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Richard Meeusen,CEO Badger Meter “Ethics, Drive & Leadership”

June 12th

MAY 16th

MAY 2014

Business Behind the Scenes:

Harley Museum





Networking matters

At AT&T, we know that making connections is critical to success. In Wisconsin and across the nation, we link businesses with their customers and the world through our wireless network with access to the nation’s largest Wi-fi network. It’s just another way we help our customers stay connected. AT&T is proud to support the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin.

© 2014 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.

IBAW thanks AT&T for it’s continued sponsorship.

IBAW MEDIA LINK Gov. Walker talks about keeping more money in the hands of the taxpayer

Executive Director Steve Kohlmann President Steve Van Lieshout K & S Technologies . President Elect 2014 Membership / Sponsorship John Weber Hypneumat

To listen, click here.

VP. State & National Programs Jeff Hoffman Judson & Assoc. Treasurer Casey Malek Sikich Directors Bart Adams Sikich Ann Barry Hanneman Simandl Law Group S.C Heather Baylor Park Bank Richard Blomquist Blomquist Benefits Jason Kuwayama Godfrey & Kahn Tom Boelkow BSI Design, Build, Furnish Dave Drumel Staff Electric

IBAW Mission: To advance business prosperity through insightful programming, executive networking and member-driven public policy and advocacy.

Jim Leef ITU Absorbtech

Business Education Series FIVE STAR Programing

May 16th Meeting Richard Meeusen,CEO Badger Meter Mr. Meeusen is the CEO of Badger Meter, an innovator in flow measurement and control products. Badger Meter serves water utilities, municipalities, and commercial and industrial customers worldwide. Measuring water, oil, chemicals, and other fluids, Badger Meter products are known for accuracy, long-lasting durability and for providing valuable and timely measurement data.

Registration open! Click here



7:00 AM


7:30 AM


9:00 AM


Registration now open! Click here.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20th PLUS...A Special Manufacturing Roundtable with Lt. Gov. Kleefisch

“MANUFACTURING MATTERS” With Kent Lorenz and Richard Kalscheuer Join the IBAW, TDMAW and First Business Bank for a morning of high energy and vital information as we gain insight on the evolution and health of the manufacturing industry here in Wisconsin, the nation and around the globe. Kent Lorenz is President of the Midwest Region of Ellison Technologies, a provider of advanced machining and robotic automation solutions to North American metal-cutting manufacturers and their global affiliates. Rick Kalscheuer is a certified insurance counselor for R&R insurance with an expertise in OSHA Compliance, International Exposures and Safety Programs.

Stay for a roundtable discussion at 9:15 with Lt. Gov. Kleefisch: “What’s Grinding My Metal...” What keeps you up at night? Taxes? Regulations? DNR? EPA? Workforce?

7:00 AM - 7:30 AM - Networking 7:30 AM - Breakfast & Program

Share your thoughts and voice your concerns with Lt. Gov. Kleefisch during this special manufacturer’s roundtable discussion.

9:00 AM - Main program ends 9:15 AM - “What’s Grinding My Metal...” Cost: $32.00 Includes full breakfast

Register now at

Location: The Wisconsin Club 900 W.Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee EVENT SPONSOR

IBAW Website Construction Underway Steve Kohlmann, IBAW Executive Director

A few months ago I mentioned one of the top priorities was to update the IBAW website. Since funding to accomplish this is unavailable, I took up the redesign myself, chipping away at the site as time and coffee allowed. Through long hours, sheer determination, trail & error and bottomless cups of coffee, the website now has a new, cleaner look. But it’s far from complete. IBAW’s website is hosted by a firm called Wild Apricot which manages many organization & associations around the globe. Wild Apricot doesn’t just host the website but also integrates event registration, membership database, other logistics and a host of items to keep IBAW organized and running. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of the site so it’s not a matter of packing up your site and turning it over to someone else. Everything has to work in concert, it’s trickier than it sounds. Wild Apricot is rolling out Version 5 of their system and it’s touted as a major upgrade on how the IBAW site is built, managed and updated. I’m also setting up the site for future additions such as rotating photos, video and document downloads. How can you help? Become a sponsor and help fund upgrades to the site. I can prominently display your logo on the website as a supporter and dollars spent as a site sponsor can help with add ons we will need in the very near future. Another way to help is to refer perspective members to the site enticing them to attend a meeting or join the IBAW. With the upgrade to Version 5 it means there will be more of a learning curve on how to integrate everything together. But for IBAW it means a better looking site with more functionality. Bring on the coffee.

