Meet The Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC P.44
GoPromo's Expansion Out West P.60
Women You Should Know: Ashton Hauff P.66
SUE • IN
G U R AL AU
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Spring 2022 // Bismaninc.com
A Bismarck-Mandan Business Magazine
F O E S I THE R E L U D E H CO SC n o o M t t e r r a G s r e wi th co-Foundtin Wa lsh & Jus
> edwardjones.com | Member SIPC
As invested in your goals as you are. It’s how Troy Nelson was named #1 in North Dakota for the 2022 Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors and 2022 Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors rankings.
Financial Advisor 1701 Burnt Boat Drive Bismarck, ND 58503 (701) 255-1196 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important information: Barron’s magazine’s “Top 1,200 Financial Advisors”, March 11, 2022. Barron’s Top 1,200 criteria is based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, regulatory record, quality of practice, philanthropic work and more. The rating is not indicative of the financial advisor’s future performance. Neither Edward Jones nor any of its financial advisors pay a fee to Barron’s in exchange for the rating. Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Co., L.P. For more information on ranking methodology, go to Rankings - Barron’s Advisor (barrons-advisor.com).
Data provided by SHOOK® Research, LLC. Data as of 6/30/21. Source: Forbes.com (April 2022). Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors ranking was developed by SHOOK Research and is based on in-person, virtual, and telephone due diligence meetings to measure best practices, client retention, industry experience, credentials, review of compliance records, firm nominations; and quantitative criteria, such as: assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. SHOOK’s research and rankings provide opinions intended to help investors choose the right financial advisor and are not indicative of future performance or representative of any one client’s experience. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Neither Forbes nor SHOOK Research receive compensation in exchange for placement on the ranking. For more information, please see www.SHOOKresearch. com.SHOOK is a registered trademark of SHOOK Research, LLC. TAL-13149A-A-AD1
Meet the CEO & Publisher
THANKS AND WELCOME About Mike Dragosavich At the young age of 24 years old, Mike Dragosavich bootstrapped his way into the world of magazine publishing with the creation of Spotlight. As the sole business owner and only initial employee, Dragosavich has played a part in every area of the company. He has worked in design, delivery, accounting, sales, editorial, photography, HR and more. Over time, the former North Dakota State punter has built Spotlight into a solid company of 28 diversely skilled employees. In doing so, Dragosavich has leveraged his insatiable thirst for self and business process betterment. Dragosavich is married to his wife, Kelsey, with whom he has two children.
Welcome to the very first issue of BisMan INC!, a free, resourceful, positive and informative business magazine that we are thrilled to bring to the community. For those unfamiliar with our company, Spotlight, we are a magazine publishing and full-stack marketing and creative agency based out of Fargo, North Dakota. Some other publications we produce include: Fargo Monthly, Design & Living, Future Farmer, Bison Illustrated, Faces of Bismarck and Fargo INC!, a local business magazine that will serve as the blueprint for what we hope is an equally impactful publication.
So, why the Bismarck area? Why us?
First of all, we have seen tremendous success with our Fargo INC! magazine. Since its launch in 2016, we have learned that there's a strong desire for local business content in the FM area. And after launching our "Faces of Bismarck-Mandan" magazine last year, we learned that Bismarck has common needs. Secondly, we believe that we are the right company for the job. Over the last 11 years, we have produced over 480 magazines. We take pride in quality design, photography and content. In a time where there seems to be a dearth of negativity, we want to be a beacon of light, showing all
of the positive things going on in the Bismarck-Mandan community.
What's the goal?
Our goal with every issue we put out is to provide quality, politic-free, information and entertainment to our readers. In our businessspecific publications, we also strive to provide motivation for the community at large. We want to motivate and help guide those in the region who are contemplating making the entrepreneurial leap while also helping those with existing businesses find greater success. In doing this, our goal is to avoid politics at all costs. We want to focus on small main street businesses, entrepreneurs and professionals. The real goal is to not only entertain the community with great business content but also to motivate them.
There is a ton of development that we will want to take on throughout the year. We want this first issue to serve as an introduction to the community. After launching, we are going to host a party and we’d love for many of you in the business community to be there so we can learn from your feedback.
create a roadmap for improvement. After all, we want to create content that is worthy of your time. We want you to read it and learn something from it! We are also in the process of developing an Editorial Advisory Board in order to ensure that our articles are as quality and as relevant as possible.
When it's all said and done, we want this publication to drive the Bis-Man area businesses to a new level of success and motivate everyone to strive for higher standards. Hopefully, like in Fargo, we receive emails after every issue on how an article motivated change or made a difference in that person's life. Now that would be the best!
We will also be following this first publication with a number of questionnaires and surveys to help us
Send Me Your Feedback & Ideas!
My Email >> email@example.com BISMANINC.COM
Where did the Bis-Man INC! Idea Come From? The Success of Fargo INC! Since 2016, we have produced over 70 issues of Fargo INC! And the impact it has made in the state of North Dakota is unbelievable. We hear from business owners every month about how they used Fargo INC! and the information in it to become more successful in their businesses. We believe that if we use a similar recipe for Bis-Man INC!, we will receive similar results.
National Quality - Local Feel During our 11 years in business, we’ve learned a thing or two about magazine design. One of the most important things we’ve learned about creating great-looking content is the importance of learning from the best producers in the world. Every month, our editorial team pours over national publications to stay up to date on the latest trends. Expect to see that same type of quality in these publications.
Feedback from Bis-Man Area In November of 2021, we had the pleasure of producing our very first Bismarck-centric magazine, Faces of Bismarck Mandan 2021. This publication afforded our team its first extensive opportunity to connect and collaborate with the Bismarck-Mandan business community. Not only did we have a blast, but we were blown away by the feedback and open-armed welcome we received in producing the publication.
The Need for More Small Business Exposure Let’s face it, in today’s world of conglomerates and consolidation, the people working to live the American Dream deserve to be highlighted. We guarantee that our publication will be one of the very loudest voices in the region, trumpeting the stories and successes of the small businesses that make this community great.
Feedback is key! Out of the nine magazines that we produce, our Fargo INC! business magazine receives, by far, the most feedback. We hear from business owners monthly about how they used the magazine to not only become more motivated but also more successful. We want to help do the same thing for the BismarckMandan region and we want you to help. Have a tip or feedback? Email us at magazine@ spotlightmediafargo.com
// SPRING 2022
Sponsored Content: Human Skills Are More Relevant Than Ever
Sponsored Content: 11 Pieces, 7 Days, 1 Awesome Business Trip
These People Care About Bis-Man!: Meet The Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC Leadership Team
A Familiar and Friendly Face is Your Newest Local Podcaster
Go Promo's Expansion Out West
Women You Should Know: Ashton Hauff
Entrepreneur Spotlight John Bollinger Randy Kraft Madonna Wald & Summer Czeczok 80 Marisa Iverson 84 Cassidy Hartman & Krysten Faehnrich 88 Brian Jackson 92 Nolan Johnson 94 Jason Richter 70 74 76
66 LIKE OUR CONTENT? Check out our website at BismanINC.com 12
The future you want for your business? We’ll help you grow into it.
At Bremer Bank, every partnership starts with listening and learning, getting to know you, your business and what you want to accomplish. When we understand that, we can offer ideas and solutions to help you succeed on your terms. In a world where opportunities come and go in the blink of an eye, relationships matter more than ever. Understanding is everything.
Bio I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. While I didn’t always picture exploring it as a career, the interest in putting ink to paper has always been there. I’ve had an interest in Journalism ever since I won the 5th and 6th-grade school spelling bees—my parents made me the designated “family holiday card proofreader” ever since.
In high school, I combined business knowledge with my writing experience, as I took part in DECA for three years. I studied Journalism and Business Administration at North Dakota State University in Fargo. During my time there, I climbed the ranks to become the Lead Variety Editor at the school newspaper.
Professionally, as an ambitious writer, I aim to share the lesser-known stories buried within a community in order to inspire and benefit everyone that opens the magazine.
Meet the Editor
GRANT AYERS My name is Grant Ayers and I’m the editor of Bis-Man INC! I grew up in Forest Lake, MN, a lesser-known suburb just outside of the Twin Cities. It’s a wonderful, small town that I’ve always felt deserved to have its story told more than it does. When Spotlight launched the production of Bis-Man INC!, I felt a similar calling to aid in the sharing of another town’s story. Each business has a unique story that deserves to be shared. These stories of businesses, owners and the history behind them are what connect us to one another. With my journalistic and business background, I aim to share stories that not only spread awareness of the community’s latest happenings, but also motivate readers to act and pursue their own business ventures and passion projects. I believe that Bis-Man INC! is the solution to making the Bismarck-Mandan metro an even further connected, more tightly-knit community. We are not only for the well-established businesses looking to connect with one another; we’re also for the young hopeful entrepreneurs that seek inspiration for their diverse, groundbreaking startups. We’re determined to provide the best content for business people of all levels and fields in the Bismarck-Mandan area. If this magazine can connect and develop one business relationship, or inspire just one beginning entrepreneur to take their next steps in their journey, then I would say the journey to the debut issue of Bis-Man INC! has been an immense success.
Send Me Your Feedback & Ideas!
My Email >> firstname.lastname@example.org BISMANINC.COM
SPRING 2022 Volume 1 Issue 1
Bis-Man INC! is published 4 times a year and is available at area businesses and online at Bismaninc.com.
Publisher Mike Dragosavich EDITORIAL Editorial Team Lead Brady Drake Brady@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Editors Geneva Nodland, Grant Ayers Graphic Designer Kim Cowles Creative Strategist Josiah Kopp Contributors Ladyboss Midwest INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager Business Development Associate Videographers Graphic Designer Web Designer
Nick Schommer Kellen Feeney Tommy Uhlir, Robert Whiteside Ben Buchanan Kellan Benson
ADVERTISING VP of Business Development Paul Hoefer Paul@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Sales Representatives Al Anderson Al@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Devan Maki Devan@SpotlightMediaFargo.com
Client Relations ClientRelations@SpotlightMediaFargo.com Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson Marketing Coordinator Jessica Mullen Social Media Content Specialist Meagan Stock DEVAN
ADMINISTRATION Operations Administrator Kodi Geris-Schroeder Operations Analyst Tara Schwan DISTRIBUTION Delivery John Stuber
Bis-Man INC! is published by Spotlight LLC, Copyright 2022 Bis-Man INC! & BismanInc.com. All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Bis-Man INC!, and Spotlight LLC, is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to or reliance on such information. Spotlight LLC, accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.
Spotlight, LLC 4609 33rd Ave S Suite #304 Fargo, ND 58104 or email@example.com ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768)
MOST HISTORIC MEETING PLACE Join us at Peacock Alley for special moments around the table. From our historical location to our quality Certified Angus Beef ® steaks, there’s plenty to enjoy in North Dakota’s oldest restaurant and bar. Call 701-221-BEEF to reserve a table.
2012 Beef Checkoff Restaurant Innovator of the Year
422 E. Main Ave. Bismarck, ND 58501-4042 701-221-2333 www.peacock-alley.com
CHECK OUT SPOTLIGHT MEDIA'S OTHER PUBLICATIONS
At Design & Living Magazine, we love to share all of the fantastic local art, architecture, home decor, interior design and landscaping in the FMWF area with our readers. designandlivingmagazine.com facebook.com/ designandlivingmagazine Instagram: designandlivingmagazine
Fargo Monthly is an award-winning publication dedicated to highlighting Fargo-Moorhead and what makes it a truly enjoyable place to live. fargomonthly.com facebook.com/fargomonthly Twitter: @fargomonthly Instagram: fargomonthly
Bison Illustrated is your number one source for all of the behind-the-scenes action inside the North Dakota State University Athletic Department. bisonillustrated.com facebook.com/bisonillustrated Twitter: @bisonmag Instagram: bisonillustrated
Future Farmer is our farming publication which brings great tech-focused content to readers across North Dakota and Minnesota. futurefarmermag.com facebook.com/FutureFarmerMag
Fargo INC! is our very successful business magazine which covers all things business in the Fargo-Moorhead area. fargoinc.com facebook.com/fargobusiness Twitter: @fargoincmag LinkedIN: Fargo INC
You may already be familiar with our Faces of Bismarck-Mandan publication which we publish once per year in order to highlight the faces behind all of the great businesses in the community.
