Amy Kuhlers, Program Manager, Iowa Economic Development Authority
Along with showers and flowers, April brings us the start of National Small Business Week, recognizing the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. This month we visited with 2016 SBA award recipient, Lynn Schrader, co-owner of KHI Solutions with offices in Fort Dodge, Webster City and West Des Moines, to hear more about her business and passion for helping women business owners succeed.
What is KHI Solutions?
KHI Solutions is primarily an independent health insurance broker serving agents and clients in the state of Iowa. We have contracts with a variety of health insurance carriers offering a multitude of solutions for our agents and clients.
What helped you decide to go into business?
I was asked to be part of team of three individuals that would buy an existing agency (KHI) located in Fort Dodge. There was no question I was interested. This was an opportunity of a lifetime and I am so blessed to have been invited to join KHI as an owner!
What do you think is your competitive edge – that ‘thing’ that makes your company unique?
KHI’s competitive advantage is our staff – no question about that. They are the ones who take “servant leadership” to our agents and clients. When we serve one another, and keep our focus on people, we will be successful. This culture has translated into growth for our company and I believe it has created an atmosphere in our office where people look forward to coming to work.
You’ve are a strong advocate of women business owners and are currently serving as co-president of the Iowa National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). What drives you to help these fellow-business owners succeed?
I enjoy helping others and specifically seeing women meet their goals, both personal and professional. If I can assist another sister on her journey, I am thrilled.
What do you see are some of the challenges that face all businesses today?
Cost of healthcare, taxes, finding good people…it’s funny, but designing an innovative healthcare plan can impact all three of these areas!
Looking back, what do you feel has been your best success?
Moving back to Iowa! I love the people, the seasons, the landscape, the small towns. We have it all. I have lived in Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis – none of them beat Iowa. Had I not moved back to Iowa, I would not have been laid off, been hired at Wellmark and been given this opportunity to buy my own business. Life is awesome! Show up!
National Small Business Week will be celebrated April 29 – May 5, 2018. To learn more about National Small Business Week events near you, visit www.sba.gov.nsbw, and sign up for updates.