Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 11 Harsh Realities of Being an Entrepreneur

The Entrepreneurship website OnStartups.com recently published an article about some of the harsh realities and misconceptions about starting your own business. Read the list below and follow this link to the article for more insight.

1. Your First Iteration of an Idea Will Be Wrong
2.Your Friends And Family Won't Understand What You Do
3. You Will Make Less Than Normal Wages For A While
4. Everything Takes Twice As Long...If It Even Happens
5. Titles Mean Nothing. You Will Be a Janitor
6. There Is No Silver Bullet
7. Customers Will Frustrate You
8. You Can't Do It All Yourself
9. There Is No Such Thing As An Overnight Success
10. Building A Team Is Hard
11. There Are Forces Outside Your Control

Also, don't forget about the GLCEDC partnership with SCORE to provide business advising to Livingston County small business owners and entrepreneurs. Visit the GLCEDC website for more information and contact our office to set up a business advising appointment.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now Available - Illinois Small Business Tax Credit

Small Business Tax Credit now available

Small businesses that grow by creating a new position now through June 30, 2011, are likely to be eligible for the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit. The web site at http://JobsTaxCredit.illinois.gov is an easy-to-use site for small businesses to register and apply for the tax credit without leaving the office - it also contains the statute, an FAQ and has contact information for further questions.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Livingston County and the US Dept of Energy

On September 23, the US Department of Energy published an article about recent economic development in Livingston County. Read an excerpt of the article below:

A car dealership in Dwight, Ill., shut down this year, but recently reopened its doors and 29 people kept their jobs.

Over in Collum, a grocery store that sat silent for three years recently awoke, creating six jobs. And a new coffee shop is now open in downtown Pontiac, bustling with customers sipping lattes and eating muffins.

So what breathed new life into these Livingston County businesses?

Surprisingly, it was the opening of the Streator Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm, a 300 MW wind farm made possible with the help of $170 million through the U.S. Department of Energy's 1603 grants-in-lieu-of-tax-credits program to the developer.

Read the rest of the article here.

"We believe in economic gardening," says Larry Vaupel, director of the GLCEDC. "We try to grow our economy from within by nurturing businesses and providing financial assistance for start-ups and expansions."

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 Mistakes That Start-Up Entrepreneurs Make

The Wall Street Journal recently published their top 10 mistakes that start-up entrepreneurs make. Here is the list:

1. Going it alone
2. Asking too many people for advice
3. Spending too much money on product development, not enough on sales
4. Targeting too small a market
5. Entering a market with no distribution partner
6. Overpaying for customers
Raising too little capital
Raising too much capital
Not having a business plan
Over-thinking your business plan

For a full description of each mistake, please view the article here. If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, don't forget that the GLCEDC and SCORE provide free business advising every
3rd Wednesday from 9am - noon at the GLCEDC office in Pontiac. To set up an appointment, please contact the GLCEDC office by email: office@glcedc.org or by phone: 815-842-2900.

Friday, July 30, 2010

News Release: AT&T Announces 3G Mobile Broadband Expansion for Pontiac Area

PONTIAC, Ill., July 28, 2010 — AT&T today announced an expansion of its third generation (3G) mobile broadband network for the Pontiac area, opening the door to a new era of mobile services, devices and feature-rich audio and video content for customers in the area.

The activation of 3G technology on more than five cell sites will enhance wireless coverage for residents and businesses in communities such as Chenoa, Dwight, Flanagan, Odell and Pontiac. A portion of Interstate 55 also runs through this area of Livingston County. These additional 3G sites build on AT&T’s Central Illinois expansions in Decatur, Champaign, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria and Springfield as part of the nation’s fastest 3G network.

AT&T is an industry leader in delivering the benefits of mobile broadband networks, devices and applications. With the nation’s fastest 3G network, AT&T provides accelerated mobile data speeds and simultaneous voice and data capabilities for an amazing wireless voice and data experience.

