December 12 Sales Roundtable
Utilize Better Intel to Close the Sale Quicker
DECEMBER 2016 What Business Can Learn From A Choice School
Henry Tyson | St. Marcus School
Inside This Issue:
HANNEMAN: WHITE COLLAR OVERTIME RULING BLOCKED: WHAT IT MEANS TO EMPLOYERS
KEATING: WILL SMALL BUSINESS FINALLY GET RELIEF FROM OBAMACARE?
MCMAHON: GRAND AVENUE MALL... A CATALYST FOR MILWAUKEE'S RENAISSANCE
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IBAW MEDIA LINK Why we have the electoral college. _________________________________________________________
With Hillary Clinton losing the election, some are once again calling for the end of the electoral college. This video explains the college in plain english.
Executive Director Steve Kohlmann President Jim Leef ITU AbsorbTech Secretary Dan Hansen Waukesha State Bank President Elect 2015-16 Craig Coursin Stier Construction VP. State & National Programs Charles Fry Baird
To view, click here.
Treasurer Casey Malek Sikich Directors Ann Barry Hanneman Simandl Law Group S.C John Weber Hypneumat JeďŹ€ HoďŹ€man Boerke Co. Richard Blomquist Blomquist Benefits Lisa Mauer Rickert Industries Tom Boelkow BSI Design, Build, Furnish Robert Gross Gross Automation Scott Seroka Seroka Brand Development
IBAW Mission: To advance business prosperity through insightful programming, executive networking and member-driven public policy and advocacy.
Sales Roundtable: Utilize Better Intel to Close a Sale Quicker Monday, November 14th 2016 | Time: 7:30 am - 9:00 am | Location: CT Access, 740 Pilgrim Parkway, Elm Grove
CLASSIFIED: IBAW MEMBERS ONLY
MISSION OBJECTIVE: Find your target and “eliminate” objections for a quick end of the sales cycle. Share with your fellow sales agents the best tips on how - and where - to find the information on your prospects to understand their purchase decisions.
Click here to register.
The Issues Impacting Wisconsin Business One of the hallmarks of the IBAW is to keep business owners informed on important topics coming out of Madison in Washington D.C.. The IBAW has released topics we feel are important to you and give you the challenges and opportunities for each. Many of these issues can be complex. It’s IBAW’s job to distill down issues and present them in a manner that’s easy to understand and quick to read. Read these White Paper Issues at our website: IBAW.com.
• REGULATIONS • TAXES • WORKFORCE • ENERGY • HEALTH CARE
Independent Business Association of Wisconsin
MONTHLY MEETING “What Business Can Learn From A Choice School” Friday, December 16, 2016 | Time: 7:00 am - 9:00 am | Location: Wisconsin Club, 900 W.Wisconsin Ave.
St. Marcus School is the education ministry of St. Marcus Ministries. It serves approximately 700 students in K4 through 8th grade at its Main Campus on Palmer Street, and 200 students in K3 through 3rd grade at its North Campus on Richards Street. St. Marcus’ vision is to be the best, urban Christian school in America. Through expansion, partnership and collaboration, St. Marcus is boldly committed to pursuing opportunities to serve as a catalyst for school reform and community-wide transformation. Working to ensure that every family has access to high-quality education in the city of Milwaukee.
Henry Tyson | Superintendent St. Marcus School
THE WISCONSIN CLUB 900 W. WISCONSIN AVE. MILWAUKEE
REGISTRATION & NETWORKING
BREAKFAST & PROGRAM
To register, click here.
WORKPLACE ACTIVE SHOOTER: On the afternoon of November 4th, a classroom full of IBAW members were presented a workshop on what to do when an active shooter incident takes place in your company. FBI Special Agent Jay Darin presented this two hour workshop. The workshop covered “pre attack” indicators of active shooters, historical events, psychology of survival and the Avoid, Deny, Defend strategy. Special thanks to IBAW member, Wisconsin Firearms Training Center, 12730 West Burleigh, for hosting this event.
Click here to watch part of the training video that was presented.
