GET TO KNOW CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER
THE ENEMY OF GREAT IS GOOD
ENTER THE TANK: BILLINGS CHAMBER BREAKFAST 2015
I S S U E 5 | M A R C H - M AY 2015
DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO ADVERTISE in the June issue of
WE UNDERSTAND YOUR BUSINESS BECAUSE WE TAKE THE TIME TO UNDERSTAND YOU
GET TO KNOW CHAMBER BOARD MEMBER
THE ENEMY OF GREAT IS GOOD
ENTER THE TANK: BILLINGS CHAMBER BREAKFAST 2015
ISSUE 5 | MA R C H - M AY 2015
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table of contents
3.15 CONTENTS 2015 BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
THE ENEMY OF GREAT IS GOOD
Talking about the tough issues facing Billings today.
2015 Employer of the Year:
THE AVITUS GROUP
2015 Business Person of the Year:
MICHAEL SANDERSON President and CEO of Sanderson Stewart 2015 Customer Service Award:
Pierce Flooring & Design and Pierce RV Supercenter.
DR. FRED GUNVILLE Pediatric Diabetes Specialist at Billings Clinic 2015 Supervisor/ Manager of the Year:
ERIC POLLARD Director of Radiology Services for St. Vincent Healthcare
4 | MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY
ENTER THE TANK
Donâ€™t miss these Upcoming Chamber Events.
3.15 EVERY ISSUE
Honoring Business Excellence and facing tough issues.
Travel with the Chamber to Austria and Germany in 2015.
Some of the latest statistics and economic data impacting businesses in Billings.
Government involvement at local, state and federal levels.
MONTANAâ€™S TRAILHEAD Preparing to welcome BMW to Billings in July.
GET TO KNOW KELLY MCCANDLESS
Editor; LiNK Magazine/Communications Manager/ Leisure Travel Marketing Manager.
TRIPS ON A TANKFUL
Winter photo tour of Southeast Montana with Andy Austin.
GET TO KNOW BUTCH BRATSKY
Did we see you at recent Chamber events? Look for yourself and your friends in LiNKED!
FROM THE PRESiDENT/CEO
BIG SKY LEVEL
HONORING BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AND FACING TOUGH ISSUES There are over 7,000 businesses in Billings. Small business owners, large corporation presidents, salespeople, managers, and leaders: each fighting daily to take care of their employees, customers, families and community.
GRANITE PEAK LEVEL CenturyLink Holiday Station Stores U.S. Bank
Crowne Plaza MSU Billings
BEARTOOTH LEVEL Albertsons Bay, LTD Big Sky Economic Development BNSF Century 21 Hometown Brokers Charter Business Computers Unlimited
A few standout and excel in their creation of an exciting staff culture, or give back to their community in ways that benefit us all, and lead in ways that inspire and motivate. During our annual Billings Chamber Breakfast 2015 on April 2 (formerly known as the Salespersons’ Breakfast)— and in this issue—we celebrate four businesses and individual leaders who lead by example. Help us congratulate: • Avitus Group - Employer of the Year • Michael Sanderson, Sanderson Stewart – Business Person of the Year • Eric Pollard, St. Vincent Healthcare - Supervisor of the Year
• Dr. Fred Gunville, Billings Clinic - Customer Service Excellence
Crowley Fleck PLLP Denny Menholt Chevrolet ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co.
Also in this issue we take a hard (painfully hard) look at areas in our community being neglected. Some simply need a stronger push while others need a complete re-boot. As you read that piece, be thinking about your role to improve our community. Continuing down the same path we have always followed will not work unless we are comfortable in a second seat position in Montana for air service, industrial growth, community beautification and safety.
Holiday Inn Grand Montana Integra Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. Montana Rail Link, Inc. PayneWest Insurance Phillips 66 PPL Montana, LLC Rocky Mountain College Stockman Bank, Billings Underriner Honda Vertex Consulting Group Western Security Bank, Downtown
The Billings Gazette
Dave Worstell, Allyn Hulteng
Karen Anderson, Michelle Maki
Billings Gazette Staff Photographers, Billings Chamber, Visit Billings, Peak Photography
www.billingschamber.com PO Box 31177 Billings MT 59107-1177 406-245-4111 • 800-711-2630
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TRAVEL TO AUSTRIA AND GERMANY IN 2015 BY JENNIFER REISER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
The Billings Chamber of Commerce will once again host an international excursion this fall, this year traveling to Austria and Germany.
Since the inception of our international travel program, over 150 people, both members and non-members of the Chamber, have taken the opportunity to explore the world with us. Not only is group travel with the Chamber costeffective, but it offers opportunities to socialize and allows you to see more since you leave the planning to us. Travel guides and hosts coordinate transportation and entertainment as well as assist with navigating language barriers and local customs. This years’ tour through Austria and Germany will include stops at Oktoberfest, the Munich Cathedral, Olympic Park, Innsbruck Imperial Palace, Salzburg, Neuschwanstein Castle and many other destinations. The nine day, seven night trip departs October 1, 2015, and costs just $3,249 (reserve by March 27th to get $100 off !) The all-inclusive rate covers airfare
from Billings to Munich, Germany, firstclass accommodations, many meals, ground transportation, and professional guide services. Optional tour add-ons include an excursion to Salzburg, a trip to Merano, Italy, and tours of Mittenwald and Garmisch Partenkirchen. Additionally, your stay can be extended with an optional Romantic Road/Nürnberg excursion. This is an exceptional chance to share a new adventure with your family and friends or use this as an opportunity to create new friendships with those who share an interest in travel. For more information go to http://www. billingschamber.com/join/get-involved/ travel/ or contact Jennifer Reiser at Jennifer@ billingschamber.com or by phone (406) 869-3734. The deadline for the Chamber to receive your $500 deposit is July 1st.
CHAMBER STATISTICS: What are we doing for you? As of February 10, 2015, the Billings Chamber represents 1,152 members with approximately 46,743 employees. Since the beginning of our fiscal year July 1, 2014 through February 10, 2015: Number of Calls/Inquiries: ......... 6,859 (average of 980/month) Visitors to the Visitor Information Center: .........................3,003 Visits to VisitBillings.com:.................................................90,975 Visits to BillingsChamber.com: .........................................12,438 Relocation Packets Mailed: .................................................... 140
Connect for Lunch:................195 lunches served so far this FY. At an average cost of $12/lunch that is an impact of $2,340 to member restaurants.
