12 Glacier Distillery
28 Beau Hill
Business 14 canada
30 Karen Cramer
22 codes 24 marketing
J odi C havez
is the Senior Vice President and National Executive for Parker + Lynch, Consulting Division and responsible for operations in California for Ajilon Professional Staffing, Accounting Principals, Parker + Lynch Executive Search and Parker + Lynch Consulting. She joined Ajilon Professional Staffing in June of 2008 with thirteen years of staffing industry experience. She has trained under some of the most reputable leaders in the business. Prior to joining Ajilon, Jodi successfully managed multiple lines of business including Office and Management, Finance and Accounting, Legal staffing and a very successful executive search business for each line. Jodi has serviced the human capital needs of clients of all sizes and industries and across the country.
In her most recent position, she launched the consulting and permanent staffing division as Vice President of Reznick Talent Solutions, RTS, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reznick Group, the 10th largest CPA firm in the nation. A large part of her success in her first year came from building a strong perm team in each market and supporting that growth with talent who shared the vision to dominate the marketplace. During her tenure, Jodi assisted such companies as Nike, Nextel, University of California San Diego and Bank of America with their often complex human capital needs. Jodi has appeared on both Fox LA and PTV's Georgia Business Review and been featured in several national and local publications across the country, including the Forbes.com, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Seattle Times, Atlanta Business Journal, and IMA Strategic Finance magazine as a subject matter expert in the field of Human Capital. Jodi holds a B.A. in Organizational Communications from Eastern Washington University. In addition, Jodi has the distinct title of Published Author on her list of accomplishments. Publishing a children’s book, What Color Is Your Rainbow, in March of 2009 has been one of her biggest joy’s and continues to be a source of education to those looking for teach diversity to their young children. Photo by: gail marino -san clemente, ca www.memoriesofmephotos.com
works at Montana West Economic Development as the communications, marketing and member relations manager. Originally from Coram and a recent college graduate, she is happy to be home once again and very grateful to work with the Montana West women as their newest addition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science with an emphasis in public relations from Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho. Jessica has had many different experiences including lobbying for the non-profit organization Idahoans for Choice in Education, teaching middle school Public Speaking at St. Paul’s Catholic school in Nampa, and interning for Cakewalk Software in marketing. A former collegiate speech and debate participant she loves public speaking and once-ina-while misses the days of long weekend speech tournaments. In her free time she enjoys music, art, and nature - she feels very blessed to live at the doorstep of Glacier and in the Flathead Valley where she can enjoy all three on a regular basis!
C hr is Parson
is a native of Montana. Since December of 2008, he has worked as the Small Business Development Director for NW Montana, located at Flathead Valley Community College. The Small Business Development Center provides business counseling in the areas of business planning, financial management and cash flow, marketing assistance, and general business management practices. His office offers one-on-one free counseling and conducts numerous training events for local businesses. Chris earned his bachelors of science in Economics with a Business Administration minor from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. In 2010 he was designated as an Economic Development Finance Professional from the National Development Council and is trained as a professional facilitator. Prior to that, Chris served 10 years as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps including 3 tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Primarily a AH-1W helicopter pilot, Chris also had several other jobs including; Aviation Safety Officer, Air Officer/Forward Air Controller (responsible for controlling air/ artillery missions in designated airspace for ground forces), and Operations Officer. Chris enjoys the great outdoors of Montana with his wife Stephanie from running, skiing, hiking, hunting, boating, and anything else that they can find time for.
Susan B. C l ar ke
has an MA in Applied Behavioral Science, BS from the University of Virginia and a Diploma in Counseling from The Haven Institute, an International Training Center in BC, Canada. She is co-founder of Thrive! Inc. with CrisMarie Campbell. Together they work with organizations and teams to develop trust, effective communications and strategic alignment.
Her journey through a life-threatening illness has given her a depth of experience and commitment to living life full out. She shares her journey of living full out on her Blog at www.susanbclarke.com. She has been part of The Haven Institute Faculty for over 20 years, leading Come Alive, Living Phase and Couples Alive. In addition to her group facilitation and corporate work she has continued to coach and work with individuals and couples to invite and encourage aliveness. To contact Susan you can email her at: email@example.com.
Kr i sten Hami lt on
wears many hats these days. As founder and co-owner of Ham It Up Strategies, she and her husband, Bob, work with many clients on various projects to help them grown their business. Recent projects have included event planning and execution, magazine project management and sales, operations management, electronic newsletters, website development, and freelance writing. She particularly enjoys writing these days and is working on a novel in her spare time. She has lived in the valley for over twenty years and has an extensive background in tourism and working with non profit organizations. Kristen is grateful to her friends and colleagues who have supported her throughout the years. She knows the importance of giving back and therefore volunteers her time and services whenever she is able. In her free time, she enjoys the arts and concert offerings in the valley and tries to play outdoors as much as possible. Kristen is blessed to have a happy marriage and two terrific teenaged children who make her smile every day!
Kat y C r oft
is a Certified Public Accountant and a shareholder at Swiftcurrent Consulting & Accounting, P.C. She has an Associates degree from the University of Montana College of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree from Devry University. Her areas of expertise are income taxes, payroll taxes and bookkeeping. After running her own bookkeeping business in Missoula, she and her husband Dan relocated back to Kalispell to start a family. They have since welcomed Kyler, 4 and Adilyn, 1 to their family. Katy is a true Montana native, born in Kalispell, and has spent the last 30 years in northwest Montana. To find relief from balancing work and life as a busy mom, she finds solace in riding her bike and playing on the lake. Katy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kat ie Fr ies
is the newest addition to the marketing and communications team at Flathead Valley Community College. With a passion for education, community, and public relations, she has found her home at FVCC. Her marketing career includes specializations in branding, corporate identity, and communications. Born and raised in Kalispell, she only lived away from the Flathead while pursuing a degree in business marketing at Montana State University in Bozeman. Their love of the area and family ties brought Katie and her husband back to Kalispell where they have enjoyed remodeling their cozy 1930’s farmhouse-style home northeast of town. In her free time, she takes advantage of the area she feels so fortunate to call home – camping and fishing with family and friends, waterskiing, and taking in the beauty of the Flathead.
