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:

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 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  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 For questions, email SBIndustryDay@aoc.govor call 202-226-2734.

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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 .


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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Workshop attendee from Peoria says thanks

Mark Hutchinson, of Peoria Awning Company came to our Selling Like the Pro’s workshop on December 8th.   Mark wrote a note to our workshop presenter Read Bradford ” Just a note to say thank you for the book and your time at the SCORE session on Tuesday.  I really appreciated the opportunity to hear your comments.”

Furthermore, in a follow up note, Mark wrote  “I commend you and SCORE for such good sessions with good speakers.  I have attended your sessions for a number of years and have found each one to be of benefit.”

We reach small business owners throughout Illinois.  For information on our workshop programs, see our website at:

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Using Personal Savings is the Norm for financing a new business

From a Kauffman Foundation Study – November, 2009

Using Personal Savings is the Norm, Venture Capital Comes to the Experienced, and Friends and Family are Always There.  The average number of companies started by the company founders in our sample was 2.3 and 41 percent were running their first businesses.

We analyzed the sources of funding for the businesses started by the serial entrepreneurs:

• The most significant source of funding for all businesses was company founders’ personal savings: 70 percent said they had used personal savings as a main source of funding for their first business, more than four times the number chiefly financed by any other type of funding.  Even in subsequent startups,  more than half of the entrepreneurs relied on their personal  savings.

Venture capital and private/angel investments play a relatively small role in the startups of first-time entrepreneurs, but the percentage who took venture and angel funding increased with subsequent business launches, with 26 percent and22 percent, respectively, of entrepreneurs’ most recent startups receiving such funding.

Friends and family provided funding for 16 percent and banks provided funding for 16 percent of the respondents’ most recent startups. Corporate investments played the major role in 7 percent.

For help on your business plan, please see our website

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What Behaviors Make a Good Sales Person

We recently did a CANTV 21 Hotline show with Sharon Aby.  Sharon noted that a good sales person follows the four step process of Education, Awareness, Consideration and then Closing the Sale.  You can see Sharon on this clip.

The entire interview is available on line at:

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You can see Sharon Aby in person at our Workshop, Stepping up to 21st Century Selling on September 14th.  Registration information is at:

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Need Help Drawing Web Traffic to Your Site?

This is a SCORE Chicago special workshop coming up on August 27th. Unlike many of our workshops downtown, this one has limited enrollment. Consequently, we are posting this up early.

DRAWING WEB TRAFFIC: Increase Your Audience, Grow Your Business

This internet marketing workshop is dedicated to helping business owners who are either getting started marketing online or looking to improve their online marketing strategy. You will learn how to better market your business online, leading to more traffic and increased sales. If you know that your potential customers are out there, but they don’t know you, this is the workshop for you.

Below is a short 47 second video interview with one of the speakers, Steve Robinson from Constant Contact. Steve discusses how to get your emails opened.

For early registration discount, register here:

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How to get your emails opened

Ask Score is a new feature that we are doing in conjuction with Crain’s Chicago Business.  See first blog posting below.
Posted by Ann D. at 7/22/2009 10:01 AM CDT
We’ve invited SCORE Chicago, the small business counseling and advocacy group, to answer Enterprise City readers’ questions on all aspects of running a small business. Starting this week and continuing every Wednesday, we’ll publish SCORE Chicago’s advice on issues that matter to you.

If you have a question or problem that you’d like to run past SCORE Chicago’s counseling team, send an e-mail to  Be sure put “Ask SCORE” in the subject line.  We’ll aim to answer readers’ questions every Wednesday.

Since this is our first whack at the “Ask SCORE” feature, allow us to prime the pump with a question that’s of interest to many business owners trying to use e-mail as a marketing tool: “How do I get people to open my e-mails?”

It so happens that SCORE Chicago recently interviewed Steve Robinson of Constant Contact on this very subject. Here’s what they learned:


We frequently get questions about how to market more effectively at lower cost. Increasingly, e-mail has become the medium of choice for small business. One of the questions that was recently asked during one of our workshops was, How do I get my emails opened more often?

