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Businesspersons should learn from past, live in present, plan for future
Consultant to offer lessons he learned from farmers
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Daniel Gilbertson, an experienced business consultant and analyst, will present “Learning From the Past–Living in the Present–Planning for the Future” at the Jan. 13 I&E Club meeting.

Gilbertson has worked with small businesses (farmers) for 29 years. He taught “Farm Business and Production Management” at Western Technical College for 20 years and at Southwest Technical College for seven years. As part of that course, he consulted with farmers about their problems and plans and helped each farmer that wanted to complete a farm business analysis annually.

For two years, he also worked for the Wisconsin Farm Business Association in northwest Wisconsin, preparing income taxes and doing farm business analysis. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Northwestern College in Roseville, Minnesota, and a master’s degree in Agricultural Industries from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Gilbertson’s presentation will focus on some of the things that he learned working with farmers and how they can be adapted to general businesses. He’ll also share ideas for improving businesses in 2016.

Learning from the past includes a business analysis-picking metrics that are meaningful and controllable.  What’s your current situation?  What direction are you headed?  What was the best business decision you made last year?  Be prepared for a round table discussion on this last one so that we can encourage each other.

Living in the present will focus on: What is your purpose?  What is your business’ purpose?  Are they compatible?  Do your plans, policies and actions work to accomplish this purpose?  We will discuss the ineffectiveness of reward and punishment as motivators both for ourselves and our employees. It’s important to evaluate your opportunity costs for time and money.  Every choice we make has an opportunity cost.  We will discuss ideas for helping achieve the things that are important to us.

Planning for the future includes a discussion on Form follows function and function follows purpose.  “How” and “what” always come after “why.”  Envision your business five years from now.  Take small steps toward that goal.  Write down long term to-do lists that will get you there. Write down a daily short to-do list.  Remember, we underestimate what we can achieve in five years, and over estimate what we can do tomorrow.  Goals need to be achievable and measurable.

Plan to attend at the Food Enterprise Center, 1201 North Main St., Viroqua. Networking starts at 5:30 p.m. The program begins at 6 p.m.

The meetings are free and no reservations are required. Whether you have an idea or just like to think business, join us for a dynamic evening of networking with lots of creative people. The public is welcome.

The I&E Club is organized jointly by the Vernon Economic Development Association and Viroqua Chamber Main Street.

For more information, contact Sue Noble at or 638-8332, or Nora Roughen-Schmidt at or 637-2575.