Crain’s New Feature for Start UP’s

New in Chicago: Shoes, sandwiches and morePosted by Ann D. at 4/13/2010 1:15 PM CDT

“New in Chicago” is just that — a listing of new businesses just getting off the ground in and around Chicago. Please send us your start-up announcements. E-mail is best: newchicagobusiness@gmail.com.

Crain’s contributor Robert Loerzel will bring you news of fresh local startups every Tuesday:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here is an example

Kathryn Kerrigan Shoe Boutique:
Stephanie Sack, owner of Chicago’s vive la femme, is teaming up with Kathryn Kerrigan, who designs and sells shoes for tall women through her Libertyville business Kathryn Kerrigan Inc.Together, they’re opening Kathryn Kerrigan Shoe Boutique in May at 2031 N. Damen Ave. in Bucktown. The shop will specialize in high-end women’s shoes in European sizes from 39 to 45. “After hosting a number of successful trunk shows featuring Kathryn’s gorgeous shoes, I decided to open up a Kathryn Kerrigan boutique of my own,” Ms. Sack says. Styles will include comfortable and versatile flats in neutral and “pop” colors, jean-friendly wedges with street-chic detailing and classic kitten heels evoking the 1940s and 1950s.

By the way, Kathryn was on our CAN TV 21 Hotline Show last Summer.  Check out this clip.

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Small Business Federal Resources Seminar – Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Melissa Bean invites you to the upcoming Small Business Federal Resources Seminar, which will provide you an opportunity to connect with federal agencies whose resources and programs could be useful to your business, including:

  • Small Business Administration:  504, 7a, and Express loan programs, and small business development tools.
  • Internal Revenue Service: small business tax incentives (NOL carryback, 179, health care)
  • Commerce Department: export programs to link to targeted countries or clients
  • Dept. of Energy: green energy/efficiency grants, tools or incentives.
  • Labor Department: workforce development.
  • Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE): business management consulting services
  • Northern Illinois University: Manufacturing Assistance Program

Small Business Federal Resources Seminar

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

7:30 – 10:00 am

Northern Illinois University – Hoffman Estates Campus

5555 Trillium Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL

Space is limited, so please RSVP by Friday, April 2 by contacting the District office at 847-517-2927.  For questions or more information, you may contact Donna Riley in the District office at 847-517-2927 or Rand.Haas@mail.house.gov.

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ILLINOIS SMALL BUSINESS EXPORT PROMOTION FORUM –Downtown Chicago

Plan to join Senator Durbin in Chicago on Monday, April 5, from 10 am to 12:15 pm at the Gleacher Center of the University of Chicago. This Forum will highlight the benefits of exporting for small and medium-sized businesses in Illinois to support job retention and growth.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke

U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk

The Export Import Bank of the U.S. Chairman Fred Hochberg

April 5, 2010

10 am to 12:15 pm

The Gleacher Center at the University of Chicago

450 N. Cityfront Plaza Dr.

Chicago, IL 60611

No fees, but registration is strongly encouraged.

To Register :  http://durbin.senate.gov/export/register.cfm

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Social Media can increase the Value of your Company

This was an interview done with Mark E. Goodman, SCORE Workshop Chair for BizBroker Journal

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Mark, you are an expert in attracting and maintaining customers using new Web 2.0 internet tools, before we talk about how to use the tools, tell me how this creates value for a business.


There is a traditional value and a non traditional value to taking advantage of the new tools. First, let’s talk about the traditional one. Using the tools and the processes below, you can dramatically lower your costs of selling and customer support. Customers and users are looking to get answers on line. Below, you will find a process that allows for the creation of answer bits in multiple media. Lower sales and support costs translate into greater profits.

Now, let’s look at the non traditional value. The size of your social media audience can increase the value of your company. If you were supporting hundreds of users through Twitter or YouTube, that would be part of your valuation. Recently, companies have been hiring individuals based on their internet following. Companies like Twitter are totally valued on number of participants. Being a “recognized” expert for Google or YouTube, creates value beyond the ordinary.

