Small Business Webinar Series 2019

Upcoming Webinars 


Three Steps to Get Your Business on a Path to Profitable Growth

Thursday, March 5th, 2020  - 11 AM, MST

The urgent need to stay afloat financially leads to “strategic moves” that are a waste of energy, focus, money, and time. Get your business out of the Survival Trap, headed toward its Sweet Spot and on a path toward profitable growth. 

Presenter: Geraldine Carter, Business Strategist for CPAs, ICF Associate Certified Coach and  Pumpkin Plan Strategist

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Using OpportunityZones to Start or Grow Your Business

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020  - 11 AM, MST

Opportunity Zones were created as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to help stimulate long-term, private sector investment into economic activity in all 50 states and U.S. Territories. Governor Steve Bullock designated 25 Opportunity Zones in metropolitan and rural areas of Montana as targeted areas to stimulate business investment.
In this webinar, Ben Hobbs will discuss what Opportunity Zones are, how simple it is for investors and entrepreneurs to create funds, and the tax incentives of investing in businesses in qualifying zones.

Presenter: Benjamin Hobbs, Special Assistant to President Trump, Domestic Policy Council
Domestic Policy Council’s lead on affordable housing, urban revitalization, entrepreneurship, and homelessness.

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Past Webinars


A Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Five Tips to Get Found Online

Thursday, February 6th, 2020  - 11 AM, MST

This presentation will cover some basics of SEO and give you five actionable steps to 

help your business get found online. 

Presenter: Rich Gannon,SBDC Rural Business Advisor,Great Falls Development Authority

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Quick Cybersecurity Tips to Keep Your Company Safe

Thursday, January 9th, 2020 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will give actionable tips to better protect your business from cyberattack.

Presenter: Justin Jones, Associate Vice President & IT Risk Manager, D.A. Davidson, Great Falls, MT.

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Start Your Side Hustle

Thursday, December 5th, 2019 - 11 AM MST

This webinar will address turning a hobby or passion into a side business. We'll talk about the lean approach to business planning and innovating to solve your customers’ real world problems. 

Presenter: Jason Nitschke, Regional Director
Great Falls Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Great Falls Development Authority

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Business Valuation: More Art Than Science

Thursday, November 7th, 2019 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will explore how there is no cookie-cutter approach to valuing a private business. It often involves a multi-faceted approach, using different valuation processes and techniques, which will be discussed.

Presenter: Tom Kerr, Senior Investment Specialist, WestPac Wealth Partners, Missoula, MT.

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Marketing on LinkedIn

Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 - 11 AM MST

Linkedin hosts over 590 million professionals who represent the largest group of influential, affluent, educational people anywhere. Find out what content to share, which products suit your needs, and how much time you'll spend daily or weekly to ensure your brand stays in front of the people who matter most to your business.

Presenter: Tyler Menzel, Marketing Specialist

Great Falls Small Business Development Center

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Rethinking Innovation in Montana

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 - 11 AM MST

This webinar will provide an overview of how small business owners can innovate in small business to create customer experiences that attract and retain customers. 

Presenter: Barnett Sporkin-Morrison, Director

Great Falls Food and Agriculture Development Center (FADC), Great Falls Development Authority

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Insurance for Small Business

Thursday, August 1st, 2019 - 11 AM MST

As one of the most important ways to protect a business, insurance often goes overlooked. This webinar provides an overview general and professional liability insurance, employer practice liability insurance, worker's compensation requirements, the difference between insurance and bonding, and a variety of other insurance-specific topics. 

Presenter: Colin Lee, CIC, CLCS, Great Falls, Montana
Commercial Insurance Producer, Gogswell Insurance Agency, LLC.

