Get Your Business in Gear for the New Year

HappyNewYear

The new year can mean many things for your business. What will the next 12 months look like? Do you have goals for your business and how you plan to get there? Now is the time to review your past financial performance and make plans for the upcoming year.

With this in mind, we’ve put together five financial New Year’s resolutions to help your business make this one of the best years yet.

1. Review Last Year’s Financial Highlights

How did your business perform this past year? At the most basic level, you should review your business income, expenses, profit and sales.

In addition, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do these numbers compare to last year? Are they better or worse and by how much?
  • Do these numbers align with my business projections for the upcoming year? Why or why not? Are there new income or expenses that should be accounted for?
  • In what area(s) of my business did I see the most growth?
  • What lessons can I learn from last year’s business data?

2. Set New Goals
Goal setting does not have to be complicated, especially now that you’ve taken the time to review key numbers from the past year.

It’s as simple as writing down 2 or 3 things you’d like to see your business achieve this year. It could be a goal to reduce expenses in a certain area, to produce a new product or hire additional expertise.

The most important part about goal setting is to be specific so you can measure your success throughout the year. Attaching time frames, numbers, steps it will take to meet your goal and other details can help you know if you’re on track or not.

Once you’ve established your goals, here’s a fun way to keep them top of mind from the SCORE business blog.*

3. Update Software and Processes

Payroll and other business processes can be affected by the change to a new year. Make sure your systems are up-to-date and ready for the new year. It’s also a great time to review your security protocol and procedures, especially if your business collects personal information from your customers.

4. Check in With Your Business Team
Catch up with your accountant, tax advisor, lawyer and banker at the beginning of the new year. Communication between you and your team of expert advisors can be crucial to your business’s success. After all, they want your business to succeed just as much as you do.

“During this time of the year, I like to check in with my business customers and see how they felt about the past year’s performance and what’s on tap for the upcoming year,” said Mike Swanson, Commercial Banking Officer in Hastings. “For example, what went well for them last year and what didn’t? Are there any new opportunities or internal changes coming? It’s about keeping the lines of communication open, so I can provide the best solutions going forward.”

As you share your upcoming business plans, your team can also provide updates on things that may affect your business. For example, there may be new taxes or loan programs, changes to business laws and much more.

5. Celebrate Small Successes

We’ve saved this resolution for last, but it’s certainly one of the most important – you deserve to celebrate your business’s successes. Being a small business owner can feel like a never-ending job, so take a minute to give yourself (and your team) some kudos. Celebrating small successes are the steps to celebrating larger ones!

Our team of Commercial & Ag Bankers and Treasury Management Specialists are ready to talk about your business plans. Visit our website to meet our local experts.

 

*By clicking above you will be linking to another website not owned or operated by Merchants Bank, NA. Merchants Bank, NA is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from Merchants Bank, NA.

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

NewPromotedStaff-Blog

We are happy to have these new employees on our team! If you’re interested in working with these local experts, find your branch.

New Staff

Katelyn Anderson Katelynn Anderson, IT Operations Coordinator, Winona
Brandy Anderson Brandy Anderson, Lead Teller, Cottage Grove
Elena Beck Elena Beck, Teller, Onalaska
Kyle Brodt Kyle Brodt, Credit Analyst, Winona
John Fitzgerald John Fitzgerald, Custodian, Winona
Cindy Grable Cindy Grable, Credit Admin, Winona
Teresa Holland Teresa Holland, Teller, Caledonia
Mark Jangula Mark Jangula, VP/Senior Regional Vendor Finance Manager, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance
Andrew Millis Andrew Millis, Teller, Onalaska
Melissa Peterson Melissa Peterson, VP/Commercial Banker, Eau Claire
Maria Skradde Maria Skradde, Teller, Eau Claire
Kayla Wegman Kayla Wegman, Credit Analyst, Winona

Transfers and Promotions

Amy Gutierrez Amy Gutierrez, Trust and Estate Specialist, Winona
Alejandra Hernandez Alejandra Hernandez, Customer Service Representative, Lakeville
KringsMarcus Marcus Krings, Credit Card Officer, Winona
ZoellnerBecky Becky Zoellner, Treasury Management Officer, Onalaska

Meet Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker at Merchants Bank

Dave Engstler, Consumer Banker

How long have you been with Merchants?
Dave: More than 15 years. In that time, I’ve always been a Lender with Merchants and always in our Rochester Green Meadows office.

What is your top banking tip?
Dave: Live within your means.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?
Dave: Basically, save first.

If you won the Powerball, what’s the first thing you would do?
Dave: I would make sure my son had enough money for college.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?
Dave: I really like pine trees. In Northern Minnesota, it’s pine trees and water. I love that part of the state…just smell and the fresh air.

Make Gift Giving Easy with Our 3 Tips

Gift Giving Guide

Still a few people left to buy for on your holiday shopping list? Get those gifts done in no time with our three easy ideas.

Turn Rewards Points into Gifts

With your Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card*, you can redeem earned points for merchandise, travel rewards, or even gift cards. Simply login to your ScoreCard Rewards account to use your points for holiday gifts for our loved ones – or even yourself.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to scorecardrewards.com.
  2. Login to your account.
  3. Click on the “Go Shopping” button under “ScoreMore.”
  4. Add items to your cart and checkout using your points when finished shopping.

If you don’t yet have a Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard, apply online or contact us and we can help you apply.

Buy the Gift that Always Fits

You can never go wrong with a gift card. It’s always the right size, color and style for anyone on your list. Plus, it’s easy to wrap!