There’s no question that people are social creatures. To be truly happy and healthy, we need connection with friends, family, and significant others, and our coworkers, clients and business partners. However, over the last couple of decades, we have become increasingly cut off from those around us; phones, tablets and televisions have served as the largest blockades and the COVID-19 pandemic greatly fortified the walls keeping us apart. For those in the business community, unless addressed, these rising barricades and associated stressors really damage bottom lines. Dale Carnegie Training of ND and MN is here to help make sure this transition back to REAL normalcy positions their clients to be more proactive, versatile, innovative, and healthy for the long-run. We can accumulate knowledge from anywhere, but Dale Carnegie Training makes sure we turn that knowledge into time-tested skills, vetted and proven through research and case studies, while stretching comfort zones and achieving excellence.
toxicity, and bring out the best on their teams as influencers. High Impact Presentations
The Dale Carnegie Course The course is focused on building relationships, interpersonal skills, communication, confidence, selling ideas, and managing stress. Leadership Training for Results This training is designed for executive and senior-level leaders to step back from the weeds and elevate strategy and performance outcomes through their teams. Develop Your Leadership Potential This is for people new to leadership roles or emerging leaders to prepare them for success through enhanced selfawareness and skills to navigate the tough conversations, team
These presentations are focused on the art of storytelling, presence, and elevating the ability to communicate authentically in the most memorable and compelling way for any audience (think leading a meeting, presenting to clients, and even speaking on a stage). In House Training and Customized Solutions Even before bringing in facilitator(s) to deliver a training, they take the time to collaborate, evaluate, and align on the vision for performance outcomes and business results. They often walk alongside learning and development departments and human resources to hit the mark–they are not replacing resources, rather enhancing capacity and results through their expertise. The length of these programs varies from business to business; however, the majority of in-house training is built in a time-phased format to
ensure teams can practice skills between sessions which are typically scheduled for a minimum of 2-hours and delivered either weekly, biweekly or monthly. The format and length of the solution is specific to each client’s current needs, investment range, and staffing demands.
"We create transformational experiences where individuals, teams and organizations develop the skillset and mindset to achieve results. Dale Carnegie provides coaching and proven tools for what we do and how we do it plus who we are. That emotional change combined with behavior change enables participants to have much greater impact in their teams, organizations, and communities." -Michelle J. Wall, Master Trainer
“Our level of content and delivery customization for clients is versatile - in some cases, we’re facilitating the Dale Carnegie Course in-house with a team onsite at a client’s location using industry lingo and real workplace scenarios for skill development. In other cases, we’re learning the internal acronyms and language in-depth along with the cultural nuances, organizational structure, and team dynamics before we facilitate. This allows us to become more fluent, connect more efficiently and deliver the most relevant experience,” explained Berkeley. Digital Options Forget what you know about online training and picture a virtual instructor led training
room which features fast paced exercises, engaging exchanges in breakout rooms, and the same practice and reporting as our in-person programs with our live online training solutions. Dale Carnegie has also launched Dale Carnegie Unlimited - a holistic and scalable learning experience customized to meet your team where they are at in their learning journey and empower top-tier organizational performance through actionable, collaborative and highly engaging online learning journeys led by live instructors.
Enroll as an individual or an entire company! Reach out for questions or more information on team rates.
Head to: http://Northdakota. dalecarnegie.com Facebook: @dalecarnegieNDMN Instagram: @dalecarnegiendmn Reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to check the box and have a standard, pre-packaged training, Dale Carnegie Training ND & NW MN is NOT for you. If you want real development with lasting, measurable results from a team of experts, the local Dale Carnegie Training team is for you. Anybody can take advantage of what Dale Carnegie has to offer.
EVERYONE DESERVES A MEAL WORTH SAVORING Whether you’re hosting an important business dinner or celebrating with your staff, join us at 40 Steak and Seafood for a dinner sure to impress. • New Menu Daily • Dry-aged Certified Angus Beef ® Steaks • 5 North Dakota-themed Dining Rooms • And More Reserve a room by calling 701-255-4040.
1401 Interchange Ave. Bismarck, ND 58501-2078 701-225-4040 40steakandseafood.com
2017 Certified Angus Beef International Steakhouse of the Year
11 Pieces, 7 Days, 1 Awesome Business Trip! By Brady Drake | Photos by Ben Weisbeck
A day at the Pool
If you’re lucky enough to hit the pool or hot tub during your business trip, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready with a full pool-side look. This particular combination features an Angie kimono (perfect for covering up after a dip in the pool), a Janela Bay black one piece swimsuit, an Eden Ruth necklace and a classic yet practical Dorfman hat.
Janela Bay specializes in modest one-piece swimsuits that are comfortable and functional, yet stylish. Plus, with sizing charts for Plus Size, Long Torso, Large Chested and Maternity, they have something for everyone!
Lounge Day Have a day off during your business trip? Make sure you're ready with this cozy and cute outfit. Perfect for hanging out around the hotel, but not too casual for a trip down to the lobby. Included in this fit are a pair of Pistola mid cropped jeans, a Tribal denim button-down chambray shirt and Sorel Kinetic Impact Strap shoes.
A Day Out on the Town This easy-to-move-in yet cute outfit will have you looking good while you're exploring the local coffee shop or mall. Add your Dorfman hat for a bold statement, paired with the Pistola mid cropped jeans, Sorel Joanie III Ankle Strap Wedge sandals, a black North Face racer back tank top and topped with an Eden Ruth necklace.
A Casual Day Outfit
What lies right between “lounge” and “formal” on the fashion spectrum? We say “casual.” This casual day outfit is perfect for those informal work events. Dress to impress without the stiff business attire. Here we have a Tribal flowered dress, a Tribal denim button-down chambray shirt and Steve Madden heels.
Style meets Comfort
Maybe it’s casual drinks in the lobby after a long day or breakfast before heading home, you’ll find comfort and cute meet perfectly in Pistola mid cropped jeans, Liverpool white ribbed tank, kimono by Angie, your Eden Ruth necklace and we can’t forget about the Steve Madden heels.
The Athleisure Outfit Want to test the elliptical in the fitness center? Ready, set, go! The black Fornia leggings offer the support you need when hitting the gym while providing a flattering look. The black North Face racerback tank top allows for ease of movement and style. The Sorel Kinetic Impact Strap shoes feature an easy, slip-on design with no laces to fuss over.
Social Outfit Perfect for those after-conference shenanigans, show up in style with the Tribal denim button-down chambray shirt, black North Face racerback tank top, a pair of Sorel Joanie III Ankle Strap Wedge sandals, and black Fornia leggings.
Lastly, but most importantly, comes the business outfit featuring an Eden Ruth white button up shirt, black Fornia leggings, Sorel Joanie III Ankle Strap Wedge sandals all pulled together by a trendy maple colored boyfriend blazer by Liverpool.
G I N T A E CR E L U D E H C OSC d n a g in d a e H ’s t i e r e h Moon How i t Ha ppeneodr, W t t e r r a G s r e d n u o F Wha t’s Nex t f sh and Jus tin Wa l
By Brady Drake Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography
CoSchedule By The Numbers Over 200,000 users across more than 100 different countries
2 offices - One in Bismarck and one in Fargo
50 team members 3 Consecutive Years on the Inc 5000 list
3 Consecutive Years on the Gartner Magic Quadrant
J US TIN WA LS H
CTO and Co-Founder
Justin Walsh grew up on a ranch north of Bismarck and raised horses, but he always had computers within reach. “My father was a computer programmer so there was technology available very early on,” Walsh said. “I was always able to ask questions and learn from him. Both of my parents also started businesses so I had the opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship as well.” To be fair, Walsh also did a lot of self-learning. “I started a number of small businesses before I even turned 18 and left the house,” Walsh said. “I would make for a really bad employee. The whole idea of creating and making is something I enjoy.” His list of businesses included everything under the sun, even selling wrapping paper door to door. However, Walsh found his true calling at the age of 14 when he began coding and realized he wanted to be a developer more than any of the jobs he’d tried before. The lifelong Bismarck native would go on to stay in the same city, graduating from the University of Mary before going on to work at a marketing agency, where he met the other piece of the puzzle: Garrett.
University Mary (2006-2of010)
T T E R R A G MOO N CEO and Co-Founder
Garrett Moon grew up in Beulah, ND before pursuing his passion for graphic design at the University of Minnesota Duluth. While there, he would also begin sharpening his abilities as a developer. “I was always sort of the ‘IT person’ in the group,” Moon said. “I taught myself how to code and I was always building websites for people on the side.” However, graphic design remained his focus for some time. Eventually, Garrett and his wife, Katie, moved to Bismarck and both worked as graphic designer freelancers. During that time, Garrett realized he had an entrepreneurial itch that needed to be scratched, he just needed to find the right partner.
Universi ty of Minnesota Duluth (2001-2005)
“I needed to find someone with a skill set that could compliment my own,” Moon said. “I knew there were certain things that I didn’t want to be my strong suit and didn’t enjoy as much.”
S S E N I A B US N R O B S I CHAPTER 1:
GARRETT MOON What are some things you know now, that you wish you would've known when you were dealing with the significant learning curve that comes with fundraising? “It takes more money than you think. That’s a lesson we learned that I pass on to startups very frequently. We thought we only needed $250,000. Because of some state programs, we were able to double that to half a million and I’m very glad we did. If we did it again, I think I would’ve gone after even more. It can be difficult to justify larger amounts to investors and that’s why entrepreneurs typically back down and settle. But founders and investors should know that it usually takes more money than you’d think. It also is important for them to know that it can be much harder to raise money when you’re in the middle of your growth milestones as opposed to when you’re at the beginning of the startup cycle.”
According to Moon, he and Walsh quickly noticed a difference between the passions that they both brought to the table. “That first project we worked on at the agency, we both noticed that we brought a passion to it that you didn’t always find around the company,” Moon said. “We wanted to do things well, but we also wanted to be on the cutting edge as far as what the technology could do. It was pretty quickly into our friendship that we were having some exciting conversations about starting a business together.” In addition to the business conversations, Moon and Walsh also found themselves spending a lot of time brainstorming different web apps they could create. And it wasn’t long before they began to build them. “A lot of the time, it’d be 9 or 10 o’clock at night, and I would put the kids to bed and put on a pot of coffee,” Moon said. “Then, Walsh and I would hop on a Skype call with one another and work until 2 or 3 three in the morning or whenever we’d fall asleep. We’d rinse, repeat and do it all over again the next day. And we did that for quite a long time. It was definitely the hobby of choice
for both of us though. It was a blast. Getting up and going to a regular job, that was the frustrating part, not programming until two in the morning.” Overall, the pair estimates that they created around 10 products together. Some were made for fun, some made some money and several were very successful, including daux.io, a documentation generator that uses simple folder structure and Markdown files to create custom documentation on the fly. “It really changed our perspectives on how apps can scale and build,” Moon said. “It also helped us learn a lot about content marketing which we utilized when rolling out some of our products.” Those products helped the dynamic duo get their feet wet in the industry, setting them up to found their first company, Todaymade. That project was the precursor to CoSchedule, which, between 2010-and 2015, focused on web design and custom web application development.
DID YOU KNOW?
CoSchedule has been a member of the INC. 5000 list for the past three years in a row!
E L U COSCHED LIGH T TAKES F
According to both Moon and Walsh, Coschedule would have never been possible without their experiences in creating products for fun or for Todaymade. “We built up a really good team at Todaymade and that allowed us to be able to run with the CoSchedule idea,” Walsh said. “If we didn’t have that experience that we gained through building large software projects for clients all over the state with Todaymade, as well as the experience Garrett and I had taking several smaller products to market, CoSchedule could’ve had a much different storyline.” The “CoSchedule idea” came to the young entrepreneurs in January of 2013 while on a flight back from Atlanta, GA. They had been talking about creating something like CoSchedule, which originally was a social media scheduling software, for quite a while; but during that flight, Moon and Walsh fleshed out what CoSchedule would look like in enough detail that they were able to actually start the work on it. From there, they created a Skunkwors team within Todaymade to launch the product, which they ended up doing in September of that same year. Being part of the content marketing business,
the two knew the importance of pushing their company to an audience and had been updating their blog about the program consistently. So, once CoSchedule launched, they started acquiring customers very quickly. Their simple and affordable price of $10 per month also aided the quick acquisition of customers. “Our first price was really to see if people would pay for the product,” Moon said. “Once we had paying customers, the prospects of scaling the business became very exciting for us.” However, it didn’t take long before Moon and Walsh realized that they’d need help in scaling the business. CoSchedule was making money, but not a lot of it. And a significant amount of time was being spent on the product by the Todaymade team. They needed more people and funding. So, they started an angel round with hopes of using the funds to build a team solely for CoSchedule, raising about $500,000 in the process before closing their angel round in April 2014. Those investments allowed Garrett and Justin to assemble a team of about a dozen and also step away from Todaymade which continued to operate until it was sold to Agency MABU, a local Bismarck agency in 2015.
ORIGINALLY STARTED AS A SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING TOOL, COSCHEDULE HAS EVOLVED INTO AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING MARKETING PLATFORM.
O FFICE SH OTS
Did you know? CoSchedule is consistently one of the highest-rated social media management softwares by independent reviewers. Including digital.com, which rated CoSchedule as one of the 15 best options in 2021.
GARRETT MOON What significant challenges did you face along the way? How did you tackle those challenges? That first round of angel funding was very difficult. Of course, there is always a big learning curve. Plus, we were raising capital in 2013 when the oil boom was well underway. A lot of investors were considering more traditional opportunities on the western side of the state things that they were used to, like apartments and hotels. There weren’t a lot of us tech startups raising money, so you had to really know who the major players were. We spent a lot of time gathering referrals and making phone calls. There was also a lot of pressure from our families at that time because we had bootstrapped the initial part of the company which caused significant changes in our take-home pay. Back then, there were a lot of things that needed to go right in a short period of time and fortunately they did.
