Photo © Jason Lugo

Welcome to the New Year!  Once the holiday decorations are taken down, the champagne glasses put away and life returns to business as usual, the new year (for many) signifies new beginnings and a clean slate.  For several business owners, the recession which accompanied the past few years has spurred uncertainty and a somewhat dismal business atmosphere.  However, in the Magic Valley a local group can help businesses ring in 2012 with prospects a fruitful new year.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Jill Skeem started the Magic Valley Leads Group In 2004.

In 2004 Jill Skeem was new to the Magic Valley.  Eager to begin her life in Idaho after moving from Boston, she wondered how she would market herself as a Macrobiotic Health Counselor when most people have not a clue what that is.  Jill contacted the Chamber of Commerce in search of an area Leads Group similar to one she had belonged to back east.  After informing her that no such group existed the Chamber suggested she start one. Jill did just that.

On the first Wednesday of every month a group of over 20 Southern Idaho business owners gather at Hands On Ceramic Studio in Twin Falls.  Over a continental style breakfast the group shares leads and referrals.  Each member gives the group a one minute presentation about their business and each month, 2 members do an 8-minute presentation about their business.  You really get to know all the businesses better and all members reap the rewards.

Skeem says the presentations give the members information about a variety of different businesses so that they, in turn, can pass the information on to friends, family members, colleagues and others.  “Anyone can do cold calls.  This sort of turns those cold calls into warm calls,” she says.

Photo © Jason Lugo

Dan Olmstead with Idaho power was one of the first Leads Group members.

Over the past eight years the group has attracted the several top local business owners.  Skeem says the group is representative of the types of business owners southern Idaho residents want to do business with; those that embody integrity, honesty and hard work.  Former member Jason Lugo says, “It’s a great group to pass leads and get business”.

Skeem has seen the group’s members benefit in other ways as well.  Business owners improve and fine tune the way they market their businesses and several members have honed public speaking skills after presenting at the monthly meetings.  With many members who have been in the group several years Jill says, “It’s just been really successful and original.”

Business owners can join the group for an annual fee of $50 or $30 for a six month membership.  Enrollment is open any time and interested parties can come check out their first meeting for free.

“We want everyone to feel welcome. And really, everyone who comes joins…it’s just such a great group.”

If you are a new business owner looking to launch your business into 2012 on a high note or a long time business owner looking to rejuvenate your great ideas, contact Jill Skeem by email at jillasherman@yahoo.com or at (208) 320-2786.
For more information, visit www.magicvalleyleadsgroup.com

About the author

Christie Lewis - Magic Valley native Christie Lewis enjoys exploring all that living in Southern Idaho has to offer with her husband and two daughters. A graduate of Twin Falls High School and former CSI and ISU student, Christie has enjoyed writing since she penned her first humor memoir as a young child.

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