Convention and Meeting Tourism Bookings: ................... 37,490 hotel room nights booked for $8,435,250 total economic impact on the city of Billings.
Conventions and Meetings Serviced by Visit Billings: ...... 9,144 convention delegate packets provided.
Visitor Information Packets Mailed: ...................................9,309 Business Meeting Attendees at Chamber: ......................... 7,407 Chamber Event Attendance: ................................................ 4,316
Is your info current? Make sure we’re sharing the correct information with potential clients! Check your listing at BillingsChamber.com and let us know if changes are needed. MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 7
KEY ECONOMIC INDICATORS Hotel Occupancy
80.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 70.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 60.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 40.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 30.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 20.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.0% __________________________________________________________________________________________________ 0.0% ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2014
Unemployment Rate Comparison County Population
Percent change in county population 2010-2013
5.9% Unemployment Rate as of September 2014 Yellowstone County
Median Household Income
Airport Deboardings: City Comparison 500,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 450,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Average Home Price
350,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 300,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Number of Business Licenses
250,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 200,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 150,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________
School District #2 Enrollment
Sources: Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Billings Association of Realtors速, City of Billings, School District #2, U.S. Census Bureau.
100,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 50,000 ________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2013 2012 2014 0
Airport Deboarding Data Source: Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. *2013 Billings deboardings were impacted by runway maintenance in July/August
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GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT AT LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS BY BRUCE MACINTYRE, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND BUSINESS ADVOCACY
To advocate appropriately for our business community, the Chamber offers two committees: Government Affairs and the Local Government Committee.
Both are charged with determining what is best for Billings, but do so within different areas of government. Government Affairs, chaired by Greg Kohn, deals with the state and federal legislation and rulemaking and Local Government, chaired by Dan Carter and Jason “Big J” Harris, is responsible for what happens with the City of Billings, Yellowstone County and School District two. Both of these committees require input from our membership and our three chairs encourage our members to become active participants. Harris says, “Our local government committee needs community input on the issues we address when we talk about homelessness in Billings, a public safety mill levy or what is happening in our schools.” Carter adds, “you can’t live, work and play in a vacuum. We all need to be aware of that is happening or what needs to happen.” Kohn takes a more global view, “Every action at the state or federal level has the potential to help
or harm our business community. Government Affairs is the watchdog for business.” With the 2015 Legislature in session, this is a busy time for both committees, particularly Government Affairs. Prior to the beginning of the session, the Government Affairs Committee and its task forces spent months developing and refining 200 issues that might be addressed by the legislature. The Chamber board gave final approval in this process, which yielded our Public Policy Manual, the basis of our lobbying efforts. Now that the session is in action, local input on these issues is critical. This is where the business community needs to become more involved. Let your legislator know your likes and dislikes. We research many pieces of legislation and have an abundance of information on the Public Policy website, publicpolicy.billingschamber.com. I’ll offer my rule as a bottom line: If you aren’t involved, you don’t have a right to complain.
JASON “BIG J” HARRIS
FOLLOW MORE CHAMBER WORK ON LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL ISSUES. VISIT OUR POLICY WEBSITE:
MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 9
PREPARING TO WELCOME BMW BY ALEX TYSON
• EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VISIT BILLINGS
Together with its stakeholders and the Chamber of Commerce, the Visit Billings office is the driving catalyst for one of Billings’ top industries: tourism. Visit Billings strategically grows visitation by leading state, regional, national and international tourism marketing efforts for Billings to help attract more than two million travelers to the city annually. From events, festivals, conventions and sports tournaments, Billings is an attractive destination. Currently, the Visit Billings team is excited to be in full service mode to help get the community and region ready for thousands of BMW Motorcycle Owners who will visit Billings in July from across the United States and Canada. The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (MOA) was created for BMW motorcycle enthusiasts in 1972. Today there are more than 32,000 members. The members share cross-country adventures and tell stories about experiences on the open road. In July, the crosscountry adventure leads members to Billings, Montana’s Trailhead
for the 43rd Annual BMW MOA International Rally. From July 23-25, riders will converge on MetraPark, the city and region to take in Montana’s bucket list attractions and amenities including the Rimrocks, Beartooth Highway, Pompeys Pillar and the Little Big Horn Battlefield. We hope you and your business will share in their adventure by helping welcome them to town. Currently, a business toolkit is available courtesy of Visit Billings. This toolkit offers area business owners/managers the chance to be an ambassador and welcome and engage BMW MOA guests. From posters in store front windows and frontline customer service training, to smiles and engaging conversations, welcoming the riders to Billings will be a city-wide effort. We hope each and every rider will see Billings in their rear-view mirrors and think, “I can’t wait to go back.” The toolkit can be accessed on our website at www.visitbillings.com/ bmw-toolkit.php. Here you can
download the rally logo, a printable event poster, find FAQ’s and contact us if you have questions or want more information. We’re here to help you so we can all make this a remarkable and memorable experience promising return visitors. Interested in complimentary training for your frontline staff so they can help facilitate our visitors in the best manner? Let our office know and we’ll visit with you about the complimentary Visit Billings Trailhead Tourism Ambassador (TTA) program. If you have questions about the Rally or TTA, please contact the Chamber/Visit Billings office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The mission of Visit Billings is to generate room nights for lodging facilities in the city of Billings by effectively marketing our region as a preferred travel destination. Visit Billings is managed by the Billings Chamber of Commerce. VisitBillings.com
We hope each and every rider will see Billings in their rearview mirrors and think, “I can’t wait to go back.”
UD TO ARE PRO
E 2015 BM
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YOUR TRAILHEAD TO
PRACTICE, COMPETE & CELEBRATE
WITH EXCEPTIONAL AIR SERVICE AND ACCESSIBILITY, IT’S EASY TO PLAN YOUR NEXT SPORTS EVENT.
