By Ron VandenBoom
Business Research Applied Network Development (BRAND) is in some ways reminiscent of a TV commercial that states, We dont make (the product), we make it better.
BRANDs goal is just that, to help businesses and individuals achieve their personal goals by providing the game plan to success through research, networking, and knowledge.
Roberta Demarest, CEO/CFO, started BRAND June 28 after completing the SCORE Nx-Level classes. She had wanted to start a business, but turned her eyes away from traditional enterprises while doing research into the possibility of starting a coffee shop.
The more I researched the more I found we have enough businesses, she said. We have pretty much an offering of what people would like to see here. What they didnt have is a wide enough selection ... and enough variation.
This realization prompted her to start BRAND.
I want to see businesses get busier, she said. Id like the producers to produce, Id like manufacturers to manufacture and Id like lenders to lend. I formed BRAND to find out what businesses needed and what businesses can utilize for help within the community within their arms reach.
Demarest explained that many business people and individuals are very good at what they do, but that many of them may not be good at things like marketing, researching, or expanding their sales base. And in many cases they just dont have the time to do extensive research.
To the manufacturer, this could mean Demarest would research new markets for their product or more efficient ways to get the product to market. It might also mean investigating where parts or raw materials could be obtained quicker or more cheaply.
To a farmer, it could mean doing a cost/savings analysis of the use of a global positioning system (GPS) on their farm. She could also arrange for a college intern to operate the system for the farmer.
Demarest said she could also facilitate farmers dealings with banks.
I will look to local lenders first, she said. Then I go home and write it all out and break it up to see how it fits the person Im representing.
Demarest then returns to the banks until she negotiates the best rates for her customer.
Her willingness to do the leg-work allows producers, the farmer, or business the time to do what they do best while she finds way to make what they do better.
I want you to be the inventor and do what you do, she said. I dont want to change what you do, I want to enhance what you do.
An example of Demarests contribution was evident when she arranged the transport of the old Great Northern caboose from the Hill County Fairgrounds to its new home at the Heritage Center.
She communicated with the mayor, the county commissioners, and with other principles that needed to be involved in the project, including Patrick Construction and the BNSF. She researched city, county, and state ordinances governing the transport of the caboose over public roads and city streets and learned what licenses or permits were needed. She finally arranged the date and time for the project to be undertaken.
Everything she learned she compiled in a package that she presented to the Heritage Center so they could use it in the future.
BRAND is also working with MSU-Northerns Diesel Mechanics Program helping to prepare students for what Demarest called a seamless integration into the world of employment after graduation. She can work for the individual student or for the business whoever needs the help and the service.
Demarest is already looking toward a time when she will have to add employees to help keep track of the many phone and e-mail messages she already receives.
Its already growing bigger than one person can handle, she said. I knew that going into it.
Demarest hopes to be able to expand her business internationally through franchises, but thats still somewhere in her future.
She warns, however, that her business takes someone who is not easily bruised and who has the resilience to get up every morning and say, my time is valuable and I better start investing it now.
I dont have time to sit and have a cup of coffee and watch the sun rise, she said. I hit the floor running.
Its an attitude that fits Demarests motto well Dont wait for it to happen, make it happen.