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Hills Bank and Trust Company Successful Business Newsletter.  Member FDIC.
Volume 5, Issue 1: January - February 2010     

In This Issue

ACH Origination.

10 Second Tip

The Power of a Birthday Card

Bring unexpected delight to valued customers by sending birthday cards. Remembering someone on their birthday and writing a memorable greeting is a surprise gesture that shows your gratitude and their value. Be sure it arrives before their birthday, and if possible, include some sort of birthday bonus in the card. It could be as simple as a special coupon or inviting them to stop by your store for a special birthday gift.

Hills Happenings

Hills Bank has a new website, offering improved navigation and security. Be sure to check out the new features of the website including the Business Life Stage which is designed specifically to help fortify your business’s bottom dollar.

Email the webmaster at to share your thoughts on the new website!

Successful Business eNewsletter

Just a reminder, the Successful Business eNewsletter will now come to your inbox bi-monthly. Please contact the webmaster at with any comments, questions, or ideas.

Holiday Schedule

Hills Bank will be closed on Monday, February 15th in honor of Presidents Day. To view the holiday schedule, please visit under "About Us" at the bottom left corner of our website.

Even though we will be closed, you can still do your banking at over 70 Hills Bank ATMs in the Corridor, Hills Bank Online, or through Push Button Banker.

Iowa City Home and Builder Show

Iowa City Home and Builder Show

See thousands of home, remodeling, landscaping, and decorating ideas come to life at the 2010 Iowa City Home and Builder Show. Plus, you can meet face-to-face with local contractors and material suppliers that can help you enhance your home’s comfort, functionality, appeal and value.

Coralville Marriott Convention Center
• Friday, February 26: 5 – 9 p.m.
• Saturday, February 27: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Sunday, February 28: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Send Us Your Feedback

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Upcoming Discussions from Dr. David Kohl

Hills Bank is proud to host a series of discussions focusing on the economy presented by Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. As a small business owner and world-traveled economist, his personal involvement with agriculture and interaction with key industry players provide a unique perspective into domestic and global business and economic trends.


The New Economic Realities: Promise or Peril?
John Hughes Lecture Series
Sheraton Hotel, Iowa City
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
5:00 pm Social; 6:00 pm Presentation
RSVP by February 19th at
or call 319-384-1968

Current and future business owners can benefit from the unprecedented opportunities emerging from the present economic situation. Small business owners and stakeholders need to know the lead and lag economic indicators and gain an understanding of business cycles—elements that can mean the difference between success and failure. Dr. David Kohl will present his top ten business principles for success, regardless of the business and economic environment.


The New Economic Realities: Promise or Peril?
Hills Bank, 3905 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
7:00 Breakfast; 7:30 am Presentation
RSVP by February 19th to Elaine Blythe at
or call 319-866-7022

The current small business environment will create more opportunities in the next decade than in the past thirty years. However, these opportunities will require business strategies and principles that can weather changing economic paradigms. What lead and lag economic indicators will affect the business climate? Where are interest rates going? What will be the impact of domestic and global economic trends in an environment where both global thinking and local action are required? Dr. David Kohl will share ten key business principles to set your business on the right track for the second decade of this new century.


The New Economic Realities in American Agriculture
Hills Community Room, Hills
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
10:00 am Presentation; 12:00 pm Lunch
RSVP by February 19th to Don Wilson at or call 319-679-2141

The first decade of the 21st century has presented an economic surprise around every corner, creating some unprecedented challenges as well as unexpected business opportunities. Dr. David Kohl will use his economic crystal ball to project prospective domestic and global economics, land values, and interest rates imperative in sound, strategic business planning. Also featured are Greg Brenneman (Proper Grain Storage) and Chad Hart (Grain Marketing Outlook).

Reduce Stress with a Healthy Diet

Stress can build quickly for today’s small business owners, especially in our troubled economy. A factor often overlooked as a way to combat stress is diet. While food choices are often blamed for sluggishness, foggy thinking, and irritability, junk food can also act as fuel for stress. Alternatively, nutrients found in healthy foods have the potential to offer natural anxiety and stress relief to help you cope with the challenges of your busy day.

Many small business owners, as well as their employees, tend to skip lunch, hit the vending machine in lieu of a meal, and settle for high-fat, high-sugar and highly-caffeinated foods to rev up for the afternoon. The temporary caffeine and sugar highs end with a crash in energy and mood, usually by mid to late afternoon.

By reducing the amount of coffee, sodas, chocolate and sugary snacks and replacing them with healthy alternatives, your body will release different and “natural” chemicals in the brain to reduce stress. Instead of grabbing a candy bar, try snacking on sunflower seeds to release selenium, an anti-anxiety chemical naturally present in our bodies. Forego the fast food alternatives and choose fish like salmon instead, with its omega 3 oils that release serotonin, an anti-depressant that can boost mood and brain power.

Try following these tips to feel the difference:

  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
  • Include leafy greens and beans in your daily meal plan.
  • Eat four or more servings of veggies—fresh, cooked or even in soup.
  • Eat two to three servings of fresh fruit daily.
  • Substitute whole grains for processed grains.
  • Eat two to three servings of proteins: fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, soy products, or beans.

Healthy food choices are a natural stress remedy that can help keep your energy level high while calming your nervous system. When you are well-nourished, you are better prepared to cope with life’s daily stresses.

Ask the Expert

Q. How much money can I save my business by switching to direct deposit for my employee payroll?

A. According to, a business with 50 hourly and 50 salaried employees could save $19,000 per year by switching to direct deposit. Calculate your business's savings by clicking this link. Hills Bank OnlineSM Business Connections Plus allows you to initiate ACH (Automatic Clearing House) files and send and receive payments electronically through an automated clearing house.

Payroll Benefits

  • No need for employees to leave work to deposit their paycheck.
  • Just one debit to the business account, so at month end there are no payroll checks to reconcile.
  • Less check stock used and no need to sign paychecks.
  • No need to reissue payroll checks or place stop payments on lost payroll checks.

Learn more about direct deposit by contacting a Commercial Sales Representative at 1-800-445-5725 (1-800-HILLSBK).

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Equal Housing Lender