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Archive to Past Events

2016-2017 Central Minnesota Small Business Academy- Monthly Workshops


~ Logo wear & SWAG – the latest in dimensional branding ~

Presented By: Kris Nelson

Company: Custom Accents Promotion & Apparel
Tuesday, March 7th 2017

Class description:

Too many businesses think a pen or keychain will keep their business at the top of their client’s minds. WRONG! Trash cans and thrift stores are full of gimmicks and gadgets we thought clients would keep forever.

There’s a different way.

Done right, certain products can support your brand, keep your customers feeling connected and help retain employees.

Kris Nelson has been in the “dimensional marketing” arena for over 10 years. She knows what’s trending, what’s out AND what works.


~ What Every Website Needs in 2017 ~

Presented By:  Jon Ruprecht CEO of  Nock Design and SproutWP

Class description: 

In today’s market having a broken website or a non-responsive website or a website that’s three years old can mean the difference between closing a deal or not.

Learn what that sentence means so you can find out if it is time for you to update your website and what you are looking for in your next website.

Main points:

  • What are the key things to have in a website?
  • Is SEO worth it?
  • How much should you pay for a website?

Come with lots of questions.

Learn more about Jon





Space is limited.  You can bring your own lunch or pick up a lunch at the 360 Café.

Tuesday, February 7th 2017
11:30am to 1:00pm


~ Why be ordinary when you can be original? ~

Presented By:  Donella Westphal owner of Your Creative

 Tuesday, January 10th 2017

Class description:

Getting in front of potential customers is important, but how do you go beyond superficial interactions to create lasting meaningful connections? During this talk, Donella Westphal from Your Creative will share strategies for cultivating authentic messages and experiences that stay with people long after they’ve encountered your brand.

Learn more about Donella:



~ Blogs – Not everyone needs one, do you? ~

Presented By:  Esther Burgeson – Writer, Ghost Writer and Blogger 

 Tuesday, December 6th 2016

Class description:

In our age of information, consumers often look to blogs to gauge industry expertise, the credibility of your business, the usefulness of its products and more. However, blogging isn’t right for every business.

In this workshop, find out if blogging aligns with your business objectives and how to find inspiration to help develop relevant, impactful content for your customers.

Learn more about Esther:



(320) 293-2208

Space is limited.  You can bring your own lunch or pick up a lunch at the 360 Café.



Presented By:  JoyGenea Schumer

Solutions by JoyGenea   www.joygenea.com

 Tuesday, November 1st 2016

Class description:

74% of all internet traffic will be video by 2017.

Video is a form of communication and it is one of the most powerful because it engages multiple human senses.  It increases knowledge retention by 25%-60% (depending on the learner).

What does that mean for people in business?  SALES!!  Sales is education. Video takes education/sales and moves it to a new level.

-Experience different types of videos.

-Learn about the power of YouTube, Facebook’s Livestream and  video reviews

-Learn how to script a simple and powerful story

Stop making excuses about how you don’t know how, how it is just so hard or that it doesn’t really matter.

It matters.  74% should tell you that you need to invest.


~ Designing Your Marketing Plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail ~

Presented By:  Mike Fanslau, CFO of Midwest Mediation Institute
Tuesday, October 4th 2016

Class description:

Does your marketing plan take you where you want to go?

A marketing plan focuses on winning and keeping customers; it’s strategic and includes numbers, facts and objectives.  A good marketing plan spells out all the tools and tactics you’ll use to achieve your sales goals.  It’s your plan of action – what you’ll sell, who’ll want to buy it and the tactics you’ll use to generate leads that result in sales.

Mike Fanslau has been marketing himself for over 30 years and is going to share some of his knowledge and expertise.  You’ll learn:

• How do you start your marketing plan?

• What are your marketing goals?

• What strategies and tactics should you use?

• Setting a marketing budget.

~ Have you correctly identified your market?
Do you know your niche? ~

Tuesday, September 13th 2016

Presented By:  Brian Lehman, Lehman & Associates 
&   Anje Smith, AJ Business Development 

A niche is a focused, targetable part of the market.  A target market is a specific group of people with needs that cannot or are not being met by mainstream providers. 

• How do you know who or what your niche is?
• Are you targeting the right market?
• Can your market niche change?  How will you know?
• Are you marketing to the right people in your niche?
• Being relevant – are you answering a need the market has or a need you THINK they have?

Consultants, Brian and Anje have years of combined experience and knowledge and their interactive presentation will give you a broader scope on this topic.



2015-2016 Generate Big Revenue with Dynamic Marketing Strategies – monthly workshops

~ Is Your Brand Protected?
Trademarks – Copyrights & Service Marks ~

Presented By:  John F. Mathews 

Hughes, Mathews & Greer  P.A.
May 2016

Establishing a strong brand is pivotal to business success.  If your brand is not distinguishable from another seller in the eyes of the public, you run the risk of losing your intellectual property protection under the law.

However, people think simply registering a trademark, a copyright, or developing intellectual property is all they have to do.

This workshop will provide a summary of the laws as they pertain to trademarks/service marks and copyrights.

Participants will learn:

○  The difference between these categories

○  Common issues faced by businesses regarding their intellectual property

○  How to register and protect your trademark



~ What do your customers experience? ~

Presented By: Brenda Eisenschenk 
April 2016

The concept of memorable customer experience has been around for years, but it’s never been more important than it is today.

The digital fishbowl we live in magnifies every experience, good or bad and broadcasts it to the world.  It’s not just a nicety to create great experiences for your customers any more, it’s a necessity.  Here’s why:

• One slip can cost you plenty

• You know more, so your customers expect more

• If you don’t create an amazing experience, someone else will

• Your competitors will find a way to make transactions more

helpful, easier and mroe fun

Brenda Eisenschenk knows her customers remember InteleCONNECT.



