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Small Business Success: It Takes Know-How and Inspiration

September 2017

Keynote speaker Stella Crewse of Morgan Miller Plumbing gave an inside look at her business success during the Small Business Bootcamp Friday, Sept. 15.

Nearly 200 entrepreneurs and small business owners gained both inspiration and knowledge Sept. 15 at the latest Small Business Bootcamp co-sponsored by the Clay County Economic Development Council and Mid-Continent Public Library at the Woodneath Library Center.

Keynote speaker Stella Crewse of Morgan Miller Plumbing outlined her inspiring journey from part-time bookkeeper to CEO of the company. She detailed how the company successfully utilized social media to communicate its brand and culture. They were so successful, Facebook has used the company as a model.

Crewse stressed that her company’s specific techniques may not work for every firm but stressed that success is likely to come only with strategic planning and clear-eyed analysis of a business.

“The longer you act like a small business, the longer you’re going to be one,” she said.

A major breakthrough for her company came when they focused on social media marketing. Although costing less than previous Yellow Page or television advertising, it requires a disciplined approach with daily posts and even professional input. She also emphasized the need for continued analysis of the company’s direction and customer makeup.

“We let one large company go,” she noted. “It was no longer a mutually beneficial match.”

The capacity crowd also enjoyed six breakout sessions on traditional and online advertising, building sales lists, branding, business and editorial video production and smart budgeting for advertising. Presenters included Terri S. Turner, marketing expert at EnCorps45; Kelly Head, MCPL business information librarian; Santina Cessor, principle owner of Threads Studio; Hanna Taylor, MCPL small business specialist; Sarah Mote, marketing director at KCSourceLink; and Tiffiney Baumgarden, social media manager at KCPT and FlatlandKC.org, and owner of THREE: A Social Agency.

EDC Executive Director Jim Hampton opened the event by noting the organization promotes entrepreneurs and small businesses because of their often-overlooked contribution to economic development. “We know that most of the new jobs are created by small businesses,” Hampton said. “We want small businesses to grow and succeed because in addition to your personal success, you will also create jobs and incomes for many others.”

Funded by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the program is presented by the EDC and the library’s Square One Small Business Services. Now in its fourth year, the next session will be held in March.


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