Just a Minute with Bill Thiel, president and owner of Saddlebrook BarnCams LLC

Company address: N76 W36096 Saddlebrook Lane, Oconomowoc, WI 53066
Company Web sites: www.barncams.com, www.barnbuddy.com, www.appaloosa.org
Industry: Agricultural surveillance and entertainment/education.
Number of employees: 5
Your education: Bachelor of science in psychology and master of arts in applied behavioral science from Valparaiso University
Family: Wife, Susan Fronk, who is president and CEO of MRA – The Management Association; son, Joseph, 8 years old, manager of music and song; daughter Sarah, 7 years old, ambassador of can-do spirit; son, Drew, 3 years old, supervisor of reality checks; Mabel, Bassett hound, 9 years old, chief of security.
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
"Built a state-of-the-art facility on our property which now houses our business, allowing for better separation of professional and personal lives. It also reduces the daily physical workload for caretaking 15 horses with automatic waterers, convenient layout and temperature control. This facility has increased efficiency and productivity, and connects us better with our customers.
What’s new at your company?
"Awaiting patent approval which would carve out a significant niche in the industry. Developing a new product line to complement our somewhat cyclical business and open up new markets. Our 9-year-old old stallion, Zip Me Impressive, won the World’s Best Appaloosa title in November, bringing a lot of traffic, recognition, interest and PR opportunities our way."

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
"Capitalization of growth. We have founded and grown this business with no long-term debt, and bigger and bigger raw material orders are big cash users. Managing inventory and manufacturing for just-in-time order fulfillment. Diversifying product offerings and evening out the business cycle. Selecting the right strategic, long-term priorities from a multitude of markets."
Do you have a business mantra?
"Carpe Diem."
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
"My father in law. A successful dentist and businessman prior to retirement. He lives by the principle that some people do what is required and get by, while others do more than is expected and get ahead."
What was the best advice you ever received?
"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"
What do you do like to do in your free time?
"What’s that? With three small children, a working horse farm, a commitment to give back to the community with a number of key charities and a thriving business, it’s a good thing we enjoy how these things all interconnect. We enjoy fishing, travel, horses and farming, and getting to know visitors from around the world. In the past few years, we have had visitors at Saddlebrook from England, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Canada (numerous times), Germany and Japan.
July 9, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

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