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Articles filed under Kendall, Jim

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  • Culture change may be needed to boost results Jan 19, 2015 5:00 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at what to do when the company culture and workplace atmosphere has gone negative.

     
  • Time to join a group? Consider these options Jan 12, 2015 7:01 AM
    If you’re serious about connecting with more of your small business peers and trading business leads with them or if you’re looking for typically low-cost seminars where you might pick up some helpful business ideas; there are options.

     
  • New Year’s outlook promising for small businesses Jan 5, 2015 5:35 AM
    We still have 51-plus weeks to go, but 2015 looks promising — especially in sectors where the cost of money can be a thorny issue, according to Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall.

     
  • Seminar helps women develop CEO skills Dec 22, 2014 5:31 AM
    Women who graduated in October from the first Project CEO, offered by the Small Business Development Center at College of DuPage facilities in Lisle,talk to Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall.

     
  • Small businesses help drive sustainability issues Dec 15, 2014 12:02 PM
    The holidays are greener than they used to be — which has little to do with the weather and more to do with the fact that many business owners “really do care” about sustainability, energy efficiency and popularly labeled green initiatives.

     
  • Niche marketing: How many websites do you need? Dec 8, 2014 5:20 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks to local experts about marketing and selling in today’s digital marketplaces.

     
  • Owner misses buyer’s stress, company sale falls through Dec 1, 2014 5:36 AM
    Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the idea of selling a business.

     
  • Advice as health care heats up: ‘Hold tight’ Nov 24, 2014 5:08 AM
    For employers, the best what-to-do advice when it comes to the Affordable Care Act is to hold tight, according to an attornety that Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks with.

     
  • Business owners, what will you do better next year? Nov 18, 2014 5:42 AM
    Business columnist Jim Kendall says even though Santa already has been sighted at more than one suburban mall, there’s plenty of time for business owners to plan for next year:

     
  • Businesses create internships to meet specific needs Nov 10, 2014 5:11 AM
    There’s more than the prospect of low-cost labor that makes internships interesting to small businesses. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall looks at the issue.

     
  • Unusual succession plan works for two attorneys Oct 27, 2014 5:54 AM
    Finding a successor to bring into your solo practice isn’t often as easy as looking across the hall, but that’s where Glen Ellyn attorney Rick Lofgren found Charles Wentworth. That’s only part of the story, however: Lofgren gave Wentworth a piece of the business to come aboard. Yes. Gave. “I didn’t make him buy in,” Lofgren says, “and he’s not an employee. He was a shareholder right out of the gate. It’s a small share, but it’s a share.” The two are not exactly equal owners at Glen Ellyn-based Entrepreneur’s Legal Resources. “I kept his percentage low,” says Lofgren, who is super majority owner in the firm, “but I told (Wentworth) I would take care of his compensation. “What I want Charles to get is almost all of the business he generates, less expenses. I want to make sure he’s around a long time.” Perhaps more importantly, the two share decisions and the inevitable investments in the business. Investments, whether new equipment or the hiring of a marketing firm, are 50-50, Lofgren says. “We’re building something together.” Nearly two years in, Lofgren’s succession plan seems to be working. “I watched (Wentworth) from across the hall for a couple of years,” Lofgren says. “I’ve had my own practice for 20 years, and I’ve had several small partnerships. I had been searching high and low” for an attorney who could become Lofgren’s successor when Wentworth, fresh from leaving a large downtown law firm, opened his own practice across the hall. In the casual way that compatible professionals get acquainted, “We got to know each other,” Wentworth says. “(Lofgren) even said I could borrow his (law) books if I needed to.” Wentworth eventually moved to assist another local attorney who was preparing to retire, but the two would “bump into each other” and talk. In the meantime, other attorneys were noticing Wentworth. “It took me a long time to pull the trigger,” Lofgren says now. “He had done some work for some of my colleagues, and they all wanted him badly. And a larger firm offered him a job,” but, Lofgren says, by that time Wentworth “had caught the entrepreneurial bug.” “Rick offered,” Wentworth relates. “And I got a call from a headhunter, and another firm out here was interested. “I’d been out a while and I liked being my own boss. I had learned how to make a go of it, and I had no desire to go back” to a larger firm environment. Lofgren won out, and succession became less of a concern. “I’m certainly the junior partner,” Wentworth says, “but I don’t have plans to go anywhere. “Rick’s offer wasn’t a huge surprise. It was more of a natural progress in our relationship. It felt right. “We get along really well. We have similar ideas on the work-life balance. We even both wear polo shirts and jeans” to the office. • Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at www.kendallcom.com. © 2014 Kendall Communications Inc.