Did you know you can purchase Visa Gift Cards at all of our Merchants Bank locations? Just visit your local branch and see one of our tellers to purchase your gift card(s), available in even dollar amounts between $10-$1,000.

Shop Small with a Local Cookbook

If you’re looking for a unique item for the cook or baker in your family, our Merchants cookbook makes a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer.

The Merchants Family Cookbook was first published in 2005 and is a collection of recipes shared by Merchants’ staff, family and friends. Now in its second printing with over 400 pages of recipes, the cookbook is available at all of our locations for just $10 each.

Happy holiday shopping and Merry Christmas from your friends at Merchants Bank!

*Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

 

Congratulate New and Promoted Staff

NewPromotedStaff-Blog

New Staff

AmiotTony Tony Amiot, Document Transaction Coordinator, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance
Alyssa Anderson Alyssa Anderson, Teller, Cottage Grove
Larissa Andrist Larissa Andrist, Teller, Rochester
Stacey Boelter Stacey Boelter, Mortgage Loan Processor, Winona
Ann Burrow Ann Burrow, Administrative Assistant and Customer Service Representative, Onalaska
Rebecca Decker Rebecca Decker, Trust Associate, Winona
DodsonKristin Kristin Dodson, Teller, Lakeville
Brice Eggert Brice Eggert, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Jordan Frederick Jordan Frederick, Commercial/Ag Banker, Winona
Nick Haugen Nick Haugen, Computer Operator, Winona
Karla Johnson Karla Johnson, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Nick Moon Nick Moon, Commercial Consumer Evaluation & Appraisal Specialist, Winona
Wendy Murphy Wendy Murphy, Loan Servicing Representative, Winona
Kayla Pronschinske Kayla Pronschinske, Custodian, Winona
SheltonTim Tim Shelton, Teller, Winona
Maija Trenary Maija Trenary, Teller, Hastings
ZiermanAnn Ann Zierman, Document Transaction Manager, Merchants Bank Equipment Finance

Transfers and Promotions

DeGeorgeJennifer copy Jennifer DeGeorge, Assistant Vice President, Secondary Market Mortgage, Winona
Dan Nistler Dan Nistler, Market President, Rochester

Merchants Homegrown Approach to Leadership Development

IBelieveLeadershipSeries-Blog

L-R: Alberta Rosburg, Heidi Viestenz, Alissa Gibson, Mike Swanson, Andrew Althoff, Libbie Longfield, Marcus Krings, Vicky Kamrowski, Sarah Danielson, Dawn Stenberg, Sue Blagsvedt, Kim Kubis, Jim Vrchota, Wendy Cagle, Rachel Larson, Ken Graner and Kristine Valk.

We all want a team of talented staff. A business with skilled employees who care deeply about their customers is on the road to success. The people who work for your business can make a big difference. At Merchants, we feel this combination – our talented team coupled with personalized service – is what sets us apart from other financial institutions.

Attracting and retaining difference-makers as part of the Merchants team has always been important to us. We also feel it’s one of the reasons we’ve celebrated so many successes. That’s why we’re proud to have launched the I Believe Leadership Series, Discovering the Leader In You! in 2018. The program was designed by Merchants’ staff Kristine Valk, Training Director and Alberta Rosburg, Chief Human Resource Officer and is based on the philosophy of servant leadership.

“After recognizing that Merchants needed a leadership program, Kristine and I tried to find one that we could send our employees to,” said Alberta. “However, we quickly realized that if we wanted a program to reflect the Merchants’ culture, we needed to develop it ourselves. I’m so proud of Kristine, all of her hard work and the end result. The 15 students currently attending are growing in new ways to help them be servant leaders for our co-workers and customers.”

Students in the I Believe Leadership Series are from several areas of the Bank, including customer-facing departments such as Credit Cards, Mortgage and Commercial Banking as well as support departments like Compliance & Risk, Human Resources, Marketing and Mortgage/Loan Operations. The program curriculum covers a wide range of topics, relevant for those working with customers face-to-face or behind the scenes:

  • Temperament assessment and working with different personalities
  • Effective coaching skills
  • Understanding and applying strengths
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication and conflict resolution
  • Leading through change
  • Employee motivation and accountability
  • Team building

At this time, students are approximately halfway through the series. Many are already seeing a positive impact in their day-to-day interactions with customers and co-workers.

“The I Believe Leadership Series has been such a valuable and positive experience thus far. Fifteen of us have learned about servant leadership and how to focus on traits that lead to good, productive interactions on both a professional and personal level. The section on Finding your Strengths has been one of my favorites to date. A test identified five of our strengths as well as ideas on how to use them to strengthen communication. It’s exciting to think about how each of us will benefit from these new skills and knowledge. “– Wendy Cagle, Loan Review Officer in Winona.

“The information from the program has helped me be more focused on my conversations with customers and associates during my daily interaction,” – Ken Graner, Market President for Lanesboro and Rushford.

In addition, Training Director Kristine Valk has witnessed the impact of the series firsthand: “Before the program began, some of our participants didn’t really know one another. As we continued through the program, attendees have learned more about one another and are embracing each other’s talents. It’s really become an environment of trust and openness that’s resulted in more collaborative work.”

The program will run on an annual basis with current students graduating in April 2019 and a maximum of 20 new students beginning the series shortly after that. As part of one of five strategic priorities for the bank, talent management and leadership development will continue to be a key focus for Merchants in the years to come. Our I Believe in Leadership Series graduates will help all of us strive to serve each other and you better.

To learn more about working at Merchants Bank: