Local First Milwaukee is dedicated to supporting locally owned, independent businesses in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Our goal is to help Milwaukee create an environment where locally owned, independent businesses grow and flourish. Through marketing, education, and advocacy, Local First Milwaukee is working to preserve the independent businesses that help our communities maintain their unique..
Why Everyone Should Have a Financial Advisor
by Robert V. Du Charme, CPA/PFS
Do you ever wonder if you are on the right financial path? But you think you do not have enough money to have a Financial Advisor? This is where we can help. Many firms require high minimums that keep you from getting the help you deserve but at Du Charme Financial Group, a branch of Global View Capital Advisors, we help everyone – no matter where you are in life.
We know that in order to achieve your financial goals and dreams you need to start now, no matter where you are at financially. Need help getting out of debt? Or maybe you just don’t know where to start. With us, you can start investing with as little as $1!
Why go with a fiduciary?
We use the word fiduciary, you may have heard it before. But how does it relate to finances? Being a fiduciary financial advisor means that we are legally bound to do what is best for you. Did you know that not all financial advisors have that obligation? Depending on what licenses they hold, they may only be required to do what is suitable for you even though it may not be in your best interest.
We pride ourselves in helping small business owners in Southeast Wisconsin align their personal and business finances. Our focus is not on selling products, it is on coming up with holistic plans that cover your whole financial picture, including your business. So, what does that journey look like?
Let’s get your financial house in order.
Your financial journey starts with a discovery meeting, in which one of our Fiduciary Advisors will take time to learn all about your values, your lifestyle, your business and what your hopes and dreams for the future are. We will take time to review the status of your revenue, expenses, and cash flow. Our planning and guidance includes everything to get your financial house in order, not just investments.
We’ll walk with you through this entire process by asking questions like:
• What is your present income? Projected income?
• What are your monthly expenses? What debts do you have?
• Do you have insurance on your home, auto, life, etc.?
• What savings, assets or investments do you currently have?
• Do you have any possible health or external issues that might impact finances?
• Do you have any dependents that you are responsible for?
• What are your financial goals short, mid, and long-term?
After understanding where you are at now and what your goals are, we’ll map out a short, mid, and long-term strategy so that you can achieve your dreams!
We will organize everything into a clear net worth statement and plan that you understand.
You will also gain access to some amazing tools, such as a personalized client website – so you can see your financial picture at anytime from anywhere.
Are you ready?
If you’re ready to take a look at your dreams and how you’re going to fund them, we’re ready to help you put a strategy in place.
From the perspective of an in-the-trenches entrepreneur, Local First Milwaukee is one of the few organizations that truly represents a small Milwaukee business looking to be profitable and community oriented.
Starting a business can be overwhelming to say the least. A few weeks ago, I learned the Small Business Administration defines as a “small business” any company generating up to $25 million in annual revenue. Needless to say, the interests of my own small wedding and event floral design firm, Floral Alchemy, don’t exactly match those of some $20+ million conglomerate. The weight of those bigger “small” businesses tends to overshadow the needs of us tinier small businesses. It seems clear that, while the SBA is helpful in certain areas, it can’t truly advocate for the type of business I am interested in growing.
Additionally, I was asked by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce if they could interview me for a series focusing on states affected by a potential policy shift away from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The interview request seemed odd since Floral Alchemy sources about 90% of its product from American grown farms. Still, we are an American business that relies on other countries for natural product in certain situations (especially as weather patterns and growing seasons becomes increasingly unpredictable). Through the interview, I’d hoped to represent the smaller businesses who prioritize local consumption, yet also recognize their unique position within the global marketplace to affect change — but it turned out the Chamber couldn’t really represent my company’s ideals either.
Eventually it hit me. I already have an organization representing the community-centered ideals of Floral Alchemy: Local First Milwaukee. In a world that seems to continually reward companies seeking world domination, it’s refreshing to find a group of local businesses and business leaders who see the importance of keeping things local and investing in our communities as their priority.
