Do you have problems with your old HVAC system keeping up with the heat and afraid you do not have enough money or credit to get a new economical and efficient system. Well, this proctive program through Midwest Energy may be something to look into. It covers more things than just HVAC systems — but that seems to be the most common use for it. This program started out as a program for residential homes and last year was expanded to include business establishments. It is a great way to update your systems and set up the loan through the utility company through your existing billing. They first will conduct an energy audit to give you and them some guideance as to what can or cannot be done through their program. There are guidelines and it does not fit EVERY situation, BUT it is definately a great program (tool) that can be used to upgrade your business as well as home.
If you are utilizing this program to make renovations/updates to a business and other improvements are going to be made, then this program can be used in conjunction with the overall improvement project to count toward your matching funds needed for the EBEP program. If you have questions, contact our office at 785-543-5809
Jeff Hofaker – PCED director – 7-18-2012
Foursquare.com is becoming very popular in the mobile app world. Checking into different places such as; work, a restaurant, a rodeo, a mall, or even the grocery store is just fun! There are plenty of places out there that you can check into and if not just add it!
Depending on how many times you check into a place in one day, or 5 or 6 different places in one day, you earn a badge! Each badge means something different! I checked into to work twice this week, and I am now Mayor of “Phillips County Economic Development Office”
I don’t know all the ins and outs yet, but I am learning! It’s quite fun!
Also an incentive on being a business on foursquare is this you can advertise certain promotions with the app. Like The Third Street Bakery in downtown Phillipsburg, KS does this : If you check into the Bakery 5 times in 7 days, you can get a FREE shake or malt! How neat is that! Go in Monday-Friday for breakfast or dinner and bam you’re a winner!
Foursquare is neat! Check it out sometime! You never know you might find yourself checking in!
Tips for Facebook & Website:
-Engage your Audience on Facebook
- Provide Tips
- Useful Information
- Contests (through an application-3rd party)
- Photo or video contest
- Ask Questions
-Add your website address in the About section (first thing) on the Left Sidebar
- Website address will be seen more
- Have good content on your website that will make visitors want to come back
- Blog: Helpful Information – Answer questions, Give tips
- Post your blog link on your Facebook page each time you blog
- Give Resources – Helpful information
- Frequently asked questions
- Special Articles
- Examples of your work
- Free services
- Advertise on Facebook: Can reach target markets based on key words (age, gender, location, etc)
-Measure your traffic on your website: Analyze the data to see what works
- Google Analytics
- Create a Landing Page on your Facebook page through a Facebook Application – will help capture leads
- Landing Page: First page non-subscribers will see
- Facebook Application Example: Lujure
- Try to get email addresses
- Provide an incentive to giving their email: Freebies, Rewards
-Establish a deeper relationship with your fans through email
- Have fans subscribe to your newsletter: provide incentive
- Announce your product, service, expertise
- Give useful information (not just a sale)
Have you ever thought about what kind of difference it would make if more people purchased “Made in America” products? ABC news did a story on one contractor who built a house of all “Made in America” products. The statistics of jobs created across the nation by buying more “Made in America” products is phenomenal. Watch this short story to see the effects of buying products Made in America!
If you want the list the video talked about or want to support the cause here is a link to the list of companies who are making goods across many industries. Made in America Company List
Eleven business owners and community leaders from Phillips County attended the 2011 Summit Business Conference in Boulder, CO. I feel very privileged to be one of the eleven to attend this conference! Jon Schallert, founder of Destination University, organized the conference and hand-picked nine world-class authors and experts to present to small business owners and community leaders. Everyone who attended gained useful, practical, and valuable information to make their business better (no matter what kind business it was). All of the speakers were energetic, passionate, very informative, and excellent. It was most certainly a fun and educational experience to have all of these experts in one place presenting to small business owners in North America. I will share information from each presenter in future blogs.
The first presenter to get the conference kicked off was Michael Kerr presenting “Putting Humor to Work”. He was absolutely hilarious, enthusiastic, upbeat, and made you feel very energized and excited.
Here is some information Michael Kerr’s gave in his presentation at the Summit Business Conference to help you energize and excite employees to become more productive with the end result of making your business more successful. To learn more about motivating and inspiring employees visit Michael Kerr’s website: http://www.mikekerr.com/
Michael Kerr tells us a way to release stress could be to tap into our own since of humor. A work culture that creates fun and humor will reduce turnover, increase productivity, create a good work environment, and be more successful. When people are having fun they will like their job more resulting in being more productive for their employer. Business owners and managers need to strive to create a work environment that they would want to recommend to their children or best friends.
Providing humor does not mean you have to be comedians, but rather using what works for your organization to balance stress. To add humor to the work place and lighten the atmosphere, organizations can have a funny: bulletin board, signs, mascots, humor first aid kit, rituals, and traditions. Happy STAFF makes HAPPY Customers.
