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Help celebrate the Best In Business

I know 2012 has just begun, but do yourself a favor. Put a star and write "BizTimes" down on your calendar for the late afternoon of Dec. 4.

That will be the date of the first BizTimes Best In Business celebration, and we are inviting all of our readers to attend this inaugural event.

The Best in Business event will be a celebration of our collective achievements from 2012. Think of it as a community Christmas party for Southeastern Wisconsin's business community.

Throughout the year, we will be collecting snippets of wisdom from the pages of BizTimes magazine and We will then present them like pearls on a necklace at the Best In Business celebration.

We're off to a great start on the project in January alone with these great quotes from business leaders:

"Waiting for Washington or Madison or the Supreme Court to 'fix' our problems is a fool's errand. We need to take matters into our own hands." -Jon Rauser, The Rauser Agency Inc., Milwaukee

"We're a small business with 15 employees. We do not have a sales department. However, we have 15 salespeople. We do not employ a single account executive, yet we have 15 AEs. We have a simple business philosophy: encourage employee interaction with clients and empower them with your most sacred customers, then get out of their way." -Rich Schmig and Bruce Gibb, Plum Moving Media, Milwaukee

"I think customer bases are like clubs. It's really hard to get new members if the longstanding members are leaving." -Paul Grangaard, Allen Edmonds Shoe Corp., Port Washington

We will then invite all of the business leaders whose quotes are selected to be VIPs at the Best In Business party.

Imagine being in the room with so many insightful, bold business leaders. We'll share their great quotes about business growth in a companion Best In Business coffee table book to be unveiled at the December event.

The book will feature business leaders to be honored by BizTimes over the course of the year, including the winners of…


Diffuse the uncertainty with knowledge

One of the oldest adages in business is that companies hate uncertainty. To some degree, that is a farce, as the future is always uncertain. But this year, with so much hanging in the balance in national and state politics and the economy, the future is spectacularly uncertain.

Yet, if businesses stand frozen in their tracks, they surely risk losing market share to others willing to boldly go forward, despite the uncertainty.

The only thing that can diffuse uncertainty is knowledge. While you are contemplating whether to zig or zag, allow me to suggest you attend the 11th annual Northern Trust Economic Trends Breakfast to be presented by BizTimes Media on Friday, Jan. 20. The event will provide southeastern Wisconsin business leaders with early forecasts about the worldwide trends that will affect their companies in 2012.

The panelists who will share their insights about doing business in the year ahead at the conference will include:

  • Michael Knetter, Ph.D., an economist and president of the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Knetter serves as a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He serves as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund. He previously served as an associate dean of the MBA program and professor of international economics in the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He also served as a senior staff economist for the Council of Economic Advisors for former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Knetter will provide his annual macro-economic outlook for the year ahead.
  • Daniel Ariens, president and chief executive officer of Ariens Company, based in Brillion. Ariens Company manufactures outdoor power equipment for consumer and commercial use. Its products include walk-behind lawnmowers, riding lawn mowers, rear engine riders, string trimmers, tractors, zero turn mowers and snow blowers. The company sells its products through a dealer network, as well as home center and farm stores in the U…