Solutions for Business Winter 2022

2 WINTER 2022 PANORA TELCO Main Office: (641) 755-2424 Technical Support: (641) 755-TECH (8324) Request a Service Call: (641) 755-2424 Request a Locate: (800) 292-8989 Mailing: 114 East Main, P.O. Box 189 Panora, IA 50216 GUTHRIE CENTER COMMUNICATIONS Main Office: (641) 332-2000 Technical Support: (641) 332-2225 Request a Service Call: (641) 332-2000 Request a Locate: (800) 292-8989 Mailing: 403 State Street Guthrie Center, IA 50115 Solutions for Business is a publication of Panora Telco, 114 East Main, P.O. Box 189, Panora, IA 50216 and Guthrie Center Communications, 403 State Street, Guthrie Center, IA 50115. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, electronic, photocopying, recording, mechanical, or otherwise without the prior written permission of Panora Telco or Guthrie Center Communications. All rights are reserved. Editorial and Circulation – Contact Jaime Waddle, 114 East Main St., P.O. Box 189, Panora, IA 50216, (641) 755-2424 Trademarks – All brand names and product names used in this publication are trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Additional Issues – Extra issues are available to business customers on a limited basis while supplies last. Contact Jaime Waddle, 114 East Main St., P.O. Box 189, Panora, IA 50216, (641) 755-2424 Copyright © 2022 by Panora Telco, Guthrie Center Communications, and Cornerstone Publishing Group, Inc. POSTMASTER Send changes to: Jaime Waddle, 114 East Main St., P.O. Box 189, Panora, IA 50216 WIN 22 It’s great to get everything you need from one place. One-stop shopping is more convenient and takes less time, which is why it’s so popular. You can think of this issue of Solutions for Business as the magazine version of one-stop shopping, since it includes content on a variety of topics. Social Media Influencers Impact Purchases, as you’ll discover on page 3. You may want to consider adding this tool to your social media strategy. Also on this page is an employee profile on Mike Moore, Combination Technician. The Business Spotlight on Hometown Foods was the inspiration for this issue’s one-stop shopping theme. Check out pages 4 and 5 to learn about these family-owned grocery stores that are committed to helping customers get everything on their list while enjoying friendly service and good values. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications provide phone and internet services to keep the stores operating efficiently. Technical information is also part of this issue. On page 6, you’ll find an explanation of Shared Bandwidth vs. Dedicated Bandwidth, followed on page 7 with the article SCORE Offers Small Business Resilience Hub about an important online resource. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications offer a full selection of internet, Wi-Fi, phone, IT, and security services. Whenever you need help, one call does it all. Sincerely, Andrew M. Randol General Manager Panora Telco & Guthrie Center Communications PRINTED ON RECYCLED PAPER FOR BUSINESS

WINTER 2022 3 SOLUTIONS Word of mouth has long been one of the most valuable forms of marketing, since potential customers are highly receptive to recommendations from a person they know and trust. In today’s world of digital relationships, word of mouth extends far beyond recommendations from friends and family into the realm of social media influencers. What is a social media influencer? It’s someone, whether famous or a “regular person,” whose Tweets and posts impact the consumer choices of their followers on social media. They range from celebrities with millions of followers to micro-influencers with thousands of followers. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool. Research from Twitter shows that 49 percent of consumers seek purchase guidance from social media influencers, and 20 percent said that a Tweet from an influencer inspired them to share their own product recommendation. Even more important for marketers, nearly 40 percent of Twitter users said they had made a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet.1 If you’re interested in exploring the use of a social media influencer as part of your overall social media strategy, consider these factors: Relevance: The influencer is sharing content and developing a following relevant to your business and the particular market segment you want to target. Reach: The number of people you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base that would bring value to your business. Resonance: The potential level of engagement the influencer can create with an audience that’s valuable and relevant to your brand. Before you reach out to a potential social media influencer, who could possibly be found among your current fans and followers, determine what actions you’re requesting. You might, for example, give a free product or service in exchange for a posted review. Keep in mind that consumers want authenticity from the brands they choose, so make sure the social media influencer actually uses that product or service so the content will be more engaging. What’s more, since this is ultimately about building strong, lasting relationships, strive for strategies that are mutually beneficial for your business and the social media influencer. 1 WHO’S MINDING YOUR BUSINESS? Mike Moore Combination Technician Mike Moore joined the team at Panora Telco in April 2000, bringing with him experience in underground construction. He soon completed one year of college courses specially designed for telecom industry employees. As the main Combination Technician for Panora Telco, Moore’s two decades of work in the field are invaluable. His primary responsibility is to install the underground drops to the new houses in our service area. In addition, he locates the existing underground facilities and does installations of our communications services. What does Moore enjoy most about his job? He replied, “The group of people I get to work with at Panora Telco. They’re great.” Moore and his wife of 30 years have two adult children and two grandchildren. “When I’m not working, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family,” he said. Social Media Influencers Impact Purchases

