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FROM THE EDITOR
Business Monthly needs you! For the last several years, we have been trying to grow a veritable beast in the area of business-to-business publications. The Cedar Valley Business Monthly has become just that. Now, we’re sending out an urgent plea: The beast must be fed. We are asking our readers to Jim Offner make this magazine their own. is the Courier business Business owneditor. Contact ers across the him at Cedar Valley jim.offner@ have a lot to say wcfcourier. on a range of com. topics, whether it’s health care, investment, expansions, hiring, human resources, community relations, taxes. Your thoughts on technology topics like search engine optimization strategies are particu-
larly prized. Cedar Valley Business Monthly provides two vital functions: It’s a valuable forum in which timely issues are discussed at length among experts. And, it also is a community in which to share your unique take on some particularly pressing trend. It’s the only region-focused business magazine, and it’s designed with the needs of the business community in mind. Don’t think of the magazine as simply a complaint box; it’s also a venue in which you can share what is working well for your organization, and perhaps as importantly, why it’s working. The Cedar Valley Business Monthly always has been a tool for local entrepreneurs, a forum through which local business operators could share their expertise with rivals and colleagues alike. However, much like running a company, there are responsibilities for any community to main-
tain its most widely circulated publication that focuses on issues important to everyone doing business in the Cedar Valley. In short, any magazine is only as effective as its contributions. That’s particularly true of Cedar Valley Business Monthly, which is designed to be a voice of the local and regional business community. As such, it needs contributions from every corner of the very business community it is designed to serve. The magazine has several purposes, but its most important role is to keep the business community informed about topical issues, business trends and individual philosophies. Airing those various approaches to conducting a successful enterprise is of special import in the Cedar Valley, which boasts a healthy variety of business models in the manufacturing, information technology, medical, retail and service trades, just to name a few. The nature of the businesses may vary, but ev-
eryone who reads the Cedar Valley Business Monthly can benefit from an individual approach or simply an outside perspective. That’s why this publication relies heavily on contributions from individuals and companies across and beyond the Cedar Valley. It’s easy to contribute. All it takes is a column of about 500600 words in length, e-mailed with the author’s photo and contact information, to jim.offner@ wcfcourier.com. As a rule of thumb, we set a deadline for submissions around the last working day of each month. If you would like to contribute to the July issue, for example, the last day to submit would be May 30. Make your voice heard. Take ownership of the Cedar Valley Business Monthly. Your voice counts. Even more important, it can help to further strengthen the environment for commerce and the region at large.
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Cedar Valley Business Monthly is a free monthly publication direct-mailed to more than 5,300 area businesses. Contact us at (319) 291-1448 or P.O. Box 540, Waterloo, IA 50704.
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mericans are getting more personal with their computers. Mobile devices — tablets and smartphones — are overtaking home computers for Internet usage in the U.S. That means companies that want to maintain an online presence have to have a version that people can fit in their pockets. “To ignore mobile users is not even an option any more,” said Kate Washut, partner at Far Reach. Smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, allowing people to browse the Internet anytime or anywhere. “There are users who only use their phone,” said Morgan Dornbier, Courier digital services specialist. “People
take their phones everywhere — take them to bed, even the bath.” The numbers speak for themselves, Washut said. As of January, Americans used smartphone and tablet apps more than PCs to access the Internet. Mobile devices accounted for 55 percent of Internet usage in the U.S. that month. Mobile apps made up 47 percent of Internet traffic, according to data from industry tracking group comScore. PCs made up 45 percent. “You look at that and you can’t deny the importance of mobile use,” Washut said. “The growth of mobile has happened so quickly we can’t ignore the numbers.” Even the most skeptical business owners are won over when shown the amount of mobile traffic on their own websites. “Sometimes that’s enough justification for people,”
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Mobile presence a must for today’s businesses Washut said. As of January, 55 percent of American adults had smartphones, while 42 percent own tablets, according to the Pew Research Center. Those devices accompany people and can be their guide in making purchase decisions or finding specific types of businesses. A Web presence doesn’t necessarily translate to a useful mobile presence, Washut added. Mobile users are unlikely to use a website that isn’t formatted to their device. “If that link takes them to a website that isn’t mobile friendly, they’re not going to pinch and zoom,” she said. Research supports that assertion. A Sterling Research and Smith Geiger study found 61 percent of people said they would go to a competitor’s site if a site isn’t mobile-friendly. “You don’t want to exclude anyone,” Dornbier said. Mobile sites generally have a
simple layout to make information easy to read on smaller devices. “Mobile users usually have a more precise purpose,” Dornbier said, adding usually it’s to find a business’s contact information or location. One way to build a mobile presence is to make a mobile-specific site. Another is to adapt a website with a responsive design. Responsive design means content will automatically be formatted for whatever device is opening it. This has an added bonus: Internet search engines, including Google, rank responsive sites higher in search results, Washut said. Building a mobile-specific site separate from a main site can be effective if a business wants to convey specific information on a mobile site. However, it would require updating and maintaining multiple sites and won’t earn a higher search ranking like a responsive design site.