Jennah Mitchel l
a freelance writer and editor who has worked for individuals and companies worldwide. When she is not writing, she loves playing with her two little girls, reading, gardening, and watching movies. Together, she and her husband operate a graphic design and web development company in Kalispell, which is where she developed a passion for marketing and business writing. Being a contributor for 406 Woman is a dream come true, and she looks forward to being a part of the team for a long time to come.
Kel l y O’Br ien
works for Measure Law Office, P.C. in Kalispell, MT. She is licensed to practice law in Oregon and Montana, and focuses on estate planning, probate, business, real estate and natural resources law. Kelly earned her J.D. at Lewis & Clark School of Law in Portland, with a certificate in natural resources law. She also has a B.S. in Business Administration & International Business from the University of Montana, and a minor in German. Kelly is originally from Kalispell and recently returned to the area to work with Measure Law Office. Prior to returning to the Flathead Valley, Kelly worked in private practice with law firms based in Portland and Bend, Oregon. She now lives in Whitefish with her husband and son where she enjoys a multitude of outdoor activities. Contact Kelly at email@example.com or 406-752-6373
Jodi Chavez Jodi Hooten Chavez is a shining example of the amazing things that can happen when someone stays true to their roots yet is not afraid to spread their wings and follow their heart. Born in Northern California, Jodi moved to Montana when she was in 4th grade; her parents bought a small restaurant in Trout Creek and shortly after opened an auto repair business. Her journey from smalltown Montana to Los Angeles California, where she is the Senior Vice President for the world’s largest global recruiting firm, has been a whirlwind of opportunity and experiences, but she credits her Montana childhood with giving her the roots she needs to stay centered, hardworking and genuine.
Not even two minutes into my conversation with her, I knew that Jodi was the real deal: humble, kind, and funny to boot. I was able to chat with her about her job, her family, and the amazing work she is doing for schools and children in her hometown and the nearby town of Thompson Falls – since keeping our talk to myself just wouldn't be fair, I decided to share her story with you just as I received it- giggles, sincerity, wit, and all. Me: Tell me a little bit about your family, and about what it was like growing up in Montana.
Jodi: I have two sisters and one younger brother, and we grew up in a loving, supporting family with an emphasis on work ethic and honesty. We all worked in the family restaurant, as early as age thirteen, washing dishes and helping however needed. Through hard work, our parents not only made sure we had a modest and comfortable childhood, but they also dem-
gail marino - www.memoriesofmephotos.com
By Jennah Mitchell
onstrated the value and importance of hard work throughout life no matter what it was we were doing.
It was my experience working at the Job Service in Thompson Falls that really paved the way to the awesome career in recruiting that I have now. It wasn’t until I left Montana that I realized what a special and unique place it is. Life isn’t complicated here; it’s appreciated. You look out your window and see mountains and rivers, not skyscrapers and mass transit. You learn to fish, camp, hike, snowmobile, ski, bail hay, ride horses, build a campfire, change a flat tire, and drive in the snow; there is so much to do and learn here! Last summer my sister and I rode four wheelers in a local parade in Trout Creek for the Huckleberry Festival - I mean, really - who gets to do that in California? I was in a meeting a few months ago and mentioned that when I go home I love to float the
river. They had no idea what I was talking about – what a reminder that was about how lucky I am to call Montana my true home! Coming home to Montana keeps me grounded; it reminds me of who I am and where I’m from. When I’m home, I’m just Jodi - a Montana girl who grew up in a small town, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Me: So what is it exactly that you do?
Jodi: As Senior Vice President for Accounting Principals - a division of Adecco, I am responsible for strategic direction, financial growth, and human capital investments. In short, our firm recruits highly skilled employees for our clients, who are companies of all sizes and in just about every industry you can think of. The best part of my job is teaching and developing new employees and watching them achieve success in their jobs.
I started out by working in every position from recruiting to sales to manager to VP and eventually to where I am now. My career has allowed me to travel to different countries around the world and live in all four corners of the US. It’s been a true blessing, but not without sacrifice. The decision to invest in my career has caused me to miss special family moments and time with childhood friends, but I am so thankful for social media, because it is making it much easier to stay connected.
Me: Wow – it sounds like you have had some wonderful experiences along the way! In all of your travels, I am sure there are a few things that you just can't live without, though – can you share some of them with me? Jodi: There are three things in my purse I can’t live without. The first is my iPad; it goes with me everywhere. The second thing is definitely hand lotion; I’m using it all day long. The same goes for gum – mostly because it keeps me from snacking all day, haha. Me: What about food? What does a Senior VP have to keep stocked in her pantry at all times? Jodi: That’s easy – protein bars, Oreo’s and more gum! Me: I love it! Now I am curious – what would the perfect day for you look like?
Jodi: Waking up at my parent’s house, with the whole family around, watching all the kids playing together and laughing at the in-
nocence and freedom of their expressions. Spending time volunteering at a Special Olympics event would be the highlight of the day; that one of the most rewarding experiences for me. Finally, spending the evening in the kitchen with family and friends, with a nice bottle of wine, cooking and talking about old times. That would be the day of my dreams. Me: So I have to ask, then: what is life actually like?
Jodi: In any given month, I can be in LA interviewing employees to join our company, taking an early morning flight to San Francisco to meet with a client, or flying to New York to work with our team in the city. Between speaking with the media about the economy or unemployment reports, or even speaking to a class of high school or college students on career development, one day is vastly different from the next, which offers a really nice sense of adventure and challenge to my job. Me: What has most recently been impacting or influencing your life? How would you say this has been developing you as a woman and as a business executive?
Jodi: My career is finally in a place where I have a little more work/life balance, which has allowed me to focus on the personal relationships in my life. Being a step-mom of sorts to 3 wonderful kids for the past few years has taught me so much about myself and has brought a sense of purpose I didn’t realize was absent. I really have the best of both worlds: a successful, fulfilling career in corporate
America and a family life that includes attending school Christmas programs and reading bedtime stories.
Me: With everything that is on your plate, how do you find peace and calm when life gets crazy?
Jodi: I start each day with a prayer of gratitude for the blessings in my life; that sets the tone for the day. I love working out when I’m feeling tense or have a lot on my mind, so I go to the gym 4-5 times a week too. If it’s been a really crazy day, I’ll walk on the beach and watch the sunset – one of the perks to West Coast living!
