Perspectives 

Courageous, Crazy or Curious? Exploring Civility During the Holidays

Courageous, Crazy or Curious? Exploring Civility During the Holidays

Adding heat to a tinderbox, even a little bit, ignites a huge raging fire. As the holidays approach, this bears consideration as we gather with people who may have polar opposite viewpoints in our divided country. I’ve found myself wondering whether...

Family Issues: It’s (Almost) Always About Money!

Family Issues: It’s (Almost) Always About Money!

The holidays can be a wonderful time of year. You see family and friends and get caught up on each other’s lives. But the holidays can also be stressful and filled with awkward moments, particularly when it comes to money and family.

State Forestry Budget is Critical to the Health of Our Hardwood Industry and Our Forests

State Forestry Budget is Critical to the Health of Our Hardwood Industry and Our Forests

For the last several decades, the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association and the Indiana Forest Alliance have disagreed and at times clashed over issues involving the management of our state forests, but recent joint meetings have revealed...

Do You Have a Website or a Site 'Web?'

Do You Have a Website or a Site 'Web?'

By now, nearly every business and organization has a website or online presence that advances the mission of their organizations or furthers their business. Most get that.  Today’s problem is not in having a website, but it’s rooted in the ease of...

One Characteristic That Separates Great Leaders From Good Leaders

One Characteristic That Separates Great Leaders From Good Leaders

Tony Dungy, the former Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts has said it is “the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.” It is the one characteristic that  clearly identifies and separates true leaders from those who only pretend to lead.

7 Ways Having a Podcast Benefits Your Brand

7 Ways Having a Podcast Benefits Your Brand

The consistent rise in podcast listeners has led to a growing opportunity for high-quality, well-executed, impactful podcasts in the business space. But, even though the number of monthly podcast listeners is on track to reach 112 million by 2021...

Risky: Property Owned with a Non-Spouse

Risky: Property Owned with a Non-Spouse

It's very common for spouses to title property they own together as “joint with right of survivorship.” When one passes, the other owns the property outright. It’s simple, easy and automatic. But it can get messy when the other joint owner isn’t your...

3 Ways to Unleash the Power of Paid Social Media Advertising

3 Ways to Unleash the Power of Paid Social Media Advertising

Once upon a time, social media advertising meant creating a Facebook page and racking up as  many “likes” as possible. Brands could post and consumers would see it. In their infancy, web 2.0 and social media were all about the bells and whistles...

Why You Should Select Vendors in Your Own Backyard

Why You Should Select Vendors in Your Own Backyard

Selecting vendors and business partners are some of the most critical decisions a business leader can make. Especially for a growing company or one undergoing change, a business partnership can heavily influence your company direction, culture, and...

Demystifying Economic Indicators

Demystifying Economic Indicators

Everyone is talking about an upcoming economic recession!  Do you agree with the economists?  Understanding the data they use may help you better anticipate the impact a recession could potentially have on your financial wellbeing.

Data Privacy Laws Could Have Big Implications on Indiana Businesses

Data Privacy Laws Could Have Big Implications on Indiana Businesses

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, certain companies doing business in California will have to comply with what is now the nation's strictest data privacy law – the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA is an extraordinary piece of legislation...

A Call For Corporate Partners In Indiana’s Classrooms

A Call For Corporate Partners In Indiana’s Classrooms

I’ve worked in a diverse mix of industries, and often times I hear the same concerns as it relates to bridging the worlds of education and business. Many business leaders see the value their organizations can provide to students and know the paths to...

Creating an Employee Handbook That Your People Will Want to Read

Creating an Employee Handbook That Your People Will Want to Read

The employee handbook: It’s a document most companies have, but it’s not one employees are likely coming back to review time and time again. This is largely due to the fact that most employee handbooks are unhelpful and painfully boring. They include pages upon pages of non-specific, drag-and-dropped content about employee conduct and guidelines while leaving out the interesting information: a company’s unique values and attributes. When done well...

What’s in Store for Indiana’s New Mayors?

What’s in Store for Indiana’s New Mayors?

In January, fifty new mayors will take office across Indiana.  From Aurora on the banks of the Ohio River to Gary on the shores of Lake Michigan – and dozens of cities and towns in between – they’ll start turning campaign promises into governing priorities. But some will confront tougher choices and tighter budgets, and widely varying degrees of taxing and spending flexibility. Their circumstances go beyond issues inherited from their predecessors; Indian...

Thanksgiving: Time to Make that Financial Family Game Plan

Thanksgiving: Time to Make that Financial Family Game Plan

So, you’ve traveled “over the river and through the woods” to your parent’s or grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving only to discover that your loved one needs assistance. You’d rather watch the football game and eat a slice of pumpkin pie, but...

Training Grants Help Prepare Hoosiers to Reach the Next Level

Training Grants Help Prepare Hoosiers to Reach the Next Level

“Now more than ever, our state needs to ramp up efforts to prepare Hoosiers for the jobs available today—and for the one million more we expect to have open by 2025.”  These words, spoken by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, underscore the importance of...

Safer Buildings Start by Studying People

Safer Buildings Start by Studying People

Many of the decisions made in the interest of protecting people are knee-jerk reactions that follow horrifying incidents. Each incident forms the basis for physical changes to facilities that would prevent a recurrence of the incident.

Consistent Engagement is Key to Reducing Employee Turnover

Consistent Engagement is Key to Reducing Employee Turnover

The Indiana unemployment rate fell to 3.2 percent in September, the lowest rate the state has seen in nearly 20 years, as employers throughout the state continue to see workers leaving their organizations at staggering rates.

5 Things Consumers Should Know About Marketplace Health Insurance

5 Things Consumers Should Know About Marketplace Health Insurance

Open Enrollment is upon consumers again and there are likely questions on what they should do in terms of health care coverage for 2020. Options for coverage can be overwhelming, but consumers can choose a plan that fits them best through education on open enrollment, understanding what’s new in terms of health plans and learning of any changes going into 2020.

Cyber Security: Out of Your Control - or Not?

Cyber Security: Out of Your Control - or Not?

Good chance YOU have been a victim of a cyber security attack!  When a company gets hacked, you and other customers become the “victims” of the breach. That puts your identity at risk!  The FTC estimates 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft each year!  What’s the greatest potential for identity theft?  On-line shopping! Yikes!

Do You Think You’ve Arrived?

Do You Think You’ve Arrived?

Are we there yet?  It’s an often-voiced quote that we’ve all come to appreciate. The origin may have been with the kids in the back seat, but as adults, the sentiment applies as well. Consider the fact that successful professionals never “arrive,” but are always in search of that next destination. In fact, adults who feel they always have more to learn, have inherent qualities that some “drivers” lack, and from which those...

A New Way of Thinking for Drug Addiction Recovery

A New Way of Thinking for Drug Addiction Recovery

The long war against drug addiction continues to rage, with the opioid crisis representing the latest front of the battle. As with any long fight, our strategy must change as the forces of death and destruction find new ways to attack those most vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 68% of the 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid – six times higher than in 1999.

Business Growth: Bad Managers are Bad News

Business Growth: Bad Managers are Bad News

Gallup recently reported the results of a large study. Only 30% of employees in the U.S. are actually engaged at work. Over the last 12 years that percentage has not changed. Gallup goes on to suggest it is the managers who account for a 70% variance in employee engagement at work.

Saying Yes to Education

Saying Yes to Education

Robert Smith became one of most talked about individuals on social media over the summer. Why? He told the Morehouse 2019 graduating class that he would pay off their student loans. Many donors have done the same but never so publicly. Most commencement speakers give the students the typical talk about striving for greatness and following your passion, but Mr. Smith went a step further. His gift is not just monetary, he’s changed the direction of those...

FAFSA: The First Step in Financial Aid

FAFSA: The First Step in Financial Aid

It’s that time of year!  If you have a student entering or returning to college in the fall of 2020, now’s the time to start the financial aid process.  An hour of your time could mean thousands of dollars for tuition and expenses.  Don’t make the mistake of assuming you don’t qualify. It’s worth your time to check! If there are thousands of dollars at stake, you would expect most parents and students to be anxious to apply. Unfortunately,...

How to Choose a Location for Your Business

How to Choose a Location for Your Business

Congratulations—you’ve decided to open a business or franchise, or maybe you are expanding your business to a new location. Indianapolis is a fantastic market to do this—a metropolitan area where retail leasing is still financially feasible for small businesses. According to CBRE’s Indianapolis Retail Outlook report, retail sales for Indianapolis are expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.8% over the next five years.

For Indiana’s Future STEM Leaders, Early Exposure Is Key

For Indiana’s Future STEM Leaders, Early Exposure Is Key

It’s projected that by 2025, the United States will have 3.5 million new STEM jobs, yet 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled because of the lack of highly-skilled candidates. The careers of the future call for rich STEM experience, yet our students aren’t being equipped with the skills they need for success, and many aren’t exposed to STEM careers in a way that sparks interest for the future. As a community, we must get creative to solve this STEM shortage by inc...