From hosting 10,000 high school wrestlers annually to the largest state games in the region, Billings offers a wide range of venues for virtually any sport. Couple this with exceptional air service and diverse hotel options, and Billings is your ideal sports setting. While you’re here, travel to America’s first national park via the breathtaking Beartooth Highway or take in history on the grounds at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. Throughout your stay, rest up in one of the city’s nearly 5,000 hotel rooms. Enjoy team-friendly restaurants and attractions and accessible sports venues, all of which make Billings an ideal sports destination. Score big and host your next sports event in “Montana’s City,” Billings, Montana’s Trailhead.
Start planning your event today: www.VisitBillings.com/sportsevents Or contact Alex Tyson with Visit Billings: Alex@visitbillings.com 406.869.3726
BILLINGS: A RISING STAR IN HOSTING SPORTS In January, SportsEvents Magazine named Visit Billings one of its 2015 Readers’ Choice Award winners for their quality service and high standards of professionalism in sports events hosting. SportsEvents is the leading U.S. publication in sports events planning. Visit Billings also received the SportsEvents Readers’ Choice Award in 2014. For three years now, Visit Billings has actively worked to position Billings as a sports event hub. Visit Billings’ efforts, together with sports consultant Dr. Chris Frye of Sports Business Interests, helped expand the local sports calendar and also offered great support to help established events, like the Stockman Bank Magic City Classic and Big Sky VolleyFest, grow. A brand new event to Billings was the 2014 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s West Region Cross Country Championships. The November event brought in
500 athletes from eight different states and left a lasting, positive impact on the area’s economy and résumé. Billings is a desirable host destination for many court and outdoor sports and Visit Billings is using these strengths to the community’s advantage. In 2015, Billings played host to the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament, GNAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, Class C Boys State Basketball, Eastern A Boys and Girls Divisional Basketball and will assist with the Big Sky Vollyfest, Stockman Bank Magic City Classic, Heart and Sole Run and Big Sky State Games in the months ahead.
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Sports events bring tens of millions of dollars to Billings annually. The events not only bring athletes, they bring fans. It’s simply good business and a tourism segment that Visit Billings is successfully supporting.
In addition to the recognition in SportsEvents Magazine, Billings will also be featured in the April edition of Sports Travel Magazine as one of the top sports destinations in the Mountain West.
GET TO KNOW CHAMBER STAFF:
Favorite Chamber/Visit Billings event or program?
PHOTO COURTESY P E A K P H O T O G R A P H Y O F M O N TA N A
As the manager of most all marketing and communication needs for our organization, it is exceedingly difficult to pick just one thing. I’m passionate about the new NextGen group and all its potential. And, unsurprisingly, I love LiNK Magazine. It allows us to paint a large picture of what we’re doing as a whole organization and share it in a fun, accessible way.
Editor; LiNK Magazine/ Communications Manager/Leisure Travel Marketing Manager
Years on Staff:
The dish you’re known for cooking?
What is one thing about the Chamber you think most people don’t know?
I cook all the time, but I’m not known for following recipes, so I don’t often repeat a dish twice in just the same way. But, I have been known to throw together some pretty great cakes.
I’m not sure people see all the moving parts. The Chamber, Visit Billings and Visit Southeast Montana are involved in so many things in so many places. And the list of what we’re looking to jump into next is always growing. We are definitely a moving organism, not a static organization.
Tell us about your photo: Nothing makes me happier than spending time with my family. Thanks to my daughter, Rylie, I have a whole new appreciation for cold and winter and the opportunities they offer to make snow angels, sled, or simply sit and marvel at how pretty the snow can be. My best moments are those when my husband and I can slow down and enjoy the simplicity. The gorgeous sunrise and fresh dusting of snow, along with Rylie, made for a perfect snapshot of what makes me, me.
Describe your position in 5 words: Ever changing, ever an adventure.
What book is on your nightstand? One adjective that describes you:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Bossypants by Tina Fey, and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amorusa
The movie you can watch over and over: I think I’ve seen the movie When Harry Met Sally 100 times. It never gets old.
Words you live by: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Elizabeth Gilbert
MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 13
TRiPS on a TANKFUL
A WINTER PHOTO TOUR OF SOUTHEAST MONTANA BY ANDY AUSTIN, VISIT BILLINGS & SOUTHEAST MONTANA SOCIAL MEDIA & PR MANAGER
BIG HORN CANYON – PHOTO COURTESY OF: VISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
SoutheastMontana.com The mission of Visit Southeast Montana is to increase tourism to Southeast Montana by increasing awareness of our region, showcasing our cultural heritage, developing memorable experiences and educating our residents about the economic benefits of tourism.
TERRY BADLANDS – PHOTO COURTESY OF: VISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
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hrough college, I made a name for myself as an adventure and landscape photographer on a mission to share the beauty of Montana. But there was one region I had not had the opportunity to photograph yet: Southeast Montana. I knew there was beauty to be had in the badlands, but playing football for Montana State kept me in the western half of Montana until I graduated. In November of 2014 I signed on to be the new Social Media and PR Manager for Visit Billings and Visit Southeast Montana. I knew the first thing I wanted to do was take a tour of the region to meet our board members and get a better sense of what it has to offer. I embarked on a one-week, 500 mile journey that brought me from Bighorn Canyon, to Makoshika State Park, to the Terry Badlands, and everywhere in between. Here are a few of my favorite stops from the trip…
BIGHORN CANYON I started my journey at 4:00 a.m. with a drive to Bighorn Canyon to catch the sunrise. Of all the famous destinations in Southeast Montana, this was one I had been to before as a kid, fishing and boating. However, I had never been on top of the canyon looking down in. When I arrived at Devil’s Canyon overlook, I quickly realized that I was completely alone standing on the edge of this beautiful Canyon, something that would later become the theme of this trip. I witnessed a beautiful pink sunrise and then sat on the edge of the cliff in awe that only two hours away from
where I grew up sits one of the most stunning views in the state.
MAKOSHIKA STATE PARK After staying the night in Broadus and meeting our board members in small, friendly towns like Baker, Ekalaka, and Wibaux, I journeyed up to Glendive. I set aside two nights in Glendive to increase my odds of witnessing a beautiful sunset or sunrise in Makoshika State Park. Makoshika, Montana’s biggest state park, has been on my list of places to visit for a long time. Though it snowed both days, I was still able to partake in one hike, which was just enough of a tease for me to begin planning my return in the spring.