Me: Do you have any advice for other women that may be going through some of the same things in life as you are?
Jodi: I would just encourage them to keep things in perspective by focusing on their desired outcome and not just focusing on a current challenge. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, and I really believe that we become a better person from the lessons learned through those mistakes; they build character. I would also say to use their moral compass to guide them through difficult decisions; taking the high road has never led me to a dead end. Me: So now to the really big question: I know that you recently wrote a children’s book, and that you are donating all profits to children and schools in your hometown and in nearby Thompson falls – how did all of this come about?
Above Photos, clockwise: Jodi and her father, Ron Hooten at the family home in Trout Creek, MT - Jodi appears on Fox News - Jodi zip lining 375 ft above ground Jodi and her sister riding four wheelers at the a Huckleberry Festival parade
Jodi. Well, I guess to start, moving from the West Coast to the South a few years ago was an eye opening experience for me. I went from growing up in a culture where we were exposed to diversity but didn’t think much of it, to living in the South where racial divides are still woven into the fabric of society. It was something I wasn’t prepared for. That’s not to say everyone in the South thinks this way - I met a lot of thoughtful, kind, hardworking people there who embrace diversity and open their hearts to everyone. But there were definitely many times where I came face to face with the notion that people made judgments based on skin color, or based on the fact that someone was different in some way. I thought if I wrote a children’s book, the parents would read it to their children and therefore the message would reach both generations. I woke up in the middle of the night with the word “rainbow” in my head. It sounds strange even to me as I tell the story, but it’s how it happened. I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and wrote “rainbow” on a piece of paper and went back to sleep. That weekend I opened my laptop and started typing… and typing… and typing. Four hours later, the story was written and I decided to title it “What Color Is Your Rainbow.” Essentially, it is a story about a young boy on his way to school; along the way, he meets up with each of his friends. He comes to realize they are all different in some way, yet they all like the same games, play the same sports, and eat the same food. If you look at one color of a rainbow by itself - take blue for example - it’s a vibrant, strong color. Put it next to other colors, and together they become something they couldn’t be on their own: a beautiful rainbow. People are very much the same way and I really wanted to get that message across with this story. 406
Me: After you found out that a publisher wanted to pick up the book, what made you decide to donate the proceeds from your book sales to Montana schools?
Jodi: The idea to donate the proceeds was the result of my awareness that the money was never meant for me to keep. The title for the book, the story, the seemingly effortless journey to publication - all of it came with such little effort that I feel like I was simply the vehicle to get the story told. I am very grateful for the education I received in Montana and would proudly declare our teachers and coaches as some of the best in the Nation. Giving back to the place that gave me so much wasn’t really a decision at all; it was just the right thing to do. Me: I love that! It will be exciting to look back in a few years and see how much your gift will have impacted the lives of students in those schools! What a blessing! I am curious – do you have a favorite quote from the book that you want to leave our readers with?
Jodi: My favorite quote in the book is the dedication; it reads “This book is dedicated to anyone who sees everyone for the special someone they are.”
Me: Thanks so much for taking time to talk with me and, essentially, with all of the 406 Woman magazine readers – you are truly an inspiration! If you enjoyed reading about Jodi, let us know. We can also help you pick up a copy of her book so you can help make a difference for Montana schools too! Above image: Characters from What Color Is Your Rainbow, reflect the beauty of diversity.
Glacier Distillery Written by Jessica Rogers
I am not much of a whiskey drinker. At 5’5 and 125 lbs., I barely look legal, so in preparation for my interview with Glacier Distillery I made a checklist of things to expect and headed off to Coram where they are located. I did not expect to see a Yak upon arrival, “Cracker Jack the Whiskey Yak” greets people nonchalantly as they pass with the satisfied smack of approval as she eats her afternoon meal. A big red barn stands tall in the center of the property - the barn that has become known throughout Flathead Valley as The Whiskey Barn.
The owner of Glacier Distillery, Nicolas Lee, and sales and marketing manager, Lauren Oscilowski, are as relaxed as the atmosphere they have created. They make people feel immediately comfortable and welcome. When asked how the idea for Glacier Distillery transpired, Nicholas smiled and said it started during a Canyon white-out. Nicholas and friends started talking about what it would have been like to live 406
in Montana in the Pioneer days, and worst case scenarios. “We decided there are two things you’d need to collect, booze and bullets!” Nicolas was a chemistry major in college, and has transferred his knowledge to the art of distilling. This simple conversation between friends transpired into a small micro-distillery, with a lot of history and heart behind it. Entering “The Whiskey Barn”, I felt as though I had been transported into another time. A sacred process was happening - not to be disturbed - and I was in on the secret. The inside, looking more like a mad chemist’s set than a distillery, had a pleasant sweet and spicy smell. This is where the magic happens: Wheatfish Whiskey, North Fork On-The-Fly, Bad Rock Rye, Glacier Dew, and North Fork Flood Stage whiskeys are all part of a process that go against modern whiskey tradition.
The process of distilling is not an easy one, with a lead time of eight months to a year. However, “Glacier Dew” the first whiskey created by Nicolas and his crew, is a briefly rested product with a rest time of days before it’s ready to go. Gla-
cier Dew was created in memory of Josehpine Doody, a local moonshiner, pioneer, and she was also “somewhat of a hermit” according to Nicolas. Often called moonshine by the locals, this whiskey is distilled from a mash of barley, corn and rye. You may have heard of Wheatfish Beer, but have you heard of Wheatfish Whiskey? Working in tandem, Great Northern Brewing Company ferments a custom mash for Glacier Distilling Company which creates a sweet and slightly spicy whiskey. Together both companies have worked to create a “drink local” mindset.
In fact, Glacier Distillery strives to create a local mindset in everything they do, teaming up with other local companies to create a one of a kind product. A limited Father’s Day run of North Fork Whiskey ice cream with buttered pecans was sold exclusively at Sweet Peaks Ice Cream, showing there are no boundaries for their whiskeys. In every aspect of business, Nicolas incorporates and supports the local community, buying local grains, production materials, and hiring local contractors. The Glacier Distillery
creates a fun and relaxed atmosphere for the local community from bottling parties to a moonshiner’s ball; they capture an old timey feel that creates long lasting memories.
