Booming with Boomers
Jeff Williams has seen numerous changes, from accounting software to smartphones, since he launched his business 25 years ago after losing his corporate marketing job through a merger. The focus of his company, Bizstarters.com, has remained the same -- to help people over the age of 50 start their own business.
Williams launched his company during a time when streams of corporate managers were being downsized by virtually every major company.
"The business plan for my original coaching business was based on my prediction that the boomers would once again energize American society -- this time with the entrepreneurial interest. And now I was witnessing it," said Williams, 67.
Since 2007, individuals over the age of 55 have been the fastest-growing group of new business owners in the U.S., accounting for 25 percent of all new businesses in 2014, he said.
The Arlington Heights business owner primarily works with baby boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, launch their own company. His clients typically held high level corporate careers and often had a staff to assist with the work.
This is where Williams' virtual incubator coaching program comes into play. "We assign a team of support staff and a virtual assistant to assist in starting the business," Williams said. An online planning process, live telecoaching sessions and a full array of business startup services, delivered through a growing network of certified coaches, ranging from Maryland to California are part of what he provides. Creating logos, business cards and a website are some of the services included.
Williams added that his typical client is 57 years old, with 80 percent men and 20 percent women.
There are three types of business concepts that Williams tends to work with most often including selling some type of service, either business or consumer driven. For example, he recently worked with someone launching a gourmet meal preparation business. Consulting is another large area of concentration, he said, adding that he has been working with a Kraft engineer who lost his job. And Web stores are the other big area of focus.
Williams has hired about 15 contractors who serve as business coaches across the country. "Whenever I can, I try to use contractors over the age of 50," he said.
The cost to work with Bizstarters ranges from $3,500 to $5,000, depending on the business and the services needed.
Williams continues to see the need for his services increase. He said that most people want to work through their 60s. However, there is no room in the corporate world for all of them, Williams said. "Many are finding that they can create their own form of work through an enterprise," he said. Technology and today's business trends allow for this to happen. For example, most of his clients work from home. Looking back to when he first started, people did not tell others that they worked from home.
"It's very satisfying to see someone transition from a corporate career to their own business," Williams said.
NAI Hiffman of Oakbrook Terrace announced that Pat Kiefer, executive VP with NAI Hiffman's Office Services group, represented Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in its four recent lease transactions at 900 Oakmont Lane in Westmont.
Millennium Medical Management Resources Inc., a content software developer for the medical industry, relocated into 11,302 square feet and was represented by Todd Schaefer of JLL.
Black & Veatch Corp., a global leader in engineering, procurement and construction services for the crucial areas of energy, water and telecommunications, signed a new lease at the property for 9,248 square feet.
Black & Veatch Corp. was represented by Patrick Brady with Savills Studley.
Intelligent business software company, Silvon Software Inc., relocated into a 5,444-square-foot office space. Silvon Software was represented by Bill Main and Eric Galanti of CBIZ Gibraltar.
And Helm Group Inc. expanded another 1,614 square feet, bringing its total occupancy to 15,530 square feet of office space in the building. Helm Group was represented by Lou Hall and Dan Wilkins of Cushman & Wakefield.
These leases account for four of ten leases signed at the building since March 2015 for a total of 60,771 square feet, bringing the building's occupancy to 92 percent occupancy.
Naperville-based CPA firm Brennan & Brosnan LLC merged with the Oak Park-based Sassetti LLC, expanding the firm's reach and services. The merger will allow Brennan & Brosnan to add auditing services to its existing tax planning, tax preparation, accounting and financial consulting offerings.
Brennan & Brosnan's employees will continue to operate out of the Naperville office. Margaret Brennan and Betsy Brosnan join the five partners of Sassetti as partners in the merged company.
Brennan & Brosnan, founded in 1994, specializes in serving the tax and business advisory needs of entrepreneurial businesses and owners in the Naperville area. In 2005 the firm won the Naperville Small Business of the Year Award.
Sassetti LLC dates back to 1921 and provides accounting, audit, tax and advisory services to middle-market businesses, both closely held and publicly traded, not-for-profit organizations, employee benefit plans and individuals.