Hosted at IBAW member Wisconsin Firearms Training Center 12730 West Burleigh Road, Brookfield, WI 53005
Election Wrap Up: I Was Right, But Oh So Wrong Steve Kohlmann, IBAW Executive Director Well, the election is over. It’s once again safe to watch TV without being accosted by campaign commercials and, for those of us with land lines, we can answer the phone without being greeted by non-stop robo calls. And, I can smugly say, that I called the election right. I predicted Hillary Clinton wouldn’t be elected president and that prediction was right on the money. Still, no phone calls from Fox News for my own show (I’d call it “Da Big Guy Show”.) But that’s about the only thing I had right. The “WHY” she wouldn’t win I missed by a million miles. I made my public prediction right here in this magazine well over a year ago and it went something like this; the two candidates left standing would be Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate and Marco Rubio as the Republican candidate. I further surmised that it would be Marco Rubio who would be the victor because he was a younger, more vibrant choice than Hillary. I believe America had seen enough of the Clintons and therefore my prediction was Rubio winning - by a landslide no less. But with the election now well in our rear view mirror, and hindsight being 20/20, my prediction seems crazy. So much has happened. Well over a year ago the debates were just starting and Donald Trump was the comic relief. Trump would speak his mind often laced with insults. His funny facial gestures added interest to the debates, an event which usually ran dryer than burnt toast. But Trump resonated with the American public and gained more and more momentum picking off the Republican pack of candidates one by one, leaving him the last man standing. And if the debates were strange, it was the election itself that was to be the real circus. Trump would take to Twitter insulting everyone from Hillary Clinton to the Speaker Paul Ryan. And Hillary would be embroiled with the email scandal, FBI investigations, as well as people questioning her health after her fainting/ pneumonia/stroke (pick one) episode at the 9-11 Memorial Service. And in the end it came down to election day. As it always does. Americans were ready. Hooray! You can finally march into the voting booth and choose who you didn’t want to be president. If you voted for Hillary, the thought of us having someone like Donald Trump as your president would make your head explode. If you voted for Trump, you just couldn’t bear the fact of having another Clinton in office. And finally, if you voted for third-party candidate, you were just sick of the whole mess and wanted to send a message. You finally got to have a say in the matter. Like many Americans I watched the election results come in - but not until later in the evening. I stayed away from the TV until about 8:00 pm. Earlier in the day I recorded a classic movie to watch (Humphrey Bogart’s, Chain Lightning). Just like many of you, I was stunned at the results. Wasn’t Hillary a shoe in? As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s never over till it’s over”, and in politics, even when it’s over...there are recounts. So in my prediction I was half right, Hillary would not be our next president, but I was way off on the rest of it. The jobs of talking heads on the news shows are safe. I am happy to see someone with Trump’s business attitude heading to White House. I’m also confident of Trump’s determination to get things done, something that will be made easier, with the house and the Senate in his favor. What do the next four years have in store for us? As with any new president we’ll have to wait and see. I’m not making any predictions.
Overtime Rule Affecting White Collar Exemptions Temporarily Blocked by Federal Judge What This Ruling Means To Employers Ann Barry Hanneman, Simandl Law Group, IBAW Board Member
On November 22, 2016, a Texas federal court issued an injunction temporarily halting the implementation of the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Final Overtime Rule raising the minimum salary requirement of certain white collar exempt employees to $47,476. This Final Rule was set to take effect December 1, 2016. Because of this injunction, however, the implementation of the Final Rule is on hold until a full hearing on the merits of this legal challenge is heard by the court. Recommendations for employers that have not yet taken action on the Final Rule as well as those who have already implemented the adjustments in anticipation of the previously-imposed December 1st deadline are provided below.
The Temporary Ruling and Background The federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas ruled on an emergency motion filed by 21 states (including Wisconsin) and a number of national business groups requesting a preliminary injunction to the DOL’s Final Overtime Rule that increases the required weekly salary level for “white collar” employees under the executive, administrative and professional exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from $23,600 to $47,476. Finding that the FLSA’s white collar exemptions are defined by Congressional action with regard to duties and not salary, the judge granted the preliminary injunction concluding that the DOL exceeded its delegated authority by raising the minimum salary threshold to a level that essentially creates a “salaryonly” test. The judge also addressed the Final Rule’s automatic indexing mechanism for increases in the “required salary level” to maintain exempt status under the FLSA, holding that the provision violates the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment rulemaking requirements and ignores the DOL’s prior admissions that such automatic increases are contrary to Congressional intent. With this ruling, the DOL is temporarily prohibited from implementing or enforcing the Final Overtime Rule. This preserves the status quo (and prior salary threshold of $23,600) until the judge either makes a final decision on the Rule’s validity or a higher court overrules this district court determination. This preliminary injunction at least delays the implementation of the Rule which was to take effect of December 1, 2016. The DOL promised to respond to the ruling with swift legal action while the states and business groups seek to “void” the Rule altogether. But, for now, the DOL is prohibited from implementing or enforcing the new overtime rule until the judge is able to make a final decision on the validity of the Final Rule. All employers need to stay tuned in for any future dates for implementation and enforcement.
Employer Recommendations in Light of Temporary Ruling • If you have already increased employee salaries to comply with the DOL’s Final Overtime Rule, maintain these changes. The preliminary injunction only delays implementation of the Final Rule for now. Changing course at this time could have negative effects on employee morale and create significant confusion in payroll processing particularly if the Rule becomes effective at a later date. • If you have already converted salaried employees to hourly status, hourly status may be maintained but overtime rates apply. Be sure to track hours of work for these employees to prepare for the possible reversal of the injunction. • Keep in mind that the duties tests focusing on work functions and activities have not changed and remain in effect. The Final Rule and this ruling only affect the salary thresholds of white collar workers (executive, administrative and professional). Employees that do not perform bona fide exempt executive, administrative or professional functions as defined by the duties tests must be paid overtime regardless of the preliminary injunction or a final ruling. • Due to the uncertainty of a final ruling at this point in time, maintaining status quo should be considered. If you were planning to impose changes to salary level on December 1st for those white collar exempt employees in order to maintain exempt status, that date may be postponed until a final effective date is certain.
