Providing helpful business tips and exclusive information about Hills Bank services.

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Volume 7, Issue 5: September - October 2012

Network Your Way Through Your Next Social Event

Remember your networking tool kit at this year’s social events. Whether you are a business owner, real estate agent, or a banker, walking into a room full of people can cause an uneasy feeling. The word “networking” itself brings up images of shallow salesmen who thrust their business cards forcefully in your hand with barely a hello, all while scanning for someone more important. Networking is a skill that is learned, and the more you practice the better you will get at it. After all, business today is becoming more and more about not what you know, but who you know. Use these four tips to help build your networking circle:

  • Be Fearless. Walk up and introduce yourself with a handshake.
  • Ask Questions. “How did you come to be in your line of work?” For some, their career path can be quite an interesting story. Having an opportunity to share their story of success can leave helpful clues along the way as to who they are and what makes them tick.
  • Be a Good Listener. People love to talk about themselves. Let them give you valuable insights about who they are.
  • Follow-up. Contact them again within 24 hours. An email message or even a hand-written note can help build rapport with someone you've just met.

Try using these four networking tips at your next networking event. You never know—it may help open a door to new opportunities for you and your business.

Protect Your Computer and Personal Information From Viruses, Spyware, and Malware

If you are connected to the Internet, you should take steps to protect your computer from malicious software that may harm your computer or capture your personal information like user IDs and passwords.

Here are a few ways to protect against malicious software:

  • Firewall: A control on networks to keep them secure by building a bridge between the internal and external networks (i.e. Internet) that are not assumed to be secure. Firewalls can be either software or hardware based.
  • Virus Protection: Software that can be used to prevent, detect, and remove malware that may harm your computer (viruses, worms, and trojans, etc.).
  • Antispyware Protection: Spyware can collect information on a computer without the user’s knowledge. To protect your computer from being infected, use an antispyware program that can identify spyware and remove it.
  • Key Logger Detection: Key logging is surveillance software that records each keystroke you make on your computer, enabling a hacker to gain access to your personal information. Be sure your antivirus protection detects this type of malware.
  • Keep Software and Security Patches Up-to-date: Use the latest version of a web browser or online security software and keep it up to date for the highest level of security.

For more information on how to protect your computer, refer to your local technology service professional to ensure your malicious software protection is up to date.

Hills Business Academy

Hills Bank strives to advocate customer education and therefore has created Hills Bank Business Academy. The academy is a platform for educational classes ranging from marketing and accounting, to disaster preparedness, and business succession. Click below to learn more about the 2012 Business Academy sessions available. If you have an interest in a course simply RSVP to the contact found within the PDF via the links below.

9/18: Basic QuickBooks Training & Hills Bank Online at Hills Bank, 3905 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

9/20: Advanced QuickBooks Training & Hills Bank eServices at Hills Bank, 3905 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

9/21: Basic QuickBooks Training & Advanced QuickBooks Training at the Washington Public Library

9/25: Basic QuickBooks Training & Hills Bank Online at Hills Bank, 590 W Forevergreen Rd, North Liberty

9/27: Advanced QuickBooks Training & Hills Bank eServices at Hills Bank, 590 W Forevergreen Rd, North Liberty

Managing the Closely Held Business Seminar

Businesses face tough challenges and unique opportunities. The financial success or failure of a business lies in its owners' ability to manage through the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities. Now you can learn to proactively control the finances of your company through business-tested financial management techniques and maximize profits through more informed decision-making.

Hills Bank is hosting a two-day seminar that explains in simple, clear language what financial management is and why it can greatly improve your profitability. You will walk away with tangible tools that you can put to use immediately in your own company. If you are interested in attending, complete the registration form and send to Hills Bank, Attn: Carrie Ebel at 1401 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52240, or contact Carrie with questions at or call 319-358-2272.

Cedar Rapids Parade of Homes

Hills Business AcademyThe Greater Cedar Rapids Area Home Builders Association is hosting its annual Parade of Homes. Homes are open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm and on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 pm.

  • Saturday, September 22
  • Sunday, September 23
  • Tuesday, September 25
  • Thursday, September 27
  • Saturday, September 29
  • Sunday, September 30

Visit the Greater Cedar Rapids Parade of Homes website for more details.

Ask the Expert

Q. How is QuickBooks better than my current bookkeeping method?

A. It’s easier than manual spreadsheets or the old paper and pen approach. QuickBooks automates your accounting so you spend less time on everyday tasks. You can also use the search tool to quickly find everything you need. QuickBooks has the ability to sync to your bank account transactions, saving time so you don't have to re-enter all your information. QuickBooks users don’t need an accounting background to understand the system, and the program allows personalization for your specific business.

Learn more about the features of QuickBooks by attending our free seminars listed above, or call us at 319-679-5500 for the Iowa City area, 319-654-8100 for the Cedar Rapids area, or toll free at 1-800-445-5725 and ask to speak to a Commercial Deposits Representative.

Thanks for voting Hills Bank Best of the Corridor!

10 Second Tip

What's Your Elevator Pitch?
Prepare your "elevator pitch" prior to a networking event. It shouldn't be longer than the time it takes for an elevator to rise or fall--about 30 to 45 seconds on average. In that time, you must:

  • Say who you are.
  • Describe the benefits of your business plan.
  • Get your listener excited about what you do, so that they want to hear more details.

Hills Happenings

Holiday Schedule

The bank will be closed on the following holiday:

  • Veteran's Day
    Monday, November 12

Even though we will be closed, you can still do your banking at over 90 Hills Bank ATMs in the Corridor, Hills Bank Online, mobile banking, or through Push Button Banker.

See all the Hills Bank holidays.

John Hughes Lecture Series

Join us on October 30th for the John Hughes Lecture Series featuring Charles Sukup, President of Sukup Manufacturing.

  • 5:00 pm
    Registration/Networking Reception
  • 5:45 - 7:00 pm

This event, located at the Iowa Memorial Union in the 2nd Floor Ballroom, is free and open to the public. Please RSVP online by October 26th.

This event is co-sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust Company and The University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Equal Housing Lender

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Hills Bank and Trust Company.
Member FDIC.