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Rebrand requires careful execution STEVE BLUE
No matter your reason for embarking on a business rebranding effort of a company or product name, logo, phrase, design scheme or other such asset, which can be mixed and many, one thing is certain: execute poorly and suffer extreme consequences.
Rebranding Get clear on what a brand is A brand is not just your logo. A brand is the sum total of the messages, interactions, and experiences a customer has with your product, services and people.
Maintain control of rebranding process First set strategic objectives and criteria. Ground your brand in a strategy that recognizes not only the brand’s origins but also its ultimate destination in the current and future marketplace. As part of the process, you must also research your competition to identify gaps, opportunities and positions of competitive advantage. Keep an open mind. Small ideas can get bigger and seemingly big ideas can diminish over time. Also, be sure to identify those equities that should not change.
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The marketer produces products, services and the messages about them. Your customer experiences the brand, and in the digital age they are in ultimate control of their messages they receive. Therefore, check in with customers and, at the least, include those internal players who have the most customer contact.
Tell a single-minded story Every brand is heroic in some way. Its look, feel and message should tell one story. Think about what your brand fights for and against what odds. Consider what is at stake for customers in terms of their problems and how you solve them.
There is simply no rebranding effort where the stakes are not extraordinarily high and the margin for error is slim at best. This history has been proven repeatedly amid a litany of rebrand debacles that didn’t heed just a few fundamental principles. (Think New Coke.) Executing a rebrand must be strategic, not violate the company’s cultural roots, be relevant and consistently supported, and place the customer benefit front and center at all times. Steve Blue is CEO of Miller Ingenuity and author of “Outdo, Outsmart ... Outlast: A Practical Guide to Managed, Measured and Meaningful Growth.” Brand should remain fluid Some will warn you that changing your brand is a major risk. If it fails, it can be expensive and disruptive. Note Coca Cola’s experience with New Coke. However, if you do not violate a brand’s established equities and values, you can still add flexibility into a brand that allows it not to lose relevance. For example, Tide detergent is built on consumer’s trust that it gets clothes clean. Yet the brand has found multiple fresh expressions of that proposition over the years, even adding benefits to fend off competitors. Create a brand positioning that is broad enough to be as relevant today as yesterday and flexible enough to be relevant in the future.
Never stop supporting, promoting Successful brands are a living presence in the marketplace with a tangible relationship with its customers. It’s easy to support a brand in boom times, but much tougher in down times. However, study after study has shown that brands that are consistently supported during a down cycle gain greater sales and share when the economy turns up.
Old logo must go Continue to engage your employees in the branding process by developing an internal campaign that builds up to the launch of the new brand. Introduce it first with a companywide celebration and posters, t-shirts, buttons and other giveaways touting the new brand and proposition. Make sure the announcement is big, loud and fun. Ensure the new logo on the building, the website, stationery and uniforms all change with the announcement. Don’t allow the old logo to linger anywhere. — Steve Blue
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t has gone by many names over the years. Going green. Zero waste. Waste-to-value. Sustainability. But all are rooted in utilizing our resources efficiently while reducing the negative impacts on our environment. To a manufacturing facility, it can mean reducing hazardous waste. To a hospital, reducing disposal fees. To an auto body shop, reducing air emissions. To an office, recycling paper. While going green is good for the environment, it can benefit your business, too.
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Many might argue that becoming more sustainable requires too much upfront cost. But over time, reducing waste, water and energy consumption will reduce operating costs. The Alaskan Beer Company installed a new steam boiler in 2012 that is expected to reduce its fuel oil consumption in brewhouse operations by 60 to 70 percent. Over the next 10 years, the company expects to save nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil.
Many industries are getting proactive. Manufacturers, for instance, are responsible for the efficiency of their operations from the receipt of raw materials to shipping out the finished product. Reviewing operations will show opportunities for process improvements, pollution prevention, new technologies or streamlined manufacturing. Improving operations is not limited to manufacturers, though. Businesses of all sizes and types are looking at ways
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to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste and pollution. A recent waste audit at the Jonathan Kane Salon and Spa in Illinois helped the business reduce its trash by 75 percent.