The network expansion for the Pontiac area is part of AT&T’s ongoing efforts to drive investment and innovation to deliver the nation’s best, most advanced mobile broadband experience for customers.

The announcement follows Gov. Pat Quinn’s signing of the state’s new, modern telecommunications law designed to attract private sector investment in broadband and wireless to meet consumer demands and attract jobs across all sectors of the Illinois economy.

“The state’s new, modern telecommunications policy passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Quinn made Illinois an attractive place for AT&T to invest in broadband, wireless and emerging technologies,” said Paul La Schiazza, president, AT&T Illinois. “We applaud Gov. Quinn, the legislative leaders and the members of the Illinois General Assembly for their leadership in promoting broadband coverage and job creation in Illinois.

“Today's announcement ensures that more people in Illinois will have access to enhanced broadband technology, which is essential to expanding our 21st century economy,” said Gov. Quinn. “Illinois has created more new jobs than any other Midwestern state this year, and we'll continue putting people to work by encouraging new investment in the latest technologies.

Local legislators were essential in advancing the new telecom policy when it came to a vote in the General Assembly in May. AT&T recognized four local legislators for their support of the measure, State Sen. Dan Rutherford (D-Pontiac), State Rep. Shane Cultra (R – Onarga) and State Rep. Keith Sommer (R - Mackinaw).

Governor Quinn, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the four legislative leaders ― Senate President John J. Cullerton, House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, Senate Republican Leader Sen. Christine Radogno and House Republican Leader Rep. Tom Cross ― as well as every member of the General Assembly worked to enact the new telecom law and has created a positive economic environment to attract business and retain and grow jobs.

Public Act 96-0927, which updates Illinois’ 25-year-old telecommunications law, was sponsored by State Rep. Kevin McCarthy (D – Orland Park) and State Sen. Michael Bond (D – Grayslake) and co-sponsored by State Rep. Mike Bost (R ― Murphysboro) and State Sen. Randy Hultgren (R ― Winfield). The law, which passed the General Assembly unanimously, was crafted to attract private sector investment in new technologies by leveling the playing field for all telecommunications providers. Gov. Quinn signed the legislation into law on June 15.

“The most important issue for our state is creating an environment where we can keep and create jobs and get our economy moving forward again,” said State Sen. Dan Rutherford . “This new law promised to bring more investment in new telecommunications technologies to Illinois and this great news announcement today delivers on that promise. Mobile broadband helps create job opportunities across all areas of the Illinois economy ― from health care and education to transportation and public safety."

For more information about AT&T’s 3G coverage in Illinois or anywhere in the United States, consumers can visit http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer. The online tool can measure the quality of coverage based on a street address, intersection, ZIP code or even a landmark. For updates on the AT&T wireless network, please visit www.att.com/networknews

For more information, contact:
Eric Robinson
Wireless: 217-899-3434
E-mail: eric.robinson@att.com

Thursday, July 1, 2010

GLCEDC 1st Annual Golf Outing!

Please save the date and plan to join us at our 1st Annual Golf Outing teeing off on September 15. Information on sponsorship and registration will be in the mail in the coming weeks. This is an important fund raising event for our organization. You can always contact our office for more information on sponsorship by emailing: office@glcedc.org. We hope to have full participation of our members, so start putting together your foursome today!

Keep up-to-date on all GLCEDC activities through our website: www.glcedc.org

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Free Business Advising with SCORE

The GLCEDC will be hosting office hours with SCORE on Wednesday, June 23 from 9am - noon. Central Illinois SCORE is part of SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business," a national nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of the nation's small businesses.

Central Illinois SCORE provides free and confidential business advice and counseling tailored to meet the needs of your small business and your personal objectives. SCORE volunteers are real-world professionals with time-tested knowledge who donate thousands of hours to help small businesses succeed. Counselors are experts in such areas as accounting, finance, marketing, management and business plan preparation.

