Benefits and Insurance Essentials for Employers

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Come join us for our monthly luncheon focusing on Benefits and Insurance Essentials for Employers and Employees. As an Business owner you will find out what types of Insurance are essential for your business. As you grow and hire employees what is required for insurance and benefits?  Presented by our SBAB experts, Leanne Casanova (State Farm), Jodi Milbradt (Employer Solutions Group) and Jessica Hamilton (Human Resources-Strategic Projects).

First time guests are FREE!  If you are a repeat guest, the cost is still only $20. Meeting will begin at 11:30 with lunch served at 11:45. Presentation begins with our experts teaching on the month’s topic and is followed by an open Q and A. Guests can ask questions of our members and pick their brains for expert advice. Meeting always ends promptly at 1:00 pm!


Work Life Balance: In Defense of Work

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Come  see us at our luncheon next Wednesday July 19th to learn more about Work Life Balance!

We have all heard the phrase “work life balance” and we all know what it refers to – how to keep from being burned out by our careers or our desire to make money. What I don’t like about the phrase “Life Work Balance” is that it draws up the image of work on one side of the fulcrum and life on the other — as though work and life were at opposite ends of the spectrum, that to work was to have no life and a life at its best means never working. I don’t agree.

I’d like to suggest that we instead think of Life as working at playing, as working at finding or keeping friends, working at staying close to family, at getting better at your hobbies, and at pursuing ideas that interest you. Realize and get comfortable with the fact that “work” is a part of all things in your life from family to friends to hobbies and your career.

The point being that work encompasses every aspect of our lives. Work is not something separate from life. Work is walking down the hall to the kitchen for a snack or like getting dressed in the morning. Work is so integral to every aspect of our life that we don’t even think of it as work. Life is work. Some of it is automatic some work requires focus.

When we talk about or listen to others lecture about a “Work Life Balance” what we are really attempting to divine is how to be happy — with career, family, friends, and our contribution to our community and the world. How to be happy about all aspects of our life.

We all have multifaceted lives and when one part is ignored, we feel less than great, we feel diminished, we become “stressed out”. Simply put, we become unhappy. Looking at it from the opposite direction, we are happy to the extent that we engage in, that we work at and develop the different facets of our being, to the extent we accomplish something. Because accomplishing an objective or a goal makes us feel GOOD.

Accomplishing something that helps someone else or makes the world a better place makes us feel GREAT. And this is the magic ingredient that is the foundation of a balanced life. Try to find balance by making it all about your life and you will be unbalanced. Like it or not, you are part of a group, a team, a family, a nation, a culture, society. Or to use that rather cheesy and saccharin phrase, “You belong to the world.” So engage in it.

We humans are hardwired to help others. It is the glue that holds societies together and allowed the species to raise to the top of the food chain. We are not happy unless we are convinced that some portion of our actions and our life positively impacts those around us.

No one can tell you how to achieve the balance you want in your life, but there are some generic tools out there that may be helpful. Here are three tools you might try using to achieve a more balanced life. I can’t take credit for coming up with them — they are bits of wisdom, homilies if you will, that have come to us from the many generations before me who were asking the same @#$% question – how do find a happy balance in my life.

– Let go of perfectionism. Yeah it’s a great thing to work toward, but let go of the idea of achieving it in everything you do. Somethings are just not worth the effort.

– Find time for yourself. In this age, yes, that means turn off your laptop and your phone — for the next hour, the next four hours, even the entire day, for whatever amount of time you scheduled for yourself.

– Exercise and meditate. We all know that exercise improves our ability for cognitive thought — so what are your waiting for? To meditate may not click with many of us but think back to being a kid, a very young kid. Weren’t there times when you just stared at clouds or watched an insect travel up and down a stalk of grass or just rode your bike around and around the block? That’s meditation. Recapture that ability. The benefits are numerous and documented in very rigorous medical studies.