4 WINTER 2022 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Hometown Foods describes itself as “your local community connection for high quality foods, friendly service, and great prices.” Each store offers the convenience of being a one-stop shop, where customers can find everything they need including high-quality meat, produce, deli and bakery items, frozen foods, dairy, groceries, and health and beauty projects. In addition to the everyday basics, Hometown Foods also stocks specialty items from around the world. The staff is always happy to answer questions and help locate items. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications provide services to two of the Hometown Foods locations. The Guthrie Center store uses voice and internet, and the Panora store uses voice and internet plus a phone system. (The Stuart store is outside our service area.) Guthrie Center Store Located at 200 State Street, the Guthrie Center Hometown Foods currently has 20 employees to keep the shelves stocked, the food prepared, and the customers happy. The team relies on their Guthrie Center Communications services to stay connected and work efficiently. Don Reinhart said, “We’re very pleased with our Guthrie Center Communications services. We rely heavily on the internet. All of our debit/credit, EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer), and eWIC (Women, Infants, and Children program) transactions require an internet connection, and these forms of payment make up a huge percentage of our daily transactions. In addition, lots of other day-to-day store activities are done online—such as ordering items for the store to sell, checking bank statements, paying bills, In 1975, three brothers—Tom Reinhart, Dave Reinhart, and Don Reinhart—purchased the Hometown Foods grocery store in Guthrie Center. They later added stores in Panora and Stuart to the family business and customers continue to appreciate the hometown shopping experience. These family-owned grocery stores believe in service with a smile Hometown Foods (L to R) Don Reinhart, Troy Reinhart, and Katie Reinhart

WINTER 2022 5 SOLUTIONS and emailing. We count on Guthrie Center Communications for fast and reliable internet, and they don’t disappoint.” He continued, “The tech support team from Guthrie Center Communications is always friendly whenever I call with a question. If we’re having an issue, they’re quick to resolve it. I also appreciate that they explain the problem in terms that a non-tech person can understand.” Panora Store The Hometown Foods store in Panora can be found at 601 E Main Street and has about 30 employers. Like the Guthrie Center location, it depends on our services. Troy Reinhart and his sister Katie Reinhart are in charge of this Hometown Foods store. When asked about their experience using Panora Telco’s services, Troy Reinhart responded, “Panora Telco seems to always be striving to bring the best and latest technology to our small town. We really appreciate that, because we rely on their internet for processing card payments, placing orders, and many other tasks required for the operation of our business. And certainly good, reliable phone service is an integral part of our business as well.” Fast and responsive customer support was also noted by Troy Reinhart. He said, “The fact that Panora Telco is right here in town is great. If we do have any problems, we can easily get ahold of them to get our questions answered or have a technician sent to our store quickly to get things resolved. Panora Telco definitely has a focus on customer service. I respect that, since Hometown Foods is committed to great customer service as well.” Thank You Messages to Customers Both Don Reinhart and Troy Reinhart wanted to take this opportunity to thank their loyal customers. Don Reinhart said, “Hometown Foods really appreciates your business and your choice to shop locally. We try our best to offer a wide variety of products and stay competitively priced. We realize without customers, we no longer exist. So we try to make customer service our number one priority.” Troy Reinhart echoed that sentiment. “I thank our customers for all their support through the years. Because of you, Hometown Foods is able to give back to our community through donations to our schools and other local organizations.” IS THE 8-HOUR WORKDAY PRODUCTIVE? The 8-hour workday was created during the Industrial Revolution to reduce the number of hours of manual labor that workers were forced to endure on the factory floor. In today’s offices, however, the 8-hour workday presents challenges. According to the American Society of Employers, research by Ohio University suggests the average office worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes each 8-hour workday. The following activities account for some of the remaining time: • Reading news websites – 65 minutes • Social media– 44 minutes • Discussing topics not related to work– 40 minutes • Searching for new jobs–26 minutes Another factor contributing to reduced productivity is the number of interruptions. The average office worker is interrupted every three minutes, and it takes most people about 22 minutes to return to a task after being interrupted. Ideally, the brain needs a 15-minute break for every one hour of highly focused work. So to be most productive, we should take regular breaks away from computers and phones. Breaks spent walking or chatting are most effective for “recharging batteries” and preparing for another hour of work. Source: EPTW-Infographic “ We count on Guthrie Center Communications for fast and reliable internet, and they don’t disappoint.” —  DON REINHART, OWNER HOMETOWN FOODS Panora Telco seems to always be striving to bring the best and latest technology to our small town.” — TROY REINHART, MANAGER, HOMETOWN FOODS