D A O R E H T S S E C C U S TO CHAPTER 2:
Throughout the last 9 years, CoSchedule has kept itself at the cutting edge of technology while finding a substantial amount of success all over the country. The product has evolved from a social media scheduling tool into a full-fledged marketing project management suite. The business has managed to find financial success while garnering a large following including over 3,000 followers on Instagram, nearly 60,000 followers on Twitter and over 16,000 likes on Facebook. In fact, the company has been so successful that Moon and Walsh were recently able to buy back the business
from its investors a move they say was aided by the strong relationship they kept with their investors.
“We had always assumed a five to sixyear timeline in mind for transitioning the business,” Moon said. “Once we got there, we started wondering, ‘Should we raise more money? Should we sell?’ We got into some pretty in-depth discussions about an acquisition and got a pretty good understanding of what that would look like. However, we realized there were a lot of challenges that come with that. We were afraid of what would happen to the company’s North Dakota roots.
CoSchedule’s Newest Product CoSchedule’s newest product, Headline Studio, helps content creators workshop headlines before posting, to drive maximum possible readership and engagement.
Our team was 100% North Dakota driven, our investing group was 100% North Dakotan, and that was important to us. We didn’t want anything to change. So we approached our investors about reacquiring the business.”
necessarily matter who it was sold to. “We view buying this back as an investment,” Walsh said. “We see this as our first angel investment.”
With a high gross startup, the expectation is usually that the business is going to be sold or there’s going to be an IPO. Investors aren’t making money because the startup is profitable. Oftentimes, a healthy startup is burning cash. This is also, partially, why the original investors were willing to turn the business back over. They needed the business to sell in order to make money, it didn’t
Since the purchase, Moon and Walsh have begun to transition into more of advisory roles within the company, allowing them to pursue other passions including consulting, which they hope will transition to investing.
And they’re hoping to make more.
to larger customers and also help with simply connecting people to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem that they’ve grown so familiar with. “We have a really unique perspective because we’ve been on both sides of the fence,” Moon said. “We’ve sold to investors and we’ve acquired a business from investors. We can be a real asset to these businesses and I think, eventually, we could help financially by investing as well.”
They’re looking to help companies that need help with pitching to investors, advice on how to segment products, advice on how to sell BISMANINC.COM
I think our greatest impact as a company is going to be seen through our team. Not through us individually. There have been a lot of past employees that have gone on to start businesses, nonprofits, social events, things that add incredible value to the communities that we live in. In many ways, much of our legacy will be felt through the team we have built. Hopefully, we’ve also created a path for future software companies in the state to have similar or more success. We want to cheer them on and maybe be involved in their growth.” -Justin Walsh 42
E C N A T R O P M I THE OF CU LTUR E CHAPTER 3:
“Culture” has really become a buzzword in the business community. Its importance and significance in the company is emphasized again and again. However, that’s not without good reason, and the founders of CoSchedule agree. “One thing that we were very intentional about from the beginning was not making bad hires,” Walsh said. “When you’ve raised money and the only thing stopping your business from becoming as big as it could be and growing the number of customers is the size of your staff, it can be tempting to hire everyone that applies that is halfway qualified. We have a very rigid hiring process that we implemented during the Todaymade years that allowed us to not compromise. I think the culture of the company is at a huge risk when someone is brought on that isn’t a good fit. I’d rather wait and hire the right person instead of hiring just to fill a seat.” In that hiring process, CoSchedule, as a company, spends between 10-15 cumulative hours of team time on a candidate from intro interviews to project challenges to culture interviews to even demoing the software for the candidates. With this method, they have grown, into a team of 50.
“We’d hate to like everything about a candidate, have them join the team, only to find out the work isn’t really what they were hoping for,” Walsh said. “Our process takes a lot of people. The candidate will spend time with anywhere from 6 to 10 team members at CoSchedule at different interview steps. We kind of use the whole tribe of CoSchedule to figure out if a candidate would be a good fit or not.” Once the employee is in the door, they’re treated to a culture that offers a great deal of autonomy, allowing employees to make decisions and operate independently which they believe is important for employee motivation. “Even with CoSchedule’s significant growth over time, we’ve kept a pretty flat organizational structure,” Moon said. “We also really embrace failure around here. We encourage new employees that are a couple of months in to start trying new things. We want them to take risks, make mistakes and understand that we’re giving them a lot of latitude to fail. There are a lot of cultures out there where perfection is expected. We think that if we’re not failing, we’re not pushing forward.”
WHY NOR TH A DAK OT CoSchedule could have planted its roots anywhere, or at least that's what it seems from the outside. Why Bismarck? “We moved back for all of the reasons that people move back to North Dakota,” Moon said. “It’s a great place to raise a family. We’re closer to our family here as well. We also really appreciate a lot of the things that the western side of the state has to offer. I love mountain biking and there are great trails here. We really enjoy the Missouri River and the beauty and landscape of the area as well. We started a business here because we wanted to live here.” “We have family here as well,” Walsh said. “Also, when you’re starting a business and it’s just you and your partner, you aren’t necessarily thinking about having to relocate to a tech hub to be closer to potential employees. It’s just not one of the first things you think about.” It just so happens that North Dakota is also a fantastic place to do business according to the CoSchedule creators, who say that the majority of the roughly $5 million they have raised over the course of the business’s history has come from different local economic groups like the North Dakota Department of Commerce and the Bank of North Dakota.
And that’s exactly why they’ve taken steps to keep the business in North Dakota, to invest in North Dakota companies and to help continue prosperity in the region. “I think our greatest impact as a company is going to be seen through our team. Not through us individually,” Walsh said. “There have been a lot of past employees that have gone on to start businesses, nonprofits, social events, things that add incredible value to the communities that we live in. In many ways, much of our legacy will be felt through the team we have built. Hopefully, we’ve also created a path for future software companies in the state to have similar or more success. We want to cheer them on and maybe be involved in their growth.”
Get in Touch! Facebook: /coschedule Twitter: @CoSchedule CoSchedule - Bismarck 318 E Broadway Ave, Bismarck, ND 58501 701-491-8744 CoSchedule - Fargo 630 1st Ave N #8, Fargo, ND 58102 701-595-0567 coschedule.com
These People Care
Wendy Van Duyne
About Bis-Man! The Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC exists to serve the business interests and needs of its business members in the community. Let's get to know the leadership team steering this great community into the future! BISMANINC.COM
Brian Ritter Brian Ritter has been with the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC and its predecessors since 2003, starting as an intern. Ritter eventually worked his way up the ladder at the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, becoming the organization's president in 2013. In 2017, Ritter added duties as the President of the BismarckMandan Chamber of Commerce. Two years later, in 2019, he oversaw the merger that formed the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC and has been the organizations only President & CEO since. In his position, Ritter leads the organization’s advocacy efforts, oversees the organization’s day-to-day operations and helps implement the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan. Ritter is a lifelong Bismarck Mandan native and a two-time graduate of the University of Mary as well as the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute. He is married to his wife, Kim, and has two daughters named Claire and Eve.
Why does your role matter to members? Simply put, our organization and our community are all about relationships. As leaders, it’s critical that we all spend time building relationships throughout Bismarck-Mandan so that we’re in the best position possible to help our members. Fortunately, I’ve been able to spend the last 19 years doing just that. What is something you do in your role that people may not know? Whether it’s me or any member of our team, each week everyone here is responsible for contacting two Chamber EDC Members to simply check in, thank them for their membership and find out if there’s anything that we can do to help. What is something you want new Chamber EDC prospects to know? We need to earn your membership each and every year. There’s no law requiring that organizations like ours exist, so we have to earn your support with everything that we do. And if we’re not doing that, we want to know about it. What else do you want people to know? The true strength of the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC is our members. The more members we have, the stronger our voice becomes. The more members we have, the more partners we gain. And the more members we have, the more connections we make. 46
Nathan Schneider Nathan Schneider, a graduate of North Dakota State and the University of Oklahoma's Economic Development Institute, grew up in Harvey, ND and moved to Bismarck-Mandan in 2005. Over the course of his career, Schneider has spent time in private banking, worked for the North Dakota Department of Commerce and since 2019, has worked as the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC’s Vice President where he "leads the organization’s economic development efforts." At home, Schneider is husband to his wife Emily and father to his "fun-loving and kind-spirited" 7-yearold son Hudson.
Why does your role matter to members? My role is not always the most visible role within the Chamber EDC. A lot of times this organization and the economic development team specifically are having conversations with businesses or prospects before they become public. We are also typically working with businesses that aren’t going to be the lead news story when they do expand or put down roots in Bismarck Mandan. But whether we are helping a local small manufacturer finance a new facility or working with Cloverdale Foods on a major expansion, the projects we are working on are very important. These are the projects that are creating new wealth in our community and adding good-paying jobs. If we succeed in our economic development efforts, it helps the community as a whole. What is something you do in your role that people may not know? We work to grow not only Bismarck Mandan but the surrounding rural areas as well! We are not just the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC but also the Burleigh and Morton County Chamber EDC. This means that we serve the entire two-county region. Within the last year we have assisted in the startup of a new daycare and an expansion of an existing manufacturing facility in Hebron, helped a bar and restaurant in Glen Ullin switch ownership, and provided funding to help a meat processing plant in New Salem expand its capacity. In the past, we have also assisted to locate a large-scale manufacturing facility in rural Burleigh County. Providing economic development to those rural areas of the county is very important to us as well.
What is something you want new Chamber EDC prospects to know? There are really so many things I would like a new Chamber EDC prospect to know like what an amazing team here at the Chamber EDC they have working on their behalf. I also want them to know that everything we do is to benefit the membership I'd also like to talk to them about the ways they can get involved in the organization. But if I was to have to let them know only one thing, it would be this organization is truly a sum-of-allparts organization. What I mean by that is all of our members' support together allows us to do what we do. We couldn’t do what we do if just one business or a handful of businesses supported us, we need all of you. If you don’t think there is value in joining the Chamber EDC I promise you there is, we just maybe haven’t identified it yet. However, your support combined with all the other support we receive will just create more opportunities to produce value for you. BISMANINC.COM
Elliot Rust Elliot Rust grew up in Casselton, North Dakota and graduated from the University of Mary with degrees in Accounting and Computer Science. He has called Bismarck Mandan home since 2007 and is a Mandan resident. "My beautiful wife is a proud owner of a mortgage brokerage in Bismarck and we enjoy the chaos in our house created by our three dogs, three cats, and foster cats. We both enjoy spending time outdoors, on the river and camping."
Why does your role matter to members? As the Chief Financial Officer, my main duties are focused on the financial health of our organization. As a business leader for our community and our membership, it’s important that we are using the monetary support given by our members and partners through dues and events to ensure we are not only providing the advocacy, economic development and networking support to our membership but also taking care of our internal finances. One of our core strategic goals is organizational excellence and I work hard to ensure we are financially healthy not only today but as we grow to support our growing community. What is something you do in your role that people may not know? About one-third of our revenue is received from our membership through annual dues, and ensuring we are recruiting and retaining our membership is another of our core strategic goals. I lead our membership team which consists of Ross Frohlich, Membership Director, who has done an amazing job in the past four years we’ve worked together to grow our new members with a record-breaking 130 new members last year, and Katelyn Corrigan, Small Business Outreach Coordinator, who is our newest employee and focuses on membership retention by visiting with our small business members. Membership retention is a big focus in my leadership of this terrific team and we work hard to reach out to our membership. One fun way we do this is through an effort I began during the beginning of COVID-19 in 2020 where each staff member is given two members to call each week to check in with them. This has been a wonderful way to connect with our membership and see if there are ways we can support them with resources. We’ve called each and every one of our 1,200 members at least 48
once throughout the year through this process! Our retention rate went from about 88% in 2020 to over 93% in 2021 and a large part of this increase can be attributed to this additional outreach effort. What is something you want new Chamber EDC prospects to know? Two things. First, we have a benefit for any sized business, whether you are a sole proprietor just getting started with your company or a long established 300+ employee business. We have resources and opportunities to assist, advocate and help your company grow and thrive in the Bismarck Mandan area. Second, we have built our team to be a resource for you! Each and every one of our employees have a heart of service and we will work hard to help you and your company, whether that is by connecting you to a resource or connecting you to someone that can help you. Without our members, we wouldn’t exist!
Christine Nelson Christine Nelson is a Bismarck native and graduate of the University of North Dakota. At UND, Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science. After graduation, Nelson traveled the country because of her job, making stops in Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, and Missouri, "but I always knew that I wanted to come back to Bismarck." Today, Nelson and her husband are heavily involved in the fitness world and enjoy traveling, especially to tropical destinations. Nelson has been with the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC for three years. Currently, she is the lead Chamber EDC representative for the Local Issue Committee. She also serves on the Bismarck State College BILT Marketing Committee and is part of the Women's Leadership Program through NDWBC.