The IBAW website gets a new, cleaner look. More changes will take place over the summer as the Version 5 update is rolled out, learned and implemented.

Walking a Mile In Their Shoes (Boots) Steve Kohlmann, IBAW Executive Director

This was going to end badly. I was about to charge into a dark, smoke filled building looking for a fire victim and already I wasn’t getting enough oxygen out of my air mask. And now it was too late. The building door opened, smoke billowed out and my team rushed in. And so did I. The metal door slammed behind us with a thud and we were in complete blackness immediately tripping upon a set of stairs which we clumsily ascended. We kept a left hand on the wall in a typical ‘left hand search’ pattern. Pulling the inch and a half water hose was like wrestling with a huge Python. At the top of the stairs we got down on our hands and knees to abate the heat and smoke. I felt a small room to the left and I was told by my partner to go in and search. I crawled on my hands and knees huffing and puffing trying to get more air and trying to slow down my breathing to accommodate the small bit of air my mask was delivering. But it was no use and things began to get bad very quickly. I simply wasn’t getting enough air. I stood up yelled through the mask into my the Lieutenant’s ear; “I’m not getting enough air!” Instantly his hand grabbed my coat yanking me through the blackness to the exit, out into the daylight and to safety. I pulled off the mask gulping in air. But I was never really in any danger. The whole incident was staged. Set up by Waukesha County Fire & Rescue, it was a morning built for elected officials (I’m a Supervisor for the Town of Brookfield) at WCTC’s fire training area to experience what emergency personal go through. The smoke was theatrical smoke set inside a concrete training building. And while the smoke was completely harmless it adds to the realism you would experience in a real fire. We also had hands on experience in several other areas including communications and paramedics working on a person (not me) having a heart attack. So what did I learn that day? That fire & rescue professionals are dedicated and very well trained. It takes a lot of guts to run into a burning building. I also learned there’s a lot of science behind how to extinguish a fire. A structure fire is first assessed then attacked. I also learned fire & rescue is a young person’s game. Endurance, stamina, muscles and joints in younger and more powerful bodies than my 51 year old carcass are meant to do the job. It was a day for new appreciation for what they do, and for what I do too. And the my trouble with the air mask? No trouble at all. A diaphragm the air supply connects to the mask requires one to breath in hard and deep in order for it to function properly. You can’t take in wimpy breaths. Live and learn.

C-Suite Edge: Keeping HR EyeLevel, Evaluating Partners and Structure for Optimum ROI Jessica Ollenburg, Human Resources Services, Inc.