In preparation for the ultimate status of this ruling and other implications of the anticipated changes that may result from a Trump Administration, it is critical employers stay abreast of all judicial, administrative and regulatory changes. With the status of this ruling “temporarily” leaving employers with less than clear guidance as to when the new Final Rule will be enforced, employers need to remain agile in responding to such changes. Although we expect the DOL will not be as aggressive under a Trump Administration, it will remain to be seen in the short term what portions of this Final Rule will become effective and when. Ann Barry Hanneman is a principal at Simandl Law Group, S.C. Ms. Hanneman acts as legal counsel to management in labor and employment law matters, including representing employers in federal and state employment litigation and in labor arbitration. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 262-923-8652. Simandl Law Group, S.C., 20975 Swenson Drive, Suite 250, Waukesha, WI 53186, Phone: (262) 923-8652 Facsimile: (262) 923-8680
Grand Avenue Mall...A Catalyst for Milwaukee’s Renaissance Christine McMahon, President, CMA, llc
French composer Claude Debussy said, “Music is the space between the notes.” In a music composition, space triggers anticipation for what’s to come; in a city, the space between the buildings creates the feeling of the city. “Urban renewal is less about the buildings themselves, but about how the space creates movement, energy, and vitality,” said Chris Socha, project architect, URBAN LAB. That’s the ethos that the owners and architects have embraced for the Grand Avenue Mall’s transformation. In 1951, the cityscape that is now Grand Avenue Mall, was an area of smaller city blocks woven together with side streets and store entrances that faced the sidewalks. But in 1982, this changed. Smaller city blocks became large buildings with few entrances. When the Grand Avenue Mall opened, street facing boutique shops became inward facing retail stores with internal points of entry. Extra long city blocks replaced the former smaller city blocks. Over the next ten years, anchored by large national stores, the mall was vibrant and profitable. Then, as with most things, consumer-buying habits changed, and in 1997, anchor store Marshall Field’s pulled-out, followed by many of the smaller upscale stores. “Many people mistakenly believe that the Grand Avenue Mall has struggled because where it was located, but ultimately, it outgrew what the market was looking for,” said owner Chuck Biller, Aggero Group, LLC, “With the renewed interest to work and live downtown, we have an opportunity to contribute to the Westown area transformation that is already underway.” Architect Chris Socha said, “What I am aiming to do is encourage our streets to become ‘places’ again; where people can congregate because they accept all forms of movement – pedestrians walking, biking, and syncing with transit and cars. Streets are for all of humanity and when the car came on the scene, it elbowed people out of the way. There is a collective understanding that Milwaukee streets are out of balance. If you go to Paris or London, people love these cities because of the character of the streets are more like outdoor rooms. Milwaukee hasn’t fully capitalized on the connective tissue that creates this feeling downtown.” The Third Ward is a great example of bringing vitality to an area: the blocks are short, the entrances are many, and there is a cross-section of commercial, retail, theater, and restaurants. The spirit of the Grand Avenue Mall renaissance is about transforming the Westown area back to its roots. “Milwaukee certainly has some divides, but the historic bonds are strong and we need to weave them together,” said Socha. “If we succeed, which I believe we can, we can knit together the commercial corridors of the downtown area and start healing the social inequity issues that divides our city.” The promenade between the Milwaukee Bucks new arena and the Grand Avenue Mall as well as the $120M Marquette facility that is being built in conjunction with Aurora, as well as the proposals for expansion of the convention center, three additional hotels and retail space provides the perfect opportunity for the pieces to come together to restore the vibrancy and create a renaissance of sorts for downtown Milwaukee.
Slides of what the new Grand Avenue Mall development might look like. The development would take advantage of the Mallâ€™s height to include more office and meeting space as well as developing alleys into small retail spaces similar to those in Europe.
MESSAGE FROM THE BOARD
Construction Looming? Early planning and communication is critical.
Craig Coursin How long does it take to plan and start a building? Longer than most people think. For some reason many people underestimate how many steps there are to gain approval to build new or remodel a space. These days it seems to be one of the longest schedule items. The main components to start a project are program, design, approval, bidding / estimating, construction. The obvious parts are program design, bidding and construction. The part that has dramatically changed over the years is approval. Plan review and permits have been with us for a long time, but today those are only the tip of the approval iceberg. The newer issues that clog up the schedule pipeline include storm water planning, Wetland issues, and environmental surveys. These can take literally months depending on your site. Other areas that have slowly increased over the years but can cause delay are landscape review, signs, HVAC screening, site lighting, green space ratios, Plan Commission, architectural review boards, City Council, State approval, Local permit, Impact fees, utilities, So where do you start? Grab your architect and builder and meet with the City Planner, and hopefully the City Engineer. It has become common to have two or three rounds of storm water plan submittal and review just for the approvals. One of the rules that changed in recent years involves a higher level of water retention required if you are adding impervious surfaces like a roof or parking lots. The DNR has stepped up the requirements and enforcement to a level that the communities go into a hyper state of vigilance, some might even term overcompensation. To be fair those of us actually building structures view it that way. If you ask a City engineer they
Board Stats Name: Craig Coursin Company: Stier Construction Member Since: 2010 Joined Board: 2013
view it as protecting the water shed. In either case the impact on schedule is it takes much longer to get approval and increases cost. Another schedule monster is environmental testing if you are demolishing a portion of your building. Before you can pull a demolition permit you need an environmental survey for lead paint, asbestos, mercury, and other related items like light ballasts and fluorescent bulbs. If you have asbestos you need to file a form with the DNR and wait 10 days before starting. The municipality will not issue a demolition permit until you have a sign off from the DNR. That process can typically take several months, and sometimes missed in the planning process. Wetlands delineation became more important in recent years. Two amendments to the wetlands act one in 2013 have increased the standards. One of the first things an owner needs to do is look for evidence of wetlands. If the site is in an area where no wetlands are expected or known to be in the area the DNR will clear the site, but your design team will need to show that to them before you can move forward with other planning. If the site is near a lake, river, or creek you may need to hire a consultant to search and possibly delineate any wetland areas which you need to stay 25' away from. Again this can cause a delay and during the winter they can't perform the delimitation. These are some of the early approvals you will need for your project. If you have questions or concerns, the IBA has many resources to help you, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. The construction process can seem quite daunting at times, but with good communication and planning it can be made easier. Remember to give it the extra planning time - and communication - it needs.