Why does your role matter to members? Event and Sales are very classic “Chamber” functions. However, overseeing these two jobs takes switching hats often! Without sales, we do not have events and visa vera. Events give our membership not only knowledge but the opportunity to network and learn from one another—this is truly invaluable! What is something you do in your role that people may not know? I am always looking for partnerships within events and always trying to find ways for the partnership to work rather then ways for it not to work. For example, Vitalant Blood Donation and the Chamber EDC are partnering together in September to make the Battle of the Badges and the Brats with the Brave event bigger and better. STAY TUNED! What is something you want new chamber prospects to know? We are here for our members! Our members are the sole reason we even exist. There is never a problem or question too small-just give us a call! BISMANINC.COM
Wendy Van Duyne Wendy Van Duyne and her family moved to Bismarck from Lawrence, Kansas seven years ago and have fallen in love with the metro. She has a degree in Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University and has been working in the community planning field for more than 16 years. Van Duyne is actively involved in the community and has served as a former board member of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association, and current vice-chair of the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC. Additionally, Wendy serves on the Bismarck Planning and Zoning Commission, the North Dakota Capitol Grounds Planning Commission and the Missouri Valley YMCA Board of Directors. She currently works as a Principal and Business Center Practice Lead for Stantec Consulting; a professional consulting company for planning, engineering, architecture, interior design landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management and project economics in Bismarck.
Why does your role matter to members? I have a strong commitment to community engagement and, when it comes to discussing issues that affect our business and economic development communities, I actively seek out multiple perspectives and points of view. I think Bismarck-Mandan has a lot to offer transplants from other areas, and I’m one of the most enthusiastic ambassadors for our region. What is something you do in your role that people may not know? My current role at Stantec provides me with an opportunity to work on projects in similarly-sized communities across the United States. I always enjoy learning what others are doing, as it relates to community and economic development, and sharing these experiences with others here in BismarckMandan. What is something you want new Chamber EDC prospects to know? Don’t be afraid to get involved! The Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC offers so many opportunities to connect with the business community and elected leaders throughout our region. Public/private collaboration is integral to the work of the Chamber EDC and we rely on active participation from our members to make progress on issues that are important to our communities. 50
In 2020, Van Duyne was recognized by the Engineering News Record (ENR) as one of the top 40 under 40 young professionals in the Mountain States Region. The year prior, she was included in the 2019 class of 40 under 40 business professionals by Prairie Business Magazine.
Matt Sagaser Matt Sagaser is a long-time member of the Bismarck Mandan community. Since 2008 he has worked with both the Bismarck Mandan Development Association and the Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC as a board member. In addition to his work with the Chamber, Sagaser has worked for Bobcat Company for 27 years where he has held many different leadership positions.
Why does your role matter to members? I represent members as a resident of the community, a member of the business community, and a voice as a board member of the Chamber EDC. What is something you do in your role that people may not know? In addition to my work as a Chamber EDC Board member and member of the Executive Committee, I'm the Director of the Bobcat Acceleration Center as well as the Director of Innovation Accelerated at Bobcat.
Matt Sagaser was a key leader in the design and construction of the Acceleration Center in Bismarck.
What is something you want new chamber prospects to know? Bismarck Mandan is a wonderful place to own and operate a business and the Chamber EDC has the potential to be a great strategic asset. BISMANINC.COM
Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC What is something that always makes your members say “I DIDN’T KNOW THAT?!”
What is a benefit that the Chamber EDC has for members that isn’t something common?
What is something new at the Chamber EDC in the past year?
That the majority of Chamber EDC Members are small businesses with less than 10 employees.
We get asked often what the “EDC” in Chamber EDC stands for— which is Economic Development Corporation. When the Chamber of Commerce and Bismarck Mandan Development Association merged to form the Chamber EDC back in 2019, the leadership of both organizations felt it was important for the name to “say” what we are, thus the Chamber Economic Development Corporation or Chamber EDC name.
As a ‘merged’ organization that has both business advocacy and economic development missions, we’re not only providing services to those businesses, employees, etc. that are already here in BismarckMandan, but we’re leading efforts to keep this community growing as well.
Diversity in our event offerings. Maybe sitting at an info-based event like State of the Cities isn’t your thing. Maybe you would enjoy hitting some golf balls at our indoor golf event in January or our outdoor event in the summer, or maybe our Sporting Clay Shoot event could be for you. We also have evening events like our monthly mixers and lunch events like our Thursdays on the Patio.
LOTS! In January, we unveiled our Professional Development tracks. In February, we rolled out our new Deals & Discounts promotion. In March, we held our first-ever ‘Focus on Bismarck-Mandan’ event. And in April, we launched our inaugural ’20 Under 40’ recognition program.
In the last year, the Chamber EDC rolled out two brand new events, added professional development opportunities for our members with our Professional Development Tracks, added new value-add opportunities to the Chamber EDC website with our Deals and Discounts webpage, and are working on new workforce development programming including the recent addition of a workforce newsletter.
wendy van duyne
We hear that every day! We are always looking to provide benefits for our members and have something for everyone! Since workforce is a large need of many of our members we’ve offered the ability to post job openings for FREE on our website. Please reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about how to take advantage of this free resource!
There are so many ways to get involved! There is a wide range…. Sponsorships, joining a committee, attending an event, or placing an ad—just reach out!
The Chamber EDC regularly facilitates discussions with North Dakota Legislators to connect with membership, both during session and outside of session. It’s a great opportunity for elected officials and constituents to have a dialogue about the issues that are coming up in the Capitol and how they may affect our local business community.
Networking! We hold free monthly membership mixers that are hosted at various members’ locations and I can almost guarantee you will meet someone new at these mixers that might become a new customer or business partner! We are constantly gaining new members each month so if you haven’t been to one in a while or ever, you are not alone!
Our versatility! We are a young group who are ready and willing to make changes for the benefit of our members!
We now record all our informational events and have them posted on our members-only side of our website for consumption on-demand. We have also worked with the University of Mary and Bismarck State College to offer their adult professional development courses and programs at a discount to our membership.
Two brand new events! Focus on Bismarck Mandan (March) and 12 Tastes of Christmas (December).
Matt Sagaser There are many levels of support that are optional from the Chamber EDC.
After the merger happened between the BMDA and the Chamber, the Chamber EDC automatically gained an economic development arm that didn’t exist before. Having a focus on economic development gives the Chamber EDC an additional tool to help both members and the overall community.
Our internship networking program is something new for 2022, and will offer a great opportunity for all of our businesses to connect their interns with others from throughout the area. The idea is that these increased connections will strengthen their sense of community in BismarckMandan and, in turn, will help retain these interns in our workforce, for the long term.
The Chamber has several new staff members with renewed focus on the membership. Ultimate goal is engaging local businesses in whatever means is necessary and beneficial to the community.
Bismarck Mandan Chamber EDC
Our staff. There are 13 fulltime members of our team, all of whom (no matter the title or role) are here to help make connections, answer questions and be a resource for our members.
There are a number of business assistance programs available to new or expanding businesses in BismarckMandan and the rural portions of Burleigh and Morton Counties. I tell businesses all the time that most of the time there is an assistance program that will work for the situation and the business.
What’s your best advice for someone looking to use the Chamber more?
Just ask. Too often, we’ll hear from members that they didn’t know where to turn or where to start. No matter the question or the issue is, just ask us because we’ve got a whole team of people willing to help. And if we can’t address the need directly, we’ve got more than 1,200 members who might be able to.
The best advice I would have is simply reach out! Whether it is to a member of the Chamber EDC team or Board member, you simply have to ask. Finding ways to get a member more involved is easy if we know that they are interested. We will find a way to get you engaged if we know you are interested.
What’s a problem the Chamber has solved recently or is working on solving currently?
It’s not a problem, but I’m very excited about our increased engagement with the local Legislative Delegation. We’ve recently implemented a process to meet with them regularly in addition to the all the dialogue we have them just in our normal course of doing business.
We are currently working to secure a consultant to perform a strategic plan for economic development. We are working on some solutions to help solve the problem that earlystage or startup businesses have to find available funding. We will also be introducing new workforce development programs in the next 3-9 months.
The Annual Dinner. It’s our biggest event of the year and there’s always a level of excitement around it that’s tough to replicate.
I really enjoy our summer outdoor events. There is our summer Golf Scramble, Sporting Clay Shoot, and Thursdays on the Patio. Anytime you can enjoy North Dakota summers outdoors and get paid to do it, all while interacting with our members, sign me up!
What resource at the Chamber do you think is a hidden gem?
What is your favorite event of the year and why? 54
wendy van duyne
Our Staff! We have a staff of 13 people that are here to serve our members. If there are ways we can help you or your employees develop and connections you’d like to make, please reach out to any one of us and we will work to help get you the resources you are after!
The yearly membership survey! The results ultimately tell us where to make changes and how to plan out our next year. We always want to hear what we can do more or better for our members!
Our Local Issues Committee is a great group for many of our engaged members to learn more about the topics that are emerging in our communities. Monthly meetings generally highlight 3 or 4 topics from across the spectrum, and offer an opportunity for collaborative discussion and learning.
Our economic development.
If your goal for 2022 was to get out of the office more and meet other business people, we have plenty of opportunities for you! I encourage all members to attend an event if they haven’t before. Growing your network and professionally growing your employees is how you grow your company.
REACH OUT! Even if you don’t know what you are exactly looking for we will connect you with the right person inside or outside of the Chamber EDC.
Volunteer to get involved. Attend a Chamber Mixer event to connect with others in the organization, volunteer for a committee, attend informational meetings to learn more about the issues facing our communities and to share your perspective.
Don’t be shy about needing assistance or having questions. Attend the events that are available. Give the Chamber Staff feedback.
We are helping workforce development with our Business Development Series, our Job Shadow week in February, Educator Experience which shows teachers what is needed in industries, to mock interviews in partnership with our human resources association in Bismarck.
Professional Development! We are now the area’s exclusive provider for the Dale Carnegie’s First Time Managers Training. This partnership was exactly what the membership was looking for and we saw great success in the quarter one training.
The Chamber EDC is always actively involved in conversations between the public and private sectors to better understand the current funding mechanisms for development and identify improvements to the systems we have in place.
A benefit of the diversity of the Chamber EDC is its focus on both political and local business issues. There are sub-committees that assist with these topics. Focus on assisting businesses with COVID questions was a focus recently.
Thursdays on the Patio! This is our member recognition event where we grill burgers and brats on our patio behind our building. This event has grown to about 150 people coming to network and enjoy a lunch outside during the summer!
The Annual Dinner! This is our biggest event topping 800-1,000 people! It has everything-networking, entertainment, good food and drinks and Brian Ritter telling horrible jokes-it’s always a night to remember!
Lemonade Day! Every June, a Saturday is dedicated to Lemonade Day which is an event to introduce entrepreneurship to the youngest residents of Bismarck-Mandan. I always enjoy visiting the stands and learning more about the business ideas from the kids who participate.
It is difficult to choose a favorite because they have different focal points. The annual meeting is the bigone because it is intended to bring so many members together. However, how can you beat Golf and Skeet Shooting?
Anticipation Lunch on the Patio
Outdoor Golf Scramble
Lemonade Day Kickoff Event
Lunch on the Patio
Lemonade Day Kickoff Event
Lunch on the Patio
Interested in joining? Call Membership Director, Ross Frohlich at 701-223-5660 to learn more! Or go online at business.bismarckmandan.com/member/newmemberapp BISMANINC.COM
Mike Seminary interviewing a guest.
y l d n e i r F d n a r a i l i A Fam Face is Your Newest r e t s a c d o P l a c o L What led you to start a podcast?
Driving to the funeral of a dear friend and mentor, my wife Deb suggested I launch a podcast based on a book I wrote but haven’t published, titled “The Wand Within.” I had interviewed 26 people about the pursuit of their dreams and careers. Some of the interviewees include former Governor Ed Schafer, Continental Resources founder Harold Hamm, EarthKind founder Kari Warberg Block and others. My wife has always provided great advice and keen insight, so after I retired from the civil engineering industry in December of 2020, I launched the podcast in late January 2021.
How challenging was the journey from idea to execution? It was fairly easy and straightforward. I listened to a few podcasts, worked on how I would present mine, made a list of around 200 possible guests and lined up the first few. I was fortunate to work with my wife and the team at Q1 Network as they handled the back-end mechanics for launching content to podcast platforms and my website MikeSeminary.com 58
Are there any specific problems that you're trying to solve with this podcast that listeners can pay more attention to, or take as a call to action?
From the beginning, my focus was and still is to primarily interview what I call “needle movers”—people that have inspired or moved me by how they inspire and move others. With all the divisive nonsense in our world today I wanted to focus on folks with exceptional character and big hearts and emphasize the great “stuff” they were passionate about.
You've given a wide variety of people a platform to speak about themselves and their cause. Did you reach out to them to come on the show, or did they ask to be a part of it? When you have walked this planet for 67 years, and for some 50 of those found ways to involve yourself in numerous causes and community organizations, you meet many people from all walks of life. Consequently,
having prospective guests to contact is both easy and fun. After a few episodes, I started receiving guest suggestions from listeners as well as requests from individuals that would like to be on the show. As I type this information the 64th episode will air the week of April 11th.
Which episodes were some of your favorite to record? That’s like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I’ve enjoyed every single guest and learned something from all of them. My guests have included entrepreneurs, authors, actors, artists, media company leaders, a sports journalist, leaders in education, a war correspondent, captains of industry, change agents and others. The episode that gave me chills was with my daughter, Lynsey. I learned something that briefly took my breath away. I believe that was episode 7, go to mikeseminary. com and give it a listen. Some of the interesting details that stand out include a woman who worked feverishly to humanely deal with mice, a stockbroker that was called to a landfill in Nakuru, Kenya to work with kids, a guy traveling
Africa looking for his brother, a young woman stricken with ALS who set a goal of competing in a marathon in all 50 states, folks with amazing side hustles, the woman that formed a world-class situational awareness training and personal safety skills company after a scary encounter and many more.