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Basic Accounting for Successful Entrepreneurs

Thursday, July 11th, 2019 - 11 AM MST

Do you know to read your company’s Balance Sheet?  And more importantly, what it tells you and how you can use it to improve your business?  Are you wondering why your cash has decreased but yet your reports show a profit?  Or you have money in your bank but are showing a loss?  Wendy Weissman walks through the basics of accounting, and how the Balance Sheet and Profit & Loss Reports reflect the financial health of an organization.  This will help you manage your business more efficiently and more accurately because, as they say, if garbage goes in, garbage comes out. And if you're not managing the money and recording it correctly, the risk of failure goes up exponentially.

Presenter: Wendy Weissman, CPA PC, Great Falls, Montana
Certified Public Accountant and Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.

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How to Lock Down Your Sales Funnel 

Thursday, June 6th, 2019 - 11 AM MST

Building a website, creating a Facebook page, Instagram account, and Google listing are all important, but what
happens after? Learn how to capture potential customers at every stage of the buying process – lock down your sales
funnel with these easy-to-follow steps!

Presenter: Jenna Jones, Owner, Jenna Jones Design, Billings, Montana
Jenna Jones Design provides website development and online marketing expertise for  small businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs.

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Creative Labor Solutions

Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 11 AM, MST

As the labor market continues to tighten, finding workforce to meet the demands of the market is becoming increasingly difficult. This webinar details the benefits of creating apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and internship opportunities to attract and retain potential employees. Also discussed will be the military's Career Skills Program (CSP) to tap into the labor force soon to be leaving military service.

Presenter: Kari Woods, Apprenticeship Specialist, Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Montana Registered Apprenticeship, Workforce Services.

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Reach Customers Online with Google

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11 AM, MST

Learn how customers find your business online and how to promote your online presence using search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising. We’ll also introduce tools that will help you run your business online, including Google Analytics and Trends.

Presenter: Corissa Saint Laurent, Speaker-Trainer, Consultant Google, GYBO Trainer.

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Finding Customers on Instagram

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will provide an overview of using Instagram to market to potential customers.

Presenter: Amanda Read, Founder, Read Mobile Marketing.

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Finding Customers On Facebook

Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 11AM, MST

This webinar will provide an overview of using Facebook to market to potential customers.

Presenter: John Harris, Social Media marketer, Planner, and Coordinator, Speaking Socially Media LLC, Great Falls Montana.

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Marketing Essentials: Getting Found Online

Thursday, January 10, 2019 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will provide an overview of digital marketing best practices, types, and strategies.

Presenter:  Jenna Jones, Owner, Jenna Jones Design, Billings, Montana Jenna Jones Design provides website development and online marketing expertise for small businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs.

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Small Business Webinar Series 2018

Savvy Questions to Ask an Accountant About the New Tax Law

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

The title says it all. Prepare your business for tax filing season by knowing more about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Presenter: Darby Rich, CPA, Tax Manager Douglas Wilson and Company, PC Douglas Wilson and Company, PC is a full service tax, accounting ,and business consulting firm located in Great Falls, Montana.

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Strategy Sells Businesses and Buys Them Too

Thursday, November 1st, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will discuss buying and selling an established business, with a discussion of the time it takes and the financial planning needed to successfully sell a business for top dollar. Buyers will also be guided on the types of questions to ask and documents to request on the other side of a business acquisition.


Presenter: Tom Nelson, BCI, CMAI Regional Developer Murphy Business & Financia,l Murphy Business & Financial is one of the largest business brokerage firms in North America, with ten Montana locations.

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Crowdfunding Isn’t Just Free Money

Thursday, October 4th, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will discuss the regulatory impacts of equity crowdfunding. The presenter will discuss how crowd funds are gathered, the amount of the investment, how the law determines what you can use the money on, and the legal implications required.

Presenter: Lynne Egan, Deputy Securities Commissioner, Office of the Montana State Auditor - Commissioner of Insurance and Securities.

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Hire For Your Peak Season & Don’t Lose Money Doing It

Thursday, September 6th, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

The webinar will feature ratios to assist business owners or managers in justifying a new or seasonal hire and to ensure the additional cost of an employee will do more than break even with increases in sales volume. Performance metrics related to the new hire will also be addressed.

