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March 25, 2018
I found out there’s an advantage to waiting a full year into your business before holding your ribbon-cutting.
First, you can at least claim to have made it in business one year. That’s something no entrepreneur should assume will happen.
Second, it provides a wonderful opportunity to publicly thank people who have helped you get there.
I had that chance last week, as we officially marked the first anniversary of our SiouxFalls.Business membership in the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
In that crowd and the photo that followed, I could trace my career journey in Sioux Falls and the opportunities that led me to become a business owner.
I got to thank Mark Millage, the news director at KELO-TV who hired me out of college and gave me a role that allowed me to start becoming connected to this community.
I got to say the same to Rob Swenson, who allowed me to return to the media industry in 2010 when he offered me a job at the Sioux Falls Business Journal. I became editor shortly after that when he retired, and the role led me to a love of business reporting that turned into what I do now.
And, maybe most timely, I got to recognize my former boss and our former mayor, Dave Munson, who’s the reason I remained in Sioux Falls. Not only did he give me a wonderful opportunity to serve our city, but as we approach a new administration, I’m reminded frequently how much Munson and his team did to create the community we have today.
Then I got to say thank you to the ones who have helped me build this business, including my content manager Rosemary McCoy, whose attention to detail saves me almost daily, and our incredibly talented multimedia freelance team.
Of course, there is no business without revenue. And I was a little amazed to look back and realize that in the past year our core business, Align Content Studio, helped 45 organizations tell their stories through writing, photography and video. I can’t thank them enough for believing in me early on and continuing to work with us today.
As I told the crowd at our ribbon-cutting, I have had many opportunities in our local media market. But one that I missed out on was the chance to work for a locally owned media outlet. I was too late. By the time I was ready to work in media, corporate ownership and consolidation had created media outlets where the big decisions usually were made elsewhere.
But I heard stories about those former days. I heard about when local ownership invested heavily into the news product to provide superior coverage for this market. I heard about when media leaders were viewed as some of the strongest leaders within our broader business community. From everything I heard, those were pretty good days for the media market and the community that consumed its products.
So it has been especially gratifying in the past year to bring a little bit of that locally owned media approach back to Sioux Falls. We’ve done it in a very modern way, I think, and we will continue to advance the new business model in which I feel more and more confident in saying is the right one for local media.
I wrapped up the week hosting members of the SDSU journalism club in our downtown building, which seemed appropriate as I reflected on the past year and the ways we have changed the way business news is delivered and advertising is created.
“What makes working in the Sioux Falls business community different?” one student asked me.
I’m not sure they fully understood my answer – I probably wouldn’t have as a college student – but I think you will.
“In Sioux Falls, we still believe that when one of us succeeds, the community succeeds” is essentially what I told them.
“As I was taught here and as I believe, success is not a zero-sum game. For me to win, doesn’t mean someone else has to lose. And that’s part of what I hope to accomplish in a little way with SiouxFalls.Business. I want to create a stronger media market for this community. I want to push everyone to up their game. I want to see stronger, more effective advertising solutions for businesses. That benefits everyone.”
I am not alone in this approach. I see it all the time here, from our health care organizations to our retailers and many industries in between. But I do think it’s part of what makes us a strong and special business community, and I’m proud to be part of it.
Finally, thanks to you, our readers. When I launched SiouxFalls.Business, I didn’t have an expectation for how many people we would reach or how our audience would grow. I just knew the model made sense in my head and it was worth trying to see how the market responded.
In true Sioux Falls fashion, you’ve been incredibly supportive of us, and you motivate me all the time to keep at it. Running a business is harder and more rewarding than I anticipated, but I am convinced there is no better place to do it. Thank you again!
P.S. In case you never read the column launching this business, here’s a repeat!
As SiouxFalls.Business marks its first year, we reflect on bringing locally owned news to Sioux Falls.