entrepreneurial business

Schallert Recognizes Phillips County

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

Customer Retention!

Customer Retention is critical to every business!

Today, more than ever before, it’s critical to get and keep customers! Most of the businesses in the United States generate the majority of their revenue by maintaining and cross-selling to their existing customers.   Having a website makes you an international company, so keep in mind you may have customers anywhere in the world. 

Studies show that a mere 5% increase in customer retention can result in minimum profit increases of 20% but could be as much as 80% for most businesses.  Using these increases in your projected cash flows, this should help everyone understand that customer retention is very important.

Here are the seven keys to customer retention and cross-selling.

    1. Know your customer’s world: What makes them unique? What are their specific needs? What causes them to take action, to buy?  What would keep them from buying?

    2. Deliver flawless results: To establish long-term customer relationships it is critical that you flawlessly deliver every benefit and value you promise. That is the key to a customer’s respect, trust and loyalty.

    3. Develop a proactive plan: Understanding your customer’s world and doing first-rate work are essential for creating a loyal clientele. In addition, you must develop a proactive, customer-specific plan that implements how you will retain and grow your customer base. Without a plan, you’ll drift from project to project, relying mostly on luck.

    4. Uncover “needs”: To retain customers, you must focus on driving customer satisfaction. Rather than just making a sale and then moving on to the next customer, savvy salespeople are turning themselves into “account managers” in addition to being salespeople.

    5. Manage expectations: You need to manage expectations. This means from both a positive (proactive communication) and negative perspective. Let me give you an example.  Customers with unrealistic expectations with regard to what they want and/or what you can deliver will never be satisfied. They’ll just waste your time and then ultimately take their business elsewhere.

    6. Keep your name in front of your customer: Maintain communications. Reach out to the customer four times a year at a minimum. Send them a note, call them, drop by, take them to lunch, etc.  Make sure you use technology (i.e., email, social media, etc.) to proactively manage your customer contact.

    7. Assume nothing: No matter how good you are, never assume you’ve got a loyal client.  Complacency never fosters loyalty.  A client’s trust and loyalty can be lost, if a salesperson gets over confident or lets performance slip . . . even on just one interaction.

 Remember:  “You don’t need to provide excellent customer service to all your customers . . . just the ones you want to keep!”                                     American author

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 

Information provided by Barbara Wold International
International Speaker, Author and Business Strategist
Global Retail & Consumer Expert

Shopping Locally for Christmas !

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  This is the season of giving.  There is nothing quite like shopping in a rural town with  the perfect Christmas atmosphere.   Local retail shops offering hot cider to people walking in the door.  Music playing in the street.  Local residents smiling and talking to you as they shop.  Always a parking place nearby and never having to wait in line very long, if ever.  There are many reasons for shopping in the small town and having a GREAT experience is definately the first thing that comes to mind. 

Additionally, we need to keep in mind the economic support given to our small entrepreneurial businesses.  By shopping local, we keep a larger portion of our money in the local economy and support jobs through these businesses.  The business owners and the salaries toward their staff allow for those families to continue living and surviving in our area.  It is understandable that from time to time, some items need to be purchased from stores out of town, BUT many of those goods we need or even want for Christmas (or during the year) can be found or ordered locally.   Sometimes the item price will be same, higher or even (yes!) lower, than purchasing out-of-town goods.  Also, when you figure gas and incidental spending (food, movies, other), more often than not, a trip for buying out-of-town goods can cost a resident more than shopping locally.  Yes, there are exceptions.  I will not list them all, but the primary reason used seems to be  the “I just want to get out of town! ” .  Although this is the most used reason, it usually equates to the most expensive trip for the resident and/or family (due to unexpected and unneeded goods/services) and also takes  away critical, financial support from smaller local businesses.   

Because of the economy and challenging times, many residents have been very frugal and pro-active in their shopping this year.  Buying earlier in the year through payments at a local store.  Utilizing some of the out-of-home entrepreneurial businesses, such as candles, home decor, quilts, or other items, for stocking stuffers has been more popular this year. Gift certificates toward local grocers, fuel, or essentials have been talked about a lot this year as well. 

Christmas is definately the time for giving, as we are reminded by “the reason for the season!”  As we all look at our neighbors across our towns,  consider giving gifts acquired from  those local and small town stores, which in turn support the local community and families.  In these challenging times, we should also focus our attention toward supporting our local non-profit organizations, who work diligently toward improving our way of life and the basic needs those in need in our area. 