 ~ Email Marketing / Social Media Marketing ~


Presented By:

Danielle Barthelemy, Senior Brand Manager  and
Ellie Backes, Director of Marketing at DAYTA Marketing

March 2016

Are you ready for the digital age?

Would it benefit your business?

Social Media and Email Marketing are heavy-hitters in the digital marketing arena. While each can be influential, a strategy that integrates both, will make a much bigger impact.

This dynamic duo will teach you:

•How to take your current marketing strategy and business objectives to the digital world

•Insider digital marketing tips – The email marketing landscape and where it’s going

~ Have No Fear! Cold Calling Techniques ~

 Presented By: Dennis Schulte DRS Acquisitions
February 2016

Cold calling is defined as the solicitation of business from potential customers who have had no prior contact with the salesperson conducting the call.  Cold calling has gotten a bad reputation because of over-zealous and aggressive tactics practiced by a few unscrupulous organizations.  However, used properly, cold calling is an effective technique for introducing your product or service to new customers.

With a solid reputation for results, Dennis offers you over 29 years of industry-tested experience. His knowledge from both sides of the telephone will help to build your company’s image when connecting to your audience. Dennis has partnered with some of the best call centers in the country and is always ready to meet new challenges with creative solutions.

You will learn:

*What the legal rules and regulations  will and won’t allow you to do

*The impact telemarketing can have on your marketing program

*How to develop and manage a prospect list

*How to make the numbers work for you

*When to use telemarketing and when to use other marketing methods

*Different strategies to make your marketing more effective

~ Don’t Loose Customers Keep Track of Their Data! ~

Presented By: Kat Harrison  Fostering LLC
January 2016

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) System is one of the most valuable systems any business can implement.  It’s equally as important as the people you hire and will have a longer lasting impact on your business than any one person.

Studies show that companies with a fully utilized CRM system can increase sales by 29%.  But the biggest mistake companies make is to try to track too many pieces of information.In this presentation Kat will help you discover:

*Effective strategies for collecting accurate and useful customer and prospect data,  whether you have a CRM or not

*Dozens of examples what to track (even without a CRM) and what to do with the data once you have it

*The two most critical factors for success (or failure) of a CRM system

~ Follow-Up Techniques That Work !~

 Presented By: David Kirkeby
December 2015

Did you know there are two questions a Salesperson should NEVER ask during a Follow-Up contact?

The most challenging step in the Sales Process is “following-up,” those contacts you have between the Initial Meeting, the Proposal, and the Close. Very few salespeople know how often to contact their prospects, and fewer still know what to DO and SAY with each of those contacts.

Yes, selling IS a numbers game, but it’s the QUALITY of the numbers that is most important.

In this session David Kirkeby will teach sales professionals and business owners alike the importance of knowing what those numbers are.


~ Marketing Ball – Robert Middleton – Strategic Approach to Gaining New Clients  ~

 Presented By: Linda Laitala
November 2015

Most people struggle with marketing.  Even people who enjoy it don’t see it as a game, but wouldn’t it be more fun and more effective if you did?  Marketing Ball is an optimized series of activities that will help you attract more clients and close more sales.



 Presented By: Jim Eckberg
October 2015

Marketing success depends on selling more products to more people, more often, for more profit.  That’s all.  Easy, right?

Except … just how do you go about locating enough of the right companies who are willing – and able – to buy?  And once located, how do you get past the gatekeepers to the influencers and decision makers?

In an hour, we can tie that all together and when we’re done, you’ll leave with new strategies to help cultivate more productive customers.




Successfully Transitioning Your Business


Exit Planning:
Preparing, Valuing, Timing & Executing the Sale of a Business


When and how will you sell your business to gain the retirement you want? The most significant financial and personal event of your life will likely be your transition into retirement and the sale of your privately held business to a new owner. The leaders presented the primary issues needed to successfully sell your business and preserve your retirement.


View the Slide Presentation. (pdf)
See the flyer. (pdf)


When Can I Retire? 


There are multiple issues that surround the timing of a business owner’s retirement. This seminar addressed the economic issues of determining what will be needed in retirement years versus the sum of today’s business value plus other owner assets.


View the Slide Presentation (pdf)


How Does the Marketplace Value My Business? 


There are multiple issues that surround the successful sale of your business. This seminar will addressed ways to enhance the value of your business, how to successfully leverage experts during the process, and steps you can take to prepare for a successful sale.


View the Slide Presentation (pdf)


How to Maximize Cash and Minimize Risk When Selling Your Business? 


This seminar went into detail and shared real-life examples of business transactions. Participants learned how to maximize the net after-tax cash from a transaction. In other words, after everyone’s been paid – what’s left in your pocket? This seminar also covered how to minimize risk when you sell your business.


View the Slide Presentation (pdf)


Successfully Selling Your Business to Insiders 


Selling to insiders is a common way to transfer ownership; however, it can carry substantial risks. This seminar identified and addressed the risks in selling your business to an insider. It included how to identify the right individuals to continue your business and the financial components to consider to ensure success for all parties.


View the Slide Presentation (pdf)


Succession Planning – Is Now The Time and Are You Ready? 


Our panel of experts represent both the “Buy Side” and the “Sell Side” of the transaction. They’ll help sort through the complex issues that confront owners wondering when to sell AND FOR HOW MUCH. You’ll come away with insight and answers that fit your unique situation.


View the Slide Presentation (pdf)