Growing the Bottom Line

Bigfork Chamber of Commerce Newsletter | March 2019 | By Kim Morisaki

At the beginning of every year at Montana West we think about what types of classes we can offer to assist businesses in growing and becoming more profitable.  My personal conviction is that Montana companies are challenged by our sparse population sprinkled over such a large state and the seasonality of our markets.  These challenges make it harder to be profitable and also harder to pay employees a competitive wage.  Most businesses want to strategize to attract out-of-state customers and/or some of the millions of visitors to the Flathead Valley in order to keep the bottom line comfortable.  That’s our goal, too.  We have teamed up with local experts to provide resources to businesses in every industry and at every stage of the business life cycle.  And where we aren’t providing the classes, we promote our partners who are.  The Job Service, FVCC and your Chambers provide terrific seminars at no or nearly no cost.

The Community College’s classes offer supervisor, customer service, communication, presentation and negotiation training for individuals or customize a class for your whole team! Need help with Word, Excel? They have it all.  My favorite class at FVCC is Profitmastery – every business owner will learn valuable insights into their own business financials.  The class that assists you in maximizing profit through proper pricing and managing cash flow. Business owners that invest in themselves and their teams rarely regret it and if you feel you can’t afford the minimal costs for FVCC’s classes there is always the MT Department of Labor’s Incumbent Workforce Training Grant.  It is easy to apply for and provides $2000 for full time employee training and $1000 for part-time employee training, annually!  The classes have to be pre-approved, but nearly everything FVCC offers is.  The application is easy to find online, but you can also call Montana West for help.

Every year we offer classes at the MWED office that we feel fills a gap for our clients.  In February Sue Thompson, owner of The CFO Agency, offered “A Solid Foundation – Financial Management for your Construction Business”.  Attendance was high and we will offer it again.  Later this spring Sue will offer a more extensive set of classes for any type of business owner hoping to improve their financial management skills.  Peggy Kragh and Shawn Miller with Murphy Business and Financial will also be offering classes for those hoping to sell their business in the next five years.  They will be covering how to prepare for the transition, what is involved in getting a business valuation and how to market a business to qualified buyers without announcing to your employees and the community that you are doing so!

Peerspectives is a professionally facilitated, confidential roundtable for CEOs and leaders of fast-growing businesses with 7-10 employees or more, and at least $1MM in revenue.  This is a place where peers assist one another with experience-based input, meeting monthly over a year to provide support to one another.  Peerspectives is a proven system for company leaders to build relationships with others experiencing the same challenges.  Chris Parson has been trained to facilitate this program from the Edward Lowe Foundation and has two years’ experience.  Call Kim Morisaki at 406-257-7711×3 for more information and to learn if this would be a good fit for you.

For a full list of business classes available in the community check our Business Calendar at