Michael Kerr gives the 3 R’s:
Relax: Humor helps people relax. It may help one to relax mentally and physically. When people are relaxed and enjoying work that attitude catches on and lowers tension.
Reward: Rewarding employees shows that you appreciate the work they do. You may have to turn bad situations into good situations. One example: a business is by train tracks which makes it really noisy and shakes the office when a train goes by. Instead of complaining about this nuisance, the business provides chocolate to their employees when a train goes by. By doing this the business has turned the bad situation into a good one and boosts morale.
Reframing Challenges: Stress is in the eye of the beholder. No matter what’s going on, you have 100% control of how you react. It is human nature to have negative thinking instead of positive thinking. However, negative thinking never produces success. It takes a lot of positive thoughts to reverse the effects of negative thoughts.
Michael Kerr’s Books: Inspiring Workplaces – Creating the Kind of Workplace Where Everyone Wants to Work and Putting Humor to Work.
Technology is becoming more and more advanced each day and people have grown to be accustomed to using technology on a daily bases. Businesses need to utilize technology that fits the business. Utilizing technology helps each business compete with other competitors and will create definite benefits. It is impossible to utilize every type of technology, but the more you know about what is available, the more it will help you in deciding which technology to implement in marketing your business.
A QR code is a neat technology tool that was created in Japan about a decade ago but has only been in the United States for over a year. A QR code resembles bar codes that are on retail products which are used to track their merchandise. This QR code holds more digital data than a bar code. The digital data could be a link to a website, video, or email address. There are a number of things you could use a QR code for. This could help get people to visit your business website because they are curious what the QR code connects to. You can learn more about QR codes on www.qrstuff.com.
Sheila Roberts from Sign Solutions states, “They really work. You can put whatever information you want in them. Possible media ideas: direct mail, newspaper, flyers, email, T Shirts, caps, signs, business cards, text messages, mobile apps, facebook, twitter, linkedin, vehicle graphics, promotional items. If you have a QR code, it can be placed almost anywhere. Smartphones read them and store the information!”
The Discover Phillips County Semi Trailer wind skirt is receiving a QR code that links to the PCED website and the Track the Trailer Facebook page!! Be looking for this addition!
You have maybe heard local teens say, “I can’t wait to graduate and leave this place.” I might have thought this at one point in time during my teen years; however I have a great love for this area and wanted to make it my home again. I grew up in Almena and graduated from Northern Valley. I enjoyed growing up in a rural Kansas community very much. As a kid, my friends and I could ride bikes and play basketball all day in the summer and our parents would not worry about our safety. I liked knowing everyone who lived in the community and being able to say hi to everyone I pass. This area is known for their kind and hospitable people. In times of hardship, people come together to help each other out. I would not change one thing about growing up in rural Kansas; it has made me into the woman I am today.
After graduating high school, I went to FHSU and earned my degree in Business Education. During college, I enjoyed coming back to visit family and to be in this area. So when trying to decide where to do my student teaching at, I choose Norton because I could live with family, be back in the area, and knew the teacher who would be my mentor teacher. After graduation, decisions needed to be made on what to do and where to live. In making this decision, I knew I wanted to stay in this area because I really enjoy the rural lifestyle and want to raise a family here someday. I like the friendly people, the values they have, the culture and traditions.
Living in Phillipsburg and working at Phillips County Economic Development for over a month, I have enjoyed it very much. I was surprised at the progressive attitude the community and PCED have. I feel like community members and leaders have passion for this town and county which leads to constant improvements. I feel improvement is very important because if you are not improving you are probably dying. There are so many great projects going on that will help the community greatly. Some of these projects I have noticed are: Majestic Theatre Renovation, Wellness Center, Aqua Park, Discover Phillipsburg Main Street, Community Reinvestment Program and Discover Phillips County. Phillips County has great businesses and commerce. If Phillipsburg and Phillips County continue to have passion and being progressive, it will continue to be a big success.
-Andrea Lowry: Office Manager
The PCED received the following information about the summer classes of Rural Kansas: Come and Get It. We want to pass this information forward to community leaders that may be interested in attending. These are great classes teaching how to attract tourism to your rural Kansas town. We all know that each community has something unique to offer! Even though we may fine these attractions to be normal, visitors to our area may fine them inviting and extraordinary. We feel it could strongly benefit your community. Consider sending one or two of your community leaders.
It is always good when visitors to our community are impressed with the people and activites in Phillips county. We often do not get feedback directly. Rarer still, have articles written about Phillips County and then have them published in national magazines. Well, here is one such article, we would like to share with you.