Red Line is a Good Start for Regional Growth

Red Line is a Good Start for Regional Growth

Even though Westfield is miles from the nearest Red Line stop, I’m rooting for the success of Indianapolis’ new bus rapid transit service. This is important to “my little city” because if the Red Line does well, the sooner this service will extend to Westfield as originally planned.   My enthusiasm isn’t just about getting the Red Line to Westfield. It is also about metro Indy’s ability to compete with other areas for...

3 Reasons Your Company Needs SaaS Management

3 Reasons Your Company Needs SaaS Management

Ready or not, your business now operates in the digital age. For many companies, that means ever-increasing reliance on cloud-based subscription software which is also known as software-as-a-service or SaaS. And the SaaS industry is booming; it’s projected to be worth more than $100 billion in 2020, according to technology analyst Gartner. One reason this industry continues on a steep growth trajectory is the increasing purchase and use of SaaS by businesses of all sizes.

Indiana’s School Scholarship Tax Credit

Indiana’s School Scholarship Tax Credit

How would you like to give $10,000 to your favorite school to fund a financial aid scholarship, while spending as little as $2,000 of your own money? This may sound too good to be true, but thanks to Indiana’s School Scholarship Tax Credit program, it’s possible. And it’s making some Indiana students’ dreams of a private education a reality! SGOs and Indiana’s Tax Credits Indiana’s tax credit is available to individuals or corporations that donate...

How to Prepare Your Workplace for Generation Z 2.0

How to Prepare Your Workplace for Generation Z 2.0

The oldest members of Generation Z will turn 22 this year. Will they follow their millennial counterparts' lead in changing jobs every two years? It may be too early to tell, but with the unemployment rate remaining at record lows, businesses will soon be competing for this young talent. Much discussion has been had about how to prepare members of Gen Z for the workplace. But perhaps we should instead be asking ourselves, “how can we prepare our workplaces for Gen Z?”

Made in Poland: It Could Be Key to Managing Supply Chains?

Made in Poland: It Could Be Key to Managing Supply Chains?

The idea of seeing "Made in Poland" on a garment label may sound far-fetched, but in the current global economic climate, it could become a reality. Tariff duty rates recently imposed on goods imported into the United States from China are adding up for some businesses. The bottom line is this: there are alternatives for companies looking to manage their long-term supply chain costs.

3 Tips to Attract and Retain Employees in the Gig Economy

3 Tips to Attract and Retain Employees in the Gig Economy

The gig economy has been around ever since workers began looking for supplemental income, but, it has recently evolved with the introduction of technology. Companies emerging like Uber, Lyft and GrubHub, are changing the gig economy landscape of the workforce. The gig economy has attracted millennials and Gen Zers because of the flexibility and autonomy to work from anywhere, at any time.

Digital Personas: Getting to a Segment of One

Digital Personas: Getting to a Segment of One

Creating a digital persona means using data, machine learning and networked devices so a business can tailor messages and experiences to specific kinds of buyers and users. It sounds like a marketing unicorn, but it’s closer than you might suspect, thanks to the potential of digital personas. The ultimate goal of a digital persona is to achieve the marketer’s dream: a segment of one.

What’s Your Biggest Waste of Money?

What’s Your Biggest Waste of Money?

Americans are in the age of reducing waste. There’s a big push to purchase sustainable products, reduce our usage of plastics, and recycle. But has this trend carried over to our personal finances?  Not really.  In a study by The Ascent, the financial expertise arm of The Motley Fool, more than 60 percent of respondents felt they have wasteful financial tendencies. Why is that?

Ahh…Yes! Turning a Hot Mess into a Cool Breeze

Ahh…Yes! Turning a Hot Mess into a Cool Breeze

"Problems cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them," is attributed to Einstein over 75 years ago. This still holds true, particularly in challenging communications. Many people address conflict at the level it was created by rehashing and building more evidence for their ‘side’ of an argument. Repeating a position tends to intensify the separation of people.

How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

Everyone knows that keeping the consumer happy is the first priority. The importance of considering the customer’s experience in all areas of engaging with your business, not just customer service is becoming even more clear. I’m seeing an increasing number of my peers in the marketing world take ownership of the customer experience with their brands. As a result, we’re all learning how to borrow and...

October Celebrates Indiana’s Vibrant Manufacturing Industry

October Celebrates Indiana’s Vibrant Manufacturing Industry

Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country and more than a third of the state’s GDP comes from the industry. The health and wellness of Indiana’s economy is dependent on the state’s manufacturing industry. But Hoosiers face a challenge: it is expected that nearly a quarter of the current manufacturing workforce will be of retirement age in the next 10 years and we lack the generational workforce to make up that gap.

Time Management: When and How to Work to Your Max Productivity

Time Management: When and How to Work to Your Max Productivity

Time is the one resource in your life that is neither replenishable nor renewable. Regardless of how you spin it, everyone starts each day on an equal playing field with 24 hours in the time bank. And while people often yearn for more time, what they really need is better time management. Understanding where your time goes, when you are most productive, and why you should protect yourself against distractions are the keys to achieving your max productivity.

Circling Back on WeWork

Circling Back on WeWork

Back in July when we first discussed WeWork, this fast-growing but money-losing venture was one of the most talked-about IPOs in years. At that time, we noted that it was too early to say what would happen, but “it should be very interesting to watch it all play out.” Turns out, that was a massive understatement!

Hope is Not a Plan

Hope is Not a Plan

This is sobering. A local business broker in Indianapolis reports nine out of 10 business owners who want to sell are turned away. Of the one in 10 that does make it past the first analysis to sell, over half of those company owners don’t get the sale price they hope for or believe the business is worth. Bottom line, hope is not a plan if you want to sell your business.

Monster Trucks in Indiana Not Worth the Price of Admission

Monster Trucks in Indiana Not Worth the Price of Admission

For businesses looking to relocate or residents pining for a Sunday drive, Indiana drivers will find open roads with nary a pothole in sight. According to CNBC’s yearly tab of “America’s Top States for Business,” Indiana regularly nabs first place for its well-maintained infrastructure. But accolades and acclaim may soon sour if the Hoosier State invites larger, heavier trucks onto its roads.

Solving the Engineering Shortage Starts Early

Solving the Engineering Shortage Starts Early

Engineers play a key role in society, influencing some of the world’s most impressive – and life-changing – innovations. From electricity and highways to digital electronics and health care equipment, engineers have made a huge impact on every aspect of modern life. As the world continues to evolve, engineers will play an increasingly important part in developing solutions to tomorrow’s challenges – and the world needs more of these skilled workers.

Is Storytelling in Marketing Something New?

Is Storytelling in Marketing Something New?

Just as each new generation believes it’s the first to discover the wonders of sex, those who have stumbled upon the power of storytelling mistakenly believe they’ve unearthed an extraordinary innovation. In fact, these well-meaning folks are simply learning what generations of their predecessors already knew and employed with great success. As I explained what I do to feed myself to a pair of business owners at a recent networking event, one noted it seemed that more...

Who Pays Debts After Death?

Who Pays Debts After Death?

If you have a mortgage on your house, what happens when you die?  What about a car lease or credit card debt?  Are your heirs required to pay off what you owe? What is the financial legacy that you will leave behind?  Your legacy could be the bequest of property or money, but it could also mean inheriting debt. It’s not uncommon for spouses or others to get bombarded with collection calls from creditors asking to pay the bills of a family member who has died.

Indiana Patients and Employers Lose if the Government Sets Prices

Indiana Patients and Employers Lose if the Government Sets Prices

Advocates of allowing government appointees to set certain drug prices are ignoring some potentially serious unintended consequences that could harm Indiana seniors and our state’s robust life sciences industry. As the president of a multi-generational manufacturing company within Indiana’s life sciences sector, I’ve seen firsthand the significant impact pharmaceutical research and development can have on both patients and our state’s...

A Need for Community Drives Peer-to-Peer Social Media Marketing

A Need for Community Drives Peer-to-Peer Social Media Marketing

Everyone recognizes that social media has changed our culture. Not only do we communicate in radically different ways since we learned to post, share, YouTube and Tweet, but we also have accepted new ways to gather information, buy and sell products, make travel plans, do business and more. As life-altering as those innovations have been, however, it seems that they still rely on a decidedly old-school element for success: our natural desire for community.

Business Growth: With This One Quality

Business Growth: With This One Quality

Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama have this one quality in common. Besides being able to lead a large corporation or the United States of America, each of these leaders exhibit this one quality.

Customer Retention: Challenge or Opportunity?

Customer Retention: Challenge or Opportunity?

It’s a great feeling to win a new customer. It’s equally frustrating to lose a customer your company has spent time, energy and money to acquire. Especially when that customer leaves before they even become profitable. While companies often have robust ways to support getting new customers, they often don’t apply the same dedication to keeping their customers after the triumph of acquisition. On some level, it’s understandable when companies...

Strong versus Weak Dollar - Which Is Better?

Strong versus Weak Dollar - Which Is Better?