Businesses face a large number environmental laws that ensure our air, land and water remain viable now and for future generations. Complying with regulations often leads businesses to implement sustainable business practices without even realizing it. Multiple national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants now require spray painters to be trained. The Iowa Waste Reduction Center works with businesses of all sizes, providing painter training to meet these regulations. Trained painters spray more efficiently and generate less hazardous waste.
It’s good PR
The push for sustainability is starting to hit businesses from all ends. Investors, retailers and consumers want to know what you are doing to reduce your organization’s impact on the environment. The news is filled with stories about sustainability efforts — from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics reducing food waste by 40 percent last year to Walmart placing new requirements on suppliers regarding chemically formulated products. Showcasing your sustainability efforts can lead to new opportunities, consumer loyalty and competitive advantage. Lea Hensel is marketing coordinator for the Iowa Waste Reducation Center at the University of Northern Iowa. Contact her at email@example.com. CVBUSINESSMONTHLY.COM
Plan ahead in charitable giving At the end of every year, people scramble to wrap up their charitable giving by Dec. 31. A little planning throughout the year can go a long way to avoid the last-minute rush. Make 2014 the year you get ahead of your charitaLarry K. Fox ble contributions. It can be more efis a private wealth adviser fective for you and with Ameriprise those who benefit Financial Inc. from your giving. in Waterloo. Here are five steps Contact him at to consider as you 234-7000. pursue your charitable goals over 2014 and beyond.
Make a plan
Just like other aspects of your financial life, most of your charitable giving should meet specific goals you have in mind. Take some time in the early months of
the year to assess the causes you would most like to support and determine your giving priorities. You also may want to estimate your income for 2014 and set aside a percentage that you’d like to donate.
tions to a specific charity. It multiplies your gift and can make a big difference for charities. If your employer offers a match, do your homework and make sure you’re taking advantage of this benefit.
The general rule of thumb is that most charitable gifts can only be deducted from your taxes if you itemize deductions. In 2014, the standard deduction for those who choose not to itemize is $12,400 for married couples and $6,200 for a single tax filer. Those who don’t itemize deductions can still save on taxes by gifting appreciated assets to charity. This may be particularly effective for those with higher incomes who would be subject to an accelerated capital gains tax rate of 20 percent (the standard capital gains tax rate is either 0 percent or 15 Employer matching Some employers provide match- percent, depending on your tax ing donations (up to a certain bracket). Another important tax considamount) of your own contribuSome charities allow you to make periodic contributions automatically using a credit card or a bank debit. You may find it easier to make a larger donation when you give a little bit at a time. Check with your favored charities to see if an automatic plan is available so you can implement a regular giving strategy. Not only does this approach make it easier for you, it also helps the charity as it receives systematic donations throughout the year.
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eration is a restriction on itemized deductions for higher income individuals (known as the Pease Provision). It limits itemized deductions for those with Adjusted Gross Incomes above $254,200 (single tax filers) and $305,050 (married couples filing a joint return) in 2014. You should check with your tax adviser to learn more about how this rule could affect the tax benefit of your contributions.
The long term
Charitable giving isn’t simply a year-to-year strategy. As you get older, you want to think about how you can effectively manage your estate, while also benefiting your favorite causes. Vehicles such as charitable remainder trusts can help you leave a legacy that will last well beyond your lifetime. Discuss these matters with your financial, legal and tax advisers to see what options might work best for you.
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Employee social media postings have limits KATIE LOEHRKE Guidance published by the National Labor Relations Board in recent years has at times had employers wondering if there was anything employees could do on social media that wasn’t protected by the National Labor Relations Act. It’s becoming clear that while employees who participate in protected concerted activity under the NLRA may do so on social media, plenty of activity doesn’t fall under that category. Though initial guidance and court cases seemed to heavily favor employees, more recent activity has begun to highlight objectionable behavior by employees that is not protected. The activities in the two situations that follow were not only actionable for the employers involved, they were enough to cost the offenders their jobs.
Employers protecting their reputations is not a new thing, though the inflated power social media gives employees to damage that reputation online may have companies giving a bit more attention to employee
communications. While it is possible for employees to publicly damage a company’s reputation while protected by the NRLA, there are plenty of instances in which offensive or obnoxious behavior is fair game for employers and their disciplinary policies. Recently, the chief technology officer of a major business news website lost his job after his personal Twitter posts were perceived by readers as misogynistic, racist and homophobic. This individual found it appropriate to use the online platform to broadcast his views on feminism, poverty and race relations. Likely making matters worse, when another employee caught wind of the employee’s opinions and fired back, the chief technology officer invited a face-to-face confrontation. Though the individual claimed his Tweets were meant to be satirical, and his Twitter bio indicated that his “unprofessional opinions are not endorsed by anyone respectable,” his company didn’t see the humor. A company executive issued a statement indicating the statements made by the individual had “no place at our
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MOBILE! company.” The employee was forced to resign.