Their commitment to local businesses by operating in, around and through the very businesses they promote
Community education about the benefits of spending local
Promotion of like-minded businesses to a group of locally minded consumers
Their advocacy for interests that benefit the small business community of Milwaukee
The events they hold to introduce the community to its local businesses
Their commitment to keeping members informed of important developments at the local, state and national level
Their networking events at various local establishments that allow hard-working, thoughtful and committed Milwaukeeans to seek out and share knowledge, support and a sense of community
Their ability to gather and support a group of people who see the unique value and potential in Milwaukee as a more sustainable community for all its citizens
I’ve experienced more benefits than I can name from my participation in Local First Milwaukee, both for my business and for me personally. I feel a little like Goldilocks after my experience with other organizations, and it’s nice to finally find one that’s just the right fit with the resources and support I need to be successful. I appreciate everything Local First Milwaukee does and represents, and I encourage everyone I meet to check them out and see what they have to offer.
Even with the demand for video so glaring, you still have to figure out where to start. What types of videos will resonate with your customers? On top of that, what types of content won’t break the bank? We’ll go into several different methods of creating simple video that can do wonders in enhancing your content on a variety of platforms.
6 Ways to Use Video
Create a short “thank you” video for new or pre-existing customers
People appreciate when you appreciate them. A simple “thank you” video won’t take long, and you might be surprised on how positive the response can be.
Shoot a short video that provides a brief introduction of your company
What kind of services or products does your company provide? What are your overall goals and values as a business? What makes you unique? You don’t have to answer just these questions, or any of these questions for that matter. The key is to provide a way for potential customers to understand your business as quickly as possible in an enjoyable way.
Film a testimonial of a recent customer
People like hearing about the business from people who’ve actually tried your product or service. Video can help enhance that authenticity of positive feedback.
Film a product demonstration or instructional video
Understanding how your product or service works can be difficult for people to wrap their heads around sometimes, especially through text. Video can help you put everything into context a lot more seamlessly.
Turn a blog post into a how-to or summarized video
Blog posts are fantastic assets that can be repurposed. Use the content within your blogs to help speed up the process of making informative videos. You don’t have to use your blogs word for word. You can summarize or just use them as a place to get some ideas from.
Interview your employees or yourself
You can talk about an anecdote of a past company success. Or, maybe you just want to talk about yourself a little bit so that viewers can get a better understanding of who you are as a person. When people can put a face to the name, they’ll be more inclined to trust and work with you.
All of these types of videos aren’t just appropriate for one platform. These types could be used on Facebook, YouTube, most other social media platforms, and your website. Plus, most importantly, these types of videos won’t require you to turn into the next Steven Spielberg. You can experiment with this type of content at any time.
The Shift to Video
With the desire for video only expected to grow, it’s essential for local businesses to keep up with video because it’s not just a trend. It’s a core shift in the way users interact with businesses and content. Although, just having any random video on your website isn’t enough. Users will identify and respond to relevant, high-quality video, and they’ll ignore low-quality ones, as there’s a lot of that out there.
Producing spectacular video can feel daunting and nerve-racking. How should you go about writing the copy for your video? Will viewers notice if you don’t use high-end equipment like a high-resolution camera or a stabilizer? Brew City Marketing can help with all of that, taking away the stress of creating awesome video and producing content that will resonate with your desired audience.
The holiday season may have ended but, there are a lot of ways to start the new year with local fun. To help pass the frigid winter days, get out of the house and have some local fun that is every bit as festive as last month.
There are many great opportunities to take part in local experiences to continue to support local and have a happy, healthy new year!
Take some much needed time for relaxation, stress relief, pain relief and much more. Visit Float Milwaukee and try a 60-minute Float.
The start of the new year is a wonderful time to refresh your look. Nothing says a new you like a fresh cut. Bloom by Christine will help you find the perfect cut for your hair texture, color and face shape.
Indulgence Chocolatiers loves pairing their confections with other foods and beverages – using assorted flavors to complement, balance, or pull out certain notes in their counterparts is a fun and unique way to enjoy chocolate. A listing of upcoming classes is on the website. Be sure to register as the classes sell out quickly.