Craig Coursin is President of Stier Construction, Inc. in Waukesha County. He holds a BS, Architecture from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Craig can be reached at email@example.com
Will Small Business Finally Get Relief From ObamaCare? The Cost Nightmare Can End With Smarter Policies And Reforms Raymond J. Keating, SBC Council, Washington D.C.
President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010. And according to President-elect Donald Trump’s key campaign promise, ObamaCare will not be around to see its seventh birthday. Make no mistake, the end of ObamaCare replaced by sound policies that lower prices and encourage competition would be a welcome development for small business, investment, economic growth and job creation. Wrong Prescription from the Start Anyone understanding basic economics and how government operates understood at the time it became law that ObamaCare’s mix of more government regulation, mandates and controls, increased taxes, and ramped up government subsidies and spending would mean increased costs, dampened job creation, and diminished economic growth. In an SBE Council piece published the day after ObamaCare was signed into law, we warned, “President Obama and Democratic leaders twisted arms and made promises to get big government ObamaCare narrowly through the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, the hard part comes for those of us in the real world. That is, dealing with the many and significant costs to be imposed. Obviously, small businesses owners – the innovators and job creators in our economy – will get hit hardest.” The obvious lesson for those who constructed ObamaCare is that they should have listened to small business owners and entrepreneurs – and they did not. In another piece days later, SBE Council noted that polls showed a majority of Americans opposing ObamaCare and supporting repeal just days after it was passed. But the Obama administration and allies in Congress assumed that people would come to like it once they understood it. SBE Council countered: “This has been the major error – or act of arrogance – committed by President Obama and leaders in Congress. That is, they actually believe that people did not understand ObamaCare, and that’s why majorities opposed it. These ideologically blinded politicians missed the reality that the more people understood the measure and its effects, the less popular it became. Few reasons exist to believe that ObamaCare will gain in popularity as time passes. That is especially the case given the looming costs for entrepreneurs and the business community. After all, with each passing year as this effort is phased in, the commensurate costs will only increase.” We don’t gloat in “I told you so’s,” but…. And within a month of passage, the call for repeal was clear: “The fight over ObamaCare is not over yet. Indeed, from a small business perspective, it better not be. After all, if the battle is over, the entrepreneurial sector faces the inevitability of skyrocketing costs, including higher health coverage premiums, reduced choices in the marketplace, and increased taxes… Small businesses will get socked – directly or indirectly – by increased taxes on higher income earners, pharmaceutical firms, medical device makers, and health insurers; expanded paperwork requirements; a mandate that individuals have health insurance or pay a tax; a mandate that businesses with 50 or more workers either offer health insurance coverage or, effectively, pay a per employee tax; the huge taxpayer costs of expanding government health care programs; and a broad expansion in other government mandates and regulations.” Costly Predictions have Come True – with Small Businesses Bearing the Brunt Again, the predicted woes of ObamaCare have come true – including increased costs, diminished competition, and continued public opposition to ObamaCare. This will only get worse as more aspects of the plan would take hold in coming years. Consider the following points from assorted recent reports and analyses: • As noted in an August 2016 FoxNews.com report, major insurance companies face mounting losses thanks to ObamaCare, and pulling back from the law’s state exchanges. It was reported: Earlier this month, Aetna, once one of ObamaCare’s biggest cheerleaders, slammed the breaks on its expansion plans and became the last of the five major national health insurers to project significant losses tied to the Affordable Care Act.
CEO Mark Bertolini blamed “structural challenges” associated with the health care overhaul and said Aetna intends to withdraw all its “2017 public exchange expansion plans” and undergo “a complete evaluation of future participation in our current 15-state footprint.”… Already, rates on the exchanges are skyrocketing. From 2013 to 2016, almost every state has seen an increase in monthly premiums. In Michigan they are expected to jump 17.3 percent this year. In Virginia, the average premium increase could hit 37.1 percent, Bryan Rotella, attorney and founder of the Rotella Legal Group, warns. “In fact, two of three federal programs to manage this exact risk are due to expire in 2017,” Rotella wrote in an opinion piece for The Hill. “Without these programs to fall back on, many insurance companies likely will need to jack up their premiums even higher or bail out of the exchanges all together.” As for the co-ops set up under ObamaCare to provide another competitive alternative, “To date, 70 percent of the original coops have folded due to financial strains, with only seven of the original 23 operational. ‘The only remaining question is when will all the co-ops collapse, not if,’ Josh Archambault, senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, told FoxNews.com. ‘Some might take slightly longer than others, but the future looks bleak, even after billions of federal taxpayer dollars were spent to get them off the ground and keep them afloat.’” • The title of one Townhall.com piece summed up the entire matter – Survey Shows Small Businesses Suffering Under ObamaCare. It was reported: Although numerous groups are facing difficulties related to ACA, few are struggling as significantly as U.S. small businesses. According to an online survey produced by LevelFunded Health, a national health insurance agency “with a hyper-focus on Affordable Care Act ‘alternative’ employee benefit programs for the small employer market segment,” 87 percent of those small businesses who offer “group health care” saw health insurance premiums rise by 25 percent since 2014, with 12 percent seeing premium increases of 50 percent or higher… The survey found 56 percent of the 2,500 small businesses polled say they are losing quality employee candidates because of the rising costs associated with employer-provided health care plans under Obamacare. Later in the report, SBE Council’s small business expert and advocate Susan Solovic was tapped for further insights on the ills of how small business hiring is being limited under ObamaCare: Susan Wilson Solovic, a New York Times bestselling author and former ABC News business analyst, says to