Greater Mankato Growth Blog

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

Operating your business safely during a pandemic

Conducting business activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic takes careful planning to ensure employees and customers are safe and business goals are met. Mayo Clinic experts have carefully developed strategies and protocols focused on mitigating COVID-19 within the health care setting, where halting transmission is critical. They are also currently tailoring those strategies to support and advise businesses in settings outside of health care.

Mayo Clinic has refined its expertise and may offer advisory services in the following areas, which may be relevant to your business:

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Governor Walz Loosens COVID Restrictions

Effective Saturday, February 13 at Noon, Governor Walz has amended Executive Order 20-01 with Executive Order 20-07, loosening on COVID restrictions. Full details of the changes can be viewed in Executive Order 20-07.

The major changes are as follows:

  • Capacity for private social celebrations & events (including but not limited to weddings, funerals, life milestones, family reunions, religious services, and other similar occassions) occurring at venues involving the consumption of food or alcohol has increased from 10 indoor & 15 outdoor to 50.
  • Maximum capacity of indoor and outdoor space for restaurants, bars, gyms, & venues providing entertainment expanded from 150 to 250.
  • Facilities allowing food and beverage consumption are allowed to remain open until 11:00 pm rather than 10:00 pm

Greater Mankato Growth Nonprofit Engagement Fund

Greater Mankato Growth has partnered with Mayo Clinic Health System to offer Greater Mankato Growth’s Nonprofit Engagement Fund for membership, programs and events. This partnership was established to ensure non-profit organizations and their staff can take advantage of the many benefits offered through Greater Mankato Growth. The partnership recognizes that nonprofit organizations throughout Greater Mankato are a steady source of economic growth for our region as well as a key partner in providing vital services, employing residents, and improving the quality of life.

“Nonprofit organizations provide vital services that impact the health and wellness of our employees, patients and community members. We are excited to be the sponsor for Greater Mankato Growth’s nonprofit scholarship fund which will enable leaders from this sector to participate in various GMG opportunities.”

-Dr. James Hebl, Regional Vice President, Mayo Clinic Health System, Southwest Minnesota

Nonprofit Membership Rate:

Nonprofits are now eligible to pay the Basic Level pricing at $330 and receive the benefits of the Engaged Level (typical pricing at $770). To be considered, nonprofits must meet one of the following criteria:

•Organizations that have an annual budget or gross revenue of $400,000 or less

•Proven financial hardship with detrimental impact to the local community. This information must be included in the application narrative.



Engagement Funds for Events and Programming:

Through the Greater Mankato Growth Engagement Fund, Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) will offer
partial funding toward Greater Mankato Growth events and programming, including but not limited to:


• Professional Development
• GMG Talent Programs (including but not limited to Leadership Institute, Young Professionals,
Navigators and Executive Sounding Board)
• Volunteer Groups such as Ambassadors and Cavaliers
• Events (including Business After Hours, Business Awards and Hall of Fame, Annual Meeting, and
other connecting events).

TO APPLY FOR THE NONPROFIT RATE OR ENGAGEMENT FUNDS PLEASE EMAIL A ONE PARAGRAPH
REQUEST TO INFO@GREATERMANKATO.COM or learn more details here:

New Business Focus, First National Bank Minnesota Featuring Mike Bresnahan and Eric Peters

First National Bank Minnesota is a full-service financial institution headquartered in St. Peter, Minnesota, with banking offices in Mankato, St. Peter, Gaylord, and Belle Plaine. Our primary geographic market covers a large area in south central Minnesota, including Nicollet, Blue Earth, LeSueur, Scott, Carver, and Sibley counties.

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Accountability at Your Business through Traction

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part six of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

Discipline and accountability will give your company the Traction it needs to survive or thrive in any environment.  This is especially essential when navigating challenging times.  You need to have the discipline of meeting regularly with your leadership team, reviewing and analyzing your scorecard metrics each week, reviewing your past quarter’s performance and forecasting your next quarter while learning from your past successes and mistakes.  Accountability comes from helping and holding each team member responsible for their commitments, metrics and tasks.  This will provide your organization the Traction necessary to be the best you can be allowing you to get everything you want from your business.

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is offering the best-selling book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please email jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

Identifying the Root Cause of Issues at your Company

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part five of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

Great companies are very good at solving their issues.  They don’t conceal them or run away from them.  They actually look for and encourage Issues because they know that they can solve them.  The only issues they can’t solve are the ones they don’t know about.  During the last ten months, Issues have been coming at us at an alarming pace.  You can’t solve them all and some are more impactful than others.  It is important to keep them in perspective by prioritizing the ones that must be solved and holding off on the ones that can wait to be solved the following week or quarter.  Once you have prioritized the most urgent issues, we need to drill down to get to the root cause.  