When’s the last time you really played? Whether you’re racing your kids through an inflatable obstacle course, dominating your friends in the laser tag arena, or beating your boss to the top of the rock wall, Bounce Milwaukee has activities for the kid in everyone.
Maybe it is time to spruce up your surroundings and learn a new skill in the process. Studio Barcelona offers workshops to learn chalk paint techniques or learn how to create with watercolors, linoleum block printing, knitting and more. Join Lynita and her staff to start the next leg of your journey.
Are you interested in learning Blacksmithing? In the Milwaukee BlacksmithSchool of Iron, you will learn how to work with your piece in the fire. You will learn tong control, scrolling and twists. You will make several bottle openers to take home with you suitable for keeping or giving as gifts!
This year while making your list and checking it twice we want to encourage you to think local! Local First is thrilled to bring you the 2017 holiday gift guide, featuring gift items and experiences from some favorite local businesses. Click the links below for additional details.
For those on the “nice” list I have a basket of a few of my favorite things including:
This 3-soap gift box from Conscious Bath Company is adorably ready for gift giving. The reusable gift box is adorned with a vintage postcard and includes re-purposed ribbons and is customized with your 3 favorite scents.
One of my new favorites is the Goat’s Milk Lotion from Green Goat Apothecary Products. Did you know goat milk contains lactic acid which helps remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface, and results in smoother, younger looking skin? The lotions come in a variety of fantastic scents.
I love giving cards from Artery Ink! They are all about combining art & wellness to inspire us to take care of our bodies and thus become happier people. They are perfect to have on hand for Birthdays and Thank You’s and the holiday cards are really fun!
Finally, an indulgent gift of Indulgence Chocolates. I keep these on hand for hostess gifts, they are tasteful and tasty. The beautiful handcrafted holiday truffles are a perfect gift or treat for yourself!
My father-in-law always enjoys edible treats. This year I am putting together a gift box of locally produced items especially for him! I have included homemade cheese and sausage from Kettle Range Meats, Martha’s Pimento Cheese, Salsa and chips from That Salsa Lady and spiced pecans from Treat Bake Shop to top it all off. He will be ready to host the next party.
For my mother-in-law I wanted a sophisticated gift that is as classic and timeless as she is! I decided on a colorful scarf and these stunning felted flower pins to brighten her coat on these dark winter days. Both items are made by local artists and are available at shoo.
My brother-in-law, the Audiophile is getting an exceptionally unique gift this year. We are gathering all his old concert t-shirts and Blue Whale Quilt Studio is handcrafting a quilt just for him.
Blue Whale Quilt Studio T-shirt quilt
I have 2 special Sisters in Law. I love to package up a bunch of special items for them. I have included the Small Shops United Family Pack, offering fantastic deals at a wide variety of family friendly attractions, stores, shops and eateries. The beautiful, locally made chenille cowls and arm warmers to keep toasty this winter from shoo Boutique, these darling owl necklaces made by Steenhagen Studios and available at Sparrow Collective. Finally, a gift certificate to be used to shop for merchandise at Barcelona MKE or a creative workshop at Studio Barcelona.
My furry friends cannot be left out. Homemade dog treats baked to order from My Puppy’s Secret for the pampered pets. We are scheduling a photoshoot with Stephanie Bartz Photography, Milwaukee’s best pet photographer to capture the colorful personalities of our canine friends.
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a group of amazing, inspiring women for a pre-holiday dinner party. Thanks to MOD GEN I found the perfect book for each place setting that captured the spirit of each of my lovely guests.
I needed to consider a holiday outfit for all this party hosting. I am planning around this beautiful shibori scarf made in Milwaukee, available at shoo. A beautiful pair of art deco brass earrings from Cival Collective are the perfect complement to my party ready red dress from Lela Boutique.
Whew after all that holiday fun I need the gift of self-care before I settle down for a long winter’s nap! This would include a Float followed by a nourishing lunch next door at Bowls. At last, especially for me – the gift that keeps on giving is meal delivery from The Real Good Life.
This holiday season consider shifting as much of your holiday spending on gift giving, celebrations and other necessities to local business!