avoid any potential penalties associated with the 50-employee rule, small businesses are choosing to outsource many of their jobs to online freelancers, rather than hiring more staff. Prior to 2016, many of the time-consuming regulations for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees but more than 49 employees were not enforced in order to give businesses more time to prepare for the rules. Now that many small businesses are going to be forced to comply with myriad health care rules and regulations they have been able to avoid in the past, many experts are expecting the number of Department of Labor audits to increase, adding to the growing confusion and costs being imposed on small businesses. • An SBE Council Q&A by President and CEO Karen Kerrigan with Victoria Braden, President & CEO of Braden Benefits Strategies, Inc. and a member of SBE Council’s Advisory Council, opened: “The numbers are beginning to pour in, and they are not pretty. Many small business owners and self-employed Americans are shocked by their health insurance costs for next year. Plans and choices in the marketplace are disappearing, and many business owners and individual entrepreneurs are in angst about what to do next. (For example, see recent news stories on reported increases for Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Florida, Michigan, and Washington.)” Regarding small employers, Braden identified three trends: One: Pre-ACA renewals, businesses who have stayed on the same plans who have not made the transition to ACA plans and therefore renewals are being calculated on the businesses specific claims/loss ratio. The increases are dependent on the group’s medical history for the past 12 months. Our agency’s average renewal in Georgia on pre-ACA plans is generally running less than 10%. Two: Businesses that have transitioned to ACA plans with community rating – this is where we are seeing the HUGE increases. When the law was first being translated I think we all understood the annual increases were to be limited to 10%. Since then we have learned the 10% means just medical trend, not the actual increase in providing coverage. On ACA plans, we are generally seeing increases of 15% or more. CONTINUED
Three: Individual insurance, where the company does not offer group health insurance and employees are purchasing individual policies on or off the Exchange is the area, in my opinion, that has been hit the hardest! BECAUSE many of the health insurance carriers are no longer offering individual policies. Nationwide, United Healthcare has withdrawn from the individual market. In my state, Georgia, Aetna and Humana are limiting their product to 1 individual policy, a very high deductible only plan with a very narrow network and limited prescription drug formulary. Our only viable options for 2017 are Blue Cross and Kaiser. Last year Blue Cross was, on average, 16% higher than comparable policies at either Humana or Aetna. For 2017, Blue Cross filed and received, an average increase of 21% on their individual policies. With the majority of individual policies in the metro-Atlanta area at Humana or Aetna, the average mathematical increase to purchase a comparable Blue Cross policy will be 37%. With no other options. It is not pretty. • A report in the August 31, 2016, Investor’s Business Daily highlighted the fundamental woes of ObamaCare: The individual insurance market existed long before ObamaCare came around. In fact, when President Obama signed it into law in 2010, there were 15 million people who bought plans on their own in this market, without any help from the federal government. It was competitive, and premiums for many were low. In fact, as a Government Accountability Office report found, plans were available in almost every state that were far cheaper, and had lower deductibles, than what people can find in an ObamaCare exchange, in some cases even with subsidies. The market had its problems, to be sure, particularly for those with expensive pre-existing conditions, but these could have been fixed without the massive, costly and intrusive ObamaCare machinery. ObamaCare took what was a relatively healthy market and is now in the process of destroying it through government mandates, regulations and taxes. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone, since several states experimented with ObamaCare-style market reforms in the 1990s, only to see the exact same problems: Premiums shot up, enrollment lagged, and insurers bailed amid big losses. • Finally, the findings of an April 2016 Heritage Foundation study titled “Year Six of the Affordable Care Act: Obamacare’s Mounting Problems” authored by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. were summed up this way: The Affordable Care Act (ACA, popularly known as Obamacare) is ripe for repeal. For the American public, there are ample reasons for dissatisfaction: higher costs; arbitrary and sometimes absurd rulemaking; bureaucratization of an already overly bureaucratized sector of the economy; incompatibility with personal freedom and religious liberty; enormous spending and heavy taxation; and widely acknowledged design flaws, evident in the ACA’s hopelessly complex and unworkable subsidy schemes, boondoggle bailouts, and collapsing co-ops. Obamacare Repeal and Reform is Here Of course, just as was the case in 2010, people will ask, “What’s the alternative?” Our answers have not changed because they are built on sound economics and sensible policymaking: “Plenty of measures would expand choice and competition, and restrain or reduce costs. For example, allowing for health insurance to be purchased across state lines would free up individuals and small businesses from the significant costs and limited choices resulting from misguided state regulations and mandates. Equalizing the tax treatment for all health insurance premiums makes sense. Expand the incentives for pro-market, pro-consumer options like tax-free health savings accounts. Institute substantive medical tort reform, including limiting pain and suffering awards, and moving to a loser pays system. Indeed, the list of positive options is quite lengthy.” One of the additional items on the list would be sound state high risk pools to help those with pre-existing conditions. And we will conclude now as an SBE Council analysis did in April 2010: “Repeal is critical to clear away the dark clouds that ObamaCare now casts over health care, small businesses and the economy, and implement reforms that actually expand choices and competition in the marketplace. Quite frankly, anything less than repeal, keeps the U.S. on track to a complete government takeover of health care in this nation. And make no mistake, ObamaCare, with its negative effects for private insurers, expanded government funding and extensive regulatory controls, is all about government-run health care.” SBE Council looks forward to working with the incoming Trump Administration and the 115th Congress on reforms that actually work for small businesses, entrepreneurs and their workforce. _______ Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.