     
  • As 2014 begins to wane, consider 2015 budget Oct 20, 2014 6:01 AM
    Unless yours is a holiday-dependent business, you probably know how your 2014 results will look, and you’ve either had or are about to have a talk with your accountant about final 2014 taxes. But what’s the outlook for 2015?

     
  • How to smooth family business relationships Oct 13, 2014 5:21 AM
    Families can build great businesses - productive, profitable and long-lasting. But family businesses can end badly, too - flaming out in generational issues or squabbles.

     
  • Planning to hire? Maybe you should check with Ella Oct 6, 2014 5:18 AM
    Small Business Columnis Jim Kendall looks at the Employment Labor Law Audit, a four-inch binder with 28 sections on federal HR compliance processes.

     
  • How, when to reach out to customers, prospects Sep 29, 2014 5:14 AM
    There presumably are differences between your client and prospect lists, but there’s an important similarity many entrepreneurs overlook: Customers and prospects both need to hear from you on a reasonably regular basis.

     
  • How to become a successful podcaster Sep 15, 2014 6:01 AM
    So you’re thinking about becoming a podcaster. Good idea. Here, from those already there, are some tips.

     
  • Culture change can drive growth, profit gains Sep 8, 2014 5:15 AM
    Paul Vragel seems to approach business growth and change backward — or, more politely, in a nontraditional way. Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall talks to him about his approach.

     
  • Newsletters still an effective business tool Aug 25, 2014 5:16 AM
    Back in the not-so-long-ago day, glossy four-color newsletters with high production and mailing costs were an integral part of many small business marketing campaigns.They still are, says Small Business Columnist Jim Kendall.

     
  • Structure helps draw potential franchise owners Aug 18, 2014 5:12 AM
    Franchises are more than burgers and subs. Small business columnist Jim Kendall looks at the topic.

     
  • How to get a bank loan: Know the language Aug 11, 2014 5:20 AM
    You’ll have a better chance of getting a loan from your bank if you understand the banker’s sometimes arcane language. Rosetta Stone can’t help, but a good accountant can. Small business owners, especially startups, often “don’t have the right understanding of what a bank can do,” says Greg Dowell, managing partner at Bass, Solomon & Dowell LLP, a Palatine CPA firm. “The bank is your lender, not an equity investor.” That’s a huge difference. “Bankers want to lend on one of two things — receivables or inventory. Sometimes equipment. The banker is interested in being paid back.” Bankers always have wanted to get their money back, but a regulatory tightening of lending rules following the near financial collapse in 2008 has banks still on a short tether. Consequently, it’s worth paying attention to comments from Larry Jones, vice president at First State Bank, St. Charles, one of 21 locations of Mendota-based First State Bank. Business owners “don’t know how to ask for money,” Jones says. “They must understand the nature of the loan business’ requirements and be aware of how the different loans work and cost.” Among the different loans Jones lists are real estate loans, including the SBA’s 504 loan program; accounts receivable; construction loans; and work-in-progress loans. If you don’t understand the differences, which for a non-banker isn’t especially surprising, “Go to your accountant for some help,” Jones suggests. Typically, “The business owner has something he enjoys and thinks he can make money with — but he doesn’t know how to manage the business,” Jones says. “A loan officer will be able to figure out whether the business owner knows his business.” When hopeful business borrowers “come in, meet with a commercial lender, lay out their plans for the business and say, ‘I need $100,000,’ it’s the loan officer’s job to ask, ‘Why?’” Jones seeks a stronger answer than, “So I can grow.” Although a sensible presentation about the business is a logical part of a request for funds, numbers count. For example, “Your P&L (profit and loss statement) must indicate an upward projection,” says John Lafferty, president, CFO-Pro, Naperville. Among Lafferty’s thoughts on what to take to the bank: * A short business plan that describes what you’re trying to achieve. If growth is the intent, the plan should explain how you will reach that goal. * An explanation of staffing costs that will be necessary to support growth. * Anticipated revenue streams, with assumptions fully explained and market data that support projections. * Competitive factors. * Details on margins and overhead. Lafferty has more, but that’s a decent sample of the information he says bankers want to see. Dowell “will counsel (firm) clients before they go to the bank,” as will Lafferty. Illinois Small Business Development Centers are another good source of support. So is SCORE, SBA-affiliated retired business executives committed to counseling. • Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn, Twitter, and at Kendall Communications on Facebook. Jim@kendallcom.com. © 2014 Kendall Communications Inc.

     
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