Another company’s PR executive also recently took to Twitter in another tactless attempt at humor. En route to South Africa to visit family, the would-be former executive mentioned AIDS in conjunction with race. While in the air from London to South Africa, the individual’s crude tweet had been retweeted over 2,000 times. The employee started the day a relatively unknown Twitter user; she had only about 500 followers at the beginning of this debacle. However, by the power of social media, her tweet reached her employer before her flight touched the ground. While the circumstances here are different from those in the previous example, the outcome is much the same. The company released a statement indicating that the employee’s offensive comment “does not reflect the views and values of (the company)” and the employment relationship was quickly severed. Though employers may strive to respect the division between an employee’s personal and professional lives, employees can still affect the reputation of their company at
any time. If offensive behavior on an employee’s part isn’t protected by the law, an employer is free to discipline him or her, up to and including termination.
Employers should be careful about giving the impression that employees aren’t allowed to relay their personal opinions on social media, since a broad statement like this could violate the NLRA if expressed without context. However, that doesn’t mean companies can’t carefully remind employees about the public nature of social media and employees’ duty to appropriately represent the company. Katie Loehrke is a human resources expert and editor with Wisconsin-based J. J. Keller & Associates Inc.
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As social media sites and online accounts multiply, most of us have an overwhelming number of accounts — and passwords — to manage. We’re told to change passwords frequently, create stronger passwords and not use the same password for all accounts. However, research reveals most of us struggle to remember all of those passwords, much less remember to change them. According to Computerworld, the average user visits 25 password protected sites, but uses only six passwords. Even worse, 73 percent use the same password for multiple sites and 33 percent use the same password for all of their accounts. The use of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones only adds to the confusion since so many apps require yet another password. Managing multiple accounts and passwords is part of our digital lives. However, when people do not use some of the accounts very often, they waste time trying to remember or locate information on the password. In addition, when small businesses’ email or other accounts get hacked, precious data is at risk — along with reputation, hard work and profits. Over the past year, 150 million accounts were hacked at Adobe and up to 270 million Yahoo email users’ accounts were compromised. We hear reports of security breaches and hackers stealing personal data by accessing one account all the time. You can protect your accounts by avoiding common password mistakes. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with password management. Surveys reveal some of the top passwords to avoid: almost 300,000 selected 123456, while 61,000 used princess, and hundreds more chose letmein, monkey, iloveyou, and various combinations of all numbers or all letters. “Password” remains popular, as does a person’s name. Any hacker will try some of these combinations before doing anything else to access your accounts. Recently I did a survey using Google Doc’s Form feature. Approximately 57 people have taken it so far, a mix of students, teachers and Facebook friends. The results were revealing. ■ About 35 percent of respondents write their passwords down on a sticky note, in a small notebook or use a word doc or excel spreadsheet to record their passwords. None of them used an online tool or password
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Secure your email with two-step verification. If you have Gmail, you have probably seen messages about this service. You log onto your Google account with your password, and then must enter a code sent to you by Google in a text message on your phone.
The longer the password, the better. Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols. Finally, create a different password for each account.
Use a passphrase. It could be the name of an old TV show, store or book title, using uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols.
Sign up for an online password manager. PC magazine identified its three favorites: two versions of LastPass (free and premium) and Dashlane. There are dozens, however, ranging in price from free to hundreds of dollars. Search in any app store or Google and read the reviews and features.
manager. ■ According to my survey, 60 percent worry a little or a lot about having their accounts hacked, while another 21 percent try not to think about it and 19 percent worry but feel they have few alternatives because it is so much work to change and remember all of those new passwords. ■ How do you create a strong password? According to my survey, 17 said to use capital letters, three said to use lowercase, 32 said to use numbers, 11 said to use symbols and 10 said don’t use your name or common names. This is all good advice. However, few respondents admitted to following these guidelines. Cherie Dargan is associate professor of communications at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo.
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Northern Iowa students visit booths at the UNI Spring Career Fair in the McLeod Center in Cedar Falls. JIM OFFNER firstname.lastname@example.org
mployers should expect a competitive market this summer when looking for recruits, according to one hiring expert. Candidates, particularly those receiving their degrees in May, are looking at a wider array of job options than in recent years, said R.J. Hammel, branch manager at Robert Half International in Cedar Rapids. The recruitment firm focuses on the Cedar Valley, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. “Candidates are becoming more and more difficult to find, especially quality candidates,” Hammel said. “They’re also becoming a little pricier.” For the first time in years, recruits can command higher salaries and better benefits, Hammel said. “Unemployment has been going down for awhile,” he said, noting the Cedar Valley area’s recent jobless reports of 5 percent and less. Of course, he said, the market’s relatively stable workforce helps. “For us in eastern Iowa, it never got as bad as it did on the coasts,” Hammel said. “We’ve been in that 4-5 percent range for awhile. When you look at professional degreed positions, it’s lower than that, like in the 2-3 percent range.” What results, Hammel said, is a “candidate-driven” job market. Some employees can be a bit choosier.