The Way You Define Brand Will Determine Your Brand’s Success or Failure Scott Seroka, Seroka Brand Development Before we can define our brand, we first need to come to an agreement on what the definition of ‘brand’ is. I could sense frustration in the CEO’s voice as his company has been struggling to redefine its brand for more than three years, and they were stuck in a state of mass confusion and the black hole of analysis paralysis. I was invited to participate in the meeting to provide a structure for their brand development initiative, and I started with quelling the CEO’s frustration by providing a definition of “brand” to the group that was clear, easy to understand and actionable: A unique set of distinctions an organization owns that makes a noteworthy and positive difference in the lives of its customers. As some were typing and writing this down, others offered their own definitions, all of which were in some ways correct, but in other ways flawed in that all suggest that customers are responsible for defining brands - not the entrepreneurs, CEOs and business owners. If this seems bass-ackwards, that’s because it is. Below are a few alternative definitions of brand that surfaced in the meeting I was attending, along with a few others that, in my opinion, are both vague and lacking. A brand is... What people say about you: This is not the definition of brand. This is the definition of reputation which is what a brand earns, or suffers from. If the brand is not properly defined or adequately differentiated, there is no unique brand promise to be delivered, and customer experiences will often be inconsistent and mediocre. When a brand is strong, you can feel (Walk into an Apple store, and REI or a Four Seasons) When it’s not, you feel almost nothing. So, this definition is correct in limited context: When a brand is defined, purposeful and strong, it makes a lasting impression and has much more influence over what people are saying about it. What people think of when they see your logo: When people see a logo or hear the name of a brand (either in advertising or word of mouth), they typically think of the last experience they’ve had with the brand, if any. Such thoughts are typically vague or generic, and when consumers are asked what they think of when they hear or see a logo, they can only offer something of substance that indicates a meaningful point of differentiation or uniqueness if the brand experience was truly Reputation: A reputation is what is earned based on a customer experience. See “What people say about you” above. The reason people choose or choose not to do business with you: In the process of defining a brand, the owners and leadership team are able to articulately identify and define their ideal buyers and customers. They already know why people would choose to, or not choose to do business with their brand, and they know who and how to target desired customers through a brand-driven marketing strategy. When a brand is fuzzy or not properly defined, the reason becomes nothing more than a guessing game, and price is usually the culprit due to low perceived or actual value. Your intangible assets: Every company has intangible assets. The question is, how do those intangible assets rank in categories such as relevance, uniqueness and value? The other question is, are they properly communicated? So it is true that a brand is an organization’s intangible assets, but too many times, based on my experiences, those assets are not identified and leveraged to be a unique distinction. When we return to the definition of brand as being a unique set of distinctions an organization owns that makes a noteworthy and positive difference in the lives of its customers, these other definitions lose relevance. The very act of defining a brand’s unique set of distinctions, properly leveraging those distinctions to making a noteworthy and positive difference in the lives of customers, and then properly managing the brand will enable you to influence and control every other definition you may hear. Scott Seroka is one of 29 Certified Brand Strategists in the U.S., a Principal of Seroka and the author of BRANDCOLOGY.
How Getting Rejected At Auditions Got Me Started As An Entrepreneur Daniel Dipiazza, Founder of Rich20Something This article originally appeared on the Entrepreneur blog site
I didn’t always know I was going to be an entrepreneur. Some people seem to just know who they are and what they want to do. I never did. I went through the motions, just expecting whatever I was looking for to appear out of thin air. After I graduated from college, like many millennials I had no idea what I wanted to do. So I decided to become an actor. With zero stage or film experience, I moved to Atlanta, got an agent and started going out on auditions. I got rejected a lot. That’s the name of the game in acting. Although I didn’t mind hearing “no,” what really bothered me was that at the end of the day, I didn’t have any control over whether or not I got the role. I remember very distinctly the very last time I went out on an audition. I was supposed to play a zombie for the show The Walking Dead -- which I’d admittedly never seen at that point. I got into the audition room, braced myself and, as soon as the cameraman said “Rolling!” I did my thing. There was a silence in the room. The casting directors looked at me, looked down at their cell phones, looked up at each other and started laughing, almost simultaneously. “That’s your idea of a zombie?” At that point, I knew I wanted to stop auditioning for other people who could tell me “no.” I decided to take the power of “no” back for myself, and at least be in a position to get what I wanted of my own accord. So I began writing movies. I’d never written a movie before. I’d never written much of anything before, at least not much that I considered worth sharing with others. But this script felt special. It felt right. I wasn’t going to make any money with it, but it felt very important. That made me focus my energy. I wrote the script. I knew a little bit about the casting and production process since I’d done acting for a few years, so I combined that knowledge with some books from Barnes & Noble and began to raise money to start shooting a proper short film. It was hard. I didn’t really know how much everything was going to cost. I didn’t have a single wealthy family member, and didn’t have my network of fancy friends at the time. Looking back, I didn’t have much going for me! I was 21 and mostly had a network of college friends. But I was determined to make it work. I set up an indiegogo campaign that made a little bit of money. I asked every single one of my Facebook friends (maybe ~1000 people at the time). Then, just to understand what was going on in the industry, I started going to local film producer meet-ups in Atlanta. I learned that I could source production crew and talent for close to free. Then I began looking at locations where I wanted to shoot the film and started asking local business owners if they’d allow me to use their restaurant, store or clinic for an hour or two at a time. Many of the locations were so excited about the possibility of having a movie shot in their location that they were happy to let us use it for free or cheap during down time.