The Glacier Distillery employs one full time and one part time employee during the summer, not including Lauren and Nicolas who work all year round. Lauren has had a hand in helping plan local tasting events and promotions, in conjunction with other Montana breweries. Matching funds from Montana West Economic Development were awarded to Glacier Distillery to foster job creation, implement a national public relations campaign, and create a long term marketing plan.
The “Whiskey Barn,” beckons visitors out of the heat of the day, as if to say “come in, relax, have a drink.” The checklist of expectations forgotten, I find that unexpected stories are the stories you never forget. Much like the description of their North Fork Flood Stage Whiskey, the Glacier Distillery is like something that is new but has been there forever. 13
A Candid Canadian Conversation
you think you are seeing more
your eyes are not deceiving you.
Here’s a candid conversation with two experts providing insight into why this phenomenon is occurring and
how some savvy business owners are taking advantage of the situation.
406: Why are there so many Alberta and British Columbia license plates in Northwest Montana?
their family’s household income in Montana and that benefits the local Montana economy.
Do Canadian women really make these decisions?
Yes, the proof is in where they shop. Take notice the next time you see a Canadian family in town, Mom is picking the hotel, the restaurants, the grocery stores, the shops and the retail outlet.
Donna: It’s no surprise. In 2011, Canadians spent over 406:
US$210 million in Montana, and Canadians represented 13% of all non-resident visitors, or about 1,370,000 individuals, as per a survey conducted by The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, at the University of Montana. With 65% of those dollars coming from Alberta, the province with the highest average household income in Canada, at $85,380 helps to explain the high number of Alberta plates.
Why is there such a discrepancy between the household in Montana and Alberta?
Donna: The major contributing factor to the high household income in Alberta, and for that matter Canada, is dual income households. In 2011, women in Alberta had the highest participation rate of all women in Canada at 67.3% as well as the highest employment rate in Canada at 63.7%. 406: How do more women working in Alberta affect the Montana economy?
Tourism research has shown that it is the woman's contribution to the household income that is spent on recreation and leisure. And further studies have shown that because it is the woman's income, the woman in the house is making the decision on how her recreational and leisure dollars are spent. Canadian women, more specifically Alberta women, are choosing to spend
If I were a Montana business owner, how can I attract more of these Canadian household dollars into your business?
Donna: By being more Canadian friendly. 406:
How can you do that?
Fly a Canadian flag to let the families know you appreciate their business, accept Canadian currency, accept Canadian debit cards, and say “Thank You” for their business. Canadians are all about saying “Please” and “Thank You”. Knowing and acknowledging the Canadian holidays will make them feel even more welcome and appreciated.
406: Why should a business take a Canadian debit card?
Donna: Culturally, Canadian's prefer to use debit cards. They are the second highest users of debit cards in the world next to Sweden. Canadians do not like to charge items, thereby accumulating debt. They want to pay now, not wait for the bill later. 406: Will there be an increase in demand for acceptance of Canadian debit cards in the future?
Donna: ABSOLUTLY! It is the 20+ and 30-something generations that will drive this demand. The Baby Boomer Canadian consumer has frankly given up asking, "Do
you take Canadian debit?" There are only so many times that you want to hear, "NO". The older generations just carry cash or resort to a credit card in the extreme case, but may choose not to return to the retailer as they are now deemed, not “Canadian-friendly”.
Is this a good business decision to become more “Canadian-friendly”?
Donna: No question. When a Canadian discovers a business is accepting their Interac PIN debit card, they will make a mental note for their next visit to the valley. Case-in-point, my family visited a local business in the Flathead Valley to purchase a gift card, but did not have cash, and did not want to use our credit card. Discovering that this business was Canada Certified™, we were able to make the purchase and will return in the future and pass the message along to our Canadian friends. This would have been a $100 sale lost to this business. 406:
How can a local business accept Canadian debit
Donna: Well this is where NXGEN Payment Services, comes in, a global company with their corporate headquarters right in Whitefish, Montana. They had the vision to see there was a solution to the problem and embarked on an Economic Development project like no other - Canada CertifiedTM. 406: Why did NXGEN create the Canada Certified ™ program?
Back in April 2011, Donna presented, "Are you Ready for Canadian Business?", an economic perspective of why Canadians travel to the Flathead Valley and what the businesses could do to be more Canadian-friendly. It was at that event that NXGEN first learned of the inability of Canadians to use their debit cards in Montana and the frustration this caused the visitor to this Valley.
It was easy to understand that Canadian money was being left on the table and not making its way to the cash register. Our sales and marketing team brainstormed, and a solution was found Canada CertifiedTM.
What is Canada Certified ™?
Canada Certified™ is about breaking down cultural barriers, welcoming a customer base that is already here spending money, and offering superior customer service. It’s a program designed to increase foot traffic to any retail business, increase volume in spending, repeat traffic and continued loyalty from Canadian consumers. In areas such as the Flathead, we all recognize how much tourism and more specifically, Canadian tourism, is supporting our local economy. We want to embrace this trend and make it the very best for all.
No, Really what is Canada Certi-
Annie: There are three parts to Canada Certified ™. First is pin debit hardware that allows merchants to accept Interac Debit Cards. Second is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) which provides a receipt for international Credit Card transactions (for those occasions when the customer elects to use their Credit Card rather than their Interac Pin Debit card) that shows Canadian currency, US dollar amount, and the exchange rate for that day. Finally, and the most exciting part is the marketing component that creates and maintains a Facebook page for each Canada Certified community, and provides new, exciting and cost effective opportunities for Canada Certified Merchants to cooperatively market their businesses to Canadians via signage and multi-media advertising directly in Canadian markets. We want these businesses to stand out through our program.
406: Why is Canada Certified ™ considered to be an economic development program?
Annie: We’ve seen increased business
savings through lower processing fees because NXGEN’s wholesale pricing is earned from a 16-country portfolio of debit and credit processing. Last year, NXGEN processed over $3.5 billion in payments.
· We provide Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) rebates back to the business · Lower fees for PIN debit versus international V/MC credit cards.
· Marketing exposure for Canada Certified ™ businesses · A business should experience increased foot traffic, increased spending and repeat business and loyalty from Canadians
What if a business doesn’t perceive this to be a problem?