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The Small Business Advisory Board is happy to have Interact4Impact of Burnsville as a sponsor of our June luncheon event. Representing Interact4Impact at the luncheon will be Shannon Lovejoy, Business Development, and Deb Sauder, Founder, CEO. Read more below to learn about Deb and Shannon and how Interact4Impact makes a difference with businesses and their teams.

Interact4Impact works with growing, small to midsize businesses to elevate the performance of their people. They do this by providing simple and effective tools and strategies to align, hire, develop, and retain great talent and create healthy, engaged, and productive workplaces.

CEO, and long-time SBAB member, Deb Sauder, has over 25 years of experience in equipping people to generate meaningful results in their personal and professional lives, over 15 years of experience in leading teams in organizational and community projects, and over 10 years of experience in helping small businesses and organizations thrive.  Through her candid and innovative approach, Deb motivates leaders and teams to interact effectively and take strategic, purposeful actions towards their vision of success.

Shannon Lovejoy is a recent addition to the Interact4Impact team, but she is not new to successfully serving and leading others. Shannon comes to Interact4Impact from the hospitality industry with years of experience in sales and event planning. Through her own personal experience, Shannon understands the impact Interact4Impact’s services can have for people in the workplace. This is one of the reasons she is so excited to be on the Interact4Impact team.

For more information about Interat4Impact and their team, please contact Deb or Shannon at 952-222-3067 or go to their website at

UPS Store-June Sponsor

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The Small Business Advisory Board is lucky to have Anne McClimon of the UPS Store as both a member AND a sponsor for this month’s luncheon!! Read below to learn more about Anne and her business!

As the owner/operator of The UPS Store Eagan and Bloomington, I am committed to providing the highest levels of quality and service to our customers. I have 16+ years of experience with The UPS Store and my team is prepared to create everything from business cards to vehicle decals!

Working with businesses of all sizes, we support all types of organizations, from start-up companies to large corporations.

We can do everything from designing your material and creating a new unique brand – taking it one step further and designing a consistent look for all of your business needs.

Working closely with our clients, we identify solutions for all of their printing and design needs. Our goal is to help our clients to stand out from their competition and leave a lasting impression.

For more information please contact Anne McClimon at 651-687-0440 or visit their website at

The Sky is Falling!

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I’ve been talking with some clients during the past several days that seem to think Wanna Cry is worse than anything Chicken Little could imagine.  It isn’t. There really isn’t anything earth shattering or drastically special about Wanna Cry. Let’s take a quick look at Wanna Cry and think a bit about how you may be exposed.

First, what is Wanna Cry? Wanna Cry is ransomware — a bit of malware that encrypts your computer files and then asks for $300 US or so,  to get them decrypted. Nothing new there. Ransomware has been around for years.

Second Wanna Cry is unable to spread to any PC with an updated Windows operating system that is version 7 or above.  In the case of Wanna Cry, Microsoft pushed out an update in March of 2017 that stops Wanna Cry from spreading. If you have an XP machine, you can download the update from Microsoft.

Third, Symantec anti-virus was blocking the actions of Wanna Cry before Wanna Cry appeared on the scene. I would suspect that most of the other anti-virus manufacturers are also blocking Wanna Cry type actions.


So why are news reports describing Wanna Cry with such words as “terrifying”, “devastating”, “fear”, etc?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the news coverage. Such coverage reminds us of the necessity for eternal vigilance. But I think that Wanna Cry became a news item because there was no other news to report at the time.

There’s certainly nothing terribly unique about Wanna Cry — it is ransomware and like many many other viruses it uses an exploit to infect computers. (“Exploits” are flaws in the operating system of a PC that a hacker uses to his advantage — such as encrypting your files.)

Exactly how Wanna Cry gets onto that first PC on your network has not yet been verified but by the time you read this it will almost certainly be found that the first PCs were infected via email. Once Wanna Cry is on your network spreads quickly to any vulnerable PCs on your network. Again, a fast spreading virus is not terribly unique.