No matter the organizational headcount, C-suite executives must focus due diligence upon talent management, workforce ROI and legal compliance. For any labor intensive organization, the keys to success rely upon increased workforce productivity, astute risk management and surgically cut talent dollars. In doing so, idle time, legal costs, underutilization and any such wasteful spending must be avoided. Expert solutions exist and are catching on quickly. Those not paying attention will be left behind. Employment law is ever-changing and requires daily research. Beyond pure legal advice, legal compliance experts need to deploy business acumen, organizational psychology and aligned mission commitment to deliver best decision tools and implementations. Top executives are earning spectacular ROI and competitive edge by finding their own perfect internal-external partnership balance. Some are outsourcing it all, but better options exist. The options promoted here do not involve the outsourcing of the employment relationship. For many, outsourcing employees can be counterproductive to ROI. Employees want to feel part of a team, and in today’s world of “pay without play” where some label work a “choice,” employees often deliver commitment only with reciprocity and incentive. In many environments, outsourcing employees can be an expedient method of deteriorating engagement and productivity. Keeping workforce on the payroll and outsourcing certain or all HR management, however, can be a collaborative win for the entire organization. Third party expert operations have long been enjoyed by employers of all sizes and cultures. Employers under 200 are eligible to partner for all HR operations. Employers of limitless size find third party partnership extremely beneficial for talent assessment, education, compliance certification and change leadership. Most employers will attain betterment through a stable, highly competent and dedicated HR team, rather than revolving part-time talent with limited versatility. Employers who embrace external experts enjoy competitive edge and visionary foresight. Top quality is accessed with keen cost control, unbiased expertise, widespread case study and flexible utilization. As we re-evaluate the HR team, workforce headcount only matters so much. For the average employer, the optimal team is comprised of functional management plus specialists and support under the direction of a Chief HR Operating Officer (CHRO), a right hand to the CEO. CHROs can be internal or external partners. An established CHRO already succeeding is always to be treasured and protected, as premier talent is undoubtedly rare and worthy of appreciation. When selecting a professional consultant as CHRO, employers should seek quick adaptability, C-suite proven excellence, vast third party expertise and, of course, flexible utilization for cost control. HR practitioners for top partner firms never stop learning, growing, embracing and delivering new value. Among many other

deliverables, they bridge gaps and engage workforce into the company’s mission. CHROs should facilitate a highly effective and well-aligned supporting team. Delivering fiscal due diligence, the average cost of third party partnership is less than the average cost of internalized operations. Done well, spectacular ROI is expected year one and builds substantially in consecutive years. Through selection of the right partner organization, the HR team stays in place, benefiting from learning curve balanced with constantly emerging fresh ideas and case studies. Access to dedicated expert talent on demand without idle time is a steadfast cost reduction and quality optimization technique. Impartial third party experts avoid bias and deliver information with enhanced credibility. Everyone wins. In some organizations, CHRO and CFO responsibilities are merged. This yields mixed results. Merging CHRO and CFO roles can produce conflict of interest or limited perspective; however, both CHRO and CFO need a clear grasp of fiscal prudence, organizational psychology and legal compliance. Ideally, each of these practitioners is ready to deploy as needed but never underutilized. Neither role should be subservient to the other. Some fabulous internal HR managers exist in today’s companies. They call upon preferred partners for compliance, talent assessment, education, decision tools, case studies, affirmative defense and third party expertise. Astute business leaders recognize these top performers and keep them engaged with incentive and growth. Partner organizations deliver the tools and opportunities for such growth. Cookie cutter solutions are abused, overused and rarely appropriate in HR. Every employer is unique across widespread criteria, including but not limited to company brand, culture, history, demographics, business model and keys to success. Accredited consultants deliver the ability to assess and tailor programs which plug into these unique paradigms. Those who devote only to a single employer at a time and/or “job hop” do not necessarily deliver the third party expertise necessary to capture success opportunities. While the essentials are somewhat universal, today’s business leaders enjoy a healthy range of HR options. Whether enjoying premier internal talent, premier external talent or a custom blend of the two, HR is never a remedial function. The HR function should be in the hands of those who deliver extraordinary legal knowledge, fiscal due diligence, talent management, lifelong learning for leaders, policy establishment, organizational communications, conflict reduction, operational efficiency and forward thinking, to name a few. HR is an executive function which, done poorly, can decimate an organization… and when done well, delivers impactful ROI, business sustainability and critical risk management. Today’s top executives keep it eye-level and empower extraordinary partners. Jessica Ollenburg is Chief Empowerment Officer and a Senior Practitioner for HRS, delivering management solutions related to HR, organizational development and legal compliance since 1983. The firm’s website delivers articles, insights, etools and a thought leadership blog. Ollenburg can be reached directly at

How to Come Out On Top in a Down Economy John Lauber, Lauber CFOs

In a down economy Cash is King and you need to operate accordingly. Keep in mind that in down markets risk increases dramatically as you may not be able to cover up mistakes by growing revenue. Here are some additional thoughts: •

React to current conditions not conditions you wish existed.

Adhere to your credit policies. Don’t pick up your competitors credit problems.