This is a great question and often asked. Prior to 1994 the Interac card couldn’t be accepted anywhere in the US. Interac contracted with a US payment network to interface with their PIN debit cards, so they could be used at over 2 million businesses in the US. There are many statistics that indicate that Canada is a very debitoriented society, and debit cards are the preferred choice of payment over cash or credit. In 2010 a survey conducted by Visa indicated that 65 % of Canadians want to use their debit cards in the United States.
406: What does becoming Canada CertifiedTM entail and is it costly? Annie:
The process is not difficult and our Account Consultants will help guide a business with choosing the best, most cost-effective solution. The increased sales volume and additional cost-savings will offset the expense of joining this program. We have created a Return on Investment (ROI) calculator that will help indicate when a business will start turning a profit after becoming Canada Certified™.
Does becoming Canada Certified ™ work?
Annie: Yes, it is working on a lot of levels. Our preliminary research shows businesses have benefited by becoming Canada Certified™. Many community Chambers have commented to us that they have benefitted from the media attention because the program is designed to be an economic development program that Chambers can bring to their towns. Canadians love that we are making the extra effort to take their PIN debit cards; I even had an Alberta woman hug me when she heard the news at a trade show.
I have so enjoyed working on the Canada Certified™ program with Donna. She has brought great insight into the Canadian culture and provided ideas on how to make the best of our present-day international environment for our border communities, the local businesses, and the Canadians that come to visit Montana.
Business is All About Relationships Written by Susan B. Clarke “All I can say is that we’ll have a good look at it this time. I wasn’t involved the last time, so don’t know what happened or what to say.”
I could feel my blood pumping and my jaw tightening. I just wanted to grab my keys and take my car somewhere else for repairs. However, the brakes were making some less than positive sounds, and the smell was definitely a sign that something was seriously wrong. Still, I was angry. This was my third visit to the local dealership. My first visit was simply a routine 50,000 mile check- up. Of course, I had been talked into a list of things that my service pro explained as important to cover. So I agreed. The second visit had been about the bad smell I started noticing after the big tune up. I thought it was tire related but wasn’t sure. So again, I trusted my service pro. Later that day, I picked up my car and was told there was just some lubricant on the radiator. I questioned the service pro, but drove away after some assurance it should be good to go.
Now, with the third visit, they were clear there was a brake/tire issue. How nice. So despite the fact that it was my third time back at the shop, what I was most upset with wasn’t the number of visits. No. I was angry because there wasn’t any acknowledgement that I had been trying to get them to solve this problem previously and apparently I had not been taken seriously. Oddly, I wasn’t looking for any type of cash return or payment. No. I just wanted the service pro to say, “If we missed this, I am sorry.” I share this lead-in because I know as a service provider it is very hard sometimes, when a customer is angry or dissatisfied, to not become defensive and make some type of excuse.
Of course saying, “I may be wrong,” or “I’m sorry,” could result in more problems, like liability or not getting paid at all. Plus, I know for me, sometimes it stings. I don’t like making mistakes or doing a
poor job. However, I have learned that to move forward and maintain the relationship, I need to acknowledge the customer’s position, even if it makes me look bad.
Research has shown that medical doctors, who have made even life-altering mistakes in patient care and are able to speak humbly and honestly to the patient or family about what has happened, have avoided large malpractice suits; not created them.
For years it was legally recommended that doctors should not acknowledge their mistakes. Those times have changed. Instead, there is strong bottom line evidence that supports doctors speaking openly and honestly to their patients, listening to their anger, fears and issues related to whatever happened. This approach results in less litigation and all parties are more settled in the long term. I use the medical model as an example because often mistakes there can be truly life-altering or lifethreatening. In my world, as a business consultant, the stakes might be high, but usually do not involve life or death. Still, it can be hard to step out of my defensiveness to listen and truly step into my client’s shoes when they are unhappy.
The same day I had my car service incident, I found myself in a similar situation. A week earlier I had picked up a call when I was running out of the office to try and make a dental appointment. It was a new client who I had been playing phone tag with for a couple of days. Once we connected, the client wanted to tell me at length about his situation, hoping to hear some options. I thought we had a great conversation, and I tried to capture what I heard and reflect back some possible ways we might be able help his team. Of course I was still trying to get to a dental appointment so the call was shorter than usual. After my appointment, I spent quite a bit of time putting together a more complete proposal and sent it off. Time passed, and I didn’t hear anything. On the day of my car service incident, I called to follow up. I was surprised to learn the client had picked another firm. He thought I was quite impatient with him during our conversation, and, though he liked the proposal, was not sure about my commitment level.
My initial reaction: Come on – I spent a lot of time on that proposal and I listened to your story even though we didn’t have an appointment.
Fortunately I did not say any of that! Maybe the car service situation had been just the right reminder. Instead I said:
“I’m sorry you thought I was impatient. I can at times sound short and I regret that you may have caught me in one of those moments. I am glad you liked the proposal and was sincere in what we were willing to do. I’d love to have another chance, but if you think you’ve found a better fit, I wish you the best going forward.” His response wasn’t to hand me his business, but he did say he might be in touch and that he appreciated my acknowledgement of the fact that I can sometimes be short. This isn’t about always making things work out or blindly agreeing. No, good customer service is about relationship building. Sometimes that creates direct sales and sometimes that creates a person who is happy with the final outcome and is more likely to send business your way.
Here are some steps to Customer Success:
·Listen: Honestly listen to their perspective of what happened. Keep your mouth shut. ·Reflect Back: Re-phrase the gist of both the cli-
ent’s concerns and their feelings. When people are upset, they want to feel heard.
·Acknowledge the Problem: Acknowledge the client’s perception there’s a problem. This doesn’t mean you agree with everything they are saying. No—it means that you really hear them and can understand why they may be upset.
·Acknowledge What You Agree With: This means agreeing with what you can agree with before defending your position or making an excuse. These steps can save the relationship as well as save you money. Service is all about relationships.
As for the car dealership, when I went to pick up the car they said this was a completely new problem with the brakes and was not related to the concerns I expressed on my earlier visit. There was neither acknowledgement of what I expressed earlier nor interest in my frustration with the process. As a result, I will be going somewhere else next time. However, I did receive a great reminder about service that day which helped me handle my client’s complaint much better!
So you have a great idea and want to star t a business.