Currency exchange rates around the globe are constantly fluctuating, including our U.S. dollar. At present, the U.S. dollar is “strong.” And that’s good, right? Not necessarily. Let’s take a basic, top-level look at what determines the strength of a currency and the effect it has on consumer spending and the economy in general.

Four Steps to Improve Our Waters

Four Steps to Improve Our Waters

On August 14-15, the second annual Indiana Water Summit was held with a targeted goal in mind: to propose solutions for water quality and availability issues facing Indiana. Hosted by the White River Alliance, the leading organization for regional water resource protection in Indiana, the event brought together a variety of dynamic speakers and experts from across the country to build upon the important conversations that started at last year’s statewide...

Connecting the Dots May Create a Scary Picture

Connecting the Dots May Create a Scary Picture

In the days following violent incidents such as school shootings or workplace violence, there’s a lot of analysis. Most often, it’s built around trying to find a cause or an explanation for whatever happened. Invariably, as law enforcement investigates and media interviews people who had been around the perpetrator, patterns begin to emerge.

Shareholders or Stakeholders? An Answer from Corporate Charity

Shareholders or Stakeholders? An Answer from Corporate Charity

The Business Roundtable’s recent proclamation about stakeholders and shareholders might not be as revolutionary as first reported. Led by executives of the nation’s largest corporations, the Business Roundtable announced that the key purpose of private sector companies transcends profits for shareholders to also include the interests of all stakeholders including employees, customers, and the community at-large. Reaction to the announcement was mixed.

Pet Insurance: Good idea?

Pet Insurance: Good idea?

If your family includes a pet or two, you'd probably do anything to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. But what if your pet was diagnosed with a treatable cancer? Would it be a medically unnecessary death sentence or a $10,000 drain on your family’s finances? Pet insurance could eliminate your need to choose between these two undesirable options. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), today approximately 70 million households include pets. Cats and dogs...

5 Tips to Boost Employee Engagement

5 Tips to Boost Employee Engagement

Having a highly engaged and energized workforce is a major key to success for businesses. Energy and engagement have a direct effect on productivity, performance, and the entire company's profitability. According to Gallup, businesses with highly engaged workers see a 17 percent increase in productivity and 21 percent greater profitability. Creating an environment with a highly engaged workforce also has the ability to impact and improve recruiting and retention efforts.

Want to Lower Your Medicare Premiums?

Want to Lower Your Medicare Premiums?

If you’re nearing retirement age, health insurance and Medicare are probably on your mind as well. Do you understand how Medicare works and how the monthly premium is determined? You need to be in the know to avoid making costly mistakes. Here are some tips for potentially lowering your Medicare premiums.

Getting the Word Out About Manufacturing & Logistics

Getting the Word Out About Manufacturing & Logistics

As the epicenter of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, Indiana has a compelling story to tell about how Hoosier companies make and move the goods people depend on every day. Our goal is to ensure everyone hears these stories – many of which share a common theme focused on cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way products are made and moved around the world and the people who use them. Conexus Indiana launched an...

Why Blogging Without Rules Produces the Best Content

Why Blogging Without Rules Produces the Best Content

I spend a lot of time talking with people about what makes writing good. Depending on who you ask, good writing might be exciting and illustrative. It might be simple and efficient. If you ask someone who works in marketing, good writing translates to whatever helps a marketing strategy generate more leads, or more sales, or more of whatever a business is looking to gain. Though I fully respect and agree with this results-oriented perspective on content, in practice it can be...

Creating the Work Spaces that Draw Talent to Indianapolis

Creating the Work Spaces that Draw Talent to Indianapolis

The future economy will be driven by data, powered by robotics and heavily invested in the building blocks of nature – biotech and genetic engineering. That’s true of the economy nationwide, and it’s especially true here in Indianapolis, where dominant pharmaceutical and biotech companies are putting us at the cutting edge of the science-based economy. It all sounds larger than life. But the facilities that will house these industries will always be...

Overseas Outsourcing Can Create a World of Problems

Overseas Outsourcing Can Create a World of Problems

The internet broke down geographic barriers for businesses, making it possible to find lower-cost suppliers around the world. But if companies lack the knowledge and skills to manage those suppliers properly, they may end up spending far more than expected. We’ve worked with companies all over the globe to help our clients meet their advertising and marketing objectives while protecting their budgets. While most of those working relationships have been positive, we’ve had...

Investing Lessons from Mount Elbert

Investing Lessons from Mount Elbert

With little mountain-climbing experience under any of our belts, a few friends and I decided to take on Mount Elbert, Colorado’s tallest mountain. While regular climbers may not consider this “Gentle Giant” a tall task, it was for us inexperienced climbers.  Is investing your “tall task”? If so, you can learn a lot from our experiences. And you won’t have to climb a mountain to do it!

School District Raises Questions About ILEARN

School District Raises Questions About ILEARN

Like all schools in Indiana, we were disheartened at the ILEARN results for school year 2018. We would like to raise several questions concerning this test as it relates to college and career readiness for our students. The annual Indiana Statewide Assessment (this year’s ILEARN) has been developed to evaluate college and career readiness at all levels tested. We are very troubled by our lack of understanding of what indicators in the test evaluate...

How Employers Can Crack the Health Plan Code

How Employers Can Crack the Health Plan Code

As the healthcare reform debate heats up, employers of all sizes are asking how they can provide meaningful health benefits to attract and retain talented employees as statistics show 88% of employees consider health insurance benefits when choosing a job. However, with the cost of employer-sponsored health care benefits expected to approach $15,000 per employee in 2019, employers are desperately seeking innovative and alternative ways to control...

Leveraging Company Culture for Recruitment

Leveraging Company Culture for Recruitment

A successful company culture can be defined as having shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize the organization. In other words, think of your brand’s personality, values and work environment – is it inclusive, positive and supportive? All of these elements matter, especially when recruiting new talent.

Who Are You An Ally For?

Who Are You An Ally For?

For the past few years, I have been beating the drum on how important “male allyship” is to real progress in closing the gender gap and accelerating the advancement of female talent. Yes, it’s been a consistent message of mine and one that I am trying to live out loud in leading Integrating Women Leaders (IWL). Over the last 12 months, I have had a few humbling experiences related to allyship causing me to pause and reflect on my own privilege and the opportunity...

The 'Not-So-Trivial' Responsibilities of a Trustee

The 'Not-So-Trivial' Responsibilities of a Trustee

Have you been asked to serve as the trustee of a trust for a family member or friend? Or, are you in the process of determining who would be the best person to act as your trustee? Either way, it’s an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are the facts you should know.

Business Imprisonment and Owner Mindset

Business Imprisonment and Owner Mindset

Do you feel trapped in your business or leadership role? Do you feel, at times, that there is no “way out” or that there’s no one else who can help you? There’s a name for this (business imprisonment) and it’s curable. Here’s what we often hear. Someone started a business or took a leadership role years ago. The business has been built over several years to become what it is today. It’s successful. Now where does it go?...

Red Line Delivers a 'Sudden' Transformation for Indy

Red Line Delivers a 'Sudden' Transformation for Indy

This week, in the time it took to cut a ribbon, Indianapolis became a different city. Before the scissors sliced those ceremonial bands, we were a city with a transit system that was inadequate to meet the needs of a public demanding more and more transportation options. Suddenly, we are a city on the path to a real 21st century transit system. OK: “Suddenly” is not quite accurate. By opening the Red Line, this week’s celebrations and ribbon-cutting ceremony...

Business Growth: Strive for Competence

Business Growth: Strive for Competence

Los Angeles Lakers standout LeBron James could easily be deemed a success, in every sense of the word. He has fame and he certainly made a fortune in his seventeen years as a superstar in the National Basketball Association. Yet, there is still one thing that has eluded him for his entire career.

Is Your Bond Portfolio Putting You at Risk?

Is Your Bond Portfolio Putting You at Risk?

Bonds are on people’s minds now—and for good reason. You may have seen Bedel Financial Consulting’s recent article about negative interest rates or you may have read about the inverted yield curve.  Review the bonds in your portfolio to determine the risk associated with each. Not sure what to look for? In this article we’ll highlight the more common risks with bonds and how they can impact your portfolio.

No Matter the Career You Have Chosen, You Are in Sales

No Matter the Career You Have Chosen, You Are in Sales

Throughout my sales career I have learned that you are either selling a widget, a concept or more importantly selling yourself every second, every minute, and every day of your life. My books, “Everyday Sales Wisdom for Your Life & Career” and “Bigger Than Sales How Humility and Relationships Build Career Success” explore what it takes to be successful not just in sales but in any career. Let’s see "What’s Bigger Than Sales?"

Eating Salad With Your Fingers

Eating Salad With Your Fingers

"I’m just posting it on social media, so the usual rules don’t apply, right?" He was making a major announcement about his company and assumed he didn’t have to be concerned with grammar and style. I told him he didn’t have to worry about those things, unless he wanted to be taken seriously. It’s an increasingly common question, as more of our messages and conversations find their way to social media and newer platforms.