We extend our gratitude to our Shop Local Sponsors!
You can continue to support #LocalBusiness by shopping local for Small Business Saturday. The benefits of shopping local are:
Small businesses give back more to the community. When you support a local business, you are also supporting your town, city or neighborhood.
Small businesses make a bigger economic impact. Local businesses reinvest the dollars spent with them through job creations and wages, locally sourcing products and ingredients and charitable giving.
Small businesses provide more personal, hands-on and meaningful customer service.
Small businesses create a sense of community. When you shop local you are likely to get to know a small business owner in your neighborhood.
We are fortunate to have so many neighborhoods and communities in the Greater Milwaukee area that are a destination with many local shops, restaurants and bars to enjoy and that keep our communities unique. Whether it is Bay View, Walker’s Point, The Historic Third Ward, Shorewood, Wauwatosa, Cedarburg and many others, a density of small businesses are a short walk or drive away.
How do you get more involved in the Shop Small movement?
This holiday season, if Milwaukeeans choose to shift an additional 10% of shopping from national chains to #localbusiness, we would create roughly $100 million in new economic activity in our local economy every year.
Let’s get the entire community to #ShopLocal this holiday season! Invite your friends and family to attend the 2017 Buy Local Gift Fair.
We’re doing all we can to shift our spending and #shoplocal this holiday season. Join us on November 19th as Local First Milwaukee brings together 45+ #local businesses at The Mitchell Park Domes – Annex.
Entry at the door is a $7 donation OR $5 with a donation of a non-perishable food item to support Hunger Task Force.
Open Enrollment for health care is just around the corner! This year the window to review and enroll for individuals and families who buy their insurance through healthcare.gov is November 1st to December 15th. If you’ve done an application on your own before, you know it can be a tedious process. I recommend you consider getting help with your application to make the process very easy with professional guidance (much easier and quicker than doing it on your own!), as well as the added benefit of support throughout the year. The best part is that enrollment help is no-cost.
For businesses who offer insurance to their employees, August and September are perfect months to start offering coverage. If you’re a business owner and thinking about offering insurance for the first time, I believe now is the perfect time to start–you’ll save potentially thousands by getting current year rates and will always be riding the rate increases a year late. For businesses who want a January 1st start date, October is a great time to get started looking at options and getting quotes. My inside scoop is that many bigger companies have promised early release of their 2018 rates this year to encourage earlier quoting and enrollment rather than leaving the choice until December.
For individuals/families, my advice is to take an active role in your application each year rather than letting it just roll over. Prices change every year, and letting the system auto-enroll you could lead to being enrolled in a different plan and company that doesn’t cover your doctors. According to CMS, in 2015 4.5 million Americans simply let the system auto-enroll them for 2016. I spoke to too many people at the end of 2016 who really regretted their inaction. I saw too many people who had inaccurate income information in their applications and who were auto-enrolled in a plan that didn’t cover their doctors. I was able to fix the issue for 2017, but we couldn’t go back in time. Many of these folks found they owed more taxes on their returns, which could have been avoided with the right advice and help from the start.
It’s well worth your time to review your application, and I highly recommend you get help doing it. For both businesses and individuals/families, a skilled agent will quote you all the options and make the process easy for you by filling out the application, demonstrating knowledge about the available plans, submitting documents on your behalf, setting up your payments, and offering ongoing support throughout the year if questions or issues arise.
If you’re a small business that does not currently offer coverage, my advice is to consider providing the next best thing by offering your employees a referral resource for help. I recommend informing your employees about the dates of open enrollment and giving specific suggestions on where and how to get help, such as a local agency like Wisconsin Health Insurance Advocate, LLC they can contact for no-cost help.
We help local and independent businesses thrive so our economy will, too.
Local First Milwaukee is dedicated to supporting locally owned, independent businesses in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Our goal is to help Milwaukee create an environment where locally owned, independent businesses grow and flourish.
Through marketing, education, and advocacy, Local First Milwaukee is working to preserve the independent businesses that help our communities maintain their unique character.
Make a difference in our community – Think Local First! Be Local | Eat Local | Buy Local | Bank Local