What next? Written by Chris Parson
How and where do you start? Why are you starting a business? What is unique about your business idea? What is your target market? These are all common questions along with many others that have to be answered and in some type of order.
The first question to ask yourself is, “Do you have what it takes to run your own business?” It is not as easy as some of the businesses you might frequent make it seem. You have to eat, sleep, and breathe your new business. Going into business so you can work for yourself is a noble cause but not enough of a reason to start a business. If you are not in business to make money, then all you really have is a hobby, and a time intensive and expensive one at that.
Owning your own business takes passion, motivation, resilience, financial smarts, innovative thinking, constant persistence and lots of planning. You will hit many road blocks that will cause many headaches and will require you to adapt to new directions and be creative. Although these challenges sometimes consume the process, it can be an exciting time for you, and with proper planning and hard work, you can be successful. Not only does starting a business require you to take financial risks, it forces you to put your reputation, relationships, credibility, and most likely many of your large assets,( i.e. house, land, vehicles, savings, etc.) on the line.
Start-up businesses usually require some sort of capital, but not all businesses require large amounts of debt to get started. Sometimes starting out small and waiting for the cash flow to “flow” to a comfortable level can be the best way to start. Starting your business from home can be a great way to stay economical. Bootstrapping your business, which means paying for it yourself and not going to a lending institution to obtain a loan, can take a little longer to see results, but it is more realistic and less risky. Consider your new business as a part-time venture, and keep your day job until you are convinced that it will work. So what are the steps to starting your business? Many people jump right to the licensing, financing, registering, buying, and leasing, instead of taking a step back and focusing on the viability. No matter what business type you think you want to start, it
all begins with determining the viability of success. To do this, you have to know the market you intend to address. To run a successful business, you need to learn about your existing and potential customers, your competitors and the economic conditions of your marketplace.
If you have a product or service that you want to sell, you should first know who you are going to sell it to. Why do they need your product? Do they know they need it? I like to say there are two types of gaps that help identify your market. Ask yourself first if you have a product that people want, and if you just have to inform them that you have it. Next, find out if you have a product that the market doesn’t know they need so you have to create the need. Although these are two very different angles, it is important that you recognize the difference. In the end, all businesses, no matter what they sell, have to identify either a gap or need in the market on which they can capitalize.
Now that you have identified the gap, you can then begin to think about filling it. This process is where research of your marketplace comes into play. Market research is the process of gathering and analyzing consumer and economic data to help you understand which products and services your customers want and how to differentiate your business from your competitors. There are essentially two types of market research—primary and secondary. Primary research is anything that comes directly from your customers. Secondary consists of anything and everything that you can find that is documented somewhere, whether on the Internet, television or in magazines, books, newspapers, etc. This information is secondary, hence the name, and is not as beneficial to a new entrepreneur as primary research which is where the rubber meets the road. Primary research consists of hitting the streets and finding out first hand if people need your product or service. This can be done through surveys, face to face, product testing and networking. Primary research really tests the market so you have an idea if people seem interested. It doesn’t give you all the answers, but it does give you a great place to start and may give you enough information to either move forward or try something else. During this early infancy stage of business development, you might find
that your product/service needs tweaking to meet a niche market or that you need to completely change directions. This is okay, and recognizing it and adapting to it could save you a lot of time, headaches, and more importantly, money. It is okay to be attached to your product/service; just don’t be married to it.
There are many parts to starting a business, and the above only scratches the surface. Knowing your market demand and developing your marketing plan in the beginning can really help in the development of a successful business. For more start-up information and tools, visit www.sba.gov or www. nwmontanabusiness.com.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Entrepreneurship Education has a quick reference guide that lists ”Six Must-Do” Steps to starting a business. Here they are in abbreviated form: 1. Have a plan, but no need for a 30-page one. Focus on defining your success and how to get there.
2. Get assistance. Many are resources available in the local community. www.sba.gov can help you find them, or visit my website at www.nwmontanabusiness.com. 3. Find a mentor. This could be your own network of family, business leaders, teachers, etc.
4. Decide on a business model or structure. This is an important step but does not need to be completed until you are sure you are moving forward with your start-up. 5. Finance your venture. Access your funding needs once you have tested your idea.
6. Register your business. Check to make sure you don’t need a special license or permits. Montana does not require business licenses/permits for many businesses; check out www.sos.mt.gov for more information. You’ll need to apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) if you have employees, business partnerships, and corporations and other types of organizations. Check out http://www.sba.gov/ content/getting-tax-identification-number for more information. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.
Planning For Uncertainty Written by Katy Croft, Certified Public Accountant
The Internal Revenue Code is famously complex, full of confusing loop holes and socio-economic tax credits. The Code’s complexity is added to year after year as Congress passes new legislation. Tax planning is already a somewhat dreadful task for most people, and 2012 and 2013 will be no exception. As an election year, taxes will likely be a hot topic throughout the debates. As the end of 2012 approaches, tax professionals and financial planners will be doing their best to assist their clients with their short- and long-term financial planning. There are dozens of provisions, commonly known as the Bush-era tax cuts, expiring at the end of 2012. Among these provisions are the Child Tax Credit, the Student Loan Interest Deduction, and the preferential capital gain tax rates. The tax rates will shift also; each of the eight tax brackets will see an increase of up to 5%. This will affect every single taxpayer in the U.S. There have been rumors of “extender bills” that will either make some of the expiring provisions permanent or extend them for another couple of years. With this possibility, tax and financial planners are faced with uncertainty when trying to prepare for clients’ 2012 and 2013 tax positions. The challenge Congress is faced with as they evaluate extending these provisions is how to cover the cost. It is estimated that with the extension of these provisions, the 10year cumulative deficit would increase by
more than $6 trillion. Finding other sources to offset this increase won’t be easy, considering we are already operating at a deficit. The truth is tax revenues will have to be generated somewhere. Tax planning generally centers on deferring income and accelerating deductions. Meaningful planning will be difficult to achieve this year since Congress has the ability to make significant changes to the Code or pass an extender-bill until the year is nearly over. The planning approach we are taking with our clients is to assume all of the provisions do expire.
