It’s Strictly Business Magazine’s Silver Anniversary!
As we celebrate this milestone and reflect on the past 25 years, it’s fun to point out all the ways the magazine has developed and grown—but the only thing more noteworthy than how much Strictly Business has changed is how much it hasn’t.
There have been many key people responsible for the success of Strictly Business Magazine over the years, but the two who have been present for it all are Shayne and Paige Zutavern. Shayne, along with colleague Mike Branigan, channeled his entrepreneurial spirit into Z.A.A. Inc., a direct marketing communications company. They were printing and distributing a monthly coupon book in Lincoln and saw the need for a business publication in the local marketplace. After overwhelming support and positive feedback from the community, Shayne decided to shift the focus towards creating “Lincoln’s Business News & Marketing Magazine,” and in July of 1993, the first issue of Strictly Business was introduced. In many ways, Shayne built the magazine, but Paige gave it wings. She took on an official role as sales manager soon after the magazine got up and running. This position allowed her to fulfill her natural ability to form connections and build relationships while promoting something she felt passionately about. It was her dream job. Together, Paige and Shayne have taken Strictly Business to great heights.
To celebrate our 25-year anniversary, we hosted a ribbon cutting with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce at the Strictly Business office on Friday, June 15. As we gathered together with friends, family, clients, past and present staff members, and lifelong supporters, we couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly thankful for the journey. Today, our fantastic staff is made up of our editor, Amanda Wilson; art director, Holly Ryan; executive assistant, Hannah Hundley; part-time sales associate, Schlyer Zutavern; and intern, Lizzy Werner. Amanda has been with Strictly Business for over 5 years, creating and overseeing all editorial that’s published in the magazine. Holly has been on staff for 2 years, enhancing the magazine with her graphic design skills. Hannah joined the team earlier this year and has taken on many responsibilities, from event planning to collaborating with clients on monthly press submissions. Paige and Schyler make up the sales team, with Paige mainly in Lincoln while Schyler focuses on the Omaha market. Lizzy is a student at UNL and comes in to assist with website posting and other day-to-day office functions. Shayne oversees the billing department, offering his expertise on marketing and advertising from time to time. The magazine is and always has been a team effort.
As previously mentioned, Mike Branigan was instrumental those first couple years. His writing and creative skills, along with his strong work ethic and network of contacts, played a key role in the start-up phase of the magazine. Mike poured his heart and soul into building the foundation of Strictly Business. He believed in the magazine and we owe him many thanks for his time and commitment. Strictly Business has been blessed with amazing staff members like Mike throughout the years—dedicated, enthusiastic, and driven—many of whom have gone on to start businesses of their own!
In addition, there wouldn’t even be a magazine without Scott and Karen Stewart from the Nebraska Printing Center. The Nebraska Printing Center has been printing the Lincoln edition of Strictly Business since day one. Scott and Karen helped out tremendously by offering sage advice as business owners themselves.
There are far too many people to thank individually, but we’d like to take a moment to thank our loyal clients and readers. We have clients who have been entrusting us with their advertising ventures for many years, some even for the full 25 and over 50 clients who have been with us for over 10 years. We’d like to give a shout out to Rick Krueger, who has been advertising with Strictly Business since the magazine’s first issue. A special thank you to him and all of our other long-time clients – it’s been a pleasure working with you! We’d also like to acknowledge our readers. It’s no secret that technology has advanced over the past 25 years and print media has had to navigate the impending “takeover” of digital media, but we’ve remained an industry leader by being one of the first and largest local publications with a consistent online presence. By sharing our content in print, online, and on social media, we’ve built a lasting reputation in the Lincoln community as a trusted source of relevant business news. Our loyal readers are a blend of businesspeople and consumers. They look to Strictly Business when making purchasing decisions for their households, and some who are also making purchasing decisions on behalf of their businesses, because they know our advertisers are the top experts in their respective fields. This strong presence wouldn’t be possible without partnerships with local organizations like the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Lincoln’s Independent Business Association (LIBA) either. We’re proud to say our magazine has maintained a relationship with these organizations since the beginning. It’s our pleasure to advocate for these entities and serve as a networking and information-sharing resource, linking readers with the ever-changing Lincoln business community. And just like the business community in Lincoln, our distribution list has grown and changed over the years. We started out direct-mailing to 6,600 businesses in Lincoln, now our magazine goes out to over 10,000 businesses. We also generate a large online reach with over 120,000 page views a year. Not to mention, our sister publication in Omaha, which launched in 2007, is distributed to over 15,000 businesses and generates over 230,000 pages views per year. We’d like to thank our audience for their continued support, not only of Strictly Business itself but of the businesses we feature. There is nothing that brings us more joy than when we hear about a connection or partnership forming because of our magazine. We invite all of our readers to take the time to reach out to the businesses and individuals we feature to simply tell them, “Hey! I enjoyed reading about you in Strictly Business!”
After 25 years, our magazine still operates by the timeless statement, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We’re grateful for the opportunity to not only promote local businesses, but to give a deeper look into those businesses and the people who run them.
On the front cover of our first issue, the headline reads: “New Business to Business Publication Fills Niche”—a statement that still rings true today. As long as there are businesses in Lincoln that means there is business news, and Strictly Business is dedicated to being the positive, reliable source for that news. Thank you to the Lincoln community for embracing Strictly Business Magazine 25 years ago, and thank you for continuing to embrace us today!