Who else would you like to bring to the show in the future? Here are some names I am tossing around: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Enes Kanter Freedom, Morgan Pressel, Molly Yeh, Laetitia Mizero Hellerud, Hunter Pinke, Amy Olson, Mark Wahlberg and Ashley Cleveland.
What other podcasts or books have you been reading/ listening to lately? Prior to planning Mike Seminary and Friends I hadn’t listened to a single podcast. Again, the suggestion and encouragement came from Deb, and she was already an avid listener. Now my partial list includes How I Built This (the first one Deb had me listen to), The Joe Rogan Experience, The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe, SmartLess and The Steam Room. Since launching Mike Seminary and Friends, I have read, on average, two books per week. Many are authored by guests, prospective guests, suggestions from listeners and books containing material that help me develop reasonably intelligent questions for guests. Recently
I’ve read the following: Chechnya Diary, and Zakhrafa: Memories of a Disappearing Middle East both by Dr. Thomas Goltz, Being at Home in The World by Laetitia Mizero Hellerud, Broken Gifts by Tyler Auck, Szen Zone by Gary Szenderski and The Frontline Generation by Marjorie Eastman.
With your significant background in the Bis-Man area, what have you learned on the podcast that you didn't know previously? Interesting question. To date, and by design, less than 15% of my guests are Bismarck-Mandan residents. Dreamers and needle movers are everywhere, and I’ve been blessed to make friends with people from around the country. Sharing their stories, their dreams, their work, their struggles, lifting them up and hopefully connecting them to others was one of the objectives.
What advice do you have for others that are considering starting their own podcast? Do it. If you have an interest in sharing stories, learning from others, learning about others, or maybe you just want to make a run at entertaining others, do it.
What plans do you have in the future for the show? I am seriously pondering the value of a video presence, so maybe YouTube. More on that for another day.
By Grant Ayers
Expansion Out West
Casey Glandt, General Manager & Partner
Dual Ha Warmer/Phnd on Charger e
Ashley Wooledge, Account Manager
Jane Halverson, Sales Executive
Promotional agencies are oftentimes thought of as companies that simply put a logo on a hat or T-shirt and make a profit through one-time transactions. While this may sometimes be true, Go Promo is here to do much more than that. Go Promo is a creative promotional agency with offices based out of West Fargo, Hope and Bismarck, ND. When sitting down with Go Promo’s General Manager and Partner Casey Glandt, he spoke about the company’s history, some of their wackiest products and what they’re doing to go the extra mile. Go Promo’s early beginnings date back as far as 2012. The company first began as a side gig for Glandt while he was working at a marketing firm. However, the sales for his “side gig” grew beyond expectations over time and the decision was eventually made to take the endeavor full-time by 2014. By 2018, Go Promo reached $1 million in sales. Now, a recent business acquisition has pushed the Go Promo name further out west, allowing them to break into new markets
and form new business partnerships. “The business that we took over earlier this year was Dakota Promotions & Printing. They’ve been in business for 12 years, and there’s such a huge market here with a lot of potential,” said Glandt. Quick to address similar business models and competition in the area, Glandt was more than confident in the differentiating factors that justify their expansion. “We do online stores for efficiency in our business and we do them
Photos Courtesy of Go Promo, LLC
very well. We also warehouse products for the clients. And then there’s the creative, ‘corporate branding’ side of things.”
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For example, they often help set up online stores for many different organizations that have multiple locations. He explained that “approved buyers that are allowed access to the store can go in at any time and order any of the products that are all preprinted with their logo, pre-approved by marketing and HR and warehoused at their office. For instance, they have an event coming up that requires 300 bags with lip balms and notebooks. Go Promo can have their product delivered with a quick turnaround time and lower price per unit, since they’re ordering in bulk. I don’t see many other people doing this type of work in North Dakota, especially Bismarck.” Today, Go Promo is on track to do $4 million in sales this year, having passed $1 million in the first quarter of 2022.
This recent expansion isn’t their first, however. At the beginning of 2019, Go Promo acquired Green Street Promotions. Since the expansion, Go Promo’s client base, operations and sales have all increased immensely, while also bringing friendly competition together. Now, Glandt and his team are ready to go even further with their journey to Bismarck. Having maintained consistent success during its expansion, Go Promo is still able to focus on relationships with customers as much as it did before. According to Glandt, they view themselves as a “partner” to other companies, rather than a “vendor." Go Promo’s relationship with clients goes much deeper than a simple one-time transaction. Focusing on the service and value that they can bring to the people they partner with has continually helped them receive referrals for their service and work.
Glandt stated, “In our discovery meetings, we will ask ‘How many employees do you have? What's your promotional product budget for the year? How much do you want to give to each employee to spend on your online store?’ We want to learn about their staff, what they like and how we can be productive in helping them.” This extra step of care appears to be working for Go Promo, as over 500 North Dakota businesses partner with the company on projects of various sizes.
When questioning Glandt on what separates them from their competition, he was quick to say “creativity” and elaborate on the unique and outlandish products they can offer.
Essential Oil Diffuser
Light Up Bubble Gun “You name it and we can put a logo on it,” Glandt said. Products that immediately came to mind for Glandt ranged from the kitchen (air fryers and crock pots) to the outdoors (Rapala fishing lures and pop-up canopy athletic tents).
Customized Hangover Kit
According to Glandt, the secret to popular products lies within the desire and uniqueness of the product. He stated that, “A product has to be either very functional, something that someone is going to really appreciate and use, or very memorable, like something that you wouldn’t see every day from any other promo supplier.” After speaking with Glandt, it’s clear that they’ve come up with some products you don’t see every day from many other places.
Some of the “memorable products” Go Promo has helped produce include light-up bubble guns, bubble wrap fidget pads and customized rocks. Yes, you read that correctly, bubble guns and rocks. While some of these may not be the most essential products, they’re widely popular due to their catchy, lighthearted memorability.
When Go Promo works with school programs, they often donate a percentage of sales back to the program. In 2021, they donated nearly $40,000 back to high school athletic teams!
On the other hand, highly functional products include something for everyone. For the outdoor enthusiasts, they offer gardening gloves and tools, flip flops, durable picnic baskets and Yeti coolers. For those focused on offering self-care-oriented products, they offer essential oil diffusers, custom socks, slippers and highquality headphones. Other highly functional products advertised include Bluetooth speakers, Yeti tumblers and mugs, along with first-rate backpacks and briefcases.
Put Your Logo on Socks!
Durable To-Go Baskets
Customize Your Very Own Rock!
Some products are even blurring the line between functional and memorable. One of the most useful, yet unique products is the personalized hangover kit they have available. It’s filled with earplugs, Advil, Mentos, lip balm, a sleeping mask and much more; complete with your logo advertised on the front. Another line-blurring product that they offer is a hand warmer that doubles as a portable phone charger. It’s a product that is just unique enough to stand out from the rest, yet also acts as a highly functional tool when in need. Another one of their most creative products helps solve a very real nuisance. Most people have gone through the stress and frustration of dropping their phone in between their car seat and the center console. Now, there’s a gap-filling pad that can be inserted to prevent that from happening again. Best of all, it can be distributed with your logo advertised across the top.
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Go Promo works with a majority of high schools in the Fargo-Moorhead area, along with colleges including NDSU and VCSU, to create pop-up shops filled with embroidered team gear, fanware and more!
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Personalized Fidget Bubble Wrap
Go Promo prides itself on sticking to its roots. An estimated 90% of business is local, with 10% being further out-of-state, according to Casey Glandt.
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No matter how large or unique the request may seem, Go Promo has emphasized that they will do everything they can to complete a request and exceed the partner’s expectations. According to Glandt, “Go Promo’s minimum for embroidery is 12 pieces, and our screenprint minimum is 24 pieces.” With the company’s recent expansion to Bismarck, they’re opening themselves up to new areas of business that they never could have before. Rather than prioritize a one-time transaction to “take the money and run” from these relationships, they’re focused on longterm partnerships that solidify a future between them and their partners for years to come.
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Go Promo orders@JustGoPromo.com 701-751-8007
Ashton Hauff is a cofounder of The Good Kids, a brand studio located in downtown Bismarck that specializes in brand strategy, copywriting, photography and more. 66
Women You Should Know:
Ashton Hauff Written and photo provided by Ladyboss Midwest
Big dreams can start small. Q. Tell me about your business.
A. The Good Kids is a brand studio in the hub of downtown Bismarck, kind of in the hub of downtown. We love the energy and the kind of lifestyle that's down here. We help clients build strategic brand experiences. A lot of times, that includes logos, colors, fonts, et cetera. A lot of our clients are food-based, education and attraction/ entertainment organizations. At the heart of our niche, we're really good at the brand piece where we build a reputation around a product or company. Q. This isn’t your first business. What else have you done as an entrepreneur? A. My first business ever was photography, and it wasn’t intentional. In my first year of college, my brother needed to take senior photos, so I did them. Then, all of his friends wanted to hire me, so suddenly, I realized I needed to register as a company. I didn’t necessarily want to start a business, but since I was making money, I knew I had to do it the right way. Now, I’ve been doing photography as a side hustle the last 10 or 11 years. BISMANINC.COM
Women You Should Know: Ashton Hauff is a co-founder, strategy director and visual designer.
Ashton grew up the daughter of a fine artist and a software engineer in Bismarck, ND so she has a knack for tackling left-meetsright-brain challenges! So that gave me my first taste as to what it’s like to collect money, how to keep track of it, how to talk to clients, how to do all of those kinds of basic essentials, which was all new to me at the time. After college, I moved back home to Bismarck and started a job at CoSchedule. I enjoyed it, but I was missing the design community that I had built up at college. That’s when the idea for Makewell was born, which is more of a nonprofit model, community-based organization that provides opportunities for people to connect over the things they craft. That gave me a whole other world of how to work with a team, how to raise money and other parts of how to run a business. Next, in 2020, I had an idea for a unique planner product called Evertide, so I created another company. That was my first taste of what it’s like to sell it and create a product. I had all of those experiences in my back pocket to help me get to where am I and what I’m doing today.
Surrounded by small pieces of inspiration. Q. Where did your love of design begin?
A. In my early childhood, I was completely in the creative world. My mom was a stay-at-home artist, so until school age, I grew up in her art room, watching her create. That was before large format printers existed, so she would do all of the signage and banners herself. Then growing up, I fell in love with the show Trading Spaces from HGTV where I got my first taste of design. From there, I explored everything and I was fortunate to figure out in high school that I wanted to do graphic design. I did my research for the best graphic design schools and eventually landed at the University of Northwestern in Saint Paul. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I loved it. Q. Your husband also owns a business. What’s that like for you guys as a couple? A. My husband started a film production company in Bismarck with his brother called Threefold. It's been really helpful. We were both creatives, so it's been fun to go through the processes of our companies together. We’re able to understand each other’s work and worlds, which is really helpful from a spouse's perspective. When something’s 68
wrong or feels off at home, we can talk through it. We also get to pick each other's brains and ideate together, which is really great. The downside is that we're both super passionate about our companies, so if we don't set boundaries, we’d just work all the time. But it's a blessing, for sure. Q. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? A. Start small so that you can test and iterate, because, for me, I've done so much learning through all the different things that I've done and ideas that I’ve had. A lot of times, we enter it and have big dreams, right? We want to “be this” or “do this,” and then we get stuck or don't take action because we have no idea how to even begin doing that. If you can boil that down to the one thing you can do to test an idea out and actually take action on it, you're going to get so much more feedback and value from that experience. When you do that, it’s just a series of small steps instead of one massive leap.
Start the day with small steps of self-care. Q. What do you do for self-care?
A. Self-care is a big one. The more that I've gone through all of my businesses, the more I've learned how much I need it in order to not hit that burnout. I don't need to bore you with all the details, but I have the
Ashton Hauff Some of The Good Kids' many big-name clients include Evertide, Mighty Missouri Coffee Co., and Skeels Electric Co.
minutes, do a morning devotion and then I use my Evertide planner. That includes some of the things where I'm setting a focus, expressing gratitude, seeing if there are any stressors that I could immediately address, and then I kind of go into my regular task list, schedule, et cetera. After that, I get myself ready for the day. It sounds like a lot, but I wake up at 7:30 a.m. and usually I'm getting ready by like 7:50 a.m. I do small things for just a couple of minutes so it doesn't take forever. Q. What are some challenges you’re working on? A. I am a type “A” recovering perfectionist.
things that I do for myself in the morning before I even start getting ready for the day, just to set my intention and set my focus. I try to set boundaries around things that matter to me. For instance, my creative work is really essential to the company, so I only do meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That might not look like self-care, because I'm not at the spa or doing something fun, but I’m setting boundaries around the work that matters which is really important. A personal piece of self-care advice is having a date night with my husband every Tuesday. It’s not fancy or glamorous. It just means that we're going to hang out, because if we don't set aside the time to do that, it's just not going to happen. This way, I'm making a priority of it. So for me, it's probably like time management more than anything, because where you spend your time is usually where your heart lies. Q. You said you don’t want to bore us with the details of your morning routine. Can you share them anyway?
