Business News for September 24, 2021
Today's message includes the following news, best practices, and online courses:
  • Updated Vaccine Guidelines for Employers
  • Planning for Retirement as a Small Business Owner?
  • FFI Webinar for Farms Receiving the Value-Added Producer Grant
  • Patent Resources

Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities
  • Launch into Leadership
  • Positive Power Plays: Skills for Conflict & Negotiation
  • HR Basics for Non-HR Professionals
  • Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) for aspiring entrepreneurs
Business News, Updates, and Best Practices
Updated Vaccine Guidelines for Employers
WEDC updates guidance with input from DHS
Wisconsin Vaccine Guidance for All Businesses, a document created by WEDC with input from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), has been updated to reflect the rise of the Delta variant and with COVID-19 moving toward becoming an endemic virus rather than one that is transmitted in isolated outbreaks.

The guidelines offer:
  • suggestions for how employers can encourage high rates of vaccination among their workers
  • links to downloadable resources such as posters and flyers
  • information on organizing workplace vaccine clinics and combating common misconceptions about vaccines
Planning for Retirement as a Small Business Owner?
considerations for choosing a financial professional and a retirement plan
by Jonathon Ferguson, Registered Investment Adviser Representative, FG Financial

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your mind - meeting compliance requirements for your business, attracting new clients, planning your business operations, and more. With so much to consider, it can be challenging to also set personal financial. To achieve success in this area, you should understand your unique retirement planning options and manage personal liability risk connected to your business.

There are a variety of retirement planning tools available to you; however, these tools can be complex to understand. To help with this, consider working with an investment advisor or financial planning professional who specializes in small-business planning. You can find investment & financial planning professionals by searching your local area for advisors at and

Choosing a Financial Professional
It is recommended to interview 3 or more advisors to ensure you partner with a professional whose approach resonates with you. Some questions to consider asking prospective advisors are:

  • Do you have a responsibility to advise and do what is best for me (fiduciary responsibility) at all times?
  • How are you paid? Are your fees based on the services you provide, products that you sell, and/or something different?  
  • What professional designations do you have, and why do those designations matter?
  • If I have questions, how should I contact you? How long do you anticipate it would take for you to respond to my inquiry?
  • What do you expect from me as a client?
Retirement Planning Options
Once you have found a finance professional, the next step is to consider your retirement planning options; options available to you can depend on the size, profits, and long-term plans of your business. Generally, there are 3 plans common for small business owners:

To choose the plan that is best for you, you will want to ask the following questions:
  • How complicated is the plan to set up?
  • What costs come with using the plan on an ongoing basis?
  • Which financial institutions can I partner with to set up with plan?
  • If I have employees, what requirements do I need to meet under this plan?
  • What plan works best for my employees if the size of my workforce decreases, increases, or remains the same?
  • Are there any age requirements for myself or for my employees that I should know about?
  • Given my age and timeline until retirement, which plan might be best to consider?
  • Does the plan allow for me to access the funds prior to retirement (if needed)?
  • From a tax efficiency and planning perspective, which plan is most advantageous to me and/or my business?
  • Given my salary and revenue of my business, which plan may be best?
  • Which plan/s allow me to save & invest so that I can reach my investment and retirement goals?

The best time to start planning is now! The sooner you connect with a finance professional and explore options, the better for you, your employees (if applicable), your future, and your business. 
FFI Webinar for Farms Receiving the Value-Added Producer Grant
October 4, 2021 from 10:00 am - 11:30 am CST (free webinar)
The 2021 Value-Added Produce Grant awardees are currently being announced. If your project has been funded – congratulations! A VAPG can be a critical strategic investment to help grow your business. It’s time to talk about a few things every awardee should know when planning to execute their VAPG. 
Join FFI Farm Outreach Specialist Andy Larson as he interviews VAPG grant experts Jim Gage of JDG Consulting and Sara Huber of Sustaining Farmers to address:
  • Key insights and point persons when contracting with the federal government
  • Flexing the work plan to changes in my business (Do I need to request a revision?)
  • Keep the money moving with record-keeping and reimbursements
  • Grant income implications on taxes and bank accounts
  • Accurate and timely reporting on project outcomes

Did you know...
You can do a patent search from home!
plus, the Patent & Trademark Resource Center can help
It is not just inventors who might be interested in already existing patents. In fact, you might also want to search for patents because you want to market something, you want to understand how something works (and save yourself some work!), or you might want to track innovation in your field.

  • You can do a patent search at home! View this video from our Forward Fest session this August to learn more.
  • The video also includes an overview of related concepts, including intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, service marks, types of patents, and more
  • The Patent & Trademark Resource Center is available to the general public!
Upcoming SBDC Learning Opportunities
Launch into Leadership
September 29, 30 & October 1, 2021
Taking on new supervisory responsibilities is a great opportunity and challenge. Many in supervisory roles have learned either by trial and error or by following what was done by their predecessor. In most cases, this is not a very effective strategy. This virtual online series will start you in the right direction with fundamental leadership skills and ideas for how to continue your growth as a supervisor and leader.
Positive Power Plays: Skills for Conflict & Negotiation
October 15, 2021
All leaders experience conflict in one form or another, but viewing that experience from a different lens can help you turn conflict into collaborations and reach win-win resolutions. In this course, you will learn conflict styles, strategies for building trust, stages of conflict resolution and how to use them in any situation, emotion management, and more.
HR Basics for Non-HR Professionals
October 18 & 19, 2021
Whether you're a new leader who wants to know the basics, a small business owner or manager with HR responsibilities as part of your role, or a business that does not have a dedicated HR expert on your staff, this is the program for you.

Topics Include:
  • Employment laws most often violated by small businesses
  • Independent contractors vs. employees
  • Exempt vs. non-exempt employees
  • Overtime and other pay
  • FMLA, OSHA, harassment policies, and more
  • Disciplinary processes
... and more!
Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) for New Businesses
starts October 21, 2021
ETP is an intensive business-planning training program. The focus of the program is to help you complete a comprehensive rough draft of your business plan in the form of a written workbook. Each session will help you work toward putting your ideas on paper so that, by the end of class, you have made significant progress toward launching your business or writing a more comprehensive business plan.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at or 608-263-2221 to request accommodations.

The Wisconsin SBDC Network is a proud part of the Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship in the University of Wisconsin System. It is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.