Any network shares to which the infected PC has access are vulnerable and Wanna Cry will encrypt them. Again, this is not unique. Most all ransomware will encrypt your network shares.

I’m not saying you can ignore Wanna Cry and go about your business as though it did not exist. The point I’m making is that Wanna Cry can be resisted and treated like any serious malware.

So…to reduce your exposure to Wanna Cry (or any virus), stay up to date with a supported operating system for your servers and PCs. Insure that your computers’ operating systems are receiving and installing the manufacturer’s updates. Use paid anti-virus software (free anti-virus software rarely comes with automatic updates and without timely updates anti-virus software is worthless.) Filter out attacks at your firewall. Use a spam filter for your email. Don’t open email from strangers. Keep good (good = tested and disconnected from your network), backups of your important files.

If you are doing the above, you have basic and solid protection in place. Now do a check up on those systems to make sure they are working. If they are, then go back to managing your company. If you still can’t get any sleep at night, give us a call and we will take a look at your systems for you from an expert’s point of view.

What Can A Business Health Check Do for You?

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By now you probably heard about our new one of a kind “Business Health Check” but you might be wondering, “What could it possibly do for me?”  The easiest way for us to answer that question is list some of the best things that we were able to identify and help fix for our clients following a simple health check!  Here are some amazing things we have helped with so far in 2017:

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May Sponsor-CorTrust Bank

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The SBAB in proud to welcome Tim Swanson of CorTrust bank as our May luncheon sponsor!

With an 85-year history and the most modern banking technology, CorTrust provides the financial solutions you need to get the most out of every day and every dollar. From the convenience of our 25 multi state locations, including Woodbury, Blaine, and Brooklyn Park;  plus online banking to mortgages, wealth management and insurance, you can rest assured you’ll always receive a higher level of personal service and expert advice.

As an experienced commercial banking officer, I am committed to helping our business clients grow and prosper. My goal is to provide customized lending solutions which may include loans for working capital, equipment purchases, and owner-occupied commercial real estate. My specialties include SBA and conventional loans for businesses with needs ranging from $250,000 to $7,500,000. I have experience working with manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and professional service firms.

For more information please contact Tim directly at 651-289-5000 .

High Value Marketing Workshop!

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Please join us Thursday May 18th for a one of a kind marketing workshop!

Marketing Analysis starts with  the understanding of your current marketing and advertising efforts, customer insights and your brand positioning against your competitor. This workshop will cover the core areas of building a current marketing plan and budget as well as some best practices for auditing your current Social Media and digital marketing programs.

Marketing Specialist – Larry Davis and Digital Marketing Specialist – Kyle Payne will lead this workshop that is guaranteed to provide you some tips and action plans that you can implement in your own company’s marketing journey.

Topics to Include:

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Marketing Introduction

One Page Marketing Audit – a “snapshot” of where you are at today.

Building a Customer Profile and Segmentations

Customer Value

Understanding & Mapping the Customer Journey

Marketing Budget Plan


Digital Marketing Introduction

Digital Multichannel Marketing

Social Media Channels – Audit.

Identifying Influencers

Building Your Channels


Making Customer Loyalty Actionable


Bonus For Attending –  Website Check-up  $500 value

We will give you a detailed test of your current website.  The test includes a technical review, a marketing review and side-by-side comparison of your SEO performance against your competitors. You don’t want to miss this workshop!


Sign up today at


How Are You Leading in Your Business?

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Become a Better Leader

by Deb Sauder, CEO, Leadership Strategist, Interact4Impact

One of my favorite definitions of leadership comes from Kevin Cashman’s book Leadership from the Inside Out. He says, “Leadership is authentic influence that creates value.” True authenticity starts with a thorough understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses. No two people are alike and the challenges we face will vary greatly, but here are four questions that will help you reflect on the areas many leaders and entrepreneurs struggle with.

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