Articles filed under Small Business

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  • Golden Corridor Partnership recognized as ‘Bright Idea’ Feb 19, 2015 1:36 PM
    The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has recognized the efforts of the Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (GCAMP) as part of the 2015 Bright Ideas program.The grass roots group of manufacturers along Illinois’ I-90 tollway corridor, neighboring municipalities, school districts and colleges work together to increase student interest in the manufacturing industry, promote area growth and sustain skilled manufacturing jobs.

  • Suburban co-working movement building slowly in Geneva, Naperville Feb 18, 2015 8:22 AM
    A handful of co-working centers are establishing themselves in suburbs such as Geneva, Elgin, Naperville and South Barrington, but the idea of a place where independent professionals come together, share space and form a community is a tough sell among suburbanites. “We've seen that most people in the suburbs — they want four walls and a door,” said Mike Copeland executive director of the nonprofit Elgin Technology Center, a co-working space that has been open since 2010.

  • Bartlett likely to set up special tax district board Feb 18, 2015 5:30 AM
    Bartlett trustees plan to convene a temporary board that will recommend whether the village should establish a special taxing district downtown. The advisory panel likely will consist of officials from Elgin Area School District U-46, the Bartlett Fire Protection District, Elgin Community College and other taxing bodies that would lose out on lucrative property tax revenue from any new development during the life of the TIF district.

  • It’s Paczki Day at area bakeries Feb 17, 2015 4:40 PM
    Central Continental Bakery in Mount Prospect expect to bake and sell 90,000 paczki on and before Fat Tuesday, and the crowds didn't disappoint.

  • Menchie’s fro-yo comes to Randall Road corridor Feb 16, 2015 1:28 PM
    The rich and famous always seem to be stopping by a Menchie’s in California to get their frozen yogurt fix, and a photo taken by the paparazzi with their fro-yo creation. Now you too, can get your photo taken at a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, as the business expands into the Chicagoland area, and two locations open along the Randall Road corridor.

  • Arlington entrepreneur celebrates weddings Feb 17, 2015 10:55 AM
    Kukec's People features Keith KoKoruz of Arlington Heights, who bought Fred Fox Studios and made it a part of a wedding empire he's built that includes Aberdeen's Wedding Florists, DJ services, photography and other bridal services. For a guy who's divorced, he's built quite an empire for celebrating weddings. Now he's dating a girl who sells wedding dresses. “There is some irony there,” he said.

  • Mayor: Rolling Meadows is trending upward Feb 16, 2015 11:47 PM
    It's not all good news in Rolling Meadows, but Mayor Tom Rooney said the state of the city is trending upward. Rooney highlighted new businesses, lower debt and a flat property tax levy in his "State of the City" address Monday.

  • Balancing campaign and small business on Vitter’s agenda Feb 15, 2015 7:32 AM
    David Vitter, who became chairman last month when the Republican Party took control of the Senate, is the front-runner in this year’s race for Louisiana governor. His strategy? Work on small business issues when he’s in Washington, and focus on Louisiana during weekends and congressional recesses. He’s not worried. It’s a routine he says he’s followed for years.

  • Developers present design for Giesche Shoes site Feb 12, 2015 5:10 PM
    Developers say their plans for the former Giesche Shoes site in Glen Ellyn will blend with the architecture of downtown, but some residents and officials still have concerns. Here's what the debate is all about ....

  • Health-conscious firms develop hub in Arlington Hts. Feb 12, 2015 10:19 PM
    A community of health-conscious businesses is growing and supporting one another in downtown Arlington Heights. With Pure Juice Cafe, Pulsation Yoga and Rush Performance all in the same shopping center off Evergreen Avenue, owners said they have become something of a hub for healthy customers in the area.

  • Country House restaurant opens in Lisle Feb 12, 2015 10:35 AM
    Country House Restaurants, known for their burgers, announced it opened its new Lisle location at 2799 Maple Ave. in College Square Mall. The new eatery will keep the same rustic tavern look and feel of the other restaurants in Geneva and Clarendon Hill.

  • Constable: Hard to build Valentine for guys Feb 12, 2015 12:13 PM
    Valentine's Day is such a "women's holiday," with ads aimed at male shoppers and storefronts dedicated to "gifts for her." But Berland's House of Tools offers a bit of perspective.

  • Sign says it all -- Big Ange's finally close to opening in Arlington Heights Feb 13, 2015 8:50 AM
    A new hot dog restaurant planned for the former Jimmy's Place in Arlington Heights may finally be close to opening nearly two years after getting initial approval from the village.

  • Palatine leaders seeing signs of business recovery Feb 10, 2015 7:19 PM
    Palatine business and village leaders said there are signs of recovery among businesses in Palatine, despite several large sites that remain unused. Mayor Jim Schwantz said there have been talks about new businesses going into those locations. “I’m excited about the things on the horizon,” Schwantz said. “But I’ve been excited before and things haven’t happened.”

  • Schaumburg business leaders learn how laughter boosts the bottom line Feb 10, 2015 5:49 PM
    Schaumburg business leaders got a lesson in levity on Tuesday morning from Joe Keefe, founder of Second City Communications. Keefe, who was recently hired as the new executive director at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, was the speaker at this month’s Schaumburg Business Association breakfast.