Then I began doing the casting process. A friend of a friend let us use his office space and I had actors come in and out. This time I felt like the one in charge as I looked over their headshots and said, “thanks for coming, we’ll be in touch.” The big win for me here was getting Jasmine Guy to agree to star in the film. My best friend’s aunt is a well-known stage actress and she made the introduction to the famous TV actress on my behalf. That was a Holy Shit moment. I felt like I was making some real progress with my life. In the end, I raised almost $13,000 and the movie is about 14 minutes long. It was a pivotal experience. It was my first big project. Everyone needs their first Big Project. It’s best if the project is something that you choose, you design and you fund. The Big Project should have a clear beginning and end. You’ll know that you have a well-chosen Big Project when you can show someone what you’ve done, point to it and say “I made that.” Examples of a Big Project include: • Write, produce and star in a film. • Learn a dance choreography and perform it on stage. • Write a book and publish it. • Learn a language and travel somewhere to speak it. • Master a genre of cooking. • Learn to program and develop an app. • Create a blog and write at least 10 meaty posts. These are just ideas. Decide for yourself. Writing a movie was my first big project, after I couldn’t land gigs auditioning as an actor. This Big Project will do incredible things for your life: 1 It will show you that you’re capable of coming up with an idea and seeing it through to the end. 2 It will allow you to create, in a relatively low-stakes environment. You can’t really “lose” if the project doesn’t go well. (Another reason why it’s best not to consider your job a project.) 3 It will teach you to creatively find resources that you need in order to complete the project. Especially because you probably don’t have a lot of money yet. 4 It will help you to see your true path and connect you with others who are also looking for their path, which is similar to yours. (The first stage of networking.) Here’s some hard truth: it’s going to be very, very tough. But if you commit to following through with that first Big Project, you will quickly get out of the “what should I do with my life” mindset and actively begin developing a vision for yourself. And that’s all you need right now. A vision. After the movie, I realized that I actually had more fun producing the film than anything else. I liked the business aspect of it -- raising the money, talking to people, making deals. That was surprising to me, since I’d always thought of business as boring. But look closely at what happened… I took it all the way back to what I knew was important to me: writing. I wrote the film and found out that I liked business. Writing led to the business. Now I started to get more and more ideas. Maybe there was some way I could combine business and writing to make money doing the things that made me feel good? That was almost exactly five years ago. So much has happened since then. If my 23-year old self could look at me now, I’m sure he’d be impressed. But at that time, things were a blur. I had no idea what was to come, and the Rich20Something you know today, my online business with close to to $1 million in revenue and hundreds of thousands of subscribers, was still years away.
This is all about the journey. Read my words and find yourself in them. You’ll begin to understand that it’s ok if you have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll start to realize that almost nobody really knows. But there are steps you can take to make sure that even if you don’t know where you’re going, you always end up in the right place. I’m going to talk about online business for a second here, because I think it’s important. And I know you want to hear more about it. At the end of the day, starting a biz online is relatively simple: • Find something that people want. • Find the people who want that thing. • Ask them if they’d like to buy. It can be a physical product, a service you offer or just information. Doesn’t really matter. Online business is not some weird thing. It’s not a scammy thing. It’s how business has always worked, just using a different medium. And remember, the message is always more important than the medium. People go to jobs so that they can make money to buy the things they want. Why not buy something from you?
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Sales can be a tough road of ups, downs, potholes and a few bumps. But it can also be fast paced, exhilarating and rewarding. If you’re in sales, you know there are things only other sales people understand; the thrill of scoring the big account, the uncertainty of “let me think about that.”, the frustration of phone calls or emails that don’t get returned. IBAW’s Sales Roundtable is a support and knowledge resource for sales professionals, business owners, marketing and branding experts who are charged with driving sales. Join us to discuss the strategy, tactics, inspiration, and motivation to increase sales. It’s a FREE benefit of your membership! Who should attend: • Sales professionals of any level. • Business owners • Sales Managers • Marketing & P.R. Professionals
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The IBAW Legislative Team keeps our members up to date and informed on business issues coming out of Madison and Washington D.C..
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IBAW is on an upward trend of growth and we are actively recruiting businesses just like yours to join! When you join IBAW your entire company is a member - anyone from your team can attend our fine educational and networking events. Help yourself, your business AND your Team Members. Come on in...weâ€™re open for business!
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2016 Membership Committee
Craig Coursin Stier Construction
Scott Seroka Seroka Branding
Charles Fry Robert W. Baird
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Legislative Fix Moving Ahead for Wisconsin’s New Manufacturing & Agricultural Credit Jim Brandenburg, CPA, MST - Sikich LLP
In IBAW meetings and publications in recent years we have introduced you to Wisconsin’s new tax incentive - the Wisconsin Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit (referred to as the “MAC”). The MAC came about in 2011 to provide an incentive for Wisconsin manufacturers and agricultural companies to remain and grow here, and also perhaps to have out-of-state companies move here. It was scheduled to begin in 2013, and when fully phased-in by 2016 it would essentially exempt any Wisconsin manufacturing and agricultural income from Wisconsin income tax. The MAC was championed by Representative Dale Kooyenga and Senator Glenn Grothman in the legislature.
