase a gift card or prepay for services – the more interesting or heartfelt the note, the more likely your customer will share it with the world increasing your reach!

      To set up Gift Cards on your Instagram profile, learn more here.

      Promote Delivery or Curbside Pickup Options

      If you are offering delivery or curbside pickup, clearly state how customers can participate in that process with a clear call to action and no more than a three step plan.

      For example, for a restaurant this could be: 

      1. Choose from Our Online Delivery Menu 
      2. Complete Your Online Purchase 
      3. Pick Up Curbside and Enjoy! 

      Be sure to promote your options by leveraging your current marketing tools. For example, send an email, post to Facebook and Instagram and be sure to state on your website that you are still open for business and the ways in which your customers can receive your product or services.

      If you are a restaurant, and you don’t have the resources to deliver, use a service such as NocoNosh to get orders into the homes of your customers.

      Ways to promote Delivery or Curbside Pickup Options:

      • Post on Facebook and Instagram
      • Update Your Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor or Other Listing Website
      • Send an Email to Your Email List
      • Add to Your Website Homepage 
      Ask Your Audience for Reviews and Referrals

      Asking for reviews is not only free, but it is also simple and incredibly impactful. People trust one another more than they trust advertising messages – and studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business or purchasing a product.

      There are a ton of review websites out there, but we recommend focusing on the following, in order of importance:

      • Google My Business – for all businesses with a physical location 
      • Facebook – for all businesses
      • TripAdvisor – for all tourism, entertainment and dining businesses
      • Yelp – for all B2C businesses 
      • Angie’s List – for contractors and home improvement businesses

       

      Ask Your Followers to SHARE Your Posts
      The quickest and cheapest way to share your message with more people is by asking your loyal customers to share with their friends, family members, colleagues and social spheres. Start with social media and email marketing and ask your audience to:

      • Support your business by sharing your posts with their friends or forwarding an email to their networks
      • Post images of themselves patronizing your business in one way or another – wearing swag, holding your product, in front of your location, etc.
      • Share how they are #ForFoCo and let’s spread the message!
      Download & Display Signage for Safety Protocols

      Face coverings are now mandatory for all persons (customers and employees) to wear face coverings when entering and while inside retail and commercial businesses. 

      Downloadable signs Fort Collins businesses can use:

      Use Video in Your Content Strategy

      Video is engaging! Why use more video in your social media content strategy?

        • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook videos a week
        • 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos
        • Social video generates 12 times more shares than static posts
        • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text
      Use a Multi-Link Tool on Instagram

      Whether you decide to use a tool like Linktr.ee or to build a multi-link page on your website, it is always a good idea to have some sort of a multi-link tool that links from your Instagram bio. This allows you to provide multiple links via one umbrella link, so your followers can quickly access the things you talk about in your social posts. Here are examples of links to include in your multi-link tool:

      • Our Website
      • About Us
      • Locations
      • Blog
      • Recent Article
      • Upcoming Event
      Know How Many Hashtags to Use on Each Platform

      On Facebook, engagement can actually go down when you use more than one hashtag. Facebook’s ideal character limit is relatively low (between 40 and 80 characters), and posts with only one hashtag are the most engaging on Facebook.

      On Instagram, hashtags are used quite differently. The algorithm allows for your post to appear on each individual hashtag’s page that you use in your posts. You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post and up to 10 on an Instagram Story. However, just because you can use that many doesn’t mean you should. Be sure that the hashtags you choose are relevant to the content you’re publishing.

      Optimize Your Facebook & Instagram Profiles to Include Important Information

      When a customer finds your social platforms, assume that they know nothing about your business. Optimize your profiles completely by filling out the “About” section on your Facebook Page (Facebook just rolled out a new layout, so some of these “About” section options are new!), and also by filling out your entire Instagram bio with important information. Remember to include where your business is physically located (town and state at a minimum), what you do, how they can contact you, and how they can purchase your products or learn more about your services (via a link in bio). Since there is a text limit of 150 characters, get creative through the use of emojis and short descriptions.

      Utilize New Features on Social Media Platforms

      When you utilize new features as social platforms roll them out, your content will be prioritized. For example, Instagram just added their Reels feature. Businesses are seeing high engagement numbers on their Instagram Reels because Instagram is prioritizing that type of content over stories, posts, live videos, and IGTV. 

      Not only will you see a boost in your engagement, but you will also be ahead of the game when you utilize new features early and often!

      Add Your Main CTA to the Heading of Your Website

      Whatever your most important CTA (call-to-action) is, make sure to include it in the top heading of your website. Ideally, you will include a button with your CTA on the far right side of your website heading, since that is where most people look for a CTA button.

      When it is obvious what you want your customers to do, they will be way more likely to do it. If your customers have to search for your “Book Now” or “Shop” button, they will likely give up after a few seconds. Make it easy for them to do what you want them to do!

      mockup of iphone assets with blur and white for fort collins logo

      Social Post Creator

      With our free Social Post Creator tool, you can customize digital assets for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more to encourage your followers to be a part of the #ForFoco and #ForFortCollins movement.

      Posting Pro Tips:

      • Tag #ForFortCollins and #ForFoCo
      • Ask your followers to support your business by sharing your posts with their friends
      • Ask your followers to share how they are #ForFoCo and let’s spread the message!
      • Share frequently to your social media platforms, check out our Marketing Toolkit for more tips on posting to social media

      How to Get Started

      Select your language (our tool currently supports English and Spanish), choose your design and fill in your business name! Download the social post and start sharing.

      Quick Tip for phones: if you are having issues downloading the post on a mobile phone, just take a screenshot and crop to your post size and you’re ready to go!

      Safer At Home Business Plan

      We know that the safety of your staff and customers is vital to the success of your business and that’s why we’ve created our Safer At Home Business Reopening Plan and Checklist. This document has everything you need to reopen your business safely and in accordance with the Governor’s Office. From sanitation measures to internal policies, we outline things to think about, guidelines and resources and best practices.

      Follow The Movement

      Keep up with the latest by following the hashtags #ForFortCollins and #ForFoCo

      Our Partners

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      Visit NoCoRecovers.com for information about business relief and additional resources.