Another trend is that workers who have jobs are looking outside their current companies for better opportunities. “Before, they’d try to gain promotions and take on as many responsibilities as they could so they could be as well-seeded as they could in their current organization,” Hammel said. “Now, they’re looking to see what other organizations may be offering.” For graduating seniors, the outlook appears bright. In the past, Hammel said, employers might narrow searches to zero in on a candidate with ready-made skills for a particular job. He calls them “plug-and-play” candidates. Now, employers may have to look at candidates who can be trained to fill a specific role. “They can mold those individuals and take knowledge they’ve gained through schooling and develop that person as needed,” he said. That trend is particularly helpful for graduating seniors. “At any time unemployment does come down and there’s less availability of qualified candidates, it does lead to new graduates’ opportunities because they have the best qualifications to fill what the (employer) is looking for,” he said.
It takes time
Not that the process won’t take time. According to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Labor, the average job hunt lasts 16 weeks. The process for filling open slots is ongoing, hiring experts say. That was apparent at the recent spring job fair at the University of Northern Iowa’s McLeod Center, where more than 130 employers showed up with their best pitches for the estimated 900 job seekers. Waverly-based Terex Cranes had a booth at the fair. “We’re looking for some entry-level positions across a wide range — engineering, sales procurement, accounting — both permanent, as well as some internships,” said Tanya
Deb Ferguson, left, and Katy Heater, right, with Great America Financial Services talk with students who may be interested in jobs at the UNI Spring Career Fair.
McCray, commodity manager at Terex. Adam Gross, a recruiter representing Renewable Energy Group in Ames, also was at the event. “We’re a growing company, continuing to grow very quickly,” he said of his company, which focuses on the biodiesel market. “We’re continuing to grow at our headquarters.” The company was looking to fill a variety of roles, he said. Graduates with degrees in business, marketing, accounting, sciences, chemical engineering, and chemistry are all needed. REG supports manufacturing sites in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Texas, so the it offers candidates a variety of options. “The headquarters really supports the business operations of all those facilities, from accounting/ finance to supply chain management, transportation/logistics of our operations,” he said.
John Baumhover, regional director of Modern Woodman Fraternal Financial, a Rock Island, Ill.-based insurance company, said his company focuses on bringing along recruits it hires.
“We have a Pathway to Leadership Program, which is designed to take somebody who’s never been in the financial services business before and put them in a structured program for a year,” Baumhover said. “At the end of the year, if they meet all the requirements they’re promoted to managing partner in our company.” A majority of employers seeking to hire business-school graduates in 2014 plan to raise annual base salary levels for new hires at or above the rate of inflation, the nonprofit Graduate Management Admission Council found in a study comparing business-graduate pay in 2013 and 2014. GMAC conducted its annual year-end poll in November, predominantly of employers in the U.S. (53 percent of respondents) and Europe (25 percent), to preview hiring projections for the coming year. The poll showed more than half of organizations plan to increase base salaries for recent MBA graduates either at the inflation rate (45 percent) or above it (11 percent). In comparison, almost half of employers plan to offer recent bachelor’s candidates starting base salaries either at the inflation rate (35 percent) or above it (13 percent). “There are more and more graduate business school students on the market, but the demand is still high so compensation remains competitive,” according to the survey report. Hammel, whose firm focuses on workers in information technology, accounting/finance and administrative support, agreed. “Engineering is a very in-demand educational background,” Hammel said. “Business administration and accounting and finance are highly sought-after individuals. Look at anything on health care side, nursing or health care admin — those types of backgrounds are very much in demand.”
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Architects & General Contractors
Jim Christensen Steph Weiand, AIA Owner Owner
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The work force of the future The Cedar Valley Small Business Forum Hosted by:
A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc.
Tuesday, May 20 7:30 -10:00 a.m. Park Place Event Center, Cedar Falls Managing Stress for Success What brings stress to your life? Presented by: Jon Webber, Director Janus Capital Group
This presentation will focus on these areas: · Human Performance Institute energy management principles · Defining and understanding stress · Stress recovery strategies
Business Valuation Services
Kunz, Tax Partner Bergan Paulsen CPAs & Consultants
Presented by: Tom
Taking Care of Business with Social Media
Presented by: Christina Throndson, Web Marketing Manager
Please RSVP to Haley Andersen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319.234.7000 This is an informational event. There is no cost or obligation.