How does a company need to change how they are creating content to attract Web 2.0 customers and users?
The content creation plan for a small business used to be pretty simple. When you rolled out a new product, you did a brochure and maybe a press release. Perhaps you ran a small ad. You trained your sales force, then got going. When it came to customer support, your technical people trained phone support.

What has changed in the last 10 years. First, your brochure went on line. Then, you decided rather than running ads, you would have buyers come to you using pay per click and search engine optimization. More and more, your buyers and customers did not want to see a sales person, but wanted to find the answers to their questions on line.

How has that changed how you create content?
When searching on line, your users want to find the answer to their individual question(s). The typical searcher is typing in four or five words. In a “decision engine” perhaps even asking a question. So rather than a brochure, white paper or FAQ list, you need to create an “answer bit”.

Also, realize that your buyers or users looking for service want to find the content in the media that they are comfortable with. Some buyers want to find it in a blog. Others, are YouTube viewers, some are searchers of Google or Bing. You can maximize the reach of your content by representing it in various media, if you plan for it in advance.

Our content creation process is based on the “interview” model. The content creation starts with a TV show. This is a 25 minute show that runs once a week. We have found that with the interview process, subject matter experts are more engaging, and answer length is more manageable.

The show is posted in its entirety on BLIP.TV. The show is then edited into clips and put on YouTube. The clips are also turned into blog postings. You can also reference the content in an email campaign. Content is then embedded on your website in the appropriate portions of the website.

Isn’t that a pretty complex and expensive process?
The key to keeping the costs down is designing the interview up front. The interview questions are created so that they can easily be cut into segments. Additionally, the dialogue during the interview focuses on topical issues that can be reconfigured into a blog posting. Lastly, we watch the length and complexity of the answers to insure that the clip will play well in the YouTube environment. Each question is its own answer bit. An answer has to be complete enough to answer a question, but not so complex as to lose the viewer.

The weekly show allows for the creation of continual content. Both users and search engines like the creation of continual content. The more users and viewers that you have in you channel or blog, the more Web 2.0 referrers will route people to you. When you reach a volume on a YouTube channel, you start to get more people finding you. It is not a linear increase, more of a quantum leap.

How does someone get started?

The first step is making an inventory of what questions prospects, customers, and users are asking. If you are doing search engine optimization, that’s a good place to start.

You can do a couple of segments to try it out, but, just doing one or two segments, won’t help draw traffic. On the other hand, a regular program can have significant value on your sales, costs and valuation

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Minority Business Development Agency looking for guest bloggers

This from the Minority Business Development Agency

MBDA’s Minority Business Blog is looking for Guest Bloggers.  We would like to invite you to write a guest post on the MBDA Minority Biz Blog. The topic should be relevant and something that provides information or tools to minority businesses to help them grow and be competitive.  It also serves as communication outreach with the business community, and we also like to highlight stories about successful minority-owned businesses.   Currently, we are looking for a few guest bloggers to create a series of articles.  To start we ask that you submit at least one article for publication on the MBDA Minority Business Blog

Together we can build the next generation of $100 million dollar minority businesses.  Please add your voice to the minority business community.
Some guidelines for submitting guest blogs:
* The article content must fit within the vision and mission of MBDA and add value to MBEs.

* The article should be original content that has not been previously published on any site.

* The article should be between 400 and 600 words in length.

* We can add images, but if you have an image to accompany yourarticle – it would be appreciated.  If necessary, include appropriate photo credit or copyright information.

* OLEIA reserves the right to edit or not use any articles we feel are inappropriate in anyway.
Please submit blog articles to Public_Affairs@mbda.gov

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Small Business Industry Day at the U.S. Capitol Sponsored by the Architect of the Capitol

The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is hosting an event for small business owners at the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) designed to provide information about doing business with the AOC and the CVC.

The CVC is looking for products that are made in the U.S. and manufactured with U.S.-made materials such as educational toys, jewelry, and souvenir apparel whose product themes are focused on the Capitol for its two Gift Shops.  The AOC is looking for goods and services required to maintain its buildings, such as elevators, escalators, air handling units and electrical systems as well as products and services needed to maintain the landscaping around the Capitol complex and conserve and repair historical objects and artwork.