REAL BIRD REENACTMENT BY NICK MANN
TERRY BADLANDS On my way to Miles City I stopped in Terry and I hoped to see the hidden gem that is the Terry Badlands. I drove out on Scenic View Road until I came across a bluff where the road ended. What was supposed to be a quick photo of the badlands turned into sitting on the bluff for 5 hours without an interruption. I strung a hammock and made lunch while I watched the sun create dramatic shadows on an already stunning landscape. Southeast Montana is not a typical winter destination, but it’s beauty impressed me and made me excited to explore all summer. Southeast Montana is ripe for adventure and isn’t far from Billings. I look forward to inspiring people like you to visit these hidden gems of Montana.
“Real Bird’s Little Bighorn & Custer Battle Reenactment.” – PHOTO COURTESY OF: VISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
This summer in Crow Agency, Montana, the only reenactment of Lt. Col. George Custer’s final battle against the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne will be held August 14-16. This reenactment, put on by the Real Bird family for the past 20 years, features riders from both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, and takes place along the Little Bighorn River, where part of the actual battle took place. Most of the cavalry reenactors, many of whom travel from all over the world to take part in this reenactment, enjoy camping along the river near where the mock battle takes place. In order to stock up on the essentials such as camping gear, hamburger patties, and cold beverages, most of them make the hour long trip north along I-90 to Billings. Like other annual events in the area such as Crow Fair, the people of Billings often don’t realize the impact tourism to Big Horn County has on our city’s economy. For the past 20 years, tens of thousands of tourists have come each summer to witness this event, and during their stay they almost always leave at least some of their money in Billings. This summer, see what all the fuss is about, and experience this unique event for yourself. You can learn more about the Real Bird Reenactment and get updates from the organizers by following them on Facebook. Just search “Real Bird’s Little Bighorn & Custer Battle Reenactment.”
MAKOSHIKA STATE PARK – PHOTO COURTESY OF: VISIT SOUTHEAST MONTANA
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THE ENEMY OF GREAT IS GOOD:
Taking a Hard Look AT TOUGH LOCAL ISSUES BY JOHN BREWER
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As the Billings Chamber of Commerce President, I consider myself one of our community’s greatest advocates, so this is a difficult piece to write. I believe it’s time for Billings to get fired up and fight for our rightful position as a statewide leader in safety, air service, tourism, workforce, and quality of life! For years our community has been “on the verge,” but we have been less than proactive in pushing ourselves over the hump. It’s time for honest conversation, selfless leadership and unified calls for action. We are not being sufficiently visionary or aggressive when it comes to investing in our community. It’s time for Billings to give a damn. The Chamber is the community’s cheerleader. We design an attractive relocation guide to lure prospective families; provide web sites and national ads with beautiful photos and narrative to invite tourists; and promote an overall healthy quality of life. We are also communitybuilders and have the burden of shining a light on areas in need of improvement and growth. Ultimately we want people to choose to stay here, to play here and relocate to Billings to strengthen our talent pool and diversify our citizenship and customer base. But we are aging: our infrastructure; population; and mindset.
Each year, many of us take inventory of the to-do projects around our homes. Out come the boxes to be filled with unused toys and worn out clothes. Rakes; power tools to repair the fence; paint for the house; landscape rocks….Time to recycle the unused bikes, rotary-dial phone, and cassette tape recorder. We ask ourselves “what needs to be repaired, removed or revamped?” Things fall apart and must be replaced to maintain the quality of place we chose to buy years or decades earlier. So, we bite the bullet, expend the energy and money, and just do it. Because it’s necessary. The same is true with our collective home—Billings. Each of us made a choice to stay here or move here because of the quality of life Billings offered and how that aligned with our personal aspirations. Looking at our community under the same comprehensive lens we use to view our homes sheds light on areas of growth, improvement and those that needs to be updated or replaced. Are we investing to maintain the quality of our asset? Are we better than we were a few shorts years ago? Are we keeping pace with technology, infrastructure and community services? I would argue, in many cases, we are not and the longer we wait to chip away at these necessary “repairs” the more time and money we will invest later. While we
It’s time for honest conversation and unified calls for action. MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 17
wait, businesses select other community’s for headquarters, families move away and people choose not to relocate here. It’s hard not to look toward our neighbors to not only see how they have progressed, but the strategies they implement to remain viable. Our shortcomings are compared to successes in Bozeman, Missoula, Boise, Spokane, Sioux Falls and other regional destinations. This doesn’t mean these communities are better than Billings. Simply, we can learn from and aspire to implement a few of their successes to build a stronger community.
Public Safety Billings is prospering, our population is increasing and police and fire calls are increasing. Public safety and crime statistics play a significant role in the decisions for relocation and business prospecting. What can we do? At some point, our citizenry must decide to make necessary expenditures to strengthen public safety for our growing community. Pay close attention to what the City may be proposing for the next safety levy and make an informed vote. If you don’t understand the details of the levy or are lacking faith in the elected leaders charged with effecting change, visit with them and ask the tough questions. The Chamber’s Board will evaluate any levy proposal and share their thoughts with you. Our Safety
Committee will continue to provide tips on protecting your business and employees. Follow Downtown Billings Association and connect to their Business Crime Stoppers program and efforts to reduce downtown drunkenness and deal with our homeless issue.
age of properties, technological shortcomings, transportation issues and location of event space. People who attend conventions prefer destinations with opportunities to dine, shop and be entertained all within walking distance.
What is being done to address this? A feasibility study by a nationally recognized facilities consulting group has been commissioned by the Chamber. The findings should be complete in the next month and will provide guidance on how best to proceed.
Billings no longer leads the state for air passengers. Bozeman took that title from us recently. Price and schedule availability are challenging here. There is also great room for improvement in the aesthetics and traveler services. What can we do? Demand drives supply in this industry. Fly Billings rather than driving to other areas to save a few dollars. Factor in your time and gas money. The best way to increase Billings’ air service is for more passengers to use our airport. The Chamber’s Air Service Committee is working to lure other carriers and new destinations by talking directly to the airline scheduling planners. We are assisting the airport to make improvements that greet guests and offer work space for business travelers.