Thank you all for supporting our local businesses!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Ron's Restoration in Glade since 1989

pic1.jpgSince opening it’s doors in 1989, Ron’s Restoration, Inc. has restored or built over 180 vehicles consisting of antiques, classics, streetrods, customs and pickups. You will also find the business restoring that childhood pedal car or Cushman scooter. The vehicles have found their homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Ron’s Restoration, Inc. employs full-time technicians: including an ASE Certified Master Technician for mechanical, Certified and award winning re-finishers, bodywork and frame fabrication technicians. The business also maintains up-to-date equipment for the fabrication, refinishing and assembly of it’s projects.

The president of the company, Ronald Kester, was born and raised most of his life in the Phillips County Kansas area and has always been a car buff. He credits his father for the love of cars. As a young man he bought his first vehicle for $35 when he was just 13 years old and still has that car, a 1930 Model A.

Ron has been in the automobile business since 1959, as a vehicle salesman, mechanic and bodyshop technician. He sold new and used Chevrolet and Ford vehicles for 30 years. When he and his wife, Sondra, were married in 1959, they would spend their spare time in area quarter-mile strip racing. After graduating on to legal racetracks in the late 1960’s, Ron qualified for the World Finals in Dallas, Texas amd is a charter member of the National Hot Rod Association.

In the late 1970’s he switched his car building attention to the upcoming Street Rod era building him and Sondra a 1932 Ford. The car made two trips to the east coast and back before selling it, and building for themselves a 1933 Buick 4 door. He and Sondra still have this car and is a favorite among their children and grandchildren. Ron is a member of the Buick Street Rod Association and the National Street Rodder’s Association.

Many of Ron’s projects have found themselves award winners and publication features. In 1992 the company restored a 1960 Chrysler 300 F Convertible for a realtor in Hastings, NE that won two National Chrysler 300 awards. The car was then sold at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Auto Auction in Arizona in 1998 with the purchaser being Tim Allen of the hit tv show “Home Improvement” It was re-purchased a few years later by a collector in the state of New York. That person had Ron’s restore another Chrysler for him during the years of 2004-2005.

A gold medallion award was received by Ron’s on a 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible at the CTCI meet in July 2000. This is the highest award than can be earned through the Thunderbird Association.

In the March 2001 issue of Classic Truck you will find featured a 1960 Ford pickup built by Ron’s equipped with a 4.6 Ford police car package drive train and a 1994 Ford step-side box.

Northern Rodder magazine featured in three of their monthly publications a 1935 Chevrolet, a 1937 Pontiac and a 1933 Ford Roadster completed by the business. The 1933 Ford Roadster was also picked by Rod and Custom Magazine as one of their top 100 cars during the year 2001 and won Boyd Coddington Pro’s Pick at the GoodGuys Mid-Western Nationals in Kansas City in 2004.

During the year 2002 the business completed a custom 1971 Ford Mustang with a 502 Chevrolet Ram Jet Fuel injection engine and Vortech Super charger. The car was invited to the Daryl Starbird show in Wichita, KS at the end of January 2003 and won a Comp D’Elegance gold award. From their it traveled to the ISCA World of Wheels show in Kansas City and won 4 awards. It was the featured article in the September 2003 issue of Super Rod magazine and the April 2004 issue of Car Craft magazine.

Nebraska Street Rod of the Year, Outstanding paint and Best in it’s Class at the 2004 ISCA World of Wheels show in Omaha was awarded to a 1935 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe built by Ron’s. The car was also featured in the May 2004 issue of Street Rod Builder.

In June 2004, Ron’s Restoration completed the changes to a 1967 Corvette qualifying it for Bloomington

This article and pictures taken from the website:  http://www.ronsrestoration.com/

Independence!

Speaking as a current business owner and an economic development director, owning and running your own business is still one of the most independent activities an American can do in this country.  On the eve of July 4, 2009, it should be remembered that most of the founders of our country were business owners.  In every circumstance I have known, business owners are very independent and passionate about their actions to succeed.   That is not to say that entrepreneurs can’t stumble and fall, from time to time; but, they most certainly never give up.  In times of trials and failure, it is usually the entrepreneur (business owner) that will make the extra effort toward attaining their goal through using another tactic.   If the business fails, they learn from their mistake and grow another business by becoming stronger the learning experience.  Think about the number of failures that Edison went through on “one” project, “the light bulb” before success in his business.  Think about the number of challenges and heartache Abraham Lincoln went through before he became the President of the United States. 