Jon Schallert, the founder of Schallert Bootcamp, was fortunate to have got to know seven (7) individuals from Phillips County last year that attended his camp. The knowledge and expertise shared during the bootcamp was quickly applied by the business owners from Phillips County upon their return. The Discover Phillipsburg Main Street organization with financial assistance from Phillips County Economic Development (PCED) last year sent these seven individuals, including Michelle Jacobs (the community coordinator) for the Community Reinvestment group of Phillips County.
The growth and impact by Schallert bootcamp on these businesses was so great, that the PCED made the committment to the Schallert Group to reserve a place each year for six businesses for the next three (3) years. This was a $45,000 dollar committment for the Bootcamp by paying for business owners boot-camp reservation fees. This type of committment was the first ever for Schallert across the entire nation. It was because of this involvement with Phillips County, that Jon had a special article created to put in some national magazines.
Payback to the community comes from the growth of these businesses (because of the application of the education learned at Schallert). Every business is different in what it does and the impacts received. One of the business owners stated it helped increase their revenue by at least 400%, another 100%, another was seeing 50% increases, where others forecasted future growth potential. These impacts are all great, but vary depending on the business and its involvements in applying ideas it has learned.
The biggest challenge most businesses see upon returning (if they are making large expansions or changes) is financial. Phillips County, Kansas is very unique as the PCED has a local grant program, called the EBEP. It is one of only about 4 counties in the State of Kansas which has a true grant program for entrepreneurs. Along with the grant, if approved, they can apply for a low to no interest loan up to 60% of the cost of the project. If they happen to fall into the Discover Phillips Main Street district in Phillipsburg, they could as for additional zero interest loan funds. This pro-active atmosphere being created and fueled by businesses attending Schallert, is one of many reasons which lead Phillips County to be designated an Entrepreneurial Community (E-Community) by Network Kansas in 2010.
Every business is unique, just like every person is, that runs a business. The key to growing our communities is through visionary concepts created by our entrepreneurs. Stepping out of the box (mindset) from our rural mainstreet (traditional marketing) into creating a place (business) that visitors and shoppers will travel more than 200 miles to purchase items because it is (a destination). This concept may sound strange, but consider what you (everyone) does for a vacation. They make a special trip to go somewhere unique.
Phillips County has had it challenges, but as residents and businesses we have great potential. Jon Schallert and many other visitors which shop here as a regional point, see this. If we are to continue to stay strong and grow, we must be pro-active and postitive, and see ourselves (our county) as a regional point, just as many people across the state and nation see us already.
Let’s Discover Phillips County’s potential!!!!
Posted by Jeff Hofaker
The history of community leadership in Phillips County to encourage development has been very strong over the decades. The official history of economic development started in 1971 with a volunteer group working under the auspice of Phillipsburg Area Industries Inc (PAII). Over time PAII changed its name to PCED, Inc. and some its focus, but was still led by community leaders. In October 2005, the configuration and look of economic development changed with the passing of a county-wide economic development sales tax of 1/2 cent to encourage projects, programs and ensure a strong establishment (office) to provide continual technical expertise.
Although the PCED 5-member board is appointed by the county commissioners, these individuals are all community and business leaders. Well, it is hard to believe, but the County Department of Economic Development in Phillips County, a.k.a. (PCED) has been established for more than five years now. Passing through an invisible time benchmark of 5 years on October 24, 2010, PCED board and staff have been continuing their efforts toward making Phillips County a better place to live and to establish businesses. This economic improvement and stability has been done on many fronts. PCED has created (piloted) many local programs which exist in very FEW other places in Kansas, let alone the nation. These programs include the EBEP, SRP, and GAP. They have sponsored a new agreement with Jon Schallert for Destination Business Boot Camp training for interested local (Phillips County) business owners. Registration for six (6) businesses per year for the next (4) years will be paid for via this agreement on a first-come-first-serve basis. Jon Schallert stated this is the first time ever (nationally) that a county has committed in an agreement for more than one year. With that being said, Jon stated,”He is continually impressed with the activity Phillips County businesses that attended his 2010 classes are conducting, leadership for entrepreneurship in the area and always tries to mention these Phillips County businesses as examples during his on-line discussions, seminars, and university.”
Although PCED board and staff have worked behind the scenes in many respects, some of the most notable attributes in assisting the economy and businesses over the last five years have been put together in a short summary, which was recently shared during their 2010 open house. As I stated to everyone at the open house, many thanks has to be given to our nameless, volunteer community leaders (commissioners, city councils, mayors, foundation representatives, business leaders, community organizers) and especially the citizens of Phillips County. Development occurs because of teamwork, willingness to change, and good communication. No system is perfect, but community’s knowing and wanting to make improvements for the future helps the entire process. Thanks to all for your support and continued encouragement for a stronger Phillips County in the future.
Posted by Jeff Hofaker – 12-29-2010