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The MAC, however, had some problems for individual taxpayers when it was drafted and this glitch was recently identified. Here is the issue in a nutshell: the MAC would reduce a taxpayer’s Wisconsin individual income tax, but then would trigger a Wisconsin minimum tax for nearly the same amount. Thus, there may be little, if any, net savings for the MAC in 2013 (a “MAC Attack?”). The legislature is trying to remedy this situation now so that taxpayers can realize the proper tax savings with the MAC on their 2013 Wisconsin individual tax returns.
The IBAW magazine is in need of content, we rely on our members and sponsors to supply us informative articles. The digital magazine is sent out to over 650 contacts statewide and the magazine is parked on the web where, on average, it gets over 1100 views.
Legislative Update: It seems that all key legislative leaders are now on board to correct this issue. It was approved by the legislature’s Joint Finance Committee last week. The Senate and Assembly will be in session in March and voting on final passage for several bills, one of which is this tax bill with the MAC correction. It looks like the legislative timetable will have the bill passed near the middle of the March, before going to the Governor. Thus, a best guess now is that the bill would be enacted into law somewhere in the latter half of March, 2014. MAC Attack Options: For any of our individual taxpayers taking advantage of the MAC, this may present some filings logistics. Here are the possibilities:
1. Best case scenario - in some cases the taxpayer’s share of the MAC for 2013 will be used and not result in a Wisconsin Minimum Tax. A taxpayer in this situation could go ahead and claim the MAC and file their 2013 Wisconsin individual return. There would be no need to wait for the legislation to pass.
Consider writing an article on a timely business related topic to your particular field of business. This is an outstanding opportunity for you and your company to gain exposure and increase your brand awareness to a statewide audience. There is no cost to submitting an article.
2. Next, a taxpayer has generated a MAC for 2013, but it will trigger a Wisconsin Minimum Tax. The taxpayer in this case could wait until the law is changed (and then wait a little for the WDR to update its computer processing systems) and then file their Wisconsin tax return and claim the MAC, and not incur the Wisconsin Minimum Tax. This could present a tight timeline for the April 15 deadline, and you may need to file for an extension.
3. Similar case as #2, but this taxpayer could file their Wisconsin individual return with the MAC, but also incur and pay a Wisconsin Minimum Tax for 2013. Then, once the corrective law is enacted go back and file an amended 2013 Wisconsin tax return to obtain the proper tax benefit of the MAC. You would not need extend, but you would need to amend. We’ll keep you posted as this legislation moves forward. If you have any questions, please contact Jim Brandenburg or Brian Kelley at Sikich, LLP in Brookfield (262)754-9400.
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Meeting Recaps 2014 Wisconsin Manufacturing Knowledge Summit
On June 20, 2014 the IBAW partnered with the Tool, Die & Machining Association of Wisconsin (TDMAW) to offer Wisconsin manufacturers and their suppliers a unique look at trends within the industry and to also report on some of the challenges the industry faces in the next 5 years.
Power Test, Inc. is an industry leader in the design, manufacture and implementation of dynamometers and control systems.
Special thanks to the event sponsor, First Business Bank for their efforts in helping organize this event.
For more than 37 years, Power Test has provided specialized test equipment to manufacturers, rebuilding facilities and distributors globally. Our products can be found in use at these facilities in nearly 100 countries on six continents.
Our headquarters and manufacturing operations are located in Sussex, WI with sales representatives worldwide. Our unparalleled customer service is well known throughout the industry. Power Test employs a dedicated staff of talented machinists, fabricators, electronic technicians, assemblers, designers, engineers, software developers, and administrative and customer service personnel. Our exceptional product life and excellent customer service is well known throughout the industry and has made us one of the industryleading dynamometer manufacturers. Our dedication to the customer and to the advances in powertrain component testing keep us there.
Power Test N60 W22700 Silver Spring Drive Sussex, WI 53089 Phone: 262-252-4301
4 Advanced Waste Services Advanced Waste Services is an environmental services company that provides wastewater recycling and other waste and risk elimination services to manufacturers in all industries. Each day, AWS helps hundreds of businesses, both large and small, meet their community and environmental obligations. Annually, we collect, treat and recycle more than 50 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into clean, reusable water and other valuable resources like fuel, steam and electricity. AWS is constantly helping our clients manage, reinvent and improve their sustainability successes. For example, we recently partnered with Forest County Advanced Waste Services Potawatomi Community to help Wisconsin food and beverage manufacturers convert 1126 South 76th Street food waste into clean, green renewable energy. Suite N408B West Allis, WI 53214 Founded in 1993, AWS employs 55 people in the Milwaukee area and a total of 150 people companywide in 5 states. 414-847-7100
Photo Key 1: A full house in the main ballroom of the Wisconsin Club as IBAW & TDMAW members prepare to hear about the state of manufacturing and the challenges the industry faces in the workforce.
2: David Vetta of First Business Bank delivers opening remarks and highlights the importance of a strong relationship between banking and manufacturing working together for success. 3: New IBAW President, John Weber of Hypneumat addresses the change in IBAW Bylaws and calls for voting in new board officers. 4: Kent Lorenz of Acieta gives the main presentation on “Manufacturing Matters” pointing out the trends on manufacturing now and what to expect in the future. 5: Outgoing IBAW President, Steve Van Lieshout receives his award for his efforts as 2013 - 2014.
6 Photos courtesy of Tim Townsend.
6: IBAW Executive Director, Steve Kohlmann (Left) presents David Drumel with an award for his service on the IBAW board.
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