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

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Business @dvisor

Summer 2013

Check Out These Pointers
for Start-Up Success

Entrepreneur shares building blocks of successful ventures.

What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur?

Above all, you must be willing to take risks, says Jamie Osborn, who in 2006 launched Endurance House, a Madison, Wis., business focused on the needs of walkers, runners and triathletes of all abilities.

The venture has gained a foothold in the local market, and began franchising in 2011. The company will open new stores in California and Colorado in the fall of 2013, and is considering awarding franchises in Florida, Texas, Minnesota and Georgia. While things are certainly taking off, success didn't come without taking risks and suffering setbacks.

Failure is "information that leads to your next success," Osborn told a group gathered recently for a business workshop at American Family's DreamBank in Madison. "It's ... what you experience on a very regular basis."

Here are five additional attributes Osborn cited as key to entrepreneurial accomplishment.

Hope – You must remain optimistic that what you're trying is going to work. When it doesn't, stay positive that the next thing will.

Belief – If you hope enough, you start believing that good things are going to happen, and that your vision will become reality.

Action – Entrepreneurs cannot be passive. They must harness their beliefs and stay focused on reaching their goals.

Competitiveness – With a small business, you're always going to be competing. Be ready for a challenge and stay focused on what you do well.

Perseverance – Success doesn't happen overnight. It can take years to achieve.

Digital Extra

Hear more on these topics from Jamie himself in this audio recording (9:17) from his recent DreamBank appearance.

Can Safety Consulting = More Money for Your Business?

No business wants a workplace accident. Even with insurance to cover the financial impact, employees may be injured, equipment damaged and business opportunities lost. Further, customers who use a competitor while you're rebuilding may not come back.

When you and your business take a proactive approach to safety, you're putting money back in your pocket. Businesses that are safer, manage risk more effectively and control losses better typically are more profitable.

To help our commercial, farm and ranch insurance customers create a safer and more profitable workplace, American Family offers special safety consultations, at no additional charge.

Our highly skilled safety consultants will work with you and your business to identify potential safety risks and ways to correct them.

Once safety plans are in place, they'll assist with implementation and periodically check back to evaluate progress.

No matter what type of business, farm or ranch operation you have, American Family's safety consultants are here to help.

For more information or to request a safety consultation, contact your American Family Insurance agent.

Safety resources to fit your needs

For many businesses, an on-site inspection or safety review may not be necessary. For those businesses – or for those who simply need a safety "refresher" – American Family offers many online resources to help you identify potential hazards and the steps necessary to correct them.

Save Money - Reduce Summer Energy Use

Soon, we'll be trading winter's high heating costs for summer's soaring cooling bills. Before the heat climbs too high, take steps to conserve energy and save on your utility bills.

When you conserve energy, you're helping the environment, too. Here are a few commonsense tips to reduce your energy usage:

  • Use large equipment in off-peak hours.
  • Turn equipment and lights off after hours or when not in use.
  • Apply solar control films to window and door glass.
  • Use high efficiency products whenever possible.
  • Set office equipment to go into “sleep” mode when not in use.
  • Use a programmable thermostat to set the workspace temperature to 78 degrees during work hours and 85 degrees when unoccupied. (Each degree you raise the temperature could reduce your air conditioning costs by up to 2 percent.)
  • Keep all exterior and freight doors closed as much as possible.
  • Use task lighting instead of overhead lighting, and light only those areas needed at the time.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. A compact fluorescent bulb uses 75 percent less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb.
  • Allow employees to dress more casually when air conditioning is reduced.
  • Offer flex hours in the summer so employees can come in earlier and leave earlier, working in the cooler hours of the day.

Sign Up for "New" Business Accelerator Content

In a few weeks, we're launching American Family's new and improved Business Accelerator that's been optimized to help you achieve your business dreams.

Here's a snapshot of what's new:

  • Rich content condensed to fit your busy schedule.
  • Enhanced interactivity.
  • Engaging networking platforms.
  • Events and contests.
  • Big games – bigger prizes.

Articles, tip sheets, tools, live and on-demand video presentations and a whole lot more are in store!

Sign up and stay tuned for updates at the Business Accelerator website.