That overlaps into the professional world, but especially as a designer – everything is very intentional, everything has to be thought out. I think my greatest challenge is being okay with an imperfect first day. How can I just get it out there and be okay with the iteration process and knowing that it’s going to change, is going to improve and grow over time? Perfectionists, we just get stuck, right? We get stuck because it's hard to detach ourselves from what we're creating. I think that's probably something artists or designers, or even entrepreneurs, share in general. It's hard to separate who you are as a person from the company that you're building or the product that you're creating. And it's easy to get your identity wrapped up in that. That’s really something that I have to constantly remind myself. It's just remembering that I am a human, and that who I am as a wife, as a dog mom and as a friend is still way more valuable than what I'm doing on a business level.
The Good Kids
Call: 701.595.0202 Email: email@example.com Web: thegoodkids.co
A. I get up with my alarm, and I instantly have to turn the house lights on because otherwise, I could roll over and fall back to sleep. There's something about just instantly turning the lights on that wakes up my body. I'm not a morning person, so then I kind of walk around the house for a few minutes and pick up random stuff like a dish that was left out or a blanket to kind of get myself moving. Then I pour myself either a glass of water or some tea. I'm not a coffee person – don't judge me. Next, I sit down, read the Bible for about 10 BISMANINC.COM
Family Flock Memberships for this season are already 97% SOLD OUT, so you better hurry!
A Community-Focused Company
The Larks Community FUNd was launched in 2022 with the focus to make a difference in the lives of youth through sports, scholarships and experiences.
Did You Know?
Every business starts as an idea. These ideas come to life with the efforts made by entrepreneurs willing to take risks and grow their ideas into fully-formed business ventures. From baseball team CEOs to mobile bar owners, every person has a unique passion that they merged with the business landscape. While we couldn't talk to every inspiring entrepreneur in the Bis-Man area, we talked to some of the many to hear about their unique journey on the road to success.
The Northwoods League has 22 teams across 7 states and 1 province.
Did You Know?
The Northwoods League began in 1994, with 2022 marking its 29th season!
CEO & Owner
Bismarck Larks and Funatix Events
John Bollinger, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, never quite imagined that he would end up in Bismarck. However, he hasn’t just found himself in the capital of the union’s 39th state, he has found himself making a difference there. Currently, he is entering his sixth season being the leading charge behind the Bismarck Larks, a Northwoods League collegiate summer baseball team. Bollinger joined us to reflect on his journey of launching a successful, family-oriented spectacle.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start your own business?
I knew that I wanted to incorporate sports into my career somehow, so I went to college at Missouri State University and enrolled in an Entertainment Management degree. From there, my first job was an internship for the Springfield Cardinals, a AA baseball team. I realized that while minor league baseball was great, families came for the entertainment and I loved finding ways to make people happy! So I ended up going to graduate school at Ohio University, got my MBA and Masters in Sports Administration and ran a summer collegiate baseball team called the Southern Ohio Copperheads. After helping start a Northwoods League team in Kalamazoo, MI after graduation, I got the call to help lead the efforts on a new team in Bismarck, North Dakota!
Definitely moving. I really wanted to make it in sports and it was just about taking that jump. I moved from Missouri to plenty of other places including Ohio, Kalamazoo and eventually Bismarck to get to where I’m at today. You build such strong relationships in each place you live so packing up and starting over is the hardest part. I’m glad that Bismarck is now officially home and the roots are planted!
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? I had always dreamed of running a baseball team. I was thinking more like the St. Louis Cardinals, but when I was 22 years old, I got flown down to Florida to meet my (now) mentor Dick Radatz Jr. Dick is an alum of the Ohio University program and the Founder of the Northwoods League. He offered me a position to work alongside him with the promise of owning a baseball team someday if I did well. At the time, it sounded too good to be true. But getting flown down to Florida to discuss a pipe dream of mine actually coming to life is something that I’ll never forget.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business? Back in the beginning, it was nuts! We started with five full-time employees doing the jobs of 10-15 people. Just like most other entrepreneurs and business owners, it was a lot of long hours. Fortunately, we all were doing something we loved and knew would make a difference in people’s lives.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? I would have made sure our Family Flock Member jerseys didn’t say “Right Shoulder” on the sleeve before they arrived in Bismarck. While there are always small things we could have fixed, I honestly wouldn’t have changed a thing. As corny as it sounds, every decision I made and moment in my life brought me to where I’m at today. Between a combination of hard work and luck over the years, I landed
my dream job much earlier than I would have ever thought possible and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? You just have to trust your gut and when you know something’s right, jump. You’re going to have fears and anxieties when taking any risk and if you don’t, then you’re not really taking the risks that you know you can. If you know it’s right for you and you know that it’s going to make a positive difference in the world, you just have to jump and see where you go. And if you don’t land right where you want to, you can say that you tried and got somewhere at the very least. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
What is something you wish more people knew about your company? That we are working towards becoming the “Amazon Prime of Family Entertainment” in Bismarck-Mandan. We put so much time into designing our Family and Corporate Flock Memberships to be a year-round entertainment value. Not only do Flock Members get the best seats at games, free food, a jersey and much more during the season, but they also get free and priority access to special member events and Larks events that we do year-round like a Movie Night, Clark’s Car Wash, and a bucket hat giveaway. Now with Funatix Events, Flock Members also receive exclusive deals and access to events like the Mandan Rodeo, Bismarck Marathon, Bismarck Santa Run as BISMANINC.COM
At the time of writing, 277 Northwoods League alumni have made it to Major League Baseball. Some of the famed alumni include Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Curtis Granderson.
well as other festivals and events we’re planning. We want to help families and businesses put FUN first in their lives by organizing these events and creating a ton of value with their membership.
What is a day in your life like for you now? Nowadays, I’m fortunate to have an amazing team of 14 full-time employees I get to work with every day. My main responsibilities include overseeing our Vision Team, ensuring we’re living our values and focused on creating the best fan experience, and that for this season and in the future we are working towards using FUN to make a difference in people’s lives. I also still take on a pretty active role working with our sponsors and am really excited about some of our new opportunities such as a new non-profit called the Larks Community FUNd and our event company, Funatix Events.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization? Join the Flock and become a Larks Corporate Flock Member.
Corporate Flock Members not only get all-inclusive tickets in the best seats to reward their employees and customers, but they are truly investing in an organization that is continually investing it right back into more events and experiences for their employees and customers to enjoy throughout the year. The Larks believe so strongly that the secret to a happy life is spending quality time with those you love. Corporate Flock Memberships allow businesses to give that quality time to the people that matter most to them and make their business run. To learn more about becoming a Corporate Flock Member email us at info@ larksbaseball.com.
Are you looking to expand your business? If so, how? Oh yes. We have some exciting announcements upcoming for the 2023 season and beyond including a rival Northwoods League team in North Dakota, some exciting new events, and more. If opportunities come that allow us to use FUN to make a difference in people’s lives and provide more value to Flock Members, you can bet we’ll be looking to make it happen.
(701) 557-7600 twitter.com/bismarcklarks facebook.com/bismarcklarks 72
Did You Know
Scuba One Travel is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as it was founded in 1982.
How can YOU help?
"Think of Scuba One when considering your next tropical vacation! " - Randy Kraft
Did You Know?
SCUBA is an acronym! Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
CEO & Manager
Scuba One Travel
There are few companies with a business model as unique as Scuba One Travel. Located in Bismarck, ND, Scuba One is a tropical vacation travel agency for all travelers. Furthermore, they also teach scuba diving courses and sell scuba gear. While this concept may be rare in rural North Dakota, Randy Kraft, founder of the operation, has found success in his passion for over 40 years. While Kraft is looking forward to continuing expanding his travel agency business, he’s already developed one-of-a-kind experience and background over the years like no other.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap?
What is something you wish more people knew about Scuba One Travel?
As with most entrepreneurs, there were many ebbs and flows along the way. I was first introduced to diving through a scuba class while attending college at Moorhead State University. After I completed a 10week instructor program at the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) in California. In 1984, I was hired as the watersports director for a resort in Jamaica, then I was promoted to the director of scuba diving for a Jamaican company. I never had the intention to make Jamaica my home, which led me back to the Bismarck-Mandan area to open Scuba One. Having hands-on experience from my time in Jamaica, I’m able to not only sell scuba gear and train divers but also run the travel agency side of the business since the 1980s.
Everything depends on your business model. In my case, I chose to always live below my means and never took out a loan, as I never knew when I was going to get paid.
I worked in Jamaica and then moved back home to Bismarck, then spent approximately 30 years as a consultant to a Jamaica-based resort chain, from my Mandan office, with properties throughout the Caribbean. While I worked with watersports, the resorts were not "scuba diving" resorts, so I have insight into Caribbean properties and locations that no other travel agent I am aware of anywhere, would have. The resorts were popular wedding/honeymoon properties, so I have been directly involved in countless honeymoons and destination weddings. I can't think of a situation where any travel agent/advisor anywhere, would have a stronger background or direct first-hand experience in this field.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? I think the part that I’ll never forget was trying to always stay one step ahead of the bills. At times, money was tight and we always tried to stay ahead of them before it was too late.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning Scuba One Travel? It wasn’t too different compared to what it’s like today. The only difference is that I have a much stronger background from working continually in the ever-changing travel industry.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business? I was born and raised here, so it would be pretty hard to leave for good. I’ve known the area my whole life, and I knew that it would be difficult to move the company once it was established here.
(701) 527-9690 ScubaOne@ScubaOne.com
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start Scuba One Travel? The hardest step, or pill to swallow, was that I would be giving up a stable income in trade for doing something that I’m truly passionate about.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now?
I would have made more long-term capital improvements, as I never thought I would be doing it for 40 years.
What is a boutique?
A boutique is a small shopping outlet that commonly specializes in fashionable items such as clothing and jewelry.
Kept advertises that they would only sell items they would wear themselves or put in their own homes first.
Did You Know?
According to the United States Small Business Association Office of Advocacy, there are roughly 28 million small businesses in the United States, which outnumber corporations by 1,162 to 1.
Madonna Wald & Summer Czeczok are a mother/daughter duo with a vision at Kept, a boutique that sells fashionable women's clothing, accessories, home decor and furniture. While they’ve come to find rising success over the years, they’re maintaining the guaranteed small business customer care that they’ve always advertised first and foremost.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business?
Madonna: I am an interior designer and worked full time as a commercial interior designer for over 25 years. 11 years ago, my other daughter, Hope and I started LOT 2029 in Bismarck and expanded to Fargo. Hope opened Mint + Basil in Fargo and Sioux Falls. We have since closed the LOT 2029 stores and now my daughter Summer and I have Kept together.
A typical day for us when we opened our business was constantly buying inventory to stock the racks. Keeping up with the latest trends in fashion comes naturally to us and that is the fun part of the business.
Summer: I am a full-time teacher in the Bismarck Public School System. I helped with LOT 2029. My mom and I, along with help from our husbands, renovated the space for Kept. We had a vision to offer classy, fashionable, on-trend clothing and accessories along with quality furniture and home decor.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? We signed a five-year lease which was scary. With that comes the uncertainty of if there are enough sales to pay the rent and overhead that comes with owning a business. The most memorable are the months of hard work renovating the space while still keeping a full-time job.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start Kept? The hardest step to starting the business was growing our customer base. That is something that you strive to do every day.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? We wouldn't do anything differently if we could go back and start again. Since we had another store before Kept, we kind of learned the fundaments of starting and running a business.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? You have to have passion for what you do. If there is no passion, there is no drive and motivation. If you are willing to work hard and put in some long hours, do it. Keep your expenses as low as you can. Follow your dream with your eyes wide open. If you have the passion, drive, and ambition, you will be successful!
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? We are having so much fun with our store. We love seeing our customers that come in. Many of them have become friends. If we can
brighten someone's day, then the day was a success!
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start Kept? Bis-Man is our home. We wanted to offer more shopping options in a fun and beautiful environment. We love Bismarck-Mandan and the incredible people here!
What do most people not know about Kept? We offer quality clothing and accessories. We have clothing and accessories for women of all ages; whether it be high school, college, working women, or retired women. We have classy on-trend business wear for women; not your typical boring business clothes. Everyone of all ages should be able to have really nice fashionable clothing and accessories. We also are a very affordable store. Shoppers at first glance think we are very high-end. Then they see our prices and comment on how affordable we are. That makes them smile! Literally, every day, customers comment on how beautiful the space is and how nice and affordable the clothing is. Our furniture is high quality that will last. We only sell furniture that we would put in our own homes. Our upholstered furniture is custom. Customers pick the style they want and also the fabric they want. We encourage them to pick a washable fabric that they can zip off and toss in the washing machine. Yes, the fabric is truly washable! Our upholstered furniture has hardwood frames and springs. It is made to last. Our wood furniture line has so many styles to choose from. We help with the selections and offer design advice. We want our customers to love their homes and make
When a customer supports a small business, such as Kept, they're boosting their direct economy by keeping money within the business circulation. When money is kept within the community, it's more likely to have a positive impact on the surrounding area in a faster time.
their homes look like they came out of a magazine!