Convention Center Visitors to Billings spend $373 million in our community each year. Nearly 24% of visitors come for meetings and conventions. Those numbers are impressive but we are losing business due to existing meeting space configuration,
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Industrial Park Yellowstone County does not have “planned industrial space” with infrastructure ready to go for businesses. With such an area connected to air, rail and highway transportation systems, we would strengthen our position as a hub for manufacturing, industrial, and distribution oriented businesses. Bismarck and Great Falls made the commitment to dedicate space for industrial development. Sioux Falls boasts seven industrial parks. What is being done? Big Sky Economic Development is proposing a Targeted Economic Development District (TEDD) as a tool that provides a financing mechanism to fund infrastructure investment. The goal is to partner with the private sector and develop “shovel-ready” space for our existing and future industries.
Entryways First impressions make lasting impressions. We rightfully celebrate oil and sugar beet refineries and power production facilities as economic drivers. These facilities give visitors an eyeful of economy but little Montana mystique. What can we do? It’s difficult to lose the jobs the Corette Plant has created. As the plant begins to dismantle, let’s determine what fits in that area to best represent our community. In addition, partners, including the Chamber, are working to create a stronger entry and community space on Exposition Drive known as the Trailhead Hospitality Corridor.
Culture and Heritage Our civic amenities (ballpark, library, Zoo, performing arts theaters, museum, trails, historic icons, etc.) are not simply amenities. They are tools that bring families and tourists, ultimately improving our lives and building our economy. Most are in need of improvement due to funding constraints. What can we do? The Chamber is working to connect trails and bring respect and awareness to Yellowstone Kelly’s gravesite with our Interpretive Site initiative. Get involved in these efforts and support the cultural community in areas that are important to you.
CORNER BUSINESS RELATED TRAINING & WEBINAR OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED BY FELLOW MEMBERS
WORKFORCE At 3% unemployment, there are .9 potential applicants for each job opening. What is being done? Billings Works initiative is working toward growing a talented workforce by retaining college graduates, closing skills gaps, and recruiting a larger workforce by improving our quality of life and civic amenities.
the need and is willing to work with partners to help facilitate public/private sports facilities. We have a lot to be thankful for as residents of Billings and there are a great number of initiatives underway or recently completed to point toward as “community wins.” However, I am challenging us to look at projects to set our sights on future success and growth. We can’t attack and complete all of the
3/23: Develop proficiency with Word 2010, provided by Entre. For more information, call (406) 256-5700. 3/25: Dealing with Difficult Employee Behavior, from 9:00am-10:00am. This session is provided by Avitus Group through a live webinar. For more information email email@example.com. 4/7: Developing Time Management Skills, from 9:00am-10:00am. This session is provided by Avitus Group through a live webinar. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. 4/22: Coaching/Mentoring from 11:00am-1:00pm. Put on by NextGen in the Chamber Conference Room (includes lunch). Learn about giving and receiving feedback, when to speak up and when not to. Presented by Emily Petroff, Evolve Relationship Coaching. Session is $25. Register online at BillingsNextGen.com.
SPORTS VENUES In the past few years we have lost ice making capabilities and the outdoor track at MetraPark; the tennis “bubble” at MSU-Billings has been removed, the Billings Sportsplex is for sale; court space for youth basketball tournaments is hard to find; and we lack a major baseball sports complex for tournaments. What can be done? Visit Billings is booking sporting events in every conceivable venue and Billings is now known throughout the region as a sports hub. The Tourism Business Improvement District board continues to address
issues I mention at once. But, if we do not plan and start to act on many of these soon, we will take a back seat to our regional competition. Quite frankly, we need to start a fire under community leaders and residents. We are falling behind and need voter support, community investment, tools such as tax increment finance districts and local option tax authority. Let’s not be complacent and accept the growth and opportunities that come our way with what we have. People with a fire in their belly and a heart for leadership can conquer these hills before they become mountains.
5/27: Delegation, Accountability, & Progressive Communication from 10:00am-12:00pm. Put on by NextGen in the Chamber Conference Room. Learn the art of delegation and how to give credit when credit is due. Session is $25. Register online at BillingsNextGen. com. 6/24: Follow Up & Follow Through from 1:00pm3:00pm. Put on by NextGen in the Chamber Conference Room. Learn how to take ownership and accept responsibility for your own growth and success. Session is $25. Register online at BillingsNextGen.com.
Does your business offer webinars, trainings or workshops that may be beneficial for other Chamber members? Let us know:
email@example.com. You may be included in the next issue!
BY SUSAN AUSTIN Just when your faith in humanity is feeling a bit frayed, just when you think the Greatest Generation has come and gone, you meet this year’s Billings Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award winners. Through conversations with the award recipients, the characteristics they share become apparent. In addition to intelligence, education and business savvy, their deep compassion, respect for others, humor and grace shine through.
John Brewer, President and CEO of the Billings Chamber of Commerce explains, “The awards were created in 2007 as a way to recognize the top local leaders of commerce and emphasize that their efforts are the underlying foundation of our community.”
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR: THE AVITUS GROUP Since 1996, Avitus Group leaders Kenneth Balster, President of Avitus Business Services,
Inc., Donald Reile, President of Avitus, Inc., and Steven Bentley, Senior VP of Finance, have steered the company through the ups and downs of a changing economic climate to become a top Montana employer. The company provides businesses with ‘back office’ support, including bookkeeping, human resources, benefits administration, payroll, tax preparation, information technology, training and more. “I like to say that we let the doughnut maker make doughnuts,” says Bentley. “We’re
providing resources and assets to our clients in the business community that free up their time to grow their business.”
AVITUS GROUP STAFF – PHOTO COURTESY OF: BILLINGS GAZETTE
Internally, the focus is on developing employees as leaders, through attention to morale, needs, and achievements. “We are unique in that we operate using a ‘leader-to-leader’ philosophy. We like our employees to be leaders, all the way through the ranks. We challenge them to take ownership of their position, bring new ideas, and treat their department or position as if they
are the owner of their business. We’re here to support them,” said Balster. “The number one reason an employee is happy is that they like who they work for. The number two reason is that they like what they do. We work hard to find our employees’ best skillsets and manage to their strengths, not their weaknesses,” said Balster. “I say this every day of my life: Surround yourself with people who are smarter, more talented and better than you and life is good at work. Our team is exactly that. It really works and I live by this.”