Presenter: Phil Quigley, Founder and President Quigley and Associates, Quigley and Associates is a learning and development firm focused on helping people discover and apply their leadership strengths.

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Five Critical Customer Service Skills

Thursday, May 3, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

Let's take these 30 minutes to focus on five critical skills that will almost guarantee a rewarding customer service or client interaction. Understand why these skills can make or break your service results. If you are a supervisor, use these skills as a checklist to ensure you are providing training, coaching, evaluation and support for these skills throughout your organization.

Presenter: Jodi Smith, Workforce Training Director, Flathead Valley Community College.

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Keys to Hiring the Right Employee

Thursday, April 5th, 2018- 11 AM, MST

This webinar discusses how company culture should be a factor in your employee search, the best questions to ask during interviews, best practices in the search process, and takeaways you can implement now.

Presenter: Charla Merja, Educational Partnership Coordinator, Great Falls College MSU.

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Introduction To Government Contracting

Thursday, March 1st, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

Does the Government buy what you sell? Learn how to find out and the initial steps for becoming a vendor for governmental contracting. This webinar discusses best practices in doing business with government entities, appropriate procedures when getting into the system, and winning contracts.

Presenter: Patty Cox, CPP Government Contracting Advisor Montana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

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Food Manufacturing 101: Get Rich and Don’t GO TO JAIL!

Thursday, February 1st, 2018 - 11 AM, MST

 This webinar discusses the most important rules, regulations, and best practices for food manufacturers to follow in order to be successful. You may not get rich and taking this class in no way guarantees you won't GO TO JAIL. At least that's what our presenter, Claude Smith says. Please note - this is very tongue in cheek. :)

Presenter: Claude Smith, Food and Process Specialist, Montana Manufacturing Extension Center.

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Small Business Webinar Series 2017

Developing your story: a foundation for funding

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 11 AM, MST

Your story is the foundation for your business and will be your pitch to generate funding. We will explore ways to effectively use your story to fund a new business idea (via crowdfunding, perhaps?), develop networks that may lead to business venture partnerships, and determine if lending is a good fit for your project. Numbers and analysis are key characters, but your story will drive your success.

Presenter: Anya Petersen-Frey, Director, Small Business Development Center, Bozeman.

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Employee Retention: Creating a Positive Company Culture

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 11 AM, MST

Happy employees make for thriving businesses. In this webinar, you will learn how to create a positive corporate culture by identifying larger business goals. Get tips on hiring smarter, keeping employees engaged and handling employees' concerns.

Presenter: Julie Jaksha, Regional Director, Small Business Development Center, Butte.

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Getting your Small Business Online

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will discuss best practices as well as details related to setting a budget, understanding your customer and how that relates to where to locate online and how to craft a message that motivates action.

Presenter: Jason Nitschke, Small Business Development Center Regional Director, Great Falls.

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Understanding Credit Card Processing

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 11 AM, MST

This webinar will cover the fundamentals of understanding credit card processing and how this complex industry can be kept SIMPLE! I will cover the basics of interchange, the roles the card associations, banks and processors play, and the importance of doing business with people you TRUST!

Presenter: Stephanie Cummings, Relationship Manager Heartland Payment Systems Inc.

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Webinar Series Sponsors

America's SBDC Montana color logo     Powered by SBA color logo     MSU Extension Community Development color logo     Montana Department of Commerce color logo     Montana Economic Development Association color logo

Additional Support

Grow Great Falls Montana color logo     University of Montana black logo          

Hear experts provide an overview of small business development topics and phone in or type or chat questions or comments. We will follow-up with requests for additional information.  All webinars are free and open the public at 11 AM (for 30 min) and will be recorded and archived. 

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Please contact or (406) 994-1750.

The Montana State University Extension Service is an ADA/EO/AA/Veteran’s Preference Employer and Provider of Educational Outreach.

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