Membership Hack: Are you getting the most out of your membership?

By: Keri Morris, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Membership Director

It’s that time of year to remind everyone of the ways in which they can get the most out of Chamber membership. 

Check your chamber emails. Members receive frequent e-newsletters (Chamber Headlines & Happenings) that contain pertinent information, reminders of upcoming events, and general information. Take time to read these and reach out to the Chamber with any questions.

Attend events whether virtual or in-person. Despite the changing times, we’re in, the Chamber has continued to provide value, while respecting COVID-19 restrictions and concerns. Attend Chamber-sponsored webinars or online events. This is a great opportunity to learn new things AND connect with others.

Sponsor a Chamber event. Sponsoring an event will allow you to advertise your business to a targeted audience, have brand visibility, create some potential leads, and provide community goodwill. 

Free job postings. Did you know the Chamber will post your job opening on our website, thereby increasing your chance to connect with qualified candidates? It’s true! And it’s part of your membership!

Purchase mailing labels for $30. We will print mailing labels for all Chamber members (close to 500) for you to use for your business’s marketing campaigns. This is a great, inexpensive way to connect with other Chamber members.

Become more involved. Join a committee or become a volunteer. This is a great way to get to know others in the community while providing assistance to the Chamber.

Work on your business

By: Carlos Jeer, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director

Do you believe your company’s success hinges on how well you prepare your budget, the kind of product you have or your customer satisfaction scores? Yes, those aspects do matter – but ultimately business will just be as good as the employees performing the work. Business wise, it makes more sense to hire smart people to add value to your company as opposed to resorting to the antiquated command and control model.

Autonomy in the workplace goes a long way to promoting and fostering creativity and innovation. As long as an organization has a clear trajectory and plan laid out, the leadership should be providing direction and oversight of its execution. David Ricardo, a British economist spoke about comparative advantage which has to do with matters of trade and relates to a country’s ability to execute economic activity in a more effective and efficient way compared to other nations. This principle can be applied to management, we must capitalize on what we are poised to do best. If your role involves being a manager then by all means, manage but leave the human resources to your HR Director.

Time is a finite resource and with the plethora of activities already in a manager’s calendar, it is important to know how to allocate time and resources appropriately. For example, consider a startup that is currently expanding. In the beginning the Founder & CEO most likely wore many hats if not all of them, from marketing and sales to coding, graphic art and fundraising. One day the company is able to fill those roles, vice presidents, directors and coordinators now roam your building, looking to maximize and perform the job they were hired to do. It is not unreasonable for the Founder & CEO to believe they can do a better job than the staff (which may or may not be true). The question is, should they? No, their time would be best spent pursuing growth opportunities for their company and strategizing their next move in the market.

Analyze your company’s mission, vision and overall strategy, even though management styles diverge across the board, remember that the way you approach it can make the difference between growth and stagnation. Even though success is in the details, it is important to know when to delegate, provide feedback and step in when needed. Are you working on your business or in your business?

How to Use Marshalltown More Than Ever

By: Kyley Leger, Vision Marshalltown Executive Director

Marshalltown More Than Ever is a way to focus on the Marshalltown story. It identifies us, celebrates our rich history, focuses on our world-class education, applauds our state leader position in business and education partnerships, highlights rich collaborations, and aspires continued growth.

How Do Businesses Use Marshalltown More Than Ever?

Marshalltown More Than Ever is a tagline and story created for use by individuals and businesses to show their connection to the community. It helps connect into a community collaboration. It associates a business or individual with the community as a whole.

Recruiting

Have a job posting or going to a career fair? Does your current material sell your company and the proposed job? Does it sell our community? Have you ever thought about how a candidate cares equally about the community they will be joining? Housing, amenities, schools, and things to do top the list of things people look at when moving to a community. We created a recruiting flyer that has the community selling points written on one side of the flyer and the other side of the flyer is for you to include your company or job posting information.

We’ve also developed a PowerPoint presentation that highlights Marshalltown More Than Ever as a great place to live, learn, and play. This presentation is short in number of slides, but powerful in community overview. It can be used during employee orientation or as a form of recruiting. Use as a standalone or combine with your company slides.

Advertising

Do your 2021 goals include advertising? We designed a set of digital and print advertisements that promote Marshalltown More Than Ever. If you’re looking for a way to advertise, maybe this message can be adjusted to fit your business goals. Or maybe these advertisements can be used to support your company advertisements.