Tough Economic Times Mean Tough Fiscal Choices Ahead

Tough Economic Times Mean Tough Fiscal Choices Ahead

Evidence is mounting that the longest (albeit one of the slowest) economic recovery in U.S. history is nearly at its end – including slumping sales for recreational vehicles made in Elkhart, Indiana. Last week, fears of a downturn pushed enough investors towards long-term treasuries to flash the dreaded ‘inverted yield curve.’  But as the lure of the open road diminishes as economic uncertainty grows, the RV market has joined the bond market as a reliable...

Solve the Nursing Shortage With Compassionate Care and Earlier Education

Solve the Nursing Shortage With Compassionate Care and Earlier Education

Any nurse can tell you that their career is more than a job. Every day, these professionals face challenges unlike any other by providing comfort and care to their patients during some of their deepest struggles. But for every challenge, there are meaningful personal and professional rewards. Today, however, the nursing field faces a new challenge – especially in the state of Indiana. According to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, registered nurse is the most...

Legal Medical Documents: Don’t Leave for College Without Them!

Legal Medical Documents: Don’t Leave for College Without Them!

By now, most students have already headed for college. They’re busy with orientation, new curriculums, and figuring out how to navigate life away from home. If you’re the parent of a college student, you probably think your job’s done—at least for a few months. But do you have legal medical documents for your child? You should! Here’s why.

How to Find a New Audience After Hitting a Marketing Plateau

How to Find a New Audience After Hitting a Marketing Plateau

It may sound like a marketer’s dream scenario: efforts have proven to be so successful it appears a company has completely saturated their target audience. While it may be a good problem to have, it still may be a problem. Hitting a marketing plateau is an opportunity for companies in any industry to reevaluate, re-energize and come to the table with new ideas for better understanding existing customers and engaging new audiences.

States Can Foster Job Growth if Lifelong Learning is at Play

States Can Foster Job Growth if Lifelong Learning is at Play

The worlds of work and learning are merging in powerful ways, driven by the exponential growth in human knowledge. This means the abilities needed in the workplace go beyond simple “job skills” that can be learned quickly through a short-term training program. I was with Montana Gov. Steve Bullock when he released the newest National Governors Association report, “Governor’s Action Guide to Achieving Good Jobs for All Americans,” at the opening session...

How to Build an Effective Team

How to Build an Effective Team

Many leaders who are looking to increase overall productivity at their company are implementing collaborative team environments. This growing trend is backed up by a recent study that states collaborative work environments lead to an increase in overall profitability. However, teams are only effective if built correctly. Don’t expect a group of employees to work well together if you throw them in a room without cultivating any sort of trust or team building.

The First Thing Nonprofit Boards Should Focus On: Member Engagement

The First Thing Nonprofit Boards Should Focus On: Member Engagement

There is no shortage of literature on how to run a nonprofit and what the board of directors should be doing. Do a quick search for “grant writing advice” or “board meeting agenda” and you will easily find hundreds of resources. But if there is so much helpful information around, why is serving on a nonprofit board sometimes so draining? After founding two nonprofits, Musical Family Tree and the Speak Easy, as well as serving on several nonprofit boards...

Want A Guaranteed Negative Return?

Want A Guaranteed Negative Return?

Here we go again! On Wednesday, August 14th, we watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) drop over 800 points.  The previous Monday the Dow ended down over 700 points. But what you may have missed is the sharp downward move in interest rates that has intensified with the recent stock market volatility. What does this mean for your portfolio?

We’re Having the Wrong Conversations About Safety

We’re Having the Wrong Conversations About Safety

Every time there’s a shooting at a school or a workplace, the arguments begin. We need more police officers stationed in the buildings. We need to arm teachers or encourage employees to carry handguns. We should invest in smokescreen systems or bulletproof partitions. Everyone should hide from the shooter. Everyone should run from the shooter. Everyone should confront the shooter. It’s healthy that we’re discussing safety, but unfortunately, we’re talking...

Four Components Shaping Commercial Construction

Four Components Shaping Commercial Construction

Construction remains a major contributor to the U.S. economy, employing over 7 million workers and creating nearly $1.3 trillion worth of new structures each year. The industry spending notched its 7th consecutive year of growth in 2018 and in Indiana, construction contributed $13.4 billion of the state’s GDP of $352.3 billion. Furthermore, revenue for the commercial construction industry has grown substantially over the past five years. In an effort to provide better...

Inclusive Incentives Aim to Create Economic Opportunity for All

Inclusive Incentives Aim to Create Economic Opportunity for All

In late July, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indy Chamber unveiled a roadmap that repositions how Indianapolis uses economic development incentive programs to encourage the types of inclusive outcomes sought for our community.  This important initiative helps strengthen the position for Indianapolis as a place to be for companies and citizens alike.

Don’t Skimp on Professional Writing

Don’t Skimp on Professional Writing

As the client reviewed our estimate for their new website, they had no problem with the numbers for the design, the hosting, or the programming. But they didn’t understand why we recommended they should pay for writing. Couldn’t they just do that part themselves? Well, yes, they could. But we didn’t think they should. It’s a conversation we’ve had with many clients over the years about many different types of projects. We believe bringing a professional...

Can You Recoup College Expenses with Tax Credits?

Can You Recoup College Expenses with Tax Credits?

August is here and before long students will be off to college. If you have a college-bound student, you’ve already marked a lot of financial steps off your list, things like completing the financial aid forms, calculating the impact of any scholarship awards, and opening joint parent/student bank accounts. But have you investigated tax credits? You just might be able to recoup part of the cost of college. Tax credits are often overlooked amid the scads of other items you need...

Avoid the One Word that Threatens Your Organization

Avoid the One Word that Threatens Your Organization

If I use a certain word in referencing a friend’s membership organization, I know to expect a negative reaction.  However, that word holds the key to survival for most all membership associations these days.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word’s primary meaning relates to “having significant and demonstrable bearing on the matter at hand,” So do you have the word?

The Surprising Impact of Customer Experience

The Surprising Impact of Customer Experience

When a customer’s experience is underwhelming, they're more likely to leave a company. That’s pretty obvious, right? Customer turnover costs a company money. But focusing on churn alone can lead companies to underestimate the negative impact of a lackluster customer experience. Turnover isn’t the only way a customer’s experience influences revenue. Here’s an example: Recently, I was giving a talk about the value of long-term customer retention.

Grow Your Business: Be Strategic

Grow Your Business: Be Strategic

David’s small service business had done fairly well since it was started almost eight years ago. He had taken it beyond the start-up phase, but because of increased competition, he clearly saw sales leveling off, a familiar refrain for many businesses. The increased pressure felt by David and his business probably wasn’t just because of increased competition. There were many moving pieces that had developed over time as his company went from the start-up trials and...

How Health Intelligence Goes Beyond Health Analytics

How Health Intelligence Goes Beyond Health Analytics

“Big data” has become a staple in today’s corporate world. In recent years, “the more data the better” has become a popular ethos. The question is, what if data isn’t enough? The last decade has proven that the challenge, as well as the opportunity, lies in turning data into action. Knowing what to do with information already gathered is the new currency in business. The rise in advanced learning techniques and artificial intelligence is proving...

Debt Ceiling or Debt Sunroof?

Debt Ceiling or Debt Sunroof?

Surprise! A recent agreement was reached between Congress and the White House regarding the federal government’s budget and borrowing limits. In this period of hyper-polarization between the two major political parties, this bipartisan compromise sidesteps a near-term fiscal crisis and a potential government shutdown. But does it have long-term merit and impose a ceiling on future debt, or is it just a stop-gap measure that rolls back the sunroof and lets the sky be the limit...

Copyright Doesn’t Mean a Right to Copy

Copyright Doesn’t Mean a Right to Copy

I was leafing through the newsletter from a favorite organization when I saw they had committed an illegal act. On page three, they reprinted a brief item from Reader’s Digest. It was related to their mission, and they did include a credit line. But all the same, they broke the law. Which law? Copyright law. Unless they obtained specific permission from the publishers of the magazine, reprinting the item violated both U.S. and global copyright provisions.

How Can Construction Project Owners Protect Themselves?

How Can Construction Project Owners Protect Themselves?

The construction industry in Central Indiana is booming. Everywhere you go, there are new projects underway as business expands, municipalities invest in modern infrastructure, and our area becomes a better place to work and to live. With so much activity, how can the owners of these projects—and the taxpayers funding them— ensure they’re getting the quality they need at a fair market value? The answer: Qualified Owner Representation.

Tips for Stellar Internships

Tips for Stellar Internships

If you are like Rose-Hulman Ventures, your summer interns are in the final weeks of their internships before returning to colleges this fall. What have you done to ensure it has been a great experience for them and you? At Ventures we employ dozens of student interns each year to work closely with our external clients on product development and innovation. Our business model has provided insights into working with interns and understanding what it takes to make an internship a...

A Yearlong Plan for Disability Inclusion

A Yearlong Plan for Disability Inclusion

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark law ensuring the equal rights of individuals with disabilities, celebrated its 29th anniversary July 26. Focusing on the ADA is a great starting point for businesses who want to build more disability inclusion into their company culture. What better time to start than in the year leading up to the 30th anniversary of the ADA?