Why you should attend: You will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from the AOC and the CVC who are responsible for procuring materials for the agency and its divisions.

When: Thursday, February 18, 2010; 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m.)

Where: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (The Capitol Visitor Center, the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol, is located below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. For directions and other logistical information, go to www.visitthecapitol.gov.  There is a restaurant at the CVC for your convenience.)

Cost: Free – Advance registration is required as seating is limited.

To register online, go to www.aoc.gov. For questions, email SBIndustryDay@aoc.govor call 202-226-2734.

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How can I get the most impact out of the content I create for my website?

In addition to face to face visits, SCORE counselors often get email questions from clients.

Dave Lebowitz recently got an email request from a client asking about how she could protect the clever name that she had chosen for her business.   Dave recalled seeing a listing video clips posted on the SCORE Chicago website. http://www.scorechicago.org/sub_category_list.asp?category=97&title=SCORE+Short+Videos This listing led him to the SCORE Chicago YouTube Channel  www.youtube.com/scorechicago

He found two clips,  How to Obtain a Trademark to Protect Your Business Name http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzvCP5uydp0 and What Protection Do You Get from a State Trademark.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Tor1ZpERgk The two videos provided thorough answers to the client’s question in a simple, easy to understand manner.

Dave integrates the content into his work with individual clients   He believes that the videos provide a tool that reinforces his advice.

Dave recommends to all of the counselors that they regularly review the content on the website.  He feels that they can pick up tips that will help them in counseling as well as providing reference material that is easy to grasp for clients.

So, to get the most impact out of your content, Dave suggests that you and your staff frequently review what has been created.  Also, integrate that content into your regular business practice.

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U.S. Government Opportunity for Jewelry and Crafts

Don’t see many government opportunity for jewelry and crafts.   Since some SCORE clients are in this segment, thought it would be good to post this .

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From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, February 18, the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) will be hosting an event for small business owners at the new Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) on doing business with the AOC and the CVC.  The AOC is responsible for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout the U.S. Capitol complex in Washington, DC.  Opened on December 2, 2008, the CVC is the largest expansion to the Capitol, and it is the new visitor entrance to the Capitol — its facilities include a 16,500 Exhibition Hall, a 530-seat Restaurant, two Gift Shops, and two orientation theaters where visitors watch a 13-minute welcome film before touring the U.S. Capitol.

The Small Business Industry Day sponsored by the Architect of the Capitol at the U.S. Capitol is free and open to any small business owner; however, advance reservation is required and attendance will be limited to 400.  Details on how to register and specific products and services sought will be forthcoming in early January.  Generally, the CVC is looking for products to be sold in its two Gift Shops that are made in the U.S.A. and manufactured with U.S.-made materials such as educational toys, jewelry, and souvenir apparel whose product themes are focused on the Capitol.

The CVC Gift Shops would be interested in small businesses that provide goods in the following NAICS codes (not a complete list):

322233 Stationery, Tablet, and Related Product Manufacturing 500

327112 Vitreous China, Fine Earthenware and Other Pottery Product Manufacturing

339914 Costume Jewelry and Novelty Manufacturing 500

339931 Doll and Stuffed Toy Manufacturing 500

339941 Pen and Mechanical Pencil Manufacturing 500

423920 Toy and Hobby Goods and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers

424320 Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Furnishings Merchant Wholesalers

424330 Women’s, Children’s, and Infants’ Clothing and Accessories Merchant Wholesalers

424450 Confectionery Merchant Wholesalers 100

424920 Book, Periodical, and Newspaper Merchant Wholesalers

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Senator Olympia Snowe comments on SCORE

Senator Olympia Snowe comments on SCORE.   Highlights SCORE’s contribution to small business.

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Karen Mills – SBA Head Lauds SCORE

Here is a short video by Karen Mills, head of the SBA, talking about SCORE.  Remarks at at the SCORE Awards, September, 2009

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