What is a day in your life like for you now? A typical day starts with running the store, stocking and merchandising it. After closing hours, we are buying things for the store. This includes researching the latest trends, as well as researching new products to bring to our customers.
Are you looking to expand your business? If so, how? Yes, but not in the way that you would expect. We want to expand people's experiences for downtown shopping. We have such an incredible community in BismarckMandan. Downtown shopping can be so much fun!
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization? Downtown is growing and made up of local family businesses. There are so many unique shopping experiences downtown. The shop owners and friendly and ready to help. We always tell people that if they aren't coming downtown, they’re missing out!
(701) 527-7657 firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/shopkept 78
Life is a journey.
Make sure you enjoy the ride.
tcgateway.com Anoka • Blaine • Coon Rapids • Fridley • Ham Lake • Lino Lakes Mounds View • New Brighton • Shoreview
What’s your biggest advice for readers?
Life is short…..Go Nuts! I have a sign by my desk that says everything is “figureoutable.” Be smart in your decisions and you can make everything “figureoutable.”
Where does Exceptionally Nuts sell?
We have locations in the Bismarck Event Center and work at most of their events. We travel to a few off-site events like the ND State Fair, Hostfest and Pride of Dakota Showcases. Recently, we have added a wholesale location where we produce our product for stores.
A Sweet Treat
Exceptionally Nuts prides themselves on also doing corporate gifts and special events. Exceptionally Nuts Cinnamon Almonds and Sunflower Seeds make the perfect treat for your employees and customers!
CEO & Operator
Marisa Iverson’s road to success is nothing short of nuts. She opened her first kiosk in the Bismarck Event Center in October of 2004, selling freshly roasted cinnamon almonds and sunflower seeds. More recently, this last fall, Iverson expanded the wholesale/distribution side of the business. Today, she’s impacting communities far and wide while looking toward bigger and better opportunities ahead.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
How have you expanded Exceptionally Nuts since opening?
Our journey has been an adventure! We are fortunate to be able to provide a product that puts a smile on people's faces. We love what we do and hope that our customers not only get a delicious snack but also have a positive interaction along the way. We appreciate our customers and enjoy getting to know them. It is very rewarding to be told that the only reason they came to the event was to get a bag of our almonds. We like hearing this even if it isn’t always the entire truth…
We just expanded our wholesale side of the business in late 2021, which focuses on distribution to stores around the region.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? The biggest risk that we have taken with our business is currently happening as we are expanding the wholesale side of Exceptionally Nuts. This has been a dream of ours for many years. Walking into our new wholesale space was pretty exciting. It is great to have a fulltime staff and production area. One of my best memories was the first pallet of product leaving our facility, which just happened a few weeks ago!
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start your own business? Letting go of the things that you can’t control! I have a hard time not being able to plan everything, but sometimes you just have to let things happen.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning Exceptionally Nuts? One of the benefits of my business was that no day was quite ever the same. I would work a weekend of 12-14 hour shifts and then do office work for a few days. Then we would be busy preparing for the next event, getting supplies, setting up, scheduling, etc. Because we were event-based we were able to have a flexible schedule that allowed me to stay at home with my kids when they were small and I would work at the events on nights and weekends. It was very chaotic when I would add up the hours that I spent working and taking care of my kids.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? I would probably tell myself to relax and that it will all work out in the end. I now understand that there is always a silver lining, no matter what the obstacle may be. We have had two very specific instances of this happening with our business. The first happened in 2014 when we were on the way to the North Dakota State Fair. Our cargo trailer carrying our entire business and all of
our product for the fair started on fire and was a total loss. Luckily, we had some support from our family in the almond business in Fargo and Grand Forks, so we were able to work the Fair with borrowed equipment. It led us to a crossroads, as to whether we should quit the business or rebuild. This terrible thing turned out to be the best thing as it forced us to rebrand and rebuild our entire business. Without this happening, I am not sure where would be today. The other instance occurred in 2020. With event centers closed, I was forced to take a breath and focus on what we could do to take our product to the customers instead of the customers coming to us at events. We were able to partner with a local distribution company and are currently in about 100 store locations with more being added each week.
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? Make sure your timing is right when taking a risk. It took me 17 years to take the risk to expand our wholesale side of the business. It was important to me that the timing was right for our family and that my whole team was on board.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business? I think there is a lot of opportunity in the Bis-Man area! The Bis-Man area is filled with many great people who support local businesses. We are thankful for our loyal
customer base and enjoy the friendships that have formed through the years.
Check out our Instagram/Facebook for some videos of our favorite recipes.
What do most people not know about Exceptionally Nuts?
What is a day in your life like for you now?
Our secret ingredient is our smell. I guess that might be obvious if you have ever attended an event where we are roasting almonds and seeds! In all seriousness, we love our smell and never get tired of our customers raving about it!
What is something you wish more people knew about your company? Our products can be reheated at home so they taste and smell just like they do at the Event Center. All of our heating instructions are on the back of the package. I also wish that more people knew how amazing our products are to be used in other ways, like on top of ice cream, in a salad, or with yogurt.
We balance our time between our office at our wholesale facility and working events at the event center. I have two full-time and a few part-time employees that assist in working events/production. Many days, I turn into a kid taxi at 3 p.m. and have a lot of events to attend for my kids, so it is great to have wonderful employees to help with the day-to-day!
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization? Support small, local businesses. We really are the heart of the community! Support businesses that you can change their day by making a sale.
Are you looking to expand Exceptionally Nuts? If so, how? We are currently in expansion mode right now getting into stores. Our goal is to be in twice the number of stores next year at this time. I would love to be the next great North Dakota snack food! We have also expanded into doing fundraising! We have a great time helping clubs, sports teams, and churches achieve their fundraising goals.
(701) 426-3129 info@ExceptionallyNuts.com exceptionallynuts.com
Are you currently hiring?
“Yes! We are looking for servers/ bartenders to join our event staff. If you’d like more information, you can message us on Facebook or send your resume to email@example.com.” - Bubbles & Brews ND
Bubbles & Brews ND
Cassidy Hartman and Krysten Faehnrich began Bubbles & Brews ND without much more than a 1983 Piaggio Ape and a dream. Having been fully operational since September of 2021, they’ve expanded their high-quality craft beverage bar to cater to graduation parties, weddings and much more. Hartman and Faehnrich are an inspiration to many for good reason. As they offer to travel ANYWHERE in North Dakota to cater an event and earn a new customer, they’re determined to maintain the customer-oriented focus they pride themselves on.
What does Bubbles & Brews ND do? Bubbles and Brews ND provides a mobile bar service to our clients and their guests. Our 1983 Vintage Piaggio Ape has seven taps and can serve anything from beer, wine, craft cocktails or mock-tails—the options are endless! We provide the mobile bar, cups, ice, mixes, garnishes and servers or equipment techs for an event, and take care of everything from set up to take down to ensure the event runs smoothly. We offer customization options such as signage that attaches to the panels of the bar, personalized bar top menus, custom tap handles, drink toppers with company logos, signature cocktail recipes, personalized cups of all styles and beautiful décor to match every event theme. As a business, we do not buy or sell alcohol and in most cases, we operate as an open bar for our clients’ guests. Our clients book our service and then purchase the alcohol directly from a retailer, distributor, or venue. This process allows us to promote and increase keg sales for other local businesses. All a client has to do is have the kegs ready for us when we arrive at the event, and we take it from there!
starting our own business possible. However, blood, sweat and tears are absolutely part of the journey and it took a lot of hard work and determination in order to get here. Krysten and I make such a great team and our relationship as friends and business partners is a huge part of why we have seen the success we have up to this point. We are respectful of each other's opinions and trust each other to fulfill our responsibilities to the business. We also recognize that we each have different strengths that we bring to the table and it is important to lean on each other's unique abilities.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? We will always remember the milestones that we were able to hit and celebrate together such as officially establishing our LLC, taking our first booking, receiving our first check, serving our first event, winning the Mandan Business Pitch Challenge and so many other small wins along the way. Still one of our favorite things about our business is being able to see someone's face and excitement the first time they see our mobile bar in action.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start Bubbles & Brews ND?
The journey of starting a business and being an entrepreneur can be very stressful, but it is so rewarding. Growing up watching Shark Tank, I had always admired other entrepreneurs and thought to myself, "what can I do to be like them?" It is surreal that together we were able to make our dream of
The hardest was having the confidence in ourselves to pull the trigger and start investing our time, money, and energy into the business. We are both young, strong women with a lot of work ethic, passion and motivation; however, no one wants their business to fail and there are certain risks
in any start-up adventure, especially when you are investing your own hard-earned and saved up dollars. When negative thoughts or doubts start to creep in, it causes hesitation. You start to think, "What if people don't like my idea?", "What if I don't make any money?", "Am I wasting my time?" and those thoughts can keep a person up at night! Taking the leap to start our business took a lot of careful planning, research, thought and consideration, but once we decided to take the leap, we were all in and it has been such a rewarding experience.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning Bubbles & Brews? Our business and LLC were officially established in May 2021 and we were not fully operational with our mobile bar until September 2021, so there was a lot of planning, marketing and learning that went into those first few months. We spent many evenings and weekends developing and revising our marketing and business plans, establishing our social media platforms, growing our audience, telling other local businesses about our business and just trying to set ourselves up for success when our mobile bar was ready to hit the market. We had to start selling our product before it was even finished, which means we were incurring costs and making investments before we could start generating revenue. This is why it was so important to start marketing our services so that we could hit the ground running as soon as our bar was ready to go. In July, we started to tell the public about our business and we truly received an immediate
response. Many local news channels, publications and radio shows reached out to us to do stories on our new business and it was very rewarding to have so many people that were excited to hear about Bubbles and Brews ND. During that time we also had to navigate getting our Piaggio Ape vehicle shipped from Italy so that we could start refurbishing it. Getting the little truck from Italy was no easy task during COVID, but after a few delays, we got it here in one piece! There was so much time and effort that went into the first few months of our business, but the real fun started once we were operational and starting to serve at events in Bismarck and Mandan!
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? Had we known the response we would receive about Bubbles and Brews ND coming to North Dakota, we probably would have started it sooner! It would have been nice to have been operational as of June or July in 2021 so that we could take full advantage of the nice weather and event season. Originally we thought we would be ready to start serving in August 2021, but COVID and shipping delays from Italy pushed us back a bit.
The event season is naturally a bit slower during the winter in North Dakota, but we still were able to serve at events from September 2021 to February 2022 because of our small size and ability to fit indoors. This year our calendar is already filling up for the event season and we are so excited to get out there and celebrate with everyone. All in all, we are very proud of ourselves and how our first full year of business is going.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? We are always trying to encourage other entrepreneurs on their journey to starting a business that they believe in. Don't let those negative voices fill your mind and overwhelm the good. It is important to ask for help and surround yourself with people who support you and want to see you succeed. There will be people who don't understand what you are trying to do or simply won't clap when they see you succeed and you shouldn't give those people the power to break your spirit. If you have a passion for something do your research, make a plan and take steps towards achieving that plan... and don't forget to celebrate the wins no matter how small they might be.
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? The risk part of starting a business is scary and no crystal ball will tell you if you will succeed or not. It can cause stress, anxiety, lack of sleep and everything in between. I found it important to pray about it whenever I felt challenged or unsure of myself. We spent almost every day brainstorming ideas, overcoming challenges and strategizing things that we could do to set ourselves up for success. The key was to work hard and give each other encouragement to keep pushing forward.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business? Mandan is home to both my business partner and I. Both of our families live in the area and we feel that Bismarck-Mandan is such a great community. Our husbands are also both hunting and fishing fanatics and it really is a great area to live when those activities are your passion. We couldn't see ourselves living anywhere else; therefore, we wanted to start a business that would allow us to provide a new
experience to everyone in the community. We wanted to do something unique that would allow us to participate in local events and help other businesses celebrate their success as well. With that, Bubbles and Brews ND came to life. Overall, we are passionate about serving our community and we are proud that we were able to start this unique mobile bar service in Bismarck-Mandan.
What do most people not know about Bubbles & Brews ND?
What is a day in your life like for you now? Don't you mean "what is a night in your life like?" ;). Having a business in the event industry means that we are often working nights and weekends, which can be a lot of fun. We put a lot of work into planning the events. This involves finding the right décor, ordering supplies, helping our clients estimate their drink needs, testing recipes, designing custom signage, working with other venues and vendors involved at the event and so much more!
When people first hear about Bubbles and Brews ND or see our mobile bar out and about or on social media, their first reaction is usually, "This is so cool! How does it work?!". Our business model is not very common in North Dakota so we are always ready to get into the details of how it works. One key point is that we do not drive our mobile bar down the streets, it is trailered to and from events in an enclosed trailer and then set up as a stationary pop-up mobile bar at the event.
Then we get to the actual event, set up the bar, make sure everything is pouring properly and serve drinks on tap for everyone to enjoy! On the non-event days, we are managing incoming leads, creating social media content, and promoting our services wherever and whenever we can! We have busy days and nights, but the work that we get to do and the fact that it is our own makes it all worthwhile.