Business Person of the Year: Michael Sanderson As President and CEO of Sanderson Stewart, an engineering and community development services firm based in Billings, Michael Sanderson sees himself as the brand champion
of local and national awards, in diverse areas including Employer of Choice, Worksite Health Promotion, and Marketing Communications.
Customer Service Award: Dr. Fred Gunville
Sanderson has a clear, insightful understanding of how the company’s purpose, culture, values and strategy interact. “Culture is a buzzword these days. But ‘culture’ means you’re talking about values; they are two sides of the same coin. Most companies are not very intentional about their culture, but every company has a culture whether the leaders are aware of it or not; you can learn a company’s culture from its employees. Your actions tell your group what your values really are, so your actions need to back up your words. I try to articulate what our company believes, who we want to be, and then evaluate everything we do against those values. People want to work for something they believe in and we want our employees to identify with our purpose – not just collect a paycheck.”
Everyone who makes their living providing service to their company’s customers are to be commended. The very few who have been doing it at the same place for 33 years deserve our highest recognition. For the one in a million whose customer service is the life-saving care of children and the gentle support of their parents, we find the words ‘customer service’ inadequate. But, Dr. Fred Gunville, pediatric diabetes specialist at Billings Clinic, sees ‘service’ as the highest imaginable calling. “People come to me, or any physician, because they want to develop a trusting relationship. It is a great honor – it’s a real privilege - to have people come to you and ask you to examine them or their child, whom they treasure. Every patient is a gift from God for you to, hopefully, make a difference in their life,” said Gunville. “You have to put your customer first, before your own desires. A rule I think is essential is to know that you can’t go home until your business is done that day,” said Gunville. “Get to know your patient and their preferences. It’s about the patient, not you. Everything has to be patient-centered,” explains Gunville. “What are the family dynamics? Ask the questions to learn where they are coming from.” “I think it’s important for everyone who starts a business – or practice – to understand that you build it one person at a time,” said Gunville. “If you can go home and feel like you’ve done the best you could that day, your business is going to grow.”
Supervisor/Manager of the Year: Eric Pollard Being the Director of Radiology Services for St. Vincent Healthcare means that Eric Pollard is supervising more than 80 people in diagnostic imaging, including CT, MRI, Nuclear Medicine, X-ray, and breast imaging services. MICHAEL SANDERSON OF SANDERSON STEWART
and ‘keeper of the corporate culture’ of a purpose-driven business. Sanderson Stewart was named the 2014 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Small Business of the Year and has received a variety
Sanderson’s long-range vision is based on solid day-to-day commitment. “You have to keep showing up. It’s easy to get down on a situation or just check out. But you have to take the high road and keep doing the right things for the right reasons.”
Pollard created new ways to get the right people into the right positions, while creating a positive, encouraging, mentoring work environment his staff enjoys. He initiated a new system that allows staff members to advance their careers through a combination of dedication, opportunity and accountability. “Every six months I send a simple, two-question survey to members of my department: If you had
CELEBRATING SUCCESS Each of this year’s Business Excellence award winners extends their support and generosity to help others reach their potential. In doing so, they’ve achieved their own goals and deserve our admiration. For sharing some of their best practices with other business owners, employees and the next generation, we sincerely extend our thanks. Join the Chamber in congratulating these winners during Enter the Tank: the Billings Chamber Breakfast 2015, presented by St. Vincent Healthcare. The awards will be given during the event, featuring Shark Tank’s Daymond John, on April 2nd at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. Call 245-4111 or visit BillingsChamber.com for more information.
DR. FRED GUNVILLE OF BILLINGS CLINIC
the opportunity to do something else within Radiology Services, what would it be? And, what are you willing to give up to get it? I let them know that I will get them the hands-on training they need, but advancement will require personal sacrifice on their part, including night shifts, online courses, and individual study. This has been a big morale booster. It makes them more marketable, increases their pay and provides an intentional pathway to move ahead.” Pollard’s management style of open communication, supervisor’s support and personal accountability is paying off in doubledigit increases on associate engagement assessments, as well as on his department’s patient satisfaction scores. “At the end of the day, I’m not motivated by money or by trying to become CEO, but by answering the question, did I help someone today? I try to teach my kids to take the hard things in life and make those things make you stronger and have a desire to make a positive impact on their world,” said Pollard. ERIC POLLARD OF ST. VINCENT HEALTHCARE
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WHATâ€™S ON BILLINGSCHAMBER.COM
The hero carousel routinely offers insight into upcoming Chamber events. By toggling through the numbers, you can find information on NextGen, the Chamber Breakfast 2015, the Chamber trip to Austria/Germany 2015, and more!
On the home page, you can find our Facebook Feed where you can keep yourself updated with the latest Chamber news and reminders.
Use the Site Search feature to search for any information contained on the website.
Get a snapshot of whatâ€™s coming up with the Event Calendar. Click through for full details and additional information.
Not connected with us on social media? The Follow Us feature at the bottom right of the front page displays icon links for our Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Youtube pages. Be sure to check us out!
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DON’T MISS THESE UPCOMING CHAMBER EVENTS. BY KATE HAGENBUCH, EVENTS MANAGER
With the first glimpse of spring on the horizon, beat those winter blues and join the Chamber for these exciting events!
These events will help meet a variety of goals for you and your employees: networking, relationship building, education, motivation and more. Get a preview here, then call us at 406.245.4111 or visit BillingsChamber.com to learn more.
ENTER THE TANK: THE BILLINGS CHAMBER BREAKFAST 2015, APRIL 2ND Enter the Tank: the Billings Chamber Breakfast proudly presents Daymond John from ABC’s hit series Shark Tank, presented by St. Vincent Healthcare. General Admission tickets are still available at the discounted member price of $25 and nonmember price of $35, which includes breakfast. This event is open to everyone in the community and will be hosted at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on April 2nd.