Keep the calculation of your cash break even up to date and manage your business with that in mind.

• •

Make use of an interactive financial model to test what if scenarios. If your cash position allows, consider investing in activities like marketing and engineering that will better position you for the recovery.

Use updated forecasts to drive staffing levels.

Use the tight job market to upgrade your staff.

Knowing profitability by customer, product or segment allows you to focus on areas where you enjoy better margins.

Know your costs so that you can make strategic pricing decisions.

Focus on segments of your business that are hurt the least by current conditions.

Focus on customer retention and reactivating former customers.

Evaluate why customers are not buying and address any factors you can control like offering a lower cost, no frills alternative or extending payment terms.

Make sure you stay close to your key accounts. Your competitors will be gunning for them.

Reposition your message to deal with current realities, i.e. promote your equipment rebuilding services not just new equipment sales.

Review advertising and marketing expenditures to ensure they are focused in areas that will provide the greatest return for the money.

Be alert to the impact of decreasing order size on your fixed costs per order.

Suppliers are looking for volume. Now may be a good time to consolidate and negotiate long term supply contracts.

• •

Keep up communications with your lender. Make sure you don’t give them any surprises. Review your insurance policies and adjust sales and payroll estimates to reflect current realities.

Require an extra level of approval for all discretionary purchases to ensure they are appropriate given current conditions.

Check to see if you may be able to realign the frequency of various service and supply contracts with

current activity levels. Consider, uniforms, rugs, shop rags, equipment maintenance, waste removal, etc. Work off inventory levels to conserve cash. $0.60 on a dollar today is worth more than “maybe“ getting full value down the road.

Shift costs you can’t control to your customer. For example change prepaid freight to FOB Plant.

Keep an eye on your competitors and be prepared to move quickly if they falter.

Take steps to speed up your financial information. Use estimates if necessary to improve the timeliness

of your numbers. Use this information to quickly respond to changing conditions. Make use of trusted outsiders to help ensure you remain objective.

If you get into a jam, honest communication is key. If you make promises, keep them!

Keep a few vendors current so you can use them for credit references.

Evaluate the necessity of travel. Determine if you would gain cost savings without losing effectiveness

by using technology like conference calls, video conferencing, or webinars. Evaluate the feasibility of temporarily reducing or eliminating your 401k match.

Encourage use of vacation time now so employees are available when things pick up.

To keep your good employee base intact, consider a reduced work week for everyone or rolling layoffs of one week off one week on.

Check to see if your landlord has any flexibility to defer a portion of your rent until things pick up.

Finally, stay positive. You can’t see where you are going if your head is down. People with negative attitudes tend to miss opportunities. The pendulum always swings back. Although the above are practices that should really be followed in any kind of economy, they are some of the steps you can take to cushion the effects of difficult economic conditions. John Lauber is founder and CEO of Lauber CFOs, he can be reached at

We tried. He’s busy. Quality speakers every month.

‘Small Business Tax Index’ Matters on State Job Creation Ray Keating, Chief Economist, SBE Council, Washington D.C.

The rate of job creation has been simply abysmal in the U.S. since the start of the last recession and during this subsequent recovery. Consider that from November 2007, just before the recession started, to March 2014, employment in the U.S. was still down by some 850,000 jobs (or by -0.6 percent). Since the end of the recession in June 2009, U.S. employment grew by 4.1 percent, or about 5.7 million. By the way, that averages out to a mere 100,000 gain in employment per month – about 40 percent or less of what should be created during a recovery. However, economic activity, including job creation, can and does vary considerably from state to state. And guess what? It turns out that tax policies matter in the states. Consider the top and bottom states on the “Small Business Tax Index 2014: Best to Worst State Tax Systems for Entrepreneurship and Small Business,” which ranks the 50 states according to the costs of their tax systems for entrepreneurship and small business. The top six state tax systems are: 1) Nevada, 2) South Dakota, 3) Texas, 4) Wyoming, 5) Washington, and 6) Florida. These six are noteworthy because none impose individual income and capital gains taxes, and the top five inflict no individual or corporate income and capital gains taxes. Those are significant competitive advantages for attracting businesses, entrepreneurs, investment and labor. Meanwhile, the bottom six are: 45) New York, 46) Iowa, 47) Hawaii, 48) New Jersey, 49) Minnesota, and 50) California. For the most part, these six states rank among the most burdensome when it comes to income-based levies. The differences when it comes to job creation between the best and worst states since the recession began and during the subsequent recovery have been noteworthy. (Note that the top six states on the 2014 “Small Business Tax Index” have ranked among the very best in previous editions, and at the same time, the worst six states in 2014 were among the worst ranked in previous years.) Consider: •