Travel Insurance to the Rescue!

Travel Insurance to the Rescue!

Have you ever considered purchasing travel insurance but weren’t sure how it works or if it would even be worth it? Fear not!  Determining whether you need coverage and obtaining it if you do is simply a matter of knowing the answers to three questions. Travel insurance can be beneficial in many scenarios. For example, what if: You have a medical emergency a few weeks prior to your trip? Your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged? Your flight is canceled and you...

Opportunity Zones: Changing the Course of Real Estate Investment

Opportunity Zones: Changing the Course of Real Estate Investment

The economic divide in large cities continues to expand. Despite a financial resurgence following the 2007-2009 recession, the system wasn’t fixing itself. Enter Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZ), a program included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 designed to boost development in economically distressed communities. In exchange for new investments in these communities, investors receive preferential tax treatment. As traditional as it sounds, the QOZ program is...

Israel-Indiana A Winning Team

Israel-Indiana A Winning Team

The Consul General of Israel to the Midwest is relocating to Indianapolis this week for a Pop-up Consulate, highlighting and strengthening the unbreakable bond between Israel and Indiana. In a conversation with my good friend and fellow basketball enthusiast, Gov. Eric Holcomb, I told him we would move the Consulate General of Israel to The Midwest, located in Chicago, to Indiana when the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. Last year, the first condition was fulfilled so I had to...

Indiana Finishes 2019 With Historic Surplus – and Human Capital Deficits?

Indiana Finishes 2019 With Historic Surplus – and Human Capital Deficits?

Two weeks ago, Indiana closed the books on fiscal year 2019.  The biggest news is that surging revenues left Indiana with a historic budget surplus – the state collected nearly $267 million more than anticipated for FY2019, pushing budget reserves to $2.27 billion. That’s a surplus approaching 14% of annual spending (compared to a 50-state average around 8%), with only modest unfunded liabilities. We’re left with a bigger umbrella against the...

Invest In Talent Earlier, A Proven Solution For Indiana’s Future Workforce

Invest In Talent Earlier, A Proven Solution For Indiana’s Future Workforce

As ever-changing technology and workforce needs continue to outpace advances in the classroom, the skills gap has become a widely discussed topic in the business community. Do we have the talent to fill these jobs of the future? While dialogue is important, the skills gap challenge requires real action and collaboration – most importantly, between the education and business communities. By equipping students with the skills that will be valuable to them in the future workforce...

Will 'WeWork' Work in your Portfolio?

Will 'WeWork' Work in your Portfolio?

How would you like the opportunity to invest in a company whose revenues grew 105 percent last year? Sound pretty good? But would you be so quick to invest if I told you the company’s losses grew 104 percent? That complicates the picture a bit, doesn’t it? This is the dilemma potential investors in WeWork face as the company prepares for a potential initial public offering in the near future. What WeWork Does WeWork, recently rebranded as The We Company, provides...

Take Time to Face Reality

Take Time to Face Reality

When is the last time that you as a business owner truly stopped for 30 minutes or an hour and truly took some quiet time to reflect on your business? Like most owners, it’s probably been quite some time. We all get busy doing things, working hard, taking care of customers, running the business. But if we don’t take some time each day, week, month or quarter to slow down, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Business leaders and owners need the time to slow down to...

Filling the Gap Between Background Checks

Filling the Gap Between Background Checks

Because I run a background screening company, you might be surprised when I confess that there’s a huge inherent flaw in background screening. The flaw isn’t in our services or our people, both of which are remarkably thorough. The problem is that a background screening captures a moment in time. Whether you screen someone as part of the pre-employment process or check on their background a decade after you’ve hired them, even the most effective background screening...

Baby Boomers Are Impacting the Building Industry

Baby Boomers Are Impacting the Building Industry

There are currently 78 million baby boomers in the U.S., making up 25% of the population and controlling 67% ($28 trillion) of the country’s wealth, according to the Living In Place Institute. AARP says 90% of people surveyed want to remain as long as possible in their homes. The majority of those 65 and older remodel their home to make it safer and accessible. In fact, 45% of all remodeling work is being done for people over the age of 65. With this amount of data supporting...

Building an Effective Audit Committee

Building an Effective Audit Committee

If your nonprofit has an external audit, a dedicated audit committee can promote better financial reporting, lead to fewer fraud incidents, and help create a smoother audit process. For example, take the recent headlines regarding the Key Worldwide Foundation. It served as a front for the bribery scandal admitting children of wealthy parents into elite universities. Appropriate oversight might have identified the fraudulent activity early on, rather than from a tipster six years later...

Guide to Leaving a Legacy

Guide to Leaving a Legacy

American philosopher William James once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” Have you ever stopped to think about the impact you want to have on the world? Each day—and every dollar—is an opportunity to make a difference. Not sure where to start? Here are several ideas to get you on your way!   Your Presence Is a Present Not every charitable-minded person is financially positioned to give money to favorite...

More Hot-Button Compensation and Workplace Rules on the Horizon (Part Two)

More Hot-Button Compensation and Workplace Rules on the Horizon (Part Two)

In a recent article, I described several large and looming regulatory issues that could affect employee compensation and how companies manage their total rewards programs. I wrote about the Paycheck Fairness Act (unlikely to be enacted anytime soon), bans on salary history questions (continuing to gain traction at state and local levels), and new rules concerning EEOC pay data collection (with a reporting deadline of September 30, 2019). Now let’s look at three more...

How to Avoid Pains in Your Assets

How to Avoid Pains in Your Assets

Among your company’s most important assets are the materials used in your marketing and promotional efforts. But do you know where they really are … or who they really belong to? Your website’s domain name, your product photographs, and those expensive demonstration videos are items you may assume that you own and can access easily. Don’t be so sure. In working with clients, we’ve encountered all sorts of pains in the assets.

AI Impacting Industry

AI Impacting Industry

Artificial Intelligence is improving and impacting industries, businesses and governments worldwide. For business leaders new to AI, there’s probably uncertainty about its ability to help their organization. Here are a few specific use cases that show the impact. Business professionals are talking about and beginning to implement Artificial Intelligence into their work place. Here are four great examples showing how AI benefits industry.

Preparing Our Students For the Future Workforce

Preparing Our Students For the Future Workforce

The workforce of 2019 looks vastly different from that of 1999, and by 2039, the change will undoubtedly be even more dramatic. For many students, the PreK-12 classroom experience isn’t keeping pace with shifting workforce needs. Preparing students for success in the future workforce is a community effort, supported not just by parents and educators, but also by local business leaders. Despite the changing demands of the workforce, U.S. classroom structure and focus have...

Time to Refinance Your Mortgage?

Time to Refinance Your Mortgage?

Amazingly, mortgage rates are once again at historical low levels. Last year the average rate on a 30-year mortgage was 4.54 percent. Now rates have dropped below 4 percent. A few mortgage providers are even offering 3.75 percent! If you’re a homeowner with a higher rate, should you refinance? Whenever mortgage rates drop, it’s always prudent to consider refinancing. However, the value of refinancing a mortgage differs with each homeowner’s situation. To make the...

You Get What You Give - When It Comes To Advice

You Get What You Give - When It Comes To Advice

Tommy Heinsohn, the former coach of the Boston Celtics, had a temper. At first, his players would react to his fits of rage and readily comply. Over time, however, they stopped listening, ceased reacting, and eventually ignored him. That was when he lost his ability to give advice. While Heinsohn’s style of giving advice was far more autocratic than reciprocal, it did not even come close to endearing players to him. In their landmark study on the art of giving and...

Accounting is More Than Numbers

Accounting is More Than Numbers

The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is one of the best business schools in the world.  As an undergraduate, I did not appreciate the I-Core (Integrated Core) that provided knowledge in each division of business.  I now know why I-Core is essential.   Each division is like a body part, one cannot function without the other.  Many accountants see the accounting function as its own entity.  Accounting is more than debits and credits or hitting a...

Are You Financially Set for Semi-Retirement?

Are You Financially Set for Semi-Retirement?

In the past, people’s work lives ended when they retired.  Today, that’s not always the case.  According to a 2018 Harris Poll study, 72 percent of today’s workers are looking forward to semi-retirement rather than leaving the workforce cold turkey. Why is semi-retirement so appealing? For some people, it means a smoother transition into retirement. For others, it’s a chance to pursue a different career or job, and often without a need for...

Emerging Leaders Broaden Indiana's Borders

Emerging Leaders Broaden Indiana's Borders

Though Indiana boasts the official state motto of “Crossroads of America”, the reality is more far-reaching. Our landlocked state is experiencing a big global impact and unprecedented international growth. Indianapolis recently celebrated a year of success with its nonstop flight to Paris; West Lafayette attracted investment from Swedish company Saab; the state as a whole is home to 950 foreign-owned businesses that create 190,000 jobs for Hoosiers. From travel, to...