The outcome of all of these expiring provisions is that you will be paying more taxes – period. Until we know for sure what to expect for 2013 and beyond, the advice we are giving is this: plan for the worst and spread out the tax increase. Increase your federal withholding from your paycheck or increase the amounts you are sending in for your quarterly estimated payments now. If your 2012 tax return generates a refund for
you, apply it all to 2013. Because these provisions are still in place for 2012, 2013 is really the year of uncertainty. The alternative is potentially getting an enormous tax bill in 2014 when you file your 2013 tax returns. Spreading out the tax you pay in will make it easier to absorb the increase. Tax planning is never simple, and the next two years will be particularly challenging as we face such uncertainty. The best thing you can do is pay attention to the legislation this year and work with your tax and financial planners to make sure you understand how it will affect you and your family.
Circular 230 Disclaimer In accordance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we must inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication, unless expressly stated otherwise, was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matter(s) addressed herein.
marketing part one Written by Jennah Mitchell Let me start with a warm hello to all of you wonderful 406 Woman readers! I am so excited and blessed to be a part of the team and to have the chance to chat with all of you each issue about marketing.
As a brief introduction: I am a Secondary Education and English degree holder, a small business owner, a mother, a writer, and a Montana transplant that is proud to call this beautiful state my home. My husband and I own a graphic design and web development company, so my excitement and passion for marketing, business, and the people behind countless wonderful Montana companies has grown out of years of working side by side with our clients as they promote their businesses and spread roots in their communities. Now that we know each other a little better let’s get to the topic at hand: marketing. In each issue, this section of the magazine will cover many different things, from social media to branding (companies, not cattle) to content generation to managing it all without losing your mind. All of these valuable and often mysterious aspects of business fall under the broad umbrella of “marketing,” but each has their own unique purpose and importance for your business. For now, let’s just focus on defining what marketing is and why it can benefit your company. Marketing is essentially how you reach out to your clients, consumers, customers, or supporters to share your company’s message. You are telling a story through text, video, graphics, and more - often all at the same time. Poor marketing fails to share the story at all. Decent marketing shares an understandable message. Good marketing makes people want to engage with your story. Great marketing simultaneously connects with people where they are at and engages them with your company’s story. On this scale of poor to great, where do you think your marketing efforts stand? Perhaps
more importantly, where do you think your target audience would say your marketing efforts stand? Remember: effective marketing has to do more than just broadcast information to people; it must connect and resonate with them their needs in order to be successful. As my best friend says, “It needs to be more than just a flash in the pan.” Generating buzz for a moment is easy; sustaining that excitement over months or years requires time, effort, and – you guessed it – a genuine connection with your audience.
Social media has turned traditional marketing upside down because it has provided even small startup companies with the ability to engage with their
customers without spending exorbitant amounts of money breaking into conventional marketing avenues such as radio, television, and billboard advertising.
There is a time and place for all of these types of marketing, and I’m excited to get to talk about it all in the months to come. Stay tuned for November’s issue, when we will chat about why your company should take advantage of all of the free and low-cost social media marketing tools available. Do you have specific questions? Get in touch with the magazine and let me know; I would love to hear from you! Be blessed! Jennah Mitchell
Fu n d i n g Yo u r Fu t u r e
Bigfork Single Mom of Two Boys Finds Her Way to College through FVCC Foundation Scholarship By Katie Fries
Many of us, especially during trying economic times, consider going to college to brush up on skills or gain new ones; however, one of the major roadblocks for most people considering returning to school is the cost. It was no different for Bigfork’s Ruth Rickenbacher, a single mother of two boys, when she decided to go back to school to pursue a degree in communications. She knew it would not be easy, but she was excited about the opportunities that her education would open up for her future. “I want to show my children that through hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your goals in education and employment,” she said.
Ruth is currently pursuing her Associate of Arts degree with an emphasis in communications at Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) and plans to transfer to The University of Montana to complete a bachelor’s degree in the field. Upon completing her degree, Ruth hopes to find a job in public relations or communications in the Flathead Valley where she has lived for the past 25 years. Knowing the cost of college would create a financial challenge for her family, Ruth applied for and received a scholarship through the FVCC’s Foundation.
Ruth says the scholarship has helped her immensely with the financial burden of going back to college. “When I received the envelope in the mail, I thought it was another bill,” she said. “When I discovered it was a scholarship, I actually cried tears of joy for the first time in my life. It lifted a huge burden off my shoulders.”
The scholarship also has allowed Ruth to free up more time to embrace her community and her college campus through volunteer work. Her extensive philanthropic history includes working at Bigfork Elementary School and organizing an art contest and show for middle school and high school students through PTA Reflections. Last fall, she accepted a position as FVCC’s Renewable Resource Coordinator, a volunteer position through Montana Campus Corp, and has worked diligently to expand recycling efforts on the FVCC campus and around the Flathead Valley.
FVCC’s Focus on Affordable Excellence
Flathead Valley Community College is focused on providing students an outstanding education and experience that leads to lifelong success at a fraction of the price of other institutions around the nation.
Already one of the most affordable colleges in the state, FVCC has a wide range of scholarships and grants available, as well as outstanding financial assistance services to help students cover college expenses. They have been able to help many FVCC students graduate without outstanding student loans.
Seventy-four percent of degree seeking students at FVCC are receiving some type of financial assistance. FVCC is now accepting applications for a number of spring 2013 scholarships. Stop by the Financial Aid Office in Blake Hall on the college’s campus in Kalispell or call 756-3849 for more information.
C a r ry i n g o n t h e C ow b oy W ay – P ro f e s s i o n a l B u l l R i d e r
Written by Kristen Hamilton Photos by Shay LaCasse, sas-photography.com
Perhaps you’ve climbed up on an electronic bull during a party or at Gilley’s Bar in Texas. You experience a quick thrill then you are thrown to a comfy mat. For the past 19 years, Beau Hill has been riding real bulls and when he’s thrown off its not a comfy mat that he lands on but the hard ground of an arena.
Hill has broken just about every bone in his body over the years but when asked about his choice of profession, he wouldn’t have done it differently. In this business, “it’s not if you get hurt, it’s when,” he said. Hill’s experience is that he comes back stronger after an injury.