Secondly, we do not buy or sell alcohol and the price of alcohol is not included in our event packages. Our clients are often planning on providing an open bar to their guests for their event, so they call us for a unique and unforgettable way to serve the alcohol at their event rather than putting cans and bottles on ice in a cooler. Our clients still purchase their alcohol from their venue if required, or from a retailer or distributor. Then we show up and take it from there! This is one of the key ways that we are able to be "mobile" and travel to towns to serve at events across the state.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?
What is something you wish more people knew about your company? We love telling everyone about the history of the Piaggio Ape. Our mobile bar is a vintage 1983 Piaggio Ape from Italy and it had about 55,000 miles on it before we converted it to a mobile bar! It is such a unique vehicle and it is very fun to drive, it even has a horn, blinkers and windshield wipers! We also want everyone to know that we can serve at almost any type of event, indoors or outdoors year-round!
leads and inquiries and we use that data to see how many events we need to turn down due to already being booked. Should we see a demand in the market for another mobile bar, we would love to add another Piaggio Ape to our fleet. We currently can and will travel anywhere in North Dakota with our mobile bar services, but there also might be an opportunity to expand to the surrounding states as well. As we grow, we will continue to add to our event staff and we are excited to be able to add more faces to the Brew Crew!
(605) 848-2531 firstname.lastname@example.org getcozybars.com/rental-inquiry
We love when we see other businesses following our Facebook and Instagram pages @bubblesandbrewsnd and comment, like or engage in our content. The best way people can easily support us is by following along on our journey and spreading the word about who we are and what we do. We hope to add a valued experience to events in the community through our services and it is so encouraging to be supported and cheered on by other businesses.
Are you looking to expand your business? If so, how? Yes, we are hoping to grow and expand Bubbles and Brews ND over the coming years. We are still early on in our start-up business journey, but we are already finding ways to add more services and reach different target markets within our business. Right now we only have one mobile bar, but in the future, we would like to have more! We actively track our
Buying Wholesale? Check out their coffee shop supply website at baristaparty.com.
Coffee is the world's 2nd largest trading commodity, falling only behind crude oil.
Did You Know?
Mighty Missouri Coffee Company also hosts the BISMAN Triathlon every year at McDowell Dam, which are the High School and Age Group State Championships for USA Triathlon!
Mighty Missouri Coffee Company
Brian Jackson, Owner of Mighty Missouri Coffee Company, prides himself on producing incredible coffee and cultivating positive, life-affirming customer interactions that fuel their adventure. Having been in business for over ten years, Jackson’s place in the community as a coffee roasting company and cafe has become a Bismarck-Mandan staple.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today? I am a creative at heart and was involved in a handful of marketing things, from college to my career. A product of that experience was to build my own brand. I didn't know coffee well but I knew people who did. When I began to learn the intricacies of coffee, I fell in love with it and took classes, job shadowed people, and got a job as a barista. Mighty Missouri quickly became more than a parttime endeavor and I was making decisions to be "all-in" or just pass on a growing opportunity it turned out I was really excited for. Over the years, I've added people and locations, making big and scary (to me) gambles and stepping out, trusting God and jumping. Ten years ago, I could have called that naivete. Today, I am willing to call it good practice. The journey has been a wild one, from the opening of a storefront coffee shop in 2016 to the pandemic in 2020. I'm surrounded by good people who've only encouraged me on the way, and I'm excited to say that the future looks even brighter.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? I think building a manufacturing business from nothing was a heavier lift than I anticipated. I'm not sure I've done it particularly well all the time, but through meeting every day's challenges, I've been able to see this company slowly grow and take shape. It's incredibly rewarding to look back and see just how far we've come. I will
never get tired of thinking of the people who were with me at the beginning, and all of the incredible people I've met on the way.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start your own business? I think the hardest part was how little I knew about everything. I began with what I thought were some good ideas about business. But pretty much immediately, I would say my confidence was depleted as I learned just how hard (and treacherous) the path of an entrepreneur could be. The last decade has been about slowly finding our way. Our team has built something important over time and we are all looking forward because we know that we deserve to be here, and the future is bright.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business? I was alone with no employees, a part-time job and multiple freelance projects trying to make ends meet. When things started it was slow. I was working my tail off to get things off the ground, all while worrying Mighty Missouri was the biggest mistake of my life. I would make sales calls, roast coffee, grind, package, and deliver everything. I was even fulfilling all of the orders to grocery stores in the region, waiting in line in my little Ford Escape behind semi-trailers unloading pallets of food... just me and my little box of five bags of coffee, waiting patiently to scan in and load them onto the shelves. I am thankful for those memories.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? Early on, I was told two main things: To make three business-building calls every morning before I started the rest of my day, and to write down all of God's blessings on my business because I wouldn't remember it all looking back. I wouldn't say I did these perfectly, but they built a foundation and a growth mindset that has continued to this day.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? You'll never know everything you need to know to make it a success -- that only comes from doing. Most startups fail, but I think you need to do a lot of searching inside to make sure this is your dream and not somebody else's. With a little faith, you can test the waters of your new business. If it's a really good direction, things will fall into place from that point (and you won't have to lose your day job in the process… yet). Never be afraid to bet on yourself, because you can make it work if you have to.
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? We're entering our tenth year of Mighty Missouri Coffee. Over the last ten years, not only have I seen a business grow from conception to market, but I've also seen
meaningful relationships come and go, illness in the family, failed partnerships and dissolved agreements. It's a trip, but I believe it's all for a reason. I've grown immensely through the experience (what an education!) and if I can ever use the hard-fought platform of Mighty Missouri to make a difference, then it's gone completely full circle, and roasting and serving coffee has been an amazing avenue to help people.
shop for the past few years, but the brand goes quite a bit deeper than the coffee shop. We are roasting coffee, packaging and distributing from our offices in northeast Bismarck, bringing coffee to grocery stores in a five-state region. We provide coffee for coffee shops throughout the region, provide syrups, sauces, alternative kinds of milk, and even provide espresso machines and equipment to help others with their coffee shops.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business?
What is something you wish more people knew about your company?
"Another Day, Another Adventure" is stamped on every bag of Mighty Missouri Coffee. I knew when I began that I wanted to reflect the spirit of adventure I've found on the Northern Plains, specifically on the Missouri River system. I grew up in Hazen, ND and found my adventurse at Lake Sakakawea, and I've found so much more over the years. Bismarck-Mandan is at the heart of my recreation, and I'd rather have my business here than anywhere else in the world. The people are great, too.
What do most people not know about your company? We've had the pleasure of serving coffee at the Bismarck YMCA through our coffee 90
Mighty Missouri Coffee Company produces incredible coffee and cultivates positive, life-affirming customer experiences to fuel your incredible adventure—that's our mission statement and it starts with coffee but ends with people, and that's the heart of who we are. I hope people give our coffee a try and visit us at our storefront coffee shop because that's the heart of our whole staff.
our coffee shop, and she’s done a great job of building a team that I am incredibly proud of.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help Mighty Missouri Coffee? Well, I'll tell them that we would love to provide freshly roasted coffee for their organization. I think better coffee = better productivity? That's a start! And, like all local businesses, we thrive on word of mouth.
(701) 251-0785 email@example.com mightymissouri.com
What is a day in your life like for you now? I spend most of my time at our roasting studio, with three other full-time employees. Together, we are moving through a couple of thousand pounds of coffee every week. Adding employees hasn't necessarily given me more free time, but it has just changed how my position works. Angela Turner runs
Did You Know?
Businesses using video grow company revenue 49% faster, year-over-year, than organisations without.
A Quiet Impact
According to Facebook, 85% of videos on their platform are watched without sound. This proves the importance of visuals!
CEO & Owner
Nolan Johnson’s passion for his career has remained equally impressive since he launched Quantum Digital six years ago. Quantum Digital is a media content service that specializes in video production, commercials, music videos, online content, photography, web design and much more. “A website is much more than just development,” said Johnson, as his passion has spilled over into working on more long-form, documentary projects. The future appears to be bright for Johnson’s company, as the ambitions for Quantum Digital are just as present as when Johnson began this venture.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business?
I worked full-time for different news stations and marketing agencies while I was learning and building a model for how I wanted to operate. Importantly, I made sure that my family was in a place where I could afford to take the risk.
My typical day, early on, consisted of filming and editing existing work, but the majority of my time was spent researching area businesses, sending e-mails or cold calling them to let them know what services we offered and sharing some ideas that we had for projects. It was really low-tech. I worked mainly off of word of mouth and referrals. I don't even remember when the cold calling stopped. It just phased out as work kept coming in.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? The part that will stick with me forever was the timing. I told my wife that I was going to quit my full-time job the week she went back to work from maternity leave with our oldest daughter. She didn't even flinch. She just asked if we would have to sell the house. I told her I would never put our family in a bind like that, and if I needed to go get another job, I had options. She said, "Good for you, babe." And luckily we haven't been in that position.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start your own business? The hardest thing to accept is that there will be work coming down the road. When you start without long-term contacts, it's really difficult to trust that the work you're doing in the moment will lead to opportunities down the road. I'm terrible with mixers and networking events. I always feel like I'm bothering somebody by letting them know what I do. As if they are thinking "Of course, you're going to try and sell me something."
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? I couldn't do it on my own and expect to grow in size or improve quality. I was incredibly lucky to meet my fellow cinematographer and editor, Steven Dettling, early on in my business journey. He's such a huge part of what Quantum has been able to do. He's talented in so many things, shooting, editing, coloring, writing music and mixing sound. He has such a passion for the technical parts of the project that I know everything is in good hands when I need to step away and deal with the big picture.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? I would have loved to have an idea of how to expand and take on more work without falling behind. Bridging the gap between having enough work to hire and needing to hire to take on more work is the hardest phase of small business ownership that I've come upon, and I'm still in that learning phase.
(701) 460-1342 firstname.lastname@example.org quantumdigitalnd.com
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? Know where your support is coming from and there's no shame in working your "day job" and running your business on the side until you're completely comfortable going on your own.
Once developed, fast and mobilefriendly websites can be managed by the client if they wish.
What is valuable advice to you?
“You don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to be successful online.” - Jason Richter
The web development company has over 22 years of experience with SEO, web development and much more!
CEO & Owner
701 Studios, a company that helps customers get their brand out and enhance their online presence through web development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and online advertising, has been in business for five years to date. While owner Jason Richter didn’t imagine pursuing this full-time at the beginning, it took off much quicker than he expected. As he serves companies of all sizes with a special focus on small to medium businesses, Richter is offering a collaborative, tailored and client-focused experience through his significant background that he’s formed through years of passion in the field.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you're at today?
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning 701 Studios?
I created a successful online business using a skill-set of web advertising, SEO and marketing techniques. People in the community started reaching out to me to help them with their online presence. After I started doing this, I appreciated the added value and fulfillment in the personal connections that I formed and was not getting with my online-only business. That’s when I made the decision to shift focus and work with local businesses in helping them achieve their business goals while still running my online company.
When I first opened 701 Studios, I was constantly trying to open new doors by making connections with people. A typical day for us was making calls and getting the brand name out in the community.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever? Getting my first client was the most memorable for me. Starting a business takes time and effort. You think about how things are going to go, you plan everything out, then your first customer contacts you and it instantly becomes real. It’s an amazing and rewarding feeling to start your own company.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start 701 Studios? The idea of putting yourself out there can be intimidating thinking that others might not find value in the service you are working to provide.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now? If I could go back and start again, I would try to attend more community events. Getting your brand and name out there makes a world of difference. Once these connections were made, I leveraged my website and other online presences to find new customers.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap? Be ready to work long hours. There will be times when you are discouraged and wonder if it’s all worth it but know in the end that once things are up and running you will look back at all the work and be proud of your accomplishments, and even if things don’t always go your way you will learn a lot along the journey and meet amazing people.
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk? I truly believe that if you are willing to put in the work and utilize people around you that are willing to help, such as mentors, that starting a business is something everyone should try. It’s a uniquely rewarding experience and the knowledge gained is irreplaceable.
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start a business? We decided on the Bismarck-Mandan area because it’s a supportive community that I was fortunate enough to grow up in and I believe we have a different approach to web development that made us unique. We came up with a plan that was cost-effective for businesses to get started and we were excited to offer it in the area.
(701) 527-1129 email@example.com 701studios.com
ountain Plains is a professional service provider specializing in engineering, land surveying and utility locating. Their resume includes extensive experience with residential, commercial, municipal, oil field, and rural utility industries. They can assist in tasks as simple as helping a homeowner create a site plan for the construction of their new house to as complex as helping a developer take a large tract of land from concept to platted and fully developed subdivision with streets, drainage, water, and sewer. Additionally, Mountain Plains assists city and county governments with their engineering. Their civil engineering team provides municipal and road design along with construction oversight.
FACES OF BISMARCK COMING FALL 2022
President Tony Wood started Mountain Plains to facilitate the needs of area rural electrical cooperatives through staking out new power lines for construction. The ultimate goal was to build a reputable firm that thrived both in the oil field and aside from the oil field. Currently, Mountain Plains employs three licensed professional civil engineers, four licensed professional land surveyors and multiple qualified technical staff members.