New Year, Same Story: Private Sector Wages Increase But Most Counties Lag State

New Year, Same Story: Private Sector Wages Increase But Most Counties Lag State

Statistically speaking, most private-sector workers in Indiana got a raise last year, according to preliminary 2018 average wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage of that annual raise varied from 0.15% for Jennings County in southeast Indiana to 27.8% for central Indiana’s Tipton County. Tipton County’s workers also enjoyed the largest dollar increase of $12,112.  Indiana’s 2018 average wage was $47,864, which was a 3.1% increase...

World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

World Refugee Day Shines Light on Untapped Pool of Talented Workers

From Fortune 500 companies to local small businesses, a similar theme rings true. In this strong economy where unemployment is low and growth is high, companies are competing for top talent. In Indianapolis - according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics - unemployment is just 2.8 percent, and investment and job growth are on the rise. This is great news for Indianapolis-area residents looking for work or opportunities to advance their careers, but for businesses and...

Encourage New College Graduates to Explore Careers Locally

Encourage New College Graduates to Explore Careers Locally

Summertime is my favorite time of year, with all of the outdoor events, concerts and activities in and around Indianapolis. Summer is also a pivotal time of year for thousands of Indiana college graduates as they look forward to moving into the next phase of their adult lives. For many college graduates, the next step after graduation is starting a career. Many graduates from Indiana colleges and universities have also grown up in Indiana. Now they want a change. Perhaps the lure of...

"Wood" You Consider Investing in Timber?

"Wood" You Consider Investing in Timber?

Looking for an untraditional way to diversify your traditional stock and fixed-income portfolio? If so, try thinking outside the typical realm of investable assets. Don’t know where to start? How about going against the “grain” and investing in timber? Why Trees? Investing in timber can yield a number of benefits. The main draw of having timber in your portfolio is its low, long-term correlation to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds. Low correlation...

Here’s A Common Customer Experience Problem - And How To Avoid It

Here’s A Common Customer Experience Problem - And How To Avoid It

When responsibility for customer retention is dispersed throughout a company, you can end up with some unexpected – and negative – consequences. Not only can it impact revenue and relationships with existing customers, but it can also hurt sales efforts with new customers. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to combat these problems. As I chatted with someone at a recent event, they shared a story that crystallized the risk. The person, we’ll call her Morgan...

Leaders Know How to Set the PACE

Leaders Know How to Set the PACE

Whether or not you’re a fan, you are probably familiar with the most important car in the starting field of most any major race event.  It’s the one car at the beginning of the race, the pace car, that provides the most important lessons since it plays a vital role in leading the way and helping the race get off to the appropriate start. There’s a lot for leaders to learn from that role. Having led countless nonprofits and business teams, and now consulting...

What is a CPEO And What Are The Benefits?

What is a CPEO And What Are The Benefits?

We all know the traditional definition of a professional employer organization, or PEO. PEOs provide small and medium-sized businesses with numerous benefits - from comprehensive human resources management and employee benefits administration to reducing the number of administrative tasks, the list goes on. However, there is another type of PEO that can provide clients with even more benefits, a CPEO.  CPEO are IRS certified organizations who met various requirements in...

Is Your Physician Experiencing Burnout?

Is Your Physician Experiencing Burnout?

All professions experience varying degrees of burnout. Physicians and health professionals, who may treat symptoms of burnout in their patients, are not immune to job burnout and depression. In its latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases, the World Health Organization has officially classified workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon. According to the Mayo Clinic, job burnout is a special type of work-related stress - a state of physical or emotional...

Are You Sacrificing Your Retirement for Your Adult Kids?

Are You Sacrificing Your Retirement for Your Adult Kids?

Based on statistics, you are! A whopping 63 percent of parents have actually sacrificed their financial security for the benefit of their children, while 72 percent say they’ve put their children’s interests ahead of their financial retirement needs. What does that look like in dollars? Parents contribute $500 billion to adult children annually - half of what they contribute to their own retirement accounts! Where Do the Dollars Go? According to a June 2018 survey conduc...

What the Fit!?

What the Fit!?

Good fit in our work, relationships, and, yes, shoes – brings energy and joy into our lives! I recently bought a new pair of shoes. They were very snug, the salesman assured me they would stretch because of the material. I was a little skeptical, but I bought them anyway. This made me think about how shoes also provide some fun clues to assess good “fit” in work and relationships. Even stellar communication and conflict skills won’t make a bad fit feel good.

How to Raise The Bar on Your Customer Experience With an Advisory Board

How to Raise The Bar on Your Customer Experience With an Advisory Board

Survey after survey brings in results indicating one of the most exciting areas for revenue growth in the coming year will be done by listening to customers. The online survey side of listening is usually where most companies begin. To me, that misses the mark. To really hone-in on how your customer can help you thrive in the coming year, start with an advisory board. Having your customers weigh in on your company strategy is one of the most valuable assets to any organization. Most ...

Five Ways Great Companies Build Customer Loyalty

Five Ways Great Companies Build Customer Loyalty

One of the most powerful tools for building a successful business is a loyal customer base that freely advocates for the services or products you provide. Even the smallest businesses can become a giant when the word gets out that they’ll go the extra mile to build positive relationships with their customers. But that kind of loyalty isn’t created overnight. In fact, according to research from Yotpo, “37% of consumers say it takes five or more purchases before they...

The 5-Stage Journey to Enterprise AI

The 5-Stage Journey to Enterprise AI

We’ve all read the reports about artificial intelligence and its impact helping large organizations improve customer experiences, bolster security and tighten compliance. As business leaders consider AI remember putting cognitive computing to work is a process. Don't jump ahead or take short cuts. Before you dive in, make sure you understand where AI produces the best outcomes through this five-stage journey. A 2018 Harvard Business Review survey of 250 executives who are...

Retirement Changes Are on the Horizon

Retirement Changes Are on the Horizon

Are you frustrated with the current environment regarding retirement accounts?  While some individuals do not have access to certain types of accounts, others are frustrated with the current rules around contributions and distributions. Relief may soon be on the way via a significant piece of retirement legislation aiming to make sweeping changes. The Political Environment To help tackle issues like these, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bipartisan bill...

Pet-Friendly Workplaces Rewarding, But Require Thoughtful Policies

Pet-Friendly Workplaces Rewarding, But Require Thoughtful Policies

Silicon Valley startups have long touted pet-friendly workplaces, but PetFirst Pet Insurance has been pet-friendly long before most startups were even sketches on a napkin. Over the years, we’ve come to recognize that a pet-friendly workplace is valuable for morale and a favorite perk for new hires – but it also takes good planning and policies. When we were founded in 2004 as a small team, bringing pets to the office was pretty easy. But now we have more than...

The Key Drivers to a Successful Company Culture

The Key Drivers to a Successful Company Culture

In today’s world, a thriving company culture has become a new standard in today’s evolving workforce. Company culture serves as the personality of your brand and defines the environment that employees work. More than 50 percent of executives believe maintaining a positive company culture is vital to running a successful business as it positively influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates. Culture has the power to turn employees into a...

Business Growth: It Is All About Leadership

Business Growth: It Is All About Leadership

Leadership is a characteristic many people already possess. It is also something many people wish they could develop. Regardless of where people are on the leadership spectrum, there is always something new they can learn. One thing is certain, since the beginning of time, leadership has been held in high esteem. While leadership styles have evolved over eons and leadership skills have been continually developed, leadership itself has always been an intriguing subject to many...

The Evolution of Mobile Phone Usage

The Evolution of Mobile Phone Usage

Fifteen years ago, we owned several different gadgets to help us through the day, each offering a separate function. An iPod for music on the way into work, a GPS system to navigate our travels, a calculator to solve our problems, a computer to search the web, a television to watch the big game and a chunky mobile phone or landline to verbally communicate with the outside world. Today, we aren’t carrying several gadgets with us at all times. Instead, we now only need one device...

Maximizing Your Pension Payout Options

Maximizing Your Pension Payout Options

Pension plans can offer retirees great security, whether they are used in conjunction with Social Security benefits or as a supplement to other retirement income streams. If you are lucky enough to have a pension in your future, you have a big decision to make. How do you want your pension distributed? It can make a difference! You can elect to receive your benefits in a variety of annuity payout options or as a lump-sum distribution. Each option has advantages and disadvantages.

Addressing The Hidden Healthcare Costs in Your Workforce

Addressing The Hidden Healthcare Costs in Your Workforce

I see this issue pop up in the workplace in a thousand subtle ways. Maybe someone leaves early regularly to meet with their high schooler's principal. Maybe an employee is consistently late to work. Or increasing absenteeism. Or worse, presenteeism where your employee is physically at work, but not "mentally there" or very productive. These can be signs that employees may be facing behavioral health issues such as depression, anxiety or substance use. Or that their...

Benefits of Corporate Volunteer Programs are Widespread

Benefits of Corporate Volunteer Programs are Widespread

For many groups of co-workers, the holiday season is when they think about giving back to the community and supporting local nonprofits in the neighborhoods where they do business. However, corporations are integral parts of their community year-round and the volunteer experience and the positive impact it has are indicators it should become a recurring habit, not a one-time goal. More than 63 million Americans — a fourth of the population — volunteer each year and...