Employment growth much stronger in top six tax-friendly states. In total, the top six states on the Index increased employment by 5.7 percent from November 2007 to March 2014, compared to the national decline of 0.6 percent, and no effective gain (a decline of 0.04 percent) among the six worst states on the Index.

Job growth in best-tax states faster than national rate. From November 2007 to March 2014, five of the top six states on the Index had faster job growth than the national rate, with the other tied. Meanwhile, two states in the bottom six were down by larger percentages than the national economy, with employment down by 1.7 percent in New Jersey and by 2.8 percent in New York.

Best-tax states double down on job creation. During the recovery – from June 2009 to March 2014 – the top six states increased jobs by 8.9 percent, compared to 4.1 percent for both the nation in general and the worst six states on the Index. That is, the rate of job creation in the best six states was more than double the national rate and more than double the rate for the worst six states on the Index.

Should we be surprised by these results? Absolutely not. Income and capital gains taxes are imposed on working, investing and entrepreneurship, which in turn are the engines of economic and employment growth. Impose heavy taxes and those essential economic activities are discouraged, diminished or chased away. Don’t tax work and risk taking, and you get more work, investing and entrepreneurship. Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

Get Involved with IBAW! With our Annual June meeting coming up on June 20th, the IBAW is looking for motivated individuals who would be interested in serving on a committee or on the IBAW board. If you have an interest in becoming involved, please contact any of the board members or IBAW executive Director, Steve Kohlmann. Committee assignments can range from the membership, sponsorship, legislative outreach, ambassadors and other areas. Board duties are generally for members that have been involved with IBAW for a period of time or members that have served on committees. Getting involved with the IBAW is a great way for you to add to your experience and to help out the organization.

Retaining Your Best Employees Don’t Neglect Your Shining Stars Joy Duce, Sikich

Hiring good employees is not enough in today’s competitive labor market. Organizations have to focus on strategies for keeping their best employees. Key employee retention is critical to the long term health and success of your business. By doing this, you are ensuring higher customer satisfaction, product sales, satisfied co-workers and reporting staff and effective succession planning. While some turnover in an organization may be healthy, even desirable, employers find that it truly does impact their bottom line. Various estimates suggest that losing a middle manager costs 100% of his/her salary. The loss of a senior executive is even more costly. It can be upwards of double the annual salary of the person who left. With these figures at risk, it demonstrates even more why efforts need to be made to retain your shining stars. Unfortunately, often times most of the energy that is put into employees is placed on the under performer. The old saying, “squeaky wheel gets the grease” rings true throughout many organizations. We place all of our efforts on mentoring, guiding and even disciplining our poor performers, while we neglect our shining stars. To retain top talent we need to ensure we are dedicating as much time, if not more to this group. Why Do They Leave? Want the bottom line when it comes to retention? People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs. This means the quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to retention. Therefore, if you are looking to retain your top talent, it is best to take a look at the leadership of your organization. Employee’s value leaders that provide clarity about expectations, provide an outlook about a career path and earning potential, give regular feedback, hold scheduled meetings and provide a framework within which the employee perceives he/she can succeed. A good relationship between an employee and his/ her manager is critical to employee satisfaction and retention. Make sure all managers have the appropriate training to develop strong supervisory and management skills and are held accountable for the engagement and retention of those they manage.