TRAILHEAD CLASSIC GOLF TOURNAMENT, MAY 8TH Leaving work at 5 and the sun is still shining until after the dinner table is set, and the weekend doesn’t feel that far away. The thought of getting your clubs out for a weekend game isn’t a few months away but, rather, this weekend. After a long winter, we are geared up, too. We can see the fresh cut greens and feel the light morning dew as carts descend on their starting hole. The Billings Chamber looks forward to again hosting the Trailhead Classic Golf Tournament, presented by Vertex Consulting Group, at the Briarwood Golf Course and Country Club on Friday, May 8th. The Billings Chamber and the Golf Committee
anticipate a record breaking year! We’re bringing new ideas, games and fun to be had on the course, meaning this year will be one you surely can’t miss. Reserve your team of four today! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUSINESS AFTER HOURS:
CHECK IT OUT THE SECOND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH
Mark your calendar for the second Wednesday of each month for Business After Hours. The event is held from 5 – 7 p.m. and is hosted by different member businesses each month. Admission is $8 at the door and includes drinks and appetizers Haven’t attended? What are you waiting for? This event is open to everyone! We provide the platform, member businesses provide the food, drinks and space and invite everyone to come out, get to know each other and learn about our thriving business community.
BEARTOOTH HARLEY DAVIDSON/ BUELL April 8: 6900 S. Frontage Road
DUDE RANCHER LODGE May 13: 415 N. 29th Street
PIERCE FLOORING June 10: 2950 King Avenue W.
GET TO KNOW THE BOARD:
PHOTO COURTESY P E A K P H O T O G R A P H Y O F M O N TA N A
Favorite words to live by? Adjectives that describe you: Responsible, trust-worthy, honest, hardworking, loyal, optimistic, thoughtful, faithful
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson “The real opportunity for success lies within the person and not in the job.” Zig Ziglar “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill
Business: Stockman Bank – Banking, Finance, Investments
Board Position: Board member, Secretary/Treasurer, Agriculture Committee, Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Ex-officio Board Member of Southeast Montana Tourism.
Years as a Chamber Member:
What snack might be found in your desk? I am not much of a snacker, but I would have to say an apple or a protein bar.
What was your first job? Banking – August 15, 1975 at 12th District Farm Credit Bank – Spokane, Washington
What is the number one thing in Billings you’d take a visiting friend to see/do? I would have to say a tour of the Moss Mansion is where I would start. It has tons of history about our great city and tells the story of Billings’ early years well.
Tell us about your photo: When asked to get a photo about myself, I chose to have it taken with my guitar. I love music and after high school graduation I was offered music scholarships. I am wearing a cowboy hat because I also wanted to rodeo my entire life and a rodeo scholarship was really what helped me graduate from Montana State University back in 1975. Rodeo and music have helped me get to where I am today, with a little luck added in!
Favorite Book and why? Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly because it talks about the shocking assassination of the President of the United States and how that changed America forever. The Aftershock Investor by David Wiedemer is another favorite of mine. This book essentially discusses a crash course in staying afloat in a sinking economy.
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Why did you initially choose to get involved with the Chamber? The initial decision was to get our name out in the community. Stockman Bank was new to the Billings market area in 1995 and we needed the networking. The decision proved to be a very positive reason for our growth in the Billings market.
As a board member, you have the inside scoop. What would you share about the Chamber that other members may not know? I truly do not think many of our members know how hard the Staff and Board work for the benefit of its members. From business advocacy, to tourism recruitment, to economic development, our Chamber does a great job in promoting our fine city.
Did we see you out and about at Chamber events? Look for yourself and your friends here! If we missed you, snap a picture at the mext meeting or event you attend and send it to email@example.com!
Members and community members attend a Legislative Teleconference at MSU Billings downtown.
Billings Central High School Principal Sheldon Hander presenting to Leadership Billings in January.
NextGenâ€™s professional development series on networking sold out in February.
The Chamber, Visit Billings and Southeast Montana staffs snap a selfie toasting Kevin and his new wife Teresa!
New member Aspinwall Mountain Wear is a certified made in Montana company offering a high quality line of state of Montana tees and apparel.
Senator tester met with a group of chamber members who own small businesses to discuss federal issues important to them.
Chamber partners meet with Billings legislators on Local Option tax, supported by 77% of members if tied to property tax relief.
Billings Chamber Ag Committee serves up a Pancake Breakfast during NILE.
The Rock Creek Coffee staff poses during the grand opening of Bottega in February. Rudi & Clark Marten talk to Leadership Billings participants.
The Simply Wine Team - Karen, Kathy and Jane hosting Leadership Billings.
MARCH - MAY 2015 | LiNK BUSINESS QUARTERLY | 27
PIERCE FLOORING & DESIGN AND PIERCE RV SUPERCENTER BY RENÉ BEYL Based on a tradition of honesty and fairness to customers, employees and business partners, the Pierce Family businesses offer a wide array of product lines. The business started in 1924 with George R. Pierce selling medicine and then opening a hardware store. A linoleum purchase that was more than the customer needed lead to opening the flooring and carpet centers. Ads on the walls show past eras when the family sold vehicles, which lead to the recreational vehicles, added in 1953. Today, the operations are owned and operated by third generation Ron Pierce. Alongside Ron are his two sons Russell and Jake Pierce who are involved in the daily operations of all 16 locations throughout Montana and North Dakota. Family or not, they value their employees, as George R. Pierce always said, “No one works for me, they work with me.” On the 26 acre lot of the Pierce RV Supercenter is a vast array of top brand names in every size recreational vehicle to make the most of your outdoor experience. Shop for Class A, Fifth Wheel, toy haulers, cargo trailers and more. They pride themselves on being the exclusive Winnebago dealer for Montana and are the recipients of several #1 dealership awards. In case a stationary home is more your speed, Bonnavilla, Commodore and Fleetwood manufactured homes are on display to help you visualize your dream of home ownership. These homes offer several floor plans with basements and attics and clients may customize the materials, colors, finishes and more to make it home. Other offerings include mobile offices and portable storage containers. Pierce Flooring and Design is undergoing an upgrade to expand on the customer experience. Plans include an inspiration room, play space for youngsters and fabulous examples of the newest modern floor covering options for your home. They have the Pierce Promise, a warranty designed exclusively for their customers to eliminate the confusion surrounding the various manufacturer warranties and to help them shop with confidence in knowing their purchase with Pierce will be covered. Andy Piccioni, Pierce’s Marketing Director, shared his belief that, “Integrity gets you a long way when working with customers and business partners.” In keeping with their strong community roots, Pierce is a longtime supporter of the Billings Chamber. Business advocacy on the legislative level along with efforts toward improving Billings’ quality of life align with the goals of the family business.