America has always been a country of leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit.  With the challenges facing our country right now, it is important for business owners to stand firm.   It is important for these current owners to share the experience of freedom they have (although difficult) with their prodogies (the younger generation).   Working in a smaller rural community, I have been encouraged by our small town business owner’s leadership for our communities, their passionate leadership to create a better environment for the next generation, and their desire to share and help the next wave of business owners.   Most rural communities have lost a vital asset over the last 50 years, many of their youth.  These graduating youth have wanted to become free and explore the world outside the rural (small town) environment.  Many of our youth, (even myself), throughout our childhood were inspired by business owners (mentors) in our area; though, encouraged by others to get an education and leave to get a better paying job (career), which all seemed to be in larger (urban areas) at that time. 

Everyone has to choose their own way and experience different areas, BUT, I feel very strongly that as citizens, educators, business leaders, and parents; we need to share the positives about living and working in small town America, about owning or developing their own business, and about becoming strong servants to our community.    Even when I graduated and worked in a larger city for five (5) years, I only then started to grasp the positives that I gave up by working and living in a large town and leaving my Hometown area.  One primary reason I came back to live and work in Phillips County was the friendliness of our people; but another was that ability to start a new business at a minimum cost.  With that being said, the cost of living was more economical, as I grew the business as well.  Yes, I know, many may say — “Well, he just could not make it in the large town atmosphere” or “He just needed to stay longer to experience the true urban setting”.  I did have several people say “I had failed, because I had moved back to the area.”.  And it may suprise you to know that individuals saying this were not just those I thought I knew in the large town, but those in my HOMETOWN! 

Gratefully, there were many more within Phillips County that saw, what I may have not at the time, an entrepreneurial spirit, in myself.  To them I say “Thank you!”, and you know who you are!  Business owners, residents, teachers and parents, all us have had our own mentors that have inspired us to become leaders for our community.  At this time in our country when entrepreneurism and foundational truths are mocked, we all need to realize that our youth is looking for someone to be their mentor.  If they know and understand that running a business is challenging, but very gratifying; they will consider pursuing that path.   If they are encouraged and supported in their defeats, that is ok to lose a battle, from time to time, but you must always focus on winning the war (long term goal).   Encourage someone that may be considering a move back into the area and given them an inspirational boost of support.  Especially now, I am sure they probably need it.  I will leave with two thoughts.  May everyone enjoy their celebration of our independence as a nation on July 4 AND, may all our new citizens moving back to the area have strong mentorship (through you) to become business owners, community supporters and servant leaders.

Entrepreneurial Center to Host a Grant Writing Workshop

The Entrepreneurial Center in Phillipsburg, will be holding a grant writing workshop  on July 7th from 9 am until 3 pm.  Topics will include, Start with the Basics, Narrative is Key, Research Ideas, Grant Projects Welcome and Questions and Answers.  Pre-registration is required.  Fee is $20.00 and includes lunch.  This class is funded by the USDA Rural Development  RBEG Grant.  For more information, contact Juanita Brown, Director for the Entreprenurial Center at 785-540-4110 or email at ecenter@ruraltel.net.

EBE Program

The EBE Program of Phillips County has been a strong stimulus to the local economy This program helps financially support new and existing businesses with items needed in the area of (building structure, equipment and marketing). Over the course of 13 months, this program has given support toward 8 businesses in the amount of around $210,000. As this program offers cost-sharing (a grant) , it allows for entrepreneurial businesses, to have a better chance to expand and grow, but also enabling needed businesses to improve their services and maintain employees. These 8 businesses that PCED has assisted through this program, has preserved 7 jobs and added 25.5 jobs to the area. Calculating the economic benefit from these jobs over a course of one year attribute around $800,000 dollars in salaries to the area. Also, the cost share (investment) match required by the businesses in their projects added another 1.1 million to the local economy. By dividing salaries as a base for comparison against the PCED EBE program funds given toward the business, you can get a simple cost benefit ratio. Having a 2 to 1 ratio for the short term is a great usage of funds. The simple cost benefit ratio for this program, using only salary for created and retained jobs produces a 4 to 1 ratio.

We have had many positive comments on this program from those businesses that have used it, but in many respects, this program is not well known or used. I encourage you to turn to the local incentives page for more information on the EBE program. If you have any questions, please contact the PCED staff at 785-543-5809.