3404 Midway Midw y Drive, Waterloo, IA 50701 | 319.234.7000 319 234 7000
Janus, Bergun Paulsen CPAs & Consultants and VGM Forbin and their representatives are not affiliated with Ameriprise Financial, Inc. Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2014 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 865096ACMR0214 18
Cedar Valley Business monthly
BRITT JUNGCK The Waterloo Schools Foundation does more than donate money to a worthy cause. It is filling a request made by local employers: We need high school graduates who are prepared to contribute to our local economy, prepared to lead as we face numerous retirements and prepared to invent and create the best products of tomorrow. The Waterloo Community School District is definitely listening. Career Academies were created at the high schools that offer job tours, company visits and curriculum that focuses on life after graduation. STEM activities have increased at a rate that has surpassed many districts in the state, offering STEM festivals, STEM career fairs, Lego teams, science fairs and hands-on activities to build your next, best employees. The WSF is unique in that it focuses its efforts and donor dollars on this specific type of assistance to our school district. In just three years, we have invested over a $500,000 in Waterloo schools. Over 90 percent of these funds have been focused on STEM activities, teaching grants and support. Our community needs to grow its local workforce if it is to continue to thrive. SHUTTERSTOCK IMAGE The foundation will be part of the solution. It has created a grant program for educators who want to add engaging, technical curriculum to their classrooms to create critical thinkers. The foundation is working to ensure enrollment in our engineering, manufacturing and technology academies at our high schools continues to grow to meet the demand of our advanced manufacturing sector. Partnerships are building between the WSF and local health care providers to create a Health Academy at each high school equipped with technology that allows students to graduate prepared to meet the intense demands in this industry. Great strides are being taken address the needs of local businesses. We want to expose students to the thousands of opportunities for professional success here in the Cedar Valley, and your business can be a part of the effort. Learn more about our work by visiting www.wcsfoundation.org, or by making an appointment for a chat about our programs. We want to show everyone how we’re encouraging the 10,900 minds within our walls to be globally prepared, motivated to lead and inspired by the community in which they live. Britt Jungck is executive director of the Waterloo Schools Foundation. Contact her at (319) 939-9550, email@example.com or facebook.com/WaterlooSchoolsFoundation.
A business lesson from Walt Disney Recently I took in the Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio of San Francisco. The Presidio is a former military base and now a beautiful park, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. I expected the museum Rick to contain an Brimeyer is president of abundance of Brimeyer LLC, artwork and an Ames-based film clips of independent Disney charmanagement acters, and it consulting firm. certainly did. Contact him What I didn’t at (515) 450expect was a 8855 or rick@ thorough hisbrimeyerllc. tory of Disney com. as a business, often shared via Walt’s personal reflections. The result is a wonderfully visual and thought-provoking “seminar” on business success. Here’s a summary of the lessons learned: Do what you love to do. Walt determined at an early age that he liked to draw, and that he was good at it. He also learned that, despite the steadier income, he detested working in a canning factory. Walt followed his passion and never looked back. Don’t be afraid to fail. Walt founded the Laugh-OGram Studio in Kansas City in 1922. It went bankrupt a year later. Undeterred, he headed to Hollywood with a suitcase and $20 to start Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, convincing his older brother Roy to leave a “respectable” banking career in Los Angeles. Over the years, the pair would frequently bet the company, as well as the mortgages on their homes, on a new
Walt determined at an early age that he liked to draw, and that he was good at it. He also learned that, despite the steadier income, he detested working in a canning factory. Walt followed his passion and never looked back. project. Having shared a happy childhood despite humble beginnings, they were able to keep things in perspective. Embrace change. Walt kept abreast of advancements in the motion picture industry, incorporating sound and color into cartoons. In situations where a clear expert already existed, Disney established a competitive advantage by collaborating with the industry leader, such as an exclusive contract with Technicolor to produce color cartoons. In other areas, such as perfecting animation and adding depth to two-dimensional scenes, Disney’s innovative culture and talented workforce developed the new technology internally. Surround yourself with great people and rise with the company. Convincing talented people to join a cartoon company during and immediately following the Great Depression was a tough sell. Fortunately, Walt was a great salesman. As the company grew, Walt realized he had to spend less time drawing and more time managing. With still further growth, Walt understood his real gift to the company was as its visionary leader. Diversify intelligently. Disney’s evolving portfolio of cartoon drawings, animated cartoons, feature length cartoon films, character mer-
chandising, live action films, television programming and even theme parks stayed true to the entertainment theme the organization knew best and leveraged existing successes into new areas. Interestingly, according to his own narratives, often ventures into new territories occurred not primarily for the prospects for profit, but because Walt felt it represented a great learning opportunity for his team. One other theme was consistent in these new endeavors — Disney insisted the quality of the product be representative of what customers expected of established products. Just because something was new was no excuse for substandard work. Persevere through the expected highs and lows. Disney’s organization struggled to maintain its family atmosphere, especially after moving into a spacious, state-of-the-art studio. Departmental silos began to emerge and at least some veteran managers lamented that complacency crept into the organization along with the move to the plush studio. The company was targeted by an industry union for a bitter conflict in the early 1940s. Walt referred to this as “the toughest period” as he prided himself on setting high challenges for his employees, but also providing opportunities and compensation that they were not likely to obtain elsewhere. I entered the Walt Disney Family Museum expecting a retelling of all the Disney tales that we know well. I left it with the realization that the best story was Walt’s personal journey. It’s another great American success story with lessons for every organization still today.