City and State Have Created an Incubator for Tech Success

City and State Have Created an Incubator for Tech Success

When it comes to education, atmosphere and climate matter. That includes everything from a well-lit classroom, engaging learning material and, most important, a teacher who is both a thought leader and coach, determined to set his or her students up for success. I know this because I’ve had great teachers in school and at home--both of my parents were educators; teachers who helped countless students in the classroom and, at home, set my brother Jason and I up for success in...

Steer Your Finances into the Winner's Circle

Steer Your Finances into the Winner's Circle

The Indy 500 is over for another year! Whether you celebrated with a backyard cookout or on the track’s third turn, thinking about your financial plan probably wasn’t top of mind.  However, the way the race teams develop and execute a race-day game plan is actually similar to preparing a winning financial strategy for your family. In the same way a race plan relies on each member of the team to do their part to prepare for the big race, your financial plan and...

Mitigating Your Company’s Cybersecurity Risk

Mitigating Your Company’s Cybersecurity Risk

Frequently, I encounter people who think that a software developer understands all languages and can “fix” anything tech related. While that may be true for a few, areas of expertise within tech evolve as rapidly as the technology itself. For instance, there was a time (not long ago) when operating in the cloud was revolutionary. Today, it is considered best practices for some or all of an organization to function within a cloud. Managed information technology began with...

Startup Spirit Fuels Growth

Startup Spirit Fuels Growth

As the South Bend - Elkhart Region celebrates a $42.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., we know that the work to make the best investment with it is really just beginning. The spirit of entrepreneurship has been a vibrant part of our region for decades and the story of our family company could be somewhat of a guidebook for the region as it ventures forward. ITAMCO began as a dream of my uncle Donald Neidig and my father Noble Neidig to have their own business.

Five Frequently Missed Marketing Opportunities For Professional Service Providers

Five Frequently Missed Marketing Opportunities For Professional Service Providers

All of us are guilty of missing significant marketing opportunities - even those of us in the business of marketing. But the problem seems especially acute in professional services. The issue is seldom the lack of good intentions. We get busy. We feel pressure to focus on billable hours. Or amid our day-to-day responsibilities, we temporarily lose sight of the fact that marketing needs to be a sustained and nurtured process. With that in mind, let me share with you my list...

3 Ways to Hire For a Cultural Fit

3 Ways to Hire For a Cultural Fit

While the vast majority of companies long for a strong work culture, not all are willing to put in the extra effort that it requires. Instilling culture in new team members isn’t a task that can simply be checked off a list. Rather, it’s a series of things company leadership must do that begins with the hiring process. It doesn’t end there either, though. Companies must be devoted to protecting their culture at all costs. Culture doesn’t happen on it's..

A New Narrative For Climate Action In The Midwest

A New Narrative For Climate Action In The Midwest

In recently celebrating the 49th Earth Day, our collective response to climate change and its impacts is evolving in a region where such change is not often expected: in the heart of the Midwest. Consider the results of a new survey in Indiana. Eight out of 10 Hoosiers believe climate change is happening in some form. Seventy-five percent of Hoosiers support efforts to address its impact. What’s more, 65 percent of Hoosiers said they think that climate change is happening more...

The Race for a Winning Credit Score

The Race for a Winning Credit Score

It’s May in Indy and the sound of revving racecar engines signals good times to come. But try to keep your spending under the yellow flag. Overspending on credit cards during the festivities could turn that May engine roar into a dreaded credit score “dent” come June. That’s not a great way to kick off summer. Here’s what to watch out for so your credit score will be a winner! FICO Credit-Scoring System The FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) is the most...

When The Lights Go Out For Large Retail Spaces, How Do You Create a New Land of Opportunity?

When The Lights Go Out For Large Retail Spaces, How Do You Create a New Land of Opportunity?

Another day, another retail giant is closing their stores.  As of early April 2019, over 5,900 store closures in the United States were announced according to Coresight Research. 2018 saw over 5,500 closures with 2017 setting the record with 8,139 closures. Debate abounds on what brought down the once popular shopping mall. The internet and ecommerce?  Millennial buying habits? The resurgence of downtown living and re-urbanization?

How To Prevent Customer Turnover

How To Prevent Customer Turnover

The other day, I was talking to a business owner who shared a problem they were having in the business. He said the company was spending a lot of time, money and resources on customer acquisition, and the conversion process was going well. The problem started after customers came on board. Customers seemed to like the company’s products, but customer turnover numbers were higher than expected. After all the effort to win customers, they weren’t staying, and this business...

Self-Imposed Barriers Job Seekers Need to Overcome

Self-Imposed Barriers Job Seekers Need to Overcome

Many jobseekers spend hours every day filling out job applications online. In today’s world, would-be-employees need to treat the job search itself like a part-time job to get the position of their dreams. But even though a position might be perfect for them, some job seekers get scared off by hefty job requirements. There’s something in that job description they don’t feel confident about. It could be the years of experience required, level of education, or a...

Think Your Student Loan Will Be Forgiven? Maybe Not!

Think Your Student Loan Will Be Forgiven? Maybe Not!

With the 2020 election in sight, there’s a hot new topic for potential candidates to rally around—the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Thousands of college graduates who thought they were on track to have their student loans forgiven are now learning they don’t meet the requirements. Should the program be eliminated, revised, or allow to stand as a harsh lesson to pay attention to the details? The Program The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was...

Hot-Button Compensation Rules Take Center Stage

Hot-Button Compensation Rules Take Center Stage

After varying periods of waiting in the wings, several big regulatory issues – from controversial topics just gaining traction to updated regulations moving rapidly toward adoption – stand to significantly impact U.S. employers. These rules affect employee compensation, pay equality, rights to privacy, and even the very boundaries of the employer/employee relationship. Here is a summary of three of these issues, including their statuses and trajectories (current as of this...

Cigarette Tax Hike Goes Up In Smoke – For Now

Cigarette Tax Hike Goes Up In Smoke – For Now

As Indiana legislators passed a two-year, $34.6 billion budget last week, supporters of raising the state’s cigarette tax watched their work snuffed out for another session. Lawmakers had to adjust their final calculations to account for lower predicted sales and income taxes and higher-than-anticipated Medicaid costs. They looked to broaden the sales tax base by targeting online transactions through ‘market facilitators’ and hotel booking sites, and passed a...

How to Win Business and Influence People Part 3: Invest with More Focus and Less Diversification

How to Win Business and Influence People Part 3: Invest with More Focus and Less Diversification

Very few local businesses have enough of an advertising budget to purchase effective amounts of advertising — or develop effective creative — in more than one type of media. Intelligent Investors know diversifying their stock portfolio spreads risk among many asset classes, but it also reduces returns in bull markets. Intelligent Advertisers must realize a focused approach will lead to the greatest return on investment, with little risk of any bear market.

5 Essential Steps to Launching A New Brand

5 Essential Steps to Launching A New Brand

When you take a look at successful, seasoned organizations like Apple or newer upstarts like Warby Parker, it’s clear that innovation sets them apart from the competition. Beyond their innovative products and ideas, these companies stand out because they have an effective branding strategy that excites their customers long after their initial purchase.  Whether your company is in the beginning stages of building its brand or considering a rebrand, setting a solid...

O-Zone Investing

O-Zone Investing

The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017 created a new type of tax benefit that Forbes dubbed "the most unbelievable tax break ever?" It's all about investing in "Opportunity Zones" (O-Zones). Could this be opportunity knocking on your door? A question asked by many is “why was this tax benefit created”.  It is estimated that US taxpayers have trillions of dollars in unrealized capital gains or paper profits. The Opportunity Zone...

Trucking CEO: Employees Don't Have to Love Trucking

Trucking CEO: Employees Don't Have to Love Trucking

When considering joining an organization, it’s likely that you’ll be asked what about the industry attracts you during the interview process. This is not a question I advocate for. Why? Because my organization is a tech company dedicated to the trucking industry. I understand that the industry we work in doesn’t necessarily inspire everyone. And that’s okay. The industry that a prospective employee is joining is far less important than the passion they have...

Driving Business Through Public Art Collaboration

Driving Business Through Public Art Collaboration

Society works best when each of us plays our part to the best of our ability. Just like every part on a car has an important role to play, the same is true for employees, their families, customers and the communities in which we operate. Recognizing that “Every Part Matters” has played an important role in growing our company and talent through the years.   For many businesses, success is predicated on the ability to attract a motivated, energetic, passionate and...

Business Growth: Job Losses Could Create Other Opportunities

Business Growth: Job Losses Could Create Other Opportunities

The decade of the 60s were turbulent times, for many reasons. Computers were rapidly advancing in many sectors of the economy. They were replacing jobs. They were putting people out of work. They were going to be the downfall of the country. Some people even thought computers were a communist plot to destroy our economy. Of all the issues stated in the previous paragraph, only a few were true. Computers were putting people out of work and they were eliminating jobs. In hindsight...