6 WINTER 2022 Defining the Terms Shared bandwidth means you use the same uplink to your ISP as many other customers. This is most likely the type of connection you have at home. With shared bandwidth, speeds are advertised as something like “50 Mbps.” But, this speed is the fastest you can expect, and may be slower at any given time, depending on other limiting factors like the number of other users online. By contrast, dedicated bandwidth is bandwidth that’s allocated for use by your business only. Since you’re not sharing it with anyone, your internet speeds are not affected by other users and will not fluctuate. If you choose 50 Mbps dedicated bandwidth, for example, that is the download and upload speed you will consistently experience. A Crowded Interstate vs. Your Own Lane To further clarify the distinction between shared bandwidth and dedicated bandwidth, it helps to use the analogy of vehicles traveling on a highway. During rush hours, the lanes are congested with heavy traffic. You can get where you’re going, but it will take longer to reach your destination than at other times of day. The difference in speeds at different times is like shared bandwidth, which offers different data transfer speeds depending on the amount of online activity. If you had a lane on the highway just for your use, that would be like dedicated bandwidth. Without anyone else in the lane to encumber movement, you could always travel more quickly. Questions to Consider When deciding between shared bandwidth and dedicated bandwidth, ask yourself these questions: • How big a deal would it be to your business if your internet speeds slowed down sometimes? If you have a small business with relatively light internet usage, the less expensive option of shared bandwidth may be the right choice. However, a business that’s highly dependent on consistently fast internet speeds would be better served by the guaranteed speeds of dedicated bandwidth, which come with a Service Level Agreement. • Do you offer Wi-Fi to customers and visitors? Many businesses have dedicated bandwidth for use by their employees and shared bandwidth for guests in the lobby of the building. • Do you upload large files on a regular basis? Medical offices and other healthcare providers need to upload large files containing high-resolution scans and X-rays, which requires the faster upload speeds offered by dedicated bandwidth. • Do you use web-based applications? The 100-percent reliability of a dedicated connection is best for businesses using webbased applications such as Microsoft CRM or accounting software. To learn more, call Panora Telco at (641) 755-2424 or Guthrie Center Communications at (641) 332-2000. As a business owner or manager, you have important decisions to make regarding your internet service. One consideration that sometimes causes confusion is the issue of whether to use shared bandwidth, dedicated bandwidth, or a combination of the two. Shared Bandwidth vs. Dedicated Bandwidth What’s the difference between them and when should each one be used?

WINTER 2022 7 SOLUTIONS Visit and click on the “Visit the Resilience Hub” button to access a variety of resources: Remote Mentoring Small business owners can schedule remote mentoring sessions with SCORE mentors via phone, email, and video. In addition, SCORE now has a real-time mentoring platform which shortens the time it takes for you to connect with a mentor from days to minutes. In Mentoring Hall, mentors answer your small business questions and offer personalized advice in the following categories: • Funding & Finance • Recovery & Growth • Ecommerce & Technology • Marketing & Sales • Startup & Business Plans • HR & Operations Peer Networking Fellow small business owners are a huge resource to draw upon, since they face similar issues and questions. That’s why SCORE created the Peer Networking space within the online platform. You can “meet” other owners and discuss concerns in these discussion groups: • Covid-19 Issues & Recovery • Startup Entrepreneurs • Women Entrepreneurs • Minority Entrepreneurs Resilience Training SCORE’s Resilience Training provides educational materials and online workshops so small businesses can adapt and grow successfully through COVID-19 or any disaster. It also offers industry- specific training to help you with challenges unique to your type of business. Resource Portal A variety of help is out there for small businesses, and SCORE’s Resource Portal is a single place to go to start finding the information, government resources, and financial support you need. Areas covered include marketing, loans, printing, shipping, technology, and e-commerce. SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors, powered by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It’s helped more than 11 million small business owners since 1964 and continues to offer assistance during the unprecedented changes caused by today’s pandemic. WHAT’S AT STAKE WHEN YOUR INTERNET GOES DOWN? If you temporarily lose your internet connection at home, it may only be a minor inconvenience. But if internet downtime occurs at your business, it can have a major impact on your bottom line. While downtime scenarios will vary depending on the type of business and its IT systems, the damaging and costly effects can include the following: • Lost sales revenue by being unable to process orders and credit card payments • Reduced employee productivity • Inability to access critical data and core systems • Potential employee overtime costs to meet deadlines following a period of disruption • IT recovery costs • Cost of restoring IT systems • Where applicable, compliance violations or materials lost • Customer dissatisfaction A number of different factors can cause internet outages. They range from accidentally cut lines in a cable or fiber network to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications have built redundancies into our network and have systems in place to maximize our internet reliability. We also offer IT services to assist your business with data storage and business continuity. For details, call Panora Telco at (641) 755-2424 or Guthrie Center Communications at (641) 332-2000. SCORE Offers Small Business Resilience Hub While you’re visiting, check out the listings for live or recorded webinars and browse the library for free business templates, e-guides, infographics, and more.

TECHNOLOGY YOU NEED. PEOPLE YOU TRUST. THAT’S US. Wherever you are on the road to reaching your business goals, Panora Telco and Guthrie Center Communications are there beside you. Our business services let you focus on what matters—using communications technology to provide your customers with the greatest experience possible. Call Panora Telco at (641) 755-2424 or Guthrie Center Communications at (641) 332-2000.