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Alliance & Chamber
Welcome NEW Investors
Collins Community Credit Union
Contact: Jill Beaty 226 Brandilynn Blvd. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-266-6567 Fax: 319-266-6849 www.collinscu.org Category: Banks & Credit Unions
Failor - Hurley Construction
Contact: Scott Drake 1200 Valley West Dr., Ste. 609 West Des Moines, IA 50266 Phone: 515-868-0961 Fax: 515-868-0151 Category: Coaching-Personal & Business
The Olive Garden
Thursday, June 19 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. 1325 E San Marnan Dr. Waterloo, IA, 50701 Premiere Sponsor – Rydell Chevrolet
Gold Sponsors: KWWL MidWestOne Bank Ravenood Nursing & Rehab Center
Cedar Valley Business monthly
Virtual Interactive Families
Contact: Jo Dorhout 1025 Technology Pkwy., Ste. G Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-277-3422 www.vifamilies.com Category: Telecommunications
Contact: Bill Failor 3337 Marnie Ave. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-883-3036 Fax: 319-883-3037 Category: Construction
Good Morning Cedar Valley
Signal 88 Security
Contact: Andrew Tindall 1110 Cherrywood Dr. Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Phone: 319-290-4063 www.signal88.com Category: Security Services
Contact: James Alvoid 1315 E. San Marnan Dr. Waterloo, IA 50702 Phone: 319-2346494 Fax: 319-324-0092 www.olivegarden.com Category: Restaurants
Contact: Lynette Fuller 501 Sycamore St. Ste. 300 Waterloo, IA 50703 Phone: 319- 833-4800 Category: Radio Stations
Waverly Light & Power
Contact: Mike Litterer 1002 Adams Pkwy. Waverly, IA 50677 Phone: 319-596-1017 Fax: 319-352-6251 Category: Utilities
*the Alliance & Chamber has approximately 900 investors representing over 50,000 employees
Contact: Erica Canfield 2809 University Ave. Waterloo, IA 50701 Phone: 319-505-2733 Fax: 319-505-2396 www.premierstaffingia.com Category: Employment Agency
May 9, 2014 Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center, Waterloo, IA 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Be part of something greAter! Join the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber! Learn how you can benefit! Contact Bette Wubbena at (319) 232-1156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M AY BUSINESS EDUCATION MONTH Clarion Inn University Plaza, 5826 University Ave., Cedar Falls
May 7, 14, and 28, 7:30 - 9:30am
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS :
S TAT U S
THE BEST CULTURE
Representatives from the Accel Group and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa will discuss the unpreEmployee dictability of health care and implications for both small and large group employers, Benefits - measuring & improving retirement readiness for your employees and the latest AnyThing trends in wellness plan design. Registration deadline is But Status Quo. April 30.
Sean Abbas, President of The Threads, Inc., will help attendees understand how values are equality important to the roles and tasks we perform in
our jobs and how values ultimately impact company culture. Registration deadline is May 7. John Monaghan of PDCM Insurance returns to
KEEPING the series on May 28, to lead this timely
UP WITH THE update. Registration deadline is CHANGES May 21.
$25 - Alliance & Chamber investors $40 - non-investors Register at (319) 232-1156 or email@example.com
PDCM INSURANCE Gold Sponsor THE ACCEL GROUP
CURBSIDE CONFERENCES 2014 Tuesday, May 13 7:30-9:00 a.m. Upper Iowa University, 3563 University Ave., Waterloo Thursday, May 15 7:30-9:00 a.m. Hawkeye Community College Business & Community Education Center, 5330 Nordic Dr., Cedar Falls Tuesday, May 20 7:30-9:00 a.m. Days Inn & Suites, 1809 LaPorte Rd., Waterloo Thursday, May 22 7:30-9:00 a.m. Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, 10 West 4th Street (First Floor), Waterloo Thursday, May 29 7:30-9:00 a.m. Squawk Session â€“ Webinar format Log in information upon request These round table discussions will give members an opportunity to give feedback on how the Alliance & Chamber can assist members in: growing and enhancing their business; attracting and retaining talented employees and generating more business; for our members. The information will assist in developing the Alliance & Chamberâ€™s program of work and goals.
