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Business @dvisor

  • Winter 2014
  • 2015 Business Trends; Fight the Flu; Green Biz Ideas; Bust Scams; Get Organized

  • Fall 2014
  • Protect Computers; Communicate Better; Overcome Obstacles; Subcontractor Tips; Prepare for Winter

  • Summer 2014
  • Prevent Burglaries; Networking Tips; Facebook Marketing Tips; Roof Maintenance; Finance for Start-Ups

  • Spring 2014
  • Business Trends; Electrical Safety; Social Media Tips; Business Insurance; Business Accelerator

See past newsletters

Business @dvisor

Fall 2013

Turning a Passion into a Profession

Discover how Gail Ambrosius transformed her love of chocolates into a popular business.

As a 17-year-old touring Paris, Gail Ambrosius had an unplanned opportunity to visit some of the city's finest chocolate shops, where locals savored their confectionary treats.

She recalls thinking, "If I could ever have this effect on people, this would be the best thing ever."

Today, as one of North America's top chocolatiers, she's living that dream.

But the journey to get there wasn't always smooth. And it certainly didn't take a direct path.

Recently, Gail visited American Family's Dream Bank in Madison, Wis., to share her story and inspire others to pursue their passions, too.

Watch this video of her presentation, in which she describes the obstacles she overcame, and shares practical tips for any aspiring entrepreneur.

Editor's Note: DreamBank by American Family Insurance is a community space for entrepreneurs and other dreamers to get the inspiration and resources to pursue their dreams. If you live near Madison or plan to be in town, consider dropping by DreamBank at One North Pinckney, on Madison's Capitol Square. For more information about DreamBank and upcoming events, visit the DreamBank website.

Get Online Small Business Safety Training – Anywhere, Anytime

PureSafety On Demand puts safety training at your employees' finger tips 24/7.

Workplace safety isn't just good for your employees – it's good for your business. Depending on the type of business you have, safety procedures may also be a legal requirement. But, keeping your employees up to date on safety practices and required certifications can be time-consuming and expensive.

To help your business stay up to date on safety training, American Family Insurance offers PureSafety On Demand, a website providing easy access to online safety training.

Classes offered give you and your employees the necessary tools and training to have a safer, more productive business.

PureSafety On Demand provides flexibility by making online safety and OSHA training courses available any time of day or night, regardless of shift or employee availability. Once courses are complete, your employees will be able to apply their training at the jobsite to create a safer, more productive workplace. For added convenience, classes are available in English, French and Spanish. Fees vary depending on the course.

What's in it for your business? Higher levels of employee engagement, improved performance, fewer injuries and less costly down time.

You and your employees can sign up for classes at

No matter what type of business you're in, American Family's PureSafety On Demand offers safety courses to help reduce workplace accidents and offer a safer customer experience.

Ready for OSHA's New Hazard Communication Standards?

Businesses must train their employees by Dec. 1, 2013.

Barbers and beauty salons, auto repair shops, building contractors, landscapers, painters, pet services … these and other businesses use hazardous chemicals every day.

If you own a business that uses hazardous chemicals, here’s some important news from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As you already know, OSHA requires you to use its standardized labels and safety data sheets to educate and protect employees who are exposed to hazardous chemicals.

To more clearly and consistently communicate chemical hazards to workers, and to meet global requirements, OSHA recently updated its chemical hazard label elements, and has introduced new Safety Data Sheets – formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets.

How does this affect you? Here are four things to keep in mind:

  • By December 1, 2013, you need to make sure your employees have been trained on the new label elements and Safety Data Sheets. To help businesses like yours, OSHA’s Hazard Communication website offers fact sheets, quick cards, pictograms and other training resources.
  • American Family Insurance offers PureSafety On Demand, a website providing easy access to online safety and OSHA training courses. One of the courses, Hazard Communication v3, PS4 eLesson specifically focuses on the new OSHA label elements and Safety Data Sheets. (For more details, type "GHS" in the Search field and click the link that appears.) You and your employees can sign up for this and other PureSafety On Demand courses. Fees vary depending on the course.
  • You’ll need to comply with other requirements that will be phased in between now and June 1, 2016. Here’s a short list of what you need to do and when.
  • American Family Insurance’s safety consultants can help your business comply with the new OSHA hazard communication standards and other loss control issues as well. Contact your American Family Insurance agent to get in touch with one of our safety consultants today. 

By keeping your employees informed, you’ll enhance their safety. As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power.”

September Business Accelerator Can Help Your Business Dreams

Our tips, resources and experts will help you succeed.

How do successful business owners stay ahead of the game?

They constantly educate themselves about the latest business trends.

They seek insights from industry thought leaders.

Savvy business owners also network with others, and participate in interactive events that spur their motivation and innovative drive.

That's why thousands of business owners have joined American Family's increasingly popular Business Accelerator, which offers articles, tip sheets, tools, videos and live events. And it's free!

Upcoming content includes:

  • Soledad O'Brien's New Media Venture
  • Kathy Ireland's Worldwide Brand Appeal
  • Becoming a Top-Performing Franchisee
  • Social Media Marketing Tips
  • Using Retirement Funds for Start-Ups

Log in or sign up at the Business Accelerator website to learn, grow and succeed!

Make Safer Driving a Business Goal

Focus on the road ahead to reduce accidents.

It’s no secret that driving can be dangerous. Last year, more than 34,000 people were killed and another 2 million injured in auto accidents. With a little extra care and awareness, these numbers can be lowered.
To try and cut down on traffic accidents, the Network for Employers Safety (NETS) is holding its annual “Drive Safely Work Week” beginning Monday, Oct. 7, offering vital safety information that can be used year-round. This event focuses on ways businesses like yours can promote safe driving practices by encouraging employees to be at their physical and mental best to reduce their chances of being in an accident.

This year’s theme is “Gear Up for Safe Driving: Mind – Body – Vehicle,” and focuses on these aspects of driving.

  • Be alert – focus on your driving and not other activities.
  • Get a vision test! Make sure your vision is as good as it can get.
  • Keep your body properly fueled to avoid driving when tired.
  • Get a grip! Keep your tires properly inflated and with good tread to hold the road.
  • Check your brakes. Being able to stop your vehicle is the most important part of driving.
  • Wear your seat belts.

If you want your business to participate in Drive Safely Work Week, visit this Web page to register and receive a free 2013 toolkit.