Why Do They Stay? Retaining employees reduces expensive turnover and keeps what may be scarce talent on board. Consider the following strategies for engaging and retaining employees:

1.) Pay competitive and fair wages – Money is and always will be a motivator. Offering below market wages increases the likelihood that employees will look for work elsewhere. By participating in salary surveys, organizations can gather data to ensure they are keeping pace with the market.

2.) Offer a completive benefits plan – The rising cost of health insurance is continually a top story in the media, and therefore, employees are looking more closely at benefits than they ever did before. Determine what benefits are important to your employees and make sure you are offering a package comparable to that of your competitors.

3.) Provide opportunities for advancement – Make sure employees know what is expected of them and have the tools to be successful. Set clear standards for what must be accomplished in order to receive a promotion. Continuously review goals that are set via a performance appraisal process. An employee who knows an organization is interested is helping with his/her professional development is unlikely to leave.

4.) Communicate with employees – Employee loyalty increases when they feel more “in the loop.” By having open lines of communication with employees and allowing them to hear accurate information first-hand from leadership reduces frustration, as well as a rumor mill.

5.) Conduct an employee satisfaction survey – The best way to find out what your employees are thinking is to ask. Anonymous employee opinion surveys are the best way to determine what is working and what is not.

6.) Recognition – Take the time to recognize not only the big accomplishments, but the little ones as well. A simple “thank you “tends to go a long way.

7.) Be flexible – Employees are willing to go above and beyond for an employer that makes it easier to achieve live/work balance. Flexible hours, on-site services (such as dry cleaning, oil changes or day care) and the ability to work remotely can increate an employees desire to stay with an organization.

8.) Fun! – People spend far too much time at work to be serious 100% of the time. Allow employees to include humor and camaraderie in their day.

They Built an Empire. Experience It...

IBAW Business Behind the Scenes

Harley Museum

Join the IBAW and Harley Museum staff for a special guided tour that offers in-depth explanations of Museum exhibits and provides a glimpse into the private, rarely seen areas of the Harley-Davidson Archives. This private tour will provide you with a deeper level of insight into the artifacts and stories about both the exhibits and the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. You will spend some time in the galleries and then go behind the scenes into the artifact processing area, small artifact storage and vehicle storage. The tour will include access to vehicles and artifacts that are not currently on display and rarely seen with access to restricted areas of the museum.

DATE: THURSDAY, JUNE 12th 11:00 am - 12:30 pm - (Gather at 10:45) Lunch available for purchase after the tour in the Harley Cafe.

LOCATION: HARLEY MUSEUM 400 West Canal Street, Milwaukee

$40.00 per person - IBAW members only.

This tour is unavailable to the general public and is usually reserved only for VIPs.


Register at

Right the Rules: Regulatory Reform Rep. Daniel LeMahieu, 59th Assembly District

Welcome to our website dedicated to Regulatory Reform in Wisconsin. Governor Scott Walker and the leadership in the State Assembly are committed to a top to bottom review of the 1,768 chapters in the Wisconsin Administrative Code containing countless rules we all deal with on a daily basis.  If you are a small business person, local government, manufacturer, or just an individual resident of Wisconsin you are affected by these 11,764 pages of rules.

Rep. Daniel LeMahieu

On this website you can find out how we plan on doing this review, what the rules actually say and notices of public hearings that will be taking place dealing with specific rules. This is a huge undertaking so this site will be changing and adding more information as we go forward. When we launched this project during the 101st Legislative Session, we knew it was going to be a long process, and we’ve made good progress. Throughout this session, legislators reviewed more than 300 chapters through the “Right the Rules” process. This review included over 100 meetings/hearings from 24 Assembly committees and 7 Senate committees.  Assembly members brought forward and passed 13 bills that change or eliminate a total of 85 different chapters.  4 of those bills have been signed into law, and 8 are waiting to be signed by Governor Walker. Each of these bills eliminates government red tape in a variety of subject areas making the Administrative Code friendlier for the businesses and citizens of Wisconsin. We still want to hear from you. If there is a rule or regulation that you find problematic let us know.  This site gives you the ability to put in writing your specific concerns and e-mail those concerns to my office and we will pass those concerns on to the committee dealing with that rule. We plan on continuing to update this website as we go forward so you will know how many of the 1,768 chapters in the administrative code have been dealt with, when hearings are, and keep track of any legislation that comes forward. Moving forward into the next session, it is our hope that the next Assembly Co-Chair for JCRAR is dedicated to continuing the Right the Rules project, working to reduce the burden that these regulations create. Please feel free to contact us by calling 608-266-9175 or emailing  Rep. Daniel LeMahieu,Co-Chair Review of Administrative Rules Committee

