After two months of class time, work, research, number crunching, occasional downloads from the Lord and even a miracle or two sprinkled in, eight business owners from the Gallatin Valley completed the first Purpose Led Accelerator course offered by i61 and hosted by the Portal School of Creativity and Innovation.

The course culminated in an all day business seminar entitled “Now is the Time” in which the business owners presented their plans to a panel of judges and a live audience. Also mixed in was hearing presentations from some expert business leaders Kevin Monroe of X Factor Consulting, Katherine Allen of Allen Global Compaines LLC, Robert Fukui of i61 inc. and Bozeman’s own Matt and Lisa Weaver of Crystal River Investments, LLC, Portal School and the River Church.

All of the keynote presentations were great and inspired the attendees to move forward with their dream in whatever circumstances you’re in. But one keyonte in particular raised people to their feet.

Katherine Allen received a standing ovation after her presentation on “Women Rise: a call to boldness.” It was a heart felt speech specifically addressed to women entrepreneurs to find their voice and go make a difference. She shared the difficulties of being a CEO of a global company in the male dominated industry of oil and gas in which she felt the need to suppress her womanhood in order to appear tough and be taken serious.

She spoke eloquently on the fact that women can succeed and make a difference in business while still being…a woman.

I thought I was attending a business conference so why am I crying? – woman business owner in attendance

While the speech was intended for women, it clearly touched the men in the audience too. This was not a call for feminism but a call for unity so that both genders would realize the strengths the each side brings into business.

Yes, there even was a “business plan competition” in which the winner would advance to another round that eventually could put them into an international competition against winners from up to 15 other nations.

And the Winner is…

Business plan competition

(from left to right) Robert Fukui- i61, 3rd place Michelle Abrams- Valley Girl Cleaning, 2nd place Lisa Weaver- Portal School, 1st place Linda Hayden- Hayden Truck Repair, Katherine Allen- Allen Global Companies LLC, Kevin Monroe- XFactor Consulting

Congratulations to Linda Hayden of Hayden Truck Repair for sharing her vision for the future of the business that her husband Dale started back in 1992. She won the heart of the judges that awarded her first place by a mere 1 point over second place Lisa Weaver of the Portal School of Creativity and Innovation.

During the process of the course, Linda identified some of the financial and operational issues that made the business inefficient that resulted in her husband having to log in more hours than desired.

Plans For a Better Future

So her plan for the future of the business is to fully implement the changes necessary that will increase the efficiency of the business which will increase profits, give back time to Dale to work less, have more family time and set the business up for a successful transition to one or both of the kids if they are interested. That is God’s best when family comes first and still be able to have a profitable business.

Successful Outcomes

Linda’s plan and vision for her family business was very typical of the type of holistic success that the other seven business owners had for their own. Financial success is good but acheiving relational success alongside it is even better.

Some of the other success stories coming out of this first group of eight started almost immediately. Here is a snapshot of outcomes over this two month course.

  • Owners identifying their key strategic brand differentiator
  • Identifying sales categories that weren’t as profitable as they assumed
  • Establishing new price structures that resulted in immediate profit gains
  • Re-structuring business personnel that created increased job satisfaction and improved efficiency. This drove labor cost down and profit margins up
  • Identifying ideal target market that resulted in valuable strategic alliances
  • Wife of an entrepreneur finding her value in the business, stepping into her authority and making immediate improvements in the business
  • Another husband and wife team improved their relationships as a result of identifying and appreciating each other’s strengths and instead of fighting over their differences, begin to leverage them for the benefit of the business

Congratulations to all eight business owners who participated in the Purpose Led Accelerator. Not only are they on the path to be successful in business but will also make a positive impact in the Gallatin Valley.

We will be repeating this course in Bozeman in February 2018 so stay tuned!