  • Path from owner to franchisor has many steps Feb 9, 2015 7:22 AM
    Hungry diners come from miles around for your pizza. Customers say your massage techniques are really effective. That inventory control plan you developed works; industry peers are interested. Your friends keeping asking why you don’t franchise your business — whatever it is in real life — and you keep asking yourself, “Why not?” You could become the next hot franchisor. Pay attention, however, to cautions from two experienced franchise advocates: The career change from entrepreneur with one, or maybe two, locations to franchisor is a life-changing step that requires serious thought. “You won’t be making pizza anymore,” says Michal Liss, a corporate counsel and franchise attorney at FRANLAW: Liss & Lamar PC, Oak Brook. “Your job changes. You’ll become a trainer and coach, supporting other people in their dream.” Franchisors must be comfortable in relationships, Liss says, because “You’ll get to know (the franchisees) you’re coaching intimately. You have to have the desire to help people start and grow. Otherwise, you’ll be a square peg in a round hole.” Goodbye pizza dough. Hello counseling. Marcelo Alvarez, a Downers Grove business opportunity coach and franchisee of The Entrepreneur’s Source, has similar thoughts. Running a store and being a franchisor are “totally different businesses,” Alvarez says. “When you’re a franchisor, franchisees call from all over the country with questions. You become a trainer — and a salesman.” The Entrepreneur’s Source is a franchise business whose individual owners help people find their own franchises. In some ways, becoming a franchisor approaches the ultimate entrepreneurial step. “The first test,” Alvarez says, “is whether you’ve built something proven and successful. Get it started and get two to three years under your belt. “Your business needs to be something that can be replicated, not a place people go because they like the owner.” The business will need infrastructure before you can franchise it. Among Liss’ suggestions in a paper worth finding at • A successful prototype. That’s the core business that got you thinking franchising to begin with, and it needs to generate enough profit to be attractive to potential franchisees — who will need enough cash flow to support their new business and pay you royalties. • A name that can be trademarked. • Operating systems that can be documented and taught to new franchisees. Also necessary: A comprehensive franchise agreement and a franchise disclosure document, both of which require a franchise-experienced attorney, and compliance with federal and state laws that regulate pre-sale disclosures to potential franchisees. You’ll need to recruit potential franchisees, which likely means a sales team. Marketing programs are typical; so is a business plan for franchisees to follow. Logo and signage are important. Supplies matter. An operating manual may be the key item, however. “Some existing businesses may have an operating manual,” Alvarez says, “but most don’t. If the operational process is in the owner’s head, someone must sit down and translate the information.” • Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Listen to Jim’s Business Owners’ Pod Talk at © 2015 Kendall Communications Inc.

  • West Dundee art therapist enjoys all art forms, even belly dancing Feb 9, 2015 7:20 AM
    Kukec's People features Tricia Saviano Hammer of East Dundee is an art therapist and licensed counselor working on a Ph.D., who owns and operates Artisticology at 111 W. Main St. in West Dundee. She’s also an artist herself ... and a belly dancer.

  • Investors’ appetite for startups fed by stock market gains Feb 8, 2015 7:31 AM
    Some Entrepreneurs looking for startup funding got a wad of money near the end of last year, but there are concerns the boom may not last. Startup iFunding is a beneficiary of the surge. The website focused on real estate investing raised nearly $2 million in just a month. Typically, it would take at least six months to raise that kind of cash, says William Skelley, the New York company’s CEO. “It’s gone much faster than I thought,” said Skelley, who has a background in venture capital investing. Investors whose portfolios swelled as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose more than 11 percent last year had more money for alternative investments like small businesses and felt more confident about taking risks on young companies. But there are concerns about how long the good times will last. The market has been more erratic since the beginning of the year and the S&P 500 dropped 3 percent in January. Some pros also worry that investors may get spooked if high-profile companies that have gotten windfalls — like ride-hailing app Uber — fail. The Wealth Factor One of Skelley’s investors, Alicia Syrett, says the stock market factored into her decision to buy a stake in iFunding. Syrett is an angel investor, who focuses on young companies. “When you see the stock market is up, there’s that general feeling of wealth and so you feel comfortable spending more,” says Syrett, CEO of Pantegrion Capital, an investment company in New York. She also recently invested in NoMad, a San Francisco company that makes cables for charging smartphones. The rallying stock market encouraged Zack Schuler to take a chance on a startup. “If my portfolio is up and it’s doing really well and I feel really solid about my long-term financial stability, then I’m willing to gamble on other things,” says Schuler, who’s based in Los Angeles. In December, Schuler invested in Buddytruk, a smartphone app that helps people quickly find trucks to help them move or make pickups or deliveries. Buddytruk CEO Brian Foley found it easy to raise the money at the end of last year. He was seeking $500,000 but got $570,000 in two weeks. “December is notorious for being the worst month of the year to raise money,” said Foley, whose year-old company is based in Santa Monica, California. The company’s first round of funding, which began in January 2014 raise $175,000 in near six months. Foley wasn’t prepared for the second round’s speed. “I was shocked,” he says. How Long Will It Last? With the economy still growing and the stock market near historic highs, startups may keep finding people willing to back them. “Investors are excited by the potential of the companies that are being formed now and are raising money,” says Steve Harrick, a partner in the venture capital firm Institutional Venture Partners in Menlo Park, California. Still, there are concerns of a bubble. Uber’s $40 billion valuation has more people looking for a windfall, says Schuler, the Buddytruk investor. But investors could become wary if high-profile startups that are valued at over $1 billion fail, Harrick says. For now, the pent-up demand for investing after the recession is likely to keep the money flowing, says Tyler Newton, research director with Catalyst Investors, a private equity firm in New York. “We’re maybe in the sixth inning of the long investment cycle,” he says.

  • Des Plaines Chamber honors local businesses Feb 8, 2015 4:16 PM
    The Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry has presented Community Enhancement awards for the past 49 years. The award recognizes businesses who have gone beyond the norm when building and/or improving their businesses or services for the betterment of the Des Plaines community.

  • ’Slow Flowers’ movement pushes local efforts Feb 7, 2015 1:55 PM
    “The florists I supply simply like how much fresher my flowers are ... They’re not having to pick through my supply to pull out wilted or dead petals and leaves,” Megan Hird says.

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