The legislature has officially completed the 2013-2014 session. If you have any questions or concerns with State of Wisconsin regulations, now would be a great time to contact your senator or assembly person as they are available to help you. Link to the website. To find your legislators, click here.

How to Find The Right Business Bank Chase Kostichka & Bob Bell, First Business Bank

As the business world experienced extreme highs and lows this past decade, and businesses were forced to adapt to remain viable, many became more efficient. They figured out how to do more with less to stay competitive and grow. Many learned to leverage vendor and supplier relationships, but one important partner is often overlooked - a company’s financial provider. As a business owner you may ask; “Isn’t a bank just a bank? Can I really leverage my relationship with my bank to help my business succeed?” People often underestimate what they can get from their bank. A solid business bank will act as a true partner to your business. They’ll take time to understand your business, your strengths, and your hurdles. And they’ll offer you support in the form of expertise, business connections, and resources. Are you already working with such a bank? Here are some questions designed to help you figure out the answer: Does my bank fully understand my business? Are my bank’s decision makers accessible? What does my bank offer to support my success? Is my bank focused on the right things? Does my bank really understand my business? A productive business bank will take the time to meet with you, tour your facility, and talk to your senior management on a regular basis. They’ll anticipate needs, and proactively address them. They won’t act as order takers, rather as a partner in your business. They’ll have sophisticated commercial lending, treasury management, equipment finance, retirement plan services and more, available to address your needs as your company grows. Are my bank’s decision makers accessible? It’s important to know the individuals at your bank that make decisions on your account. The bank should understand that not everything’s black and white, and a good relationship can help in unique banking situations. If you happen to have a temporary setback in your financial condition, an honest and informed relationship between your business and its bank can be key. It’s also important to be able to reach someone when you come across a window of opportunity. If not, your client and bottom line can be impacted. Ask your banker how many accounts they manage, and don’t be impressed by high numbers. Consider a niche bank that offers low client to banker ratios to ensure the greatest accessibility. What does my bank offer to support my success? Traditionally banks specialized in lending and saving money. As banks competed, many started giving away consumer perks like free toasters. But what should a business expect? Of course you should get solid financial

products, right-sized for your business. Some banks go above and beyond and offer non-financial services. They’ll introduce clients to suppliers that can potentially save them money, they may help them with a new sales and marketing technique that worked well for another client, they may introduce them to a board member who has extensive experience in the businesses’ industry. Other business banks produce and distribute economic reports, offer free business classes, and organize industry events to support its client base. If you’re not working with a bank that offers this type of support, you may want to consider seeking one out. Is my bank focused on the right things? Since the recession, many financial providers experienced issues related to asset quality. This and financial stress can shift a banks focus from their strong and performing clients to spending more time working with their struggling or impaired loan situations. This can impact the level of attention and service that you need to continue to grow your business and meet your financial goals. Financial providers that have asset quality issues or loan concentrations may look to de-emphasize certain types of segments or industries. This may result in more conservative loan structures or less competitive loan terms. As a result, this could impact your ability to seamlessly operate your business and meet your financial needs. Stressed financial institutions may also see an increase in employee turnover. As a business owner, having a new loan officer every year can be a frustrating and time consuming process. It may also impact the response time and service levels that you have become accustomed to as you no longer have the benefit of the relationship you built with your previous banker. Once again, having a strong relationship with your banker and your financial provider’s decision makers is an important aspect of your ongoing success. Business banking is not a commodity. The right partner can make a positive contribution to your company. They will get to know your business, introduce you to the bank’s decision makers and make them available to you, offer value-added services designed to help your business succeed, and be able to focus on and support your business. You work hard for your business, and with the right business bank relationship, that bank will work hard for you too, helping you in both good and bad economic conditions. Does this sound like your existing bank? If not, it might be worth your time to explore your options.