He comes from a very athletic family and his sister and father both played college basketball. With
Hill’s height and build, he could have followed that path but when he was 14 years old he saw his first bull-riding event and knew that was the sport for him. Hill loves the freedom of being a “Professional Bull Rider”. He feels that it is important to carry on the cowboy way and showcase western heritage. Having flexibility with his family life is a great bonus as well. He and his wife, Keri, have three children (Lakia, Jace, and Jory) ages 3 to 10 years old. Bull riding allows Beau to support his family and enjoy free time with them when he’s not on tour. He says of Keri, “She has always supported my career and pushes me to do my best.”
As a family they have been able to travel and see some wonderful places over the years. Keri loves the flexibility it has offered her family. She is an esthetician at the Beauty Bar located at Fawn Bou-
tique in downtown Kalispell. Her career allows her to be spontaneous and travel with the kids to see Hill when she wants. She said the actual bull riding doesn’t make her as nervous as worrying about her husband when he’s traveling to the events. “That’s the nerve wracking part,” Keri said.
When Hill was younger, he traveled to over 100 events per year. Now he rides in 60-70 bull-riding events, which still puts him on the road often. When he’s home he focuses on family - spending time being a dad, coach and just being there to help Keri. It’s important for the whole family to stay active with a lot of activities and enjoying the outdoors. According to the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Association, bull riding is simply put – place a wiry cowboy on the back of a hulking, snorting tempera-
mental 2,000 pound bull and see if he can ride the beast for an eternal eight seconds with one hand strapped to the bull’s massive backside.
During the eight-second ride, four judges rate each rider and each bull on a scale of 1-25. Those points are added together and divided in half to reach a rider and a bull score between 0-50. Those numbers are then combined to reach a final score between 0-100. The bull always receives a score, even if the rider is bucked off. The bull’s score is based on degree of difficulty, and the judges’ look for drop in the front end, kick in the back, spin and direction changes.
If the bull's performance is sub-par or if a foul occurs during the ride (the rider is rubbed against the chute, the bull stumbles, the flank strap detaches, etc.) judges can offer the rider a chance to take a re-ride.
Riders earn points based their ride scores, their finish in each round, and for their overall finish in the event. “You want to have a good bull to get more points,” Hill said.
Since then Hill has won many awards including the National Finals a second time, PBR World Finals four times, Canadian National Finals two times, PBR Canada at least five times, Montana Pro Circuit Champion four times, and the College National Finals. As a matter of fact, he is the only man in bull riding history that has accomplished this.
The one award that has eluded him is World Champion. Hill still wants that title and “would like to give it one more chance to see if he can do it.” You can see Hill at the Northwest Montana Fair in
His proudest moment came in 2002, as it was Kalispell this August. He said, “There should be a the 1st year he made the National Finals Ro- lot of good bulls at the fair.” The rider only receives a score if he lasts the re- deo. When he walked in the arena he realized, quired eight seconds. Judges look for control. “I’m one of the best, and I belong here.” That Spurring (kicking the bull) is not required, but experience gave Hill a lot of confidence and he kept going from there. tends to demonstrate control, and can add points. 29
Home is Where the Family Is…
Beckman’s Fine Furnishings by Kristen Hamilton - Photo by Daniel Seymour
Returning to the Flathead Valley after eight years in the Phoenix area has made Karen Cramer appreciate family and this beautiful area even more.
“It was hard to be away,” Karen said and she is happy to be back as the proprietor of Beckman’s Fine Furnishings along with her daughter, Stefanie Hanson. After returning, she realized something - “I took the simple things for granted, and I’m so excited to be back in Montana and close to family.”
With 25 years experience in the design and furniture business, the timing was right to open a business. Coupled with a true passion to make people happy, the downtown retail storefront, of the former Montana Expressions West, was the perfect location. The space was great and the bar feature welcomes you with a sense of comfort and home. They chose the name Beckman’s because it is Karen’s family name, and she feels “really blessed” to be surrounded by them again. Besides having Stefanie as a partner, the entire family helps to make the business successful. She has always loved the furniture business and the people she has met through the years. With Karen’s extensive background, she wanted to bring vendors and artists to this area, and she knew it was time to open a place of her own. With Stefanie’s help, they found what they consider the perfect location. Karen feels that being downtown has great synergy. “I want the whole downtown area to be successful, and I want to be a part of it,” she said. Beckman’s stays open late for all of the downtown events, and they love welcoming visitors to the store.
Karen says, “Home is all about you, and I want to be part of creating that for people.” Beckman’s product line includes unique, quality, beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories that make a house a “home”. But it’s more than that. She really listens to what the customer desires. She wants them to be satisfied and to keep coming back. Karen’s flair for design is apparent as soon as you walk in the door. Gorgeous room sets, that are inviting and purposeful, are arranged throughout the store. Karen wants you to love the piece (of furniture) and enjoy it day in and day out. “Like your favorite pair of jeans,” she adds. She is happy to help you either pick out a beautiful lamp to accent a room or design an entire home to suit your personality. The accessories include everything from beautiful silver that make terrific gifts, to lamps, candles and just about any unique accent piece you can envision. Recently, they expanded their inventory to include some fun woman’s jewelry and dressy cowboy boots that have been really popular with shoppers. Of course, there is more to running a business than what meets the eye, and Karen gives Stefanie credit for much of the back of the house duties. “She (Stefanie) is a great partner and she is driven and exciting to work with,” Karen said. Stefanie works a full time day job as a dental hygienist but still gives Beckman’s her all by handling the finances and inventory plus working many evening and weekend shifts. “It’s great that Stefanie brings a younger perspective to the business, and I love her fun and upbeat personality,” Karen adds.
Karen and Stefanie don’t mind the time they dedicate to Beckman’s because they are doing it for themselves and their future. “It is very rewarding to make people happy,” Karen says.
Mostly though, it’s because of family. Karen loves to be surrounded by family and loves to spend time with them whether it’s taking a rare day off boating on the lake, a hike in the mountains, or cooking for a family gathering. She knows she is blessed to have such a great support network with family. In addition to working along side her daughter, she’s thrilled that her son, Dan, just got married, and a beautiful new daughter-in-law and granddaughter have been added to her family. I encourage you to stop by Beckman’s Fine Furnishings and see all they have to offer. Karen and Stefanie’s friendly smiles and welcoming demeanors will make you feel great and like part of their family.
123 Main Street Kalispell 406-756-8555 www.kalispellfurniture.com