October 1, 2012

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

Almost anything can affect the success of a business. Economics, location ...Read More

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Women-Owned Business

Utah Business Staff

October 1, 2012

How are you dealing with the rising costs of healthcare? Does anyone want to address that hot potato?
GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: We are just dealing with it. We have always wanted to give our employees insurance, so we have always extended it. And we just increased the coverage regarding who we are covering on the family policy rather than just an individual policy. It’s just hard. It’s a big budget issue, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We are dealing with increases every single year in double digits.

WOODBURY: We also have offered insurance from the beginning. I came from a large corporation environment as an employee, and I wanted to attract the same kind of employees so I offered the same kind of benefits.

The costs keep going up. We have to roll those into our costs, as well. We have also done some things so our employees share in the cost. We pay half and they pay half for a family plan. For a single employee, we pay most of it. So as the costs go up we consider things like raising the deductible.

We are now considering health savings plans that allow employees to save their own money to pay towards insurance for catastrophe. They are a better plan in some cases, and we are now looking at other options. Definitely our price goes up in a competitive environment as we continue to carry that cost. I’m very worried about the future.

AKERS: I’ll go out on a limb here and say our healthcare system is in such dire need for change. I know it’s a political hot potato, but I have a daughter who works in Finland for Nokia and just got laid off. She has lifelong medical issues, but she doesn’t need to worry about them. Whether she is employed or not, she has it there for security. If she were working here in the U.S. and got laid off, it would be a major issue. I think we really have to do some hard looking at what we value in this country related to people’s health.

RICE: As a small business, we have gone the route of a professional employer organization, a PEO, where they can group companies together to try to keep the costs down. Well, it has been frustrating. We’ve seen cost hikes of 18 to 20 percent a year for the past couple of year. And you have no control. It’s extremely frustrating because to be competitive, you have to offer health benefits.

JOHNSON: This situation is the number one thing I have been thinking about for the last half decade. Not just in my company, because for the time being we have solved that problem. We have self-insurance, we have an HRA, and we have our clinic. We are spending about $4,500 per year per employee for all of that. So we have hammered on the costs and brought them down.

Utah is really at the forefront of doing a lot of cool things. The University of Utah just got a new senior vice president of health care services, Vivian Lee, who came here from NYU. She runs the medical school and the hospital. She has started an Institute for Health Care transformation. Utah has the most number of companies that have onsite clinics. And part of our objective in being involved with this is to make this the best place to run a business in this country. Because it’s a dire problem.

What advice you would give to the next generation of women?
GRAMMER-WILLIAMS: Get an education and graduate from college. That is the foundation. One of the statistics that is very concerning to me is in the state of Utah, we are at a 5.6 percent gender gap for graduation rates between men and women. We are dead last, and the next closest to us is New Jersey at 2.6 percent. And so education really, for me, is the biggest push. Get that. Have that under your belt.

WOODBURY: I don’t know that the rules have changed so much—the rules of success for the new generation. I just had a crazy notion one day, “I think I will start a company because I understand there’s a niche for small business in doing information technology.” There wasn’t a niche for women when I started a company.

What I didn’t have was a well-formed plan. I had the education, I had the experience in my field, but I did not have a plan at all. And when I went to the SBA they really forced me to have a business plan. Thank goodness, because that helped me. Formulate the plan, because if you know where you want to get, then you can fill in the details and get there.

DUNNING: People need to do things that they like doing. There are some people who maybe grow up knowing they want to be a doctor and they are very focused. It’s like getting on the freeway and just following the freeway to that exit that you’ve got in mind.

My career has not been like that. I have taken the back roads. I did international community development for five years before I went to law school. There’s lots of time—people should figure out what they are interested in doing because that will give you the impulse, the energy to get there.

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