David Vetta, President & CEO, First Business Bank - Milwaukee is an IBAW member. He can be reached at

IBAW Legislative Priorities Online

State Legislative Priorities 2014 State Legislative Priorities

- Workforce Development / Technical College Benchmarks - Pro Growth Tax Reform - Address the Structural Deficit of WI DOT - Predictable Sand Mining Regulation

1- Workforce Development / Technical College Benchmarks 2 - Pro Growth Tax Reform 3 - Address the Structural Deficit of WI DOT 4 - Predictable Sand Mining Regulation

Click here to view.

Hi-Crush Partners LP

National Legislative Priorities - Delay of the Affordable Care Act - Support the Existing Level of the Federal Minimum Wage

2014 National Legislative Priorities

- National Energy Policy Capitalizing on our Strengths - Increase Access VISAS for Immigrants with Advanced Degrees & Start Ups

1- Delay of the Aordable Care Act 2 - Support the Existing Level of the Federal Minimum Wage 3 - National Energy Policy Capitalizing on our Strengths 4 - Pro Growth Tax Reform

Click here to view.

5 - Increase Access VISAS for Immigrants with Advanced Degrees & Start Ups

Get Connected. Get Inspired. Get Informed.

THANK YOU SPONSORS... AT&T ITU AbsorbTech Blomquist Benefits Associated Bank Sikich Godfrey & Kahn Park Bank Lauber CFO’s von Briesen Vrakas / Blum Advantage Leasing

Grace Matthews Simandl Law Group, S.C. BSI - Design, Build, Furnish K & S Technologies Judson Commercial Real Estate Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, S.C. Hypneumat Mfg Sponsor support helps IBAW continue to bring insightful programming to small business owners. Ask about becoming a sponsor today!

Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors who make your IBAW programing possible.











K & S Technologies








Become an IBAW sponsor and join us in helping Wisconsin small business. To learn about the benefits of sponsorship, contact Steve Kohlmann by clicking here.

We can’t be responsible how you feel after attending our meetings. IBAW’s Business Presentation Series offers high level speakers on timely business topics keeping you informed and exhilarated. Quality programming every month. That’s IBAW.

“As a result of listening to the speakers today I was able to find and lookup the WI Lean Govt. working group and booked appointments with three departments so far this afternoon.” - Mark Truesdell, CTAccess / Computer Technologies of Wisconsin, Inc.

“...I am much better informed and educated on a plethora of topics.” - Todd Poston

FIVE STAR Programing Political Advocacy • Education • Networking / 262-844-0333 /

IBAW 960 Timber Pass Brookfield, WI 53045 Office: 262-844-0333 WWW.IBAW.COM

Membership Application Name____________________________________________________________________________________ Company_________________________________________________________________________________ Type of Business___________________________________________________________________________ Address__________________________________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip_____________________________________________________________________________ Phone____________________________________Fax_____________________________________________ Email______________________________________Website________________________________________





6 – 15


16 – 25


26 – 49


50 or more


Sustaining Member


Special! – Pre pay breakfast meetings – 12 for the price of 10




Make checks payable to IBA – and mail to: IBA 960 Timber Pass Brookfield, WI 53045

WANT TO PAY ONLINE? You can also pay by Mastercard / Visa at the IBA Membership page. ________________________________________________________________________ The Independent Business Association of Wisconsin is a not-for-profit entity filed with the IRS under 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. As a not-for-profit association, the members of The Independent Business Association, Inc. are allowed to deduct a percentage of dues that are not used for lobbying purposes. For the year 2013 based on the total income of the association and the lobbying expenses as reported on the Wisconsin State Ethics Board Lobbying reports for 2011 the percent of dues that were used for lobbing purposes is 10%. Therefore, the percent of dues that would be tax deductible is 90%.

May 2014 ibaw magazine  
May 2014 ibaw magazine