Many times when an issue is brought out, we discuss, explain, defend, commiserate, tell stories, but we rarely identify the true root cause of the issue.  This is typically what consumes our time in our meetings and we never get around to actually solving the issue.  I.D.S. is the EOS® Issues Solving Track™ that instills the discipline necessary to first Identify the root cause.  This step will take more time at the front end, but it will ultimately save you time because your team won’t get distracted focusing on symptoms and telling stories that may not be relevant to the real issue.  Once the root cause is Identified, then we move to Discussion.  This ensures that everyone’s voice has been heard and to ensure that we are focused on the most probable root cause.  Once there is agreement on the most probable root cause, we now list all possible Solutions.  

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is offering the best-selling book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please email jconsidine@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

First-Time Home Buyer’s Tips

Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming, challenging and time-consuming. Starting the process with a Pre-Approval can you help you be one step ahead when you find a home you are interested in.

A Pre-Approval allows you to focus in on what you need to do to be ready to buy a home before you start looking at houses. The Pre-Approval process can be done online, in-person or via a phone call. You will be asked to provide information on the following items:

  • Income/ Employment
  • Assets/ Debts
  • Residency information
  • Consent for credit check

Your choice lender will run a credit check to see what type of loan programs you may qualify for. 

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New Community Resource to Address Food Insecurity

In 2021, a new community resource will help South Central Minnesota businesses find a way to donate usable food and will help non-profit organizations seeking food to address food insecurity. With the support of community leaders, Wooden Spoon received a Prevention of Wasted Food and Food Rescue grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. This grant allows the ideas being discussed for some time to come to fruition and establishes the South Central Minnesota Food Recovery Project.

The project seeks to address two important social issues: food waste and food insecurity. The goal is to create a system for local businesses to donate safe, healthy excess food to be used by local organizations and coalitions serving people who are low-income and/or people who are Black or Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC). The grant will create a space for storage of donated items, a system to attain the food, and an app for communicating the availability of the food for use by the agencies that need it.

We are currently seeking input from local restaurants who are interested in reducing food waste and/or donating food.  Please fill out the survey, found here: https://forms.gle/mDE3L2qL1m5DhsB58

If you are unable or unwilling to fill out the survey, and still would like to have your voice heard, please contact me directly at natasha@woodenspoonmn.com or 213-675-1533.

Does your Business have a Scorecard?

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part four of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

How do you know if you had a good week, are having a good month, are tracking to the quarter or year?  More importantly, how do your employees know if they had a good day or week?  We are all wired to deliver expectations we understand and agree with.  Having a clear and concise Scorecard will provide your employees and you with a pulse on how they are performing and when they have issues that need to be solved.  This is helpful when employees are working in the office and it is even more helpful when they are working remotely.  A great Scorecard will efficiently point out the critical issues your organization must address to keep the organization on track to deliver the weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual results you expect.

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is also offering the best-selling book Traction to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please contact jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

A New Year – A New Plan for MRCI

The following is a guest blog post from MRCI. MRCI welcomes 2021 with exciting new programming based in the community.

MRCI made the decision to move its employment and life enrichment programs entirely to the community. It was originally a five-year plan but COVID pushed up the timeline.

To make the plan happen MRCI has closed buildings in Chaska, Shakopee, Rosemount, Fairmont and New Ulm, and consolidated two buildings into one for its Mankato headquarters. The concept has been discussed for several years, but COVID-19 nudged the organization to move from concept to reality. The change impacts about 1,400 program participants.

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Local Programming Ensures 200 Youth Continue to be Supported

Learn more about the YMCA’s Mentoring Programs through this guest blog post from Allison Braswell, Brother/Sister Program Advocate and Recruitment Coordinator. As we reach out to serve the greater community during the pandemic, our continued efforts are bringing comfort and stability to our youth.  The “not to be forgotten” story, tells how the mentoring program ensured that over 200 youth in our community were still cared for.  Even though the early stay at home order suspended the in-person mentor/mentee weekly match meetings, we successfully found a solution, so mentors were still contacting their mentees to let them know they were not forgotten.

There are many issues in our community that the YMCA is addressing as a socially responsible organization; however, without mentor volunteers we stand a chance of not supporting the youth in our community who need it most.  We need your help to keep the Brother/Sister and School-Based mentoring programs strong. Our intention is to meet every commitment and provide the youth in our community with the qualified quality mentors.  Your support is key in solving this problem.

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Applications Being Accepted for Blue Earth County’s Business Assistance Grant Program

Greater Mankato Growth encourages Blue Earth County businesses to review the recently approved Blue Earth County Business Assistance Grant Program. The funds have been allocated to Blue Earth County from a COVID relief package by the State of Minnesota.

Eligible business owners may apply for a one-time grant to cover operational expenses. Operational expenses may include, but are not limited to, insurance costs, legal fees, payroll, rent, utilities, property taxes, marketing/advertising, licensing fees, accounting fees, routine maintenance, travel/vehicle expenses, office supplies, repairs to existing building and equipment. Grant awards will be based on business type and employee count. Businesses must be able to demonstrate they were adversely affected by Executive Orders related to COVID-19.

Full Details on the Grant Program & eligibility can be found on the Blue Earth County Website

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