8 (Financial) Tips for Sleeping Through a Storm

8 (Financial) Tips for Sleeping Through a Storm

According to an NBCnews.com article, 65 percent of Americans lose sleep worrying over finances. So, how well do you sleep at night? Are you the “farmer” or the “farmhand” in Mitch Albom’s book, “Have a Little Faith?”  If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the story. A farmer hired a helper who had only one personal reference: “He sleeps in a storm.” The farmer never understood this until one stormy night...

Encouraging our New Tech Workforce

Encouraging our New Tech Workforce

For the past ten years, I’ve worked at the same tech company and I joke that this might be some sort of record for a Millennial. In that time, I have watched Indiana’s tech landscape become more robust. In fact, across our state, there are thousands of tech jobs available right now. Wouldn’t it be amazing, if the forty thousand students graduating from high school in the next month, were to stay in Indiana and fill these tech jobs? Like many developers, I was...

Indiana's Rural Digital Divide is Real, But There Are Solutions

Indiana's Rural Digital Divide is Real, But There Are Solutions

While the digital divide may be shrinking in the United States, it is getting wider in our nation’s rural communities, and this is costing these communities $47 billion a year, according to a recent study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Amazon. With a rural population of roughly 22 percent, Indiana has reason to be concerned. The digital divide—a gap in access to information and communications technology— was generally seen as shrinking in recent years with the...

Two Time-Sensitive Opportunities for Civic Action this Earth Month

Two Time-Sensitive Opportunities for Civic Action this Earth Month

Hiking through a natural area with a reusable bottle of fresh, clean drinking water is likely an image that you can relate to during springtime in Indiana.  But neither achieving clean drinking water nor having easy access to nature happens spontaneously: It occurs because of decisions we make as families and as citizens.  As we enter the final stretch of Earth Month and the 2019 Indiana General Assembly, we have -- as citizens -- incredible and time-sensitive opportunities...

Owe Taxes? What Went Wrong in 2018 and How to Survive It

Owe Taxes? What Went Wrong in 2018 and How to Survive It

The 2018 tax filing deadline came and went. Whew! But for some Americans, the tax headache has just begun. This year was the first filing under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and while some taxpayers saw larger refunds others received a rude awakening. If you’re reeling from a large tax burden, this article is for you. The Root of the Problem Remember how excited you were when you received your first paycheck—followed by dismay when you saw how much was taken out for taxes.

Regional Investment Proposal Could be a Game Changer for Quality of Place Initiatives in Indiana

Regional Investment Proposal Could be a Game Changer for Quality of Place Initiatives in Indiana

While quality of place may be defined differently by people, a growing number of Hoosiers recognize the importance of this issue. In particular, the impact of quality of place on talent attraction and retention in a geographic area cannot be ignored. The future of every community is dependent on quality of place. Like many Midwestern states, Indiana is not growing at the same pace as areas in the southern and western regions of the United States.

Revenue Forecast Shapes State Spending – And Surplus - Negotiations

Revenue Forecast Shapes State Spending – And Surplus - Negotiations

This week, the State Budget Committee heard an updated revenue forecast that could best be described as overcast but not stormy – yet.  Sales taxes, the largest source of state revenue, fared well from the December forecast – down a modest $15 million over the 2020-21 budget (and likely to be buoyed by new policies for online hotel and retail sales taxes moving through the legislature).  Individual income taxes showed a more dramatic decline, continuing a...

How Employers Can Successfully Handle Salary Negotiations

How Employers Can Successfully Handle Salary Negotiations

Most of the time hiring managers send an offer letter to the potential candidate in what is often considered the final step in a long and trying hiring process. While hiring managers hope a candidate will simply sign the offer and send it back, there is another situation which will often arise, a salary negotiation. Counter offers are commonly faced by employers and it’s important to be adequately prepared for this situation. While it’s often assumed that this is only a...

It’s Tax Season: Don’t Fear the Audit

It’s Tax Season: Don’t Fear the Audit

The 2019 tax-filing season continues, and for a good measure of folks, so has that niggling knot in the gut. Not that you’ve done or intend to do anything underhanded, but right on time the annual anxiety arrives. It shouldn’t. Don’t fear the audit. Read on to learn why. When it comes to tax preparation, the second biggest mistake many business owners make is nearly as important as the first, and that’s fearing rather than respecting the Internal Revenue...

Spin-Offs: A Rude Surprise or Fantastic Opportunity?

Spin-Offs: A Rude Surprise or Fantastic Opportunity?

On Tuesday, April 2nd, DowDuPont (DWDP) dropped more than 30 percent! In this case, the drop resulted from DWDP’s calculated creation of a spin-off, Dow, Inc. (DOW).  What would induce a company to split itself? And if you’re a shareholder, what might that mean for your portfolio going forward? What are Spin-Offs? First of all, let’s define “spin-off.” A spin-off occurs when a company creates a new stand-alone entity for an existing business or...

Integrated Healthcare a Boon for Employees, and Employers

Integrated Healthcare a Boon for Employees, and Employers

You may have heard the phrase "Integrated Healthcare" tossed around, but don’t know exactly what it means. It’s a term used within the healthcare industry for a paradigm shift in how we deliver care: treating the entire person rather than just a set of separate symptoms or challenges. It’s a global trend that has also been referred to as “coordinated care” or “comprehensive care.” But in practice, it means associating disciplin...

Why Mission Always Reigns Supreme

Why Mission Always Reigns Supreme

Think for a moment about starting a restaurant. As an owner, you have to worry about borrowing money from a bank, hiring employees, creating a menu, setting prices, paying bills and an endless list of other tasks.  But if the food doesn’t taste great and the experience isn’t enjoyable, then the restaurant is never going to make it. Nonprofits follow a similar trajectory. There are so many important aspects: fundraising, board governance, succession planning, fraud...

Gaining in The Short Term vs. Winning in The Long Run

Gaining in The Short Term vs. Winning in The Long Run

For any business owner, increasing sales is always a goal in plans for the next quarter, six months or year. New business is important to any company's survival. A company that fails to generate new activity will — sooner or later — disappear. But long-term relationships with clients or customers is also at the heart of a company’s continuity. We want customers who are loyal to us (this is why advertisers frequently target the 18-39 age groups in the hope of...

The Curse of Education

The Curse of Education

I'd like to thank higher education and big business for my career success. Not because they taught me how to write clearly and effectively, but because they’ve rendered so many people unable to do the same, creating plenty of work for me. Economists and psychologists have given the name "curse of knowledge" to a phenomenon I’ve long observed. In simple terms, it’s what happens when we fail to recognize that others may not know the same things that we...

Today’s Housing Market: Finance Options for Buying Before Selling

Today’s Housing Market: Finance Options for Buying Before Selling

The home-buying season is kicking off and Indiana Business Review projects Indiana’s housing market will remain strong, with a low inventory and rising prices. This means buyers may need to act quickly to consummate a deal. What if you need to sell a house before you buy? There are options. Perfection versus Reality In a perfect world, you’d sell your existing home and buy a new home simultaneously. You can then use the funds from the sale for the down payment on...

Caught in an Emotional Storm

Caught in an Emotional Storm

Picture yourself on the highway. As you drive further along your route you see a storm coming but underestimate how powerful it could be. Perhaps you continue onward hoping for it to pass or end quickly. As you press forward it becomes very difficult to see even inches in front of your car. You are forced to pull off to the shoulder on the side of the road. There is nothing to do but wait. As you look around, other cars are doing the same. You may also notice that your passenger is...

National Volunteer Month Marks an Opportunity to Make a Big Impact

National Volunteer Month Marks an Opportunity to Make a Big Impact

For over 97 years, members of the Junior League of Indianapolis (JLI) have rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to build a better community. We strive to be a catalyst for lasting change in the lives of children and their families. We know we can’t accomplish this goal alone, and that’s why we support and partner with other community organizations doing good work in central Indiana. Since 2000, JLI has given more than $2 million in grants to organizations around the...

Business Growth: Obstacles in the Path

Business Growth: Obstacles in the Path

This time of year, surveys regarding business growth or decline continue to pour out from governmental agencies, academic institutions, and various think tanks from around the country. While there are several well-respected entities who regularly publish relevant statistics on our economy, some recently published information is more disturbing with regard to small business. Most polls and surveys indicate and support small business as one of the main drivers of our economy. Yet, in a...

The Importance of Leveraging Grant Opportunities for School Success

The Importance of Leveraging Grant Opportunities for School Success

The importance of education is obvious when you see the many successes from schools and students across the nation, but what ensures that innovative ideas can become realities? One word - Funding. Unfortunately, school districts cannot rely solely on general fund dollars to fully support all of the programming and opportunities necessary to meet the academic, behavioral, college/career, and social/emotional needs of the students, teachers, families, and community.

What To Do When DIY Is No Longer Strategic

What To Do When DIY Is No Longer Strategic

Want to fix a kitchen sink, restore a broken dryer to health, or create the perfect crème brulee? A quick trip to YouTube will give you dozens of do-it-yourself videos. People like the DIY approach because they feel it empowers them and saves money. Entrepreneurs in particular love to boast about “bootstrap” approaches to their business needs, taking pride in handling every aspect right down to cleaning the office toilets themselves. While DIY approaches may make...