George R. Pierce always said, “No one works for me, they work with me.”
Ribbon Cuttings The following Chamber member businesses recently celebrated grand openings, anniversaries, rebranding, relocation, and ground breakings. Congratulations to each of them!
LA QUINTA INN & SUITES
celebrated their grand opening at 5620 S Frontage Road on October 2nd.
THE CITY OF BILLINGS
celebrated the completion of the Shiloh Conservation Area on October 16th.
celebrated their rebranding on October 21st.
celebrated their grand opening at 315 Main Street on October 24th.
blinc. BEAUTY BAR
celebrated its grand opening at 1603 Grand Avenue Ste. 115 on November 3rd.
celebrated their grand opening at 3420 Ember Lane on November 13th.
UMI STEAKHOUSE & SUSHI BAR
celebrated its grand opening at 1603 Grand Avenue Ste. 105 on November 21st.
celebrated its grand opening at 1595 Grand Avenue Ste. 265 on December 12th.
celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 1027 Shiloh Crossing on December 18th.
celebrated its new name and the grand opening of the new location at 1025 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. #2 on January 5th.
celebrated the grand opening of its new location at 1025 Shiloh Crossing Blvd. #4 on February 5th.
HEIGHTS FAMILY FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY celebrated their grand opening at 733 W. Wicks Lane on February 18th. They’d also like to invite the community for their Open House on Saturday, April 26th from 2 – 6 p.m.
Does your business have a momentous change in the future? Schedule a ribbon cutting celebration! This complimentary member benefit is available to all members – simply contact us to schedule yours by calling 406.245.4111.
Trailblazers at the Bottega Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting. PHOTO COURTESY OF: BILLINGS CHAMBER
#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
REVIEWED BY VICKI-LYNN M. TERPSTRA #GIRLBOSS #Awesome #RockMyWorld
This is not a basic rags to riches story or the self-help book of yesteryears. #GIRLBOSS says all the right or wrong things with shock value that kept me engaged. Reading this book was exactly how I picture real talk with a really smart best friend. The friend that knows you need the raw truth and honesty, and you will forgive her for being blunt and sometimes painfully honest. Sophia Amoruso, the original #GIRLBOSS and owner of Nasty Gal (Google at your own risk, but it is a fashion goldmine nothing else), gives her readers a unique perspective void of the generic “words of wisdom” you find in other motivational books. She tells you to dream big but she insists that you have to get off your
rear-end and do something about that lofty goal yourself. My favorite part of this book is the relatability. We’ve all thought the same things she says out loud. Amoruso also introduces us to multiple influencers, or #GIRLBOSSes, showing us that no one has the same right path, that each of our perceptions and challenges are unique, our definition of success will change and absolutely vary from our friends and co-workers. And that’s ok. I couldn’t help loving the constant message of attitude, work hard, be yourself (even if it is a little weird), and that getting “stuff ” done will take us places. So friends- be a #GIRLBOSS!
TRENDS BY ANDY AUSTIN
Social media for business used to be all about Facebook, but with hundreds of other social media channels out there, it’s often difficult to figure out which ones should represent your business. We’re here to help. Here are our top five: Facebook: dominant for most people – your business should have a presence. Twitter:
Perfect for a regular stream of information like news stations and celebrities.
Instagram: Excellent for businesses with unique products or events to promote and a flow of inventory to share.
Pinterest: Also ideal for products as 70% of Pinterest users use it for shopping inspiration. Snapchat: Good for adding a personality to your platform and identifying with youthful clientele. The best advice: Pick one or two platforms that you feel best represent your brand and devote your time and energy to those.
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ENTER THE TANK: BILLINGS CHAMBER BREAKFAST 2015 BY KATE HAGENBUCH WITH EXCERPT FROM DAYMOND JOHN
engineered to catch your eye. If they are marketed correctly, they stay with you. This is all perfectly engineered branding. When you Enter the Tank with us on April 2nd, Daymond John will share his insight about launching the iconic Brooklyn based fashion brand FUBU and becoming one of the most popular personalities from ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.
In just a few weeks, on April 2nd, Montana’s Trailhead will welcome Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank to the Rimrock Auto Arena. John may be one of the most relevant, innovative and exciting speakers to ever keynote the Billings Chamber Breakfast, generously presented this year by St. Vincent Healthcare.
WHAT IS ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT? Take a moment to look around you. Television, newspaper, magazine, your smart phone – all over you see words and images carefully
TO OUR SPONSORS
Avitus Group Stockman Bank Townsquare Media Billings
What follows is an excerpt* from John’s book The Brand Within. Read this sneak peek into the Big Event! “A well branded company, a well branded idea, will last throughout the years. Re-branding, re-shaping and re-demanding what it is that you are and what you stand for is what makes the business model of today. A hot idea can cover a lot of ground. It can re-up a business plan, excite potential investors, leap-frog the traditional barriers to entry in a crowded world, and crank things up in the face of established competition. It can get things moving, no question.
In the end, it’s all about execution and how you make and market your product and implement your strategy, but if your product or strategy is flawed to begin with there’s not a whole lot you can do to keep things moving along. Ain’t no marketing plan on this green earth that can sell fuzzy ear muffs on South Beach. [...] “It sells itself.” Well, there’s no such thing as a product or concept that sells itself. It’s just a line. Truth is, you’ve got to help it along, and some ideas need more help than others. Look in the mirror and see what comes back, and take it from there. Let’s face it, appearances don’t lie. They can be deceiving, but the best sales job in the world can’t get past your true self—the brand within.” John is a branding genius, an innovator, and most importantly, a builder of people. Whether it is your thirtieth year in business or you are just getting started, this event is for you. John is known for saying, “the best way to predict the future is to create it.” Kick start yours and Enter the Tank with us! Call 406.245.4111 or BillingsChamber.com for tickets and information. *Excerpts from The Brand Within, the second title in “The Shark,” Daymond John’s best-selling Display of Power Series. Used with permission from Daymond John.
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