We posed this question to Steve Robinson of Constant Contact in an interview on our TV show on CANTV 21. 

s advice: Focus on the subject line.

For example, if you were sending out a newsletter for a travel business, rather than titling that e-mail
March Newsletter, you should put a benefit in that title line. A sample benefit could be, Three Great Spring Vacations.

As a small business, you should have a regular schedule for your e-mail marketing. Each time you send out an e-mail, try a different subject line. With an e-mail tool, you can see how many people open different e-mails. The open rate can help you understand which subject lines are more effective.

The beauty of e-mail marketing is that you learn with each e-mail sent.

Take a look at this 47-second video clip on SCORE Chicago’s YouTube channel to learn more.
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4 Tips on avoiding an audit

Are you paying enough in taxes? Most small business owners would say they already pay plenty.  But the IRS disagrees.  The agency calculates the “tax gap”—that is, what it expects to collect and what taxpayers actually fork over—at more than15 percent of total taxes due.

Personal income from business activities—rather than wages or investments—is the single greatest source of this discrepancy, according to the IRS, accounting for between $83 billion and $99 billion of missing tax dollars.  That’s why the agency directs the  greatest share of its enforcement budget—41 percent in 2006—toward small businesses, almost as much as it devotes to corporations, high-income individuals, and criminal activity combined.

Since the IRS already sees the bulk of small business owners—those with businesses structured as sole proprietorships,  LLCs,  partnerships, and S-Corps—as a greater risk of misreported income compared with individuals or large corporations,  you need to be careful to avoid cutting any corners that could trip you up during an audit.

The comments above and these 4 tips are from a list of 25 Tips, provided in a Business Week article.

1. Classify workers properly

Are your workers employees or independent contractors?  If you classify workers as  independent contractors and don’t contribute the employer’s share of their payroll taxes, make sure they truly meet the IRS’s definition.

It has less to do with how many hours they work and more to do with how much control you exercise over them.

2. File and pay on time

It sounds obvious, but if you don’t pay your taxes or file for an extension by Apr. 15, the IRS can file a substitute return for you, collect the money from your bank accounts, or get a tax lien against your property.

3. Pay estimated taxes

Since taxes aren’t withheld from your business income as they are from W-2 wages, you have to pay the IRS estimated taxes four times a year.  While some business owners may not owe estimated taxes—sole proprietors who expect to owe less than $1,000 for the year, for example—failing to pay them could leave you on the hook for a penalty come April.

4.  Keep careful records

Don’t stuff all your receipts and invoices in a desk drawer.  Make sure you have records to back up your sources of income and expenses. The burden is on the taxpayer to prove a deduction is a legitimate business expense, so you should have receipts to show an auditor that your write-offs are above board.

Information on Accounting, Taxes and Risk Management is available in a SCORE Chicago workshop on July 17th.  Registration information is at:

Special thanks to Irv Williamson, who will be presenting this workshop.

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Have a Question for Our Experts?

July Video Programming

Our video programming  starts with a live call in TV show on CANTV.  In addition to live questions, we use selected questions that have been given to us before the show.

July 7th. Brian Fons from Corporate Creations will be discussing legal aspects of using names, pictures, and content in your business. We are going to explore in some detail the trade offs when it comes to business risk in trademarks, copyright etc.

Below is a one of our videos with Brian from the Winter Season

July 14th Jacob Cynamon will be talking about opportunities to improve your website. We are going to look in detail at blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook.  What area they?  What does it take to get started?  How can a small business use them effectively?  What is an integrated content strategy?

Below is one of our videos with Jacob from the Winter Season.

July 21st. Bernadette Shanahan-Hass, President/CEO of the Tinley Park Chamber of Commerce will be discussing the role of the chamber in the community.  How does the chamber help business development?  How can businesses take advantage of their chamber?

Below is an interview with Bernadette from an Economic Roundtable in April.

If you would like to submit a question, please post it in the comments section of this posting.

Posted in Chicago small business, Management, Marketing, SCORE, SCORE Chicago, Small business. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Have a Question for Our Experts?
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