#MoreThanEver

Do you have a social media account? Use our community hashtag to connect with the qualities in our community that stand out. What does your company offer that is better than your competition? Or, what first-class offerings do you have? These are all examples of how we are #MarshalltownMoreThanEver. Think about sharing more than your company content. Help other businesses promote their offerings by sharing their #MarshalltownMoreThanEver stories.

Email Signatures

Consider adding the phrase “Marshalltown More Than Ever” to the bottom of your signature or use the logo in your emails.

What Next?

Share Marshalltown More Than Ever stories with friends and family. Share them on digital media, tell your friends and neighbors, and start using the Marshalltown More Than Ever materials!

To find these files, visit www.marshalltown.org/morethanever/. For editable files, email office@marshalltown.org with your request.

Where are the entrepreneurs?

By: Carlos Jeer, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director

Sustainable economic development comes from innovation and industrialization – this is what draws employees to cities and in turn creates demand for housing, amenities, and everything related to quality of life. Marshalltown has truly been a startup town that has seen large industrial players start here and expand. The Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce wants to further that trend. Our role is to help preserve, protect, and grow the free enterprise system. We recognize that, in order to grow, we have to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. New businesses have the potential of attracting customers, workers, and visitors from all over the region; the new traffic flow then creates demand for other types of goods and services. The multiplier effect from a singular investment can create powerful ripples throughout the local economy.

Today, there is a tremendous shortage across the United States within the STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) fields for both labor and new products. Pent up demand has prompted the creation of incubators and start up accelerators in multiple cities in the U.S. Venture capitalists and angel investors are constantly hunting for new, disruptive, and groundbreaking deals to invest in. Academia has learned to better align their curriculums with the needs of our employers in order to fill the supply gap. Whether you have a way to revolutionize farming, manufacturing, or even coffee making – we want to hear from you!

This is the time to invest, not tomorrow or a year from now. If not today, when?

Fund your business

By: Carlos Jeer, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Director

It takes resources and money to start a business. Funding your business is one of the first and most important financial choices most business owners make. How you choose to fund your business could affect how you structure and run your business. The first step is determining how much funding you will need.  Every business has different needs, and no financial solution is one size fits all. Your personal financial situation and vision for your business will shape the financial future of your business. Once you know how much startup funding you’ll need, it’s time to figure out how you’ll get it. Some of the available funding avenues include self-funding, investors and loans.

Self-funding lets you leverage your own financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts, or even tapping into your 401k.With self-funding, you retain complete control over the business but you also take on all the risk yourself.  

Another investment avenue is through investors that provide funding to start your business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for an ownership share and active role in the company. Venture capital differs from traditional financing by focusing on high-growth companies, invests capital in return for equity, rather than debt, takes higher risks in exchange for potential higher returns, and has a longer investment horizon than traditional financing.

Last but not least, you can also obtain a loan and there are two main ways to do so. Through a traditional business loan with a bank or a Small Business Administration loan. The latter is a loan from a private bank but is guaranteed by the SBA, that way the bank has less risk and is more willing to finance the business. In the end, whatever funding avenue you choose, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the intricacies of your business and how it operates.


Membership Hack: Have you thought of your business’s New Year’s resolution?

By: Keri Morris, Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce Membership Director

The holidays give many of us a break. It’s a time where we relax, refresh, and think about what the future holds for us. While this year has been full of obstacles and challenges, in order for us to keep our businesses open we must be proactive and have faith that 2021 will look and feel better than 2020.  Below are some ideas to keep in mind when creating a New Year’s resolution for your business.

Digitize, digitize, digitize

Perhaps your business is fully paperless, but many businesses still have opportunities to digitize their organization. does this mean exactly? At the very least, it means scanning your important paperwork and shredding materials that you do not require paper copies of (please check with your attorney and/or accountant for any documentation you must maintain paper copies of). Utilize a shared-drive where files can be stored. This makes remote work much easier and streamlines overall business processes. 

Update your security – physical and cyber

Most people understand physical security for their office, such as gates, security doors, alarms, and cameras, but do you understand cybersecurity? Partner with a third-party service provider who can manage and maintain your cybersecurity. Remember, even if you are operating “in the cloud,” you still need cybersecurity!

Assess your income stream and consider recurring income

Consider your business’s income stream. Is it steady? Unpredictable? Are their steps you could take to make your income more reliable and consistent? Monthly or quarterly subscription boxes with products or services might be something for you to consider. These boxes can provide reliable income from subscribers and it keeps your brand and products in front of your customers.

Utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Most people will use an online search engine to find a company or product, so make sure you are visible in cyberspace! You can capture qualified leads from SEO, and much like cybersecurity, there are third party companies out there that specialize in this.

We look forward to continue serving you in 2021!