Winter  2008      Vol. 17, No. 1  REAP HOME PAGE  A publication of the Center for Rural Affairs    
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MarketPlace: Opening Doors to Success Business Conference


  • Where can you go to find out how “other” businesses are getting customers to repeat orders? MarketPlace!

  • Where can you go to find out how a website can assist your bottom line? MarketPlace!

  • Where can you go to network with others who have grown their businesses? MarketPlace!

If you haven’t yet, be sure to mark your calendars for the MarketPlace conference in Columbus on February 27, 2008. Last year the conference was attended by over 450 small business owners, service providers, potential business owners, and young entrepreneurs. The comments heard during and after the conference were gratifying to those of us who helped organize it.

We met the needs of our customers! We are looking for return customers this year along with new customers who will benefit from the educational sessions, networking opportunities, and a Store where you can purchase Nebraska products to help our small businesses.

This year’s keynote speaker is Kipp Kreutzberg, Sr. Director with Theravance, Inc. Kipp comes highly recommended by Travis Wenzl, MarketPlace Advisory Committee member from Hyannis. Kipp has extensive knowledge in product positioning, branding, advertising, promotion & labeling, and pricing. He will also be presenting the session “Branding Your Product or Service.”

Do you “Want a Return? Try Exceptional Customer Service.” In this session, local business owners will discuss how customer service has increased their sales. You’ll be able to ask questions of them too. The Red Carpet program, focusing on Customer Service, will also be available so you can learn how to bring it to your community.

Dave Buchholz, David & Associates, will be back to share more marketing strategies with attendees. Connie Harvey, Efficiency Counts, returns to offer more tips on keeping those books in order to improve your profit margin. Kandi Brown, H & R Block, also returns to help business owners avoid any tax pitfalls.
What’s in your Business Plan? Eugene Rahn, REAP Sr. Business Specialist, again shares from his wealth of experience with small business owners what you need to know to make sure your business is feasible. And what your lender wants to know to fund you!

The University of Nebraska BIT Mobile returns this year and is offering technology sessions. Space is limited so be sure to pre-register for those sessions. Other sessions do not require pre-registration. An internet presence will be a great asset to many of our rural businesses. Find out more about successful websites and ecommerce.

Many communities want to be “entrepreneurial.” Several sessions will target ideas to create that environment. Find out how Fairfield, Iowa, attracts a range of unique and niche businesses. What can the Farm Bill do to assist “entrepreneurial communities?” Bring your community representatives with you to get more information!

There will be sessions related to financing, more marketing, business transition, agri-tourism, using podcasts and other technology oriented tools (limited space so pre-register), and MORE! Several sessions will be offered in Spanish.

To facilitate networking, we are offering “Table Topics” during the luncheon. Topics will be listed prior to the conference and will be visible on the tables. Also a map indicating the various topics will be posted outside the luncheon area. 

Other “experts” are lined up to share their experiences and knowledge with MarketPlace attendees. The BEST part is that many of those “experts” are you! One of the best outcomes of last year’s conference was the sharing that participants did with each other throughout the day and long past the conference’s end.

If you have a product you would like to promote and sell at MarketPlace, please visit to download the application forms. What a great opportunity to have someone else taking in the money for you while you network with others and attend the educational sessions. 

Early-Bird Registration ends January 27th so don’t delay in signing up for the conference! Go online to  for all the details. The website is being regularly updated. 

We (REAP staff) look forward to seeing many of you at the MarketPlace!!

Contact: Monica Braun, 402.643.2673 or for more information.
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