Business Focus Weekly
A publication focused on helping your business to grow and become more focused.
Canopy Credit Union
Interviewee: Jon Maroni

KW: Tell us about your business.
JM: We have been open since 1956, originally as the Spokane Federal Credit Union, but we rebranded to Canopy Credit Union in 2019. Our mission is to serve people who have less than perfect credit, and people who have financial goals and have run into challenges with other banks and credit unions. Sometimes it’s people with low credit scores or who have not been able to access an account at other institutions. That is the center of who we are. 

Our Motto: your credit score doesn’t tell the whole story.

KW: Who is your target customer?
JM: The primary people we serve in terms of membership are people with credit scores between 575 and 650. We feel we can help these people a lot. Some others we work with are those who have gone bankrupt in the past. They may need a vehicle, a home, or to pay off collections, and our rates are very affordable. We like people that have financial goals and are looking for a partner to help them take the next step.

KW: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JM: It has revealed how much of our process can be done digitally and remotely. We were inadvertently prepared for something like Covid to happen and were able to realize that.

KW: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
JM: New memberships and real estate can be done remotely. We have been able to pivot and operate the business well digitally. Now we can serve so many more people than we ever thought. We have been able to assist and help develop customers' comfort with our new digital-teller transactions program.

KW: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
JM: You always have to listen to what your customers are telling you. Our customers had been asking us to open a Spokane Valley branch for decades. It’s not that we didn’t hear what they were saying, but until we took the risk and dove into getting it done, we realized that customers are the best source of information for what our next move should be. Or not taking action early enough. We left years of success on the table because we didn’t listen to them earlier. Try to make your business as inclusive as you can on the customer side– and that works on many different levels.

KW: What is inspiring to you today?
JM: Getting to hear stories about how we are able to be a financial transformation in people’s lives. We get to hear stories from people where we have saved them thousands of dollars -- that is really inspiring to me!

Canopy Credit Union
Interviewee: Jon Maroni
jonm@canopycu.com
509-323-1317

By Kendra Wiiest
Move & Co | 4 Degrees Real Estate
Owner: Ashley Lunden

KW: Tell us about your business.
AL: I started with 4 Degrees Real Estate in march 2020, right before Covid, then helped develop a team called Move & Co under 4 Degrees. This team allows us to have more creative control of marketing and branding, but with the backing support of 4 Degrees. 

KW: Who is your target customer?
AL: Residential agents that are licensed in Washington and Idaho. I mostly work with first-time homebuyers in the Spokane Valley and Liberty Lake area.

KW: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
AL: I’ve had time to be able to focus on areas that may have been lacking in the past. I’ve been focusing on marketing and future goals, trying to get myself organized. I've also been reaching out to past clients and getting repeat business.

KW: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
AL: I’ve been trying to grow my social media, and making it more of a point to develop it. Also, focusing on education has been big, it builds confidence in being a good resource to my clients.

KW: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
AL: Sometimes I’ve done business with family and friends, where I’ve been a little too relaxed about the transactions. I realized I need to continue to use all of the tools I would use with any client so that I know I’ve done my best. You still need to be a professional in your industry.

KW: What is inspiring to you today?
AL: I’m a people person. I like helping people and having a job that allows me to do different things every day. My husband and three-year-old son – I want them to look up to me as motivated in my career

OFFER: Mention this newsletter and I will offer a free market analysis on your home.

Move & Co/4 Degrees Real Estate
Owner: Ashley Lunden
ashleymovesme@gmail.com
509-280-5767

By Kendra Wiiest
iHeart Media
Interviewee: Jane Wich

KW: Tell us about your business.
JW: We help small local businesses grow through marketing. We do everything except billboards and print. We offer podcast advertising, social media, OTT, the radio app, digital media. We are able to place targeted ads through geographical regions. We have the iHeart app for streaming and podcasts, then offer digital advertising. I’ve been an Account Executive with iHeart since 2019, but in the marketing industry since 1992.

KW: Who is your target customer?
JW: Anyone that wants to grow and has the means to spend money on advertising. I can help businesses find their marketing gaps where we can add value and help them grow.

KW: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
JW: The lack of being able to help people/businesses plan, it’s also hard with some of the small businesses because they are struggling with income. Also, people aren’t driving to work as often and listening to the radio so there have been fewer listeners.

KW: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
JW: Our streaming app is able to connect to many devices, including at home, so people are able to listen to IHeart anywhere – including at home. We can target very specific areas, including zip codes, with our advertising now.

KW: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
JW: Sometimes businesses do not put money aside for marketing. Marketing is an investment and it is important. I have made the same mistake in the past – not putting enough money toward marketing and now I realize how important that investment is. Always set aside money for marketing.

KW: What is inspiring to you today?
JW: I'm happy to have good health. I wish I knew then what I know now. I like to smile more at the little things.

iHeart Media
Interviewee: Jane Wich
janewich@iheartmedia.com
509-869-8029

By Kendra Wiiest
Happy Trails to Brews
Owner: Bill Reeve

KW: Tell us about your business.
BM: Happy Trails to Brews has been open for two years. We are a tavern, a neighborhood public house, supported mostly by people in our direct area. We wanted to create an old-school-style pub where you could go in and feel safe to speak about whatever – not be judged, feel safe. We are very neighborhood-oriented.

KW: Who is your target customer?
BM: Double income, no kids is our main audience. We don’t allow children and are the only 21 and older place between here and Garland. We’ve noticed more college-age kids with apartments close by coming to our tavern.

KW: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?
BM: The lack of revenue: not being able to sell a lot of draft beer where the majority of our money is made. We have become more of a bottle shop because of Covid restrictions.

KW: What are one or two actions you’ve taken to make a difference?
BM: We work seven days a week, which makes it so we can stay open. I have also done my best to provide events, such as virtual trivia. We have also done a lot more videos, a lot more online marketing, and growing social media – trying to keep people engaged.

KW: What is a mistake you’ve made along the way that other people can learn from?
BM: A major mistake I made in the very beginning was having my bar built by whoever I could find that was the cheapest. If I ever plan to expand, I would do more research, not go with the first person I found. Take more time and don't be rushed to get it done.

KW: What is inspiring to you today?
BM: Watching my customer base thrive and push through everything that has hit them during the pandemic. They show up with a smile on their face and push through it.

OFFER: Every Monday we do kill the keg - $2 off select pours. Tuesday is student night – show your ID and receive 10% off.

Happy Trails to Brews
Owner: Bill Reeve
happytrailstobrews@gmail.com
509-822-7037

By Kendra Wiiest
Current & Future Events
Space is limited, register today!
SUMMER SESSION - GrowthCLUB - Quarterly business planning event for business owners to set goals and learn from experts. Save the date for the next one, April 4, 2021. Free to clients, only $99 per company.

Useful Business Thought of the Week