$500 Per Foursome.
Choose the location nearest you or that best fits your schedule. Please register by contacting Sandi Sommerfelt at (319)232-1156 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cedar Valley Business monthly
TO LOWER BUSINESS COSTS
MidAmerican Energy Company’s EnergyAdvantage® programs place the power to control your business’s energy costs in your hands. Through incentives and rebates, EnergyAdvantage programs promote the early adoption of high-efficiency space and water heating equipment, central air conditioning, lighting and other measures in commercial and industrial buildings. The installation of energy-efficient equipment saves money on energy bills and can make your business more comfortable for customers and employees. Contact MidAmerican Energy now to put the power of EnergyAdvantage programs to work for your business.
Cedar Valley Business monthly
Loans help BRUCE JACOBS Small businesses are the foundation of the American dream. Who better to realize the dream of business ownership than those who have defended us through military service? Beginning Jan. 1 through the remainder of this fiscal year, veterans can get a break on SBA loans. The SBA announced it will charge no upfront borrower fees on loans of up to $350,000 made to veterans through its Patriot Express Loan program. Exempting veterans from paying fees on these loans is part of SBA’s broader efforts to make sure veterans have the tools they need to start and grow a business. The Patriot Express Loan Program gets former military personnel up and running quickly with veteran business loans. This program is a popular source of smaller SBA 7(a) loans because of its streamlined paperwork and quick turnaround times. The program offers an enhanced guar-
antee and interest rate on loans to veterans, reservists and their spouses who want to start or expand a business. The Patriot Express loan can be used for most business purposes, including startup, expansion, equipment purchases, working capital, inventory or business-occupied real-estate purchases. Patriot Express loans are offered by SBA’s network of participating lenders and feature one of SBA’s fastest turnaround times for loan approvals. Your local SBA district office can provide a list of Patriot Express lenders in the area. Veterans aren’t the only ones who received a break from the SBA this year. The agency also is charging zero fees on all 7(a) loans of $150,000 or less. Small businesses will save more than $2,500 in fees. Bruce Jacobs is assistant vice president of commercial lending at Community Bank & Trust in Waterloo. Contact him at (319) 291-2000.
More women own businesses in Iowa JIM OFFNER email@example.com According to numbers released at the end of March, Iowa has an estimated 70,600 women-owned businesses, employing 56,100 and worth roughly $7.8 billion. The numbers come from the fourth annual American Express Open State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, a comprehensive report that analyzes the 1997, 2002, and 2007 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s quinquennial business census, the Survey of Business Owners. Similar to previous annual reports released in March 2013, the analysis, reported by industry, revenue and employment size at the national and state levels, shares “a new and nuanced investigation into the growth trends among the 9.1 million
Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 68 percent since 1997. Iowa is ranked 49th (22.7 percent) in growth of number of firms over the past 17 years and 51st (-3.8 percent) in growth of firm revenue between 1997 and 2014.
women-owned enterprises over the past 17 years,” according to a news release. Nationally, the number of women-owned businesses has increased 68 percent since 1997. Iowa is ranked 49th (22.7 percent) in growth of number of firms over the past 17 years and 51st (-3.8 percent) in growth of firm revenue between 1997 and 2014. cvbusinessmonthly.com
vets start businesses Patriot Express Loan eligibility ■■ Veterans (except those with a dishonorable discharge) ■■ Service-disabled veterans ■■ Active-duty members eligible for the military’s Transition Assistance Program; this includes military retirees within 24 months of separation and other activeduty members within 12 months of separation ■■ Reservists and National Guard members ■■ Current spouses of any of the above
■■ The widowed spouse of a service member or veteran who died during service or of a service-connected disability
May Is Better Hearing Month! Hear what you’ve been missing
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Black Hawk Hearing Aid Center Our Family Serving Yours for Over 40 Years We offer Hearing Aids for most budgets. Trade-ins welcome Your Satisfaction is Guaranteed through our Return policy 3138 Kimball Ave., Waterloo • hearingunlimited.com • (319) 234-4360 or 1-800-728-4327 cvbusinessmonthly.com
Cedar Valley Business monthly
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David P. Wilson Jack E. Jennings Dustin W. Whitehead CCIM CCIM CCIM
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