If you are a small business owner or thinking about starting a business in Livingston County and are interested in SCORE advising, please call our office 815-842-2900 or email amy@glcedc.org to set up an appointment for June 23. If you cannot make the June 23 date please let us know that you are interested and we'll work out additional dates. Also, please review the information entitled "Planning Your Session" on the SCORE website before your advising appointment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Small Business Tax News and Training Opportunities

The Illinois legislature recently passed and signed into law the Small Business Job Creation Tax Credit. This tax credit applies to businesses that employ 50 or less full-time employees as of June 30, 2010. If your business meets that qualification and creates a new, full-time position after July 1, 2010, which pays at least $25,000 annually, you business can receive a $2500 tax credit against withholding taxes beginning July 1, 2011. The credit is available on a first-come, first-serve basis through an online application that will launch July 1. Please follow this link for more information.

Also, the Illinois Department of Employment Security is offering workshops throughout the state in June, and August regarding Unemployment Insurance and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Please take advantage of these workshops if they apply to you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome and Cullom Community Market Opening

We would like to welcome all the new subscribers to our blog. We hope the information presented to you will be helpful and allow you to remain updated on activities involving the GLCEDC.

Members of the GLCEDC staff and executive committee recently joined the Village of Cullom to celebrate the grand opening of the Cullom Community Market. A large group of Cullom residents worked together for 2 years to open a grocery store in their small town. They formed a legal corporation, sold shares in the market, purchased a building, and spent many hours volunteering to get the building in shape for opening day.

The Cullom Community Market is a great example of the determination of small town residents and the GLCEDC is proud to assist in the purchase of the Cullom Community Market building. Through the GLCEDC Community Development Infrastructure Grant (CDIG) program, the GLCEDC contributed roughly $13,000 to the project. By supporting this project, and others like it, we are able to promote and provide meaningful economic development to the residents of rural Livingston county. Congratulations to the residents of Cullom for all their success!

The picture includes: Bill Fairfield, County Board Chairman, Vicki Allen, County Board Member, Marge Kross, Village of Cullom President, Larry Vaupel, GLCEDC CEO, Mike Stoecklin, GLCEDC Executive Committee Chairman

For more information on GLCEDC grants please visit the GLCEDC website.

*Picture provided by The Paper

Monday, April 26, 2010

Biz Ed Workshop Reminder

This is a reminder that the GLCEDC and Digital Network Support are sponsoring an Online Marketing workshop THIS Thursday, April 29 from 4:30 - 6pm at the Farm Bureau Building in Pontiac. The presenters will have helpful information on establishing a website, maintaining and monitoring a website, online advertisement, and social media. Presenters are representatives from Diaz Sign Art, Champion Fitness, Digital Network Support, and Pontiac RV. This workshop is FREE to all Livingston County residents.

Please RSVP to office@glcedc.org.

In case you need convincing, the business website Small Business Trends reports that 90% of Internet users search online for business in their area and 97% observe online media. There are several easy (and cheap!) ways to create more of an online presence. Many of these topics will be covered at our online marketing workshop. In the mean time, here are links to articles that you may find helpful:

Thinking of Starting a Blog? Tips to Help You Start, Maintain & Grow a Small Business Blog
Start an Online Business
Tips for Taking Your Business Online - Build It, Optimize It, Spread the Word
How Can Small Business Owners Learn Social Media?

Please feel free to leave comments about how you create more of an online presence for your business.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Healthcare Bill and Small Businesses

I recently ran across several articles that may help small business owners better understand how the Healthcare bill may affect their businesses.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) Implementation Timeline - The Healthcare bill involves taxes and obligations that will come in to effect over the next several years. This article provides a concise timeline of events. It is important to remember that the provisions passed on March 23, 2010 could change based on the Reconciliation Bill that is currently being considered by Congress.

Health Reform Bill: Provisions Applicable to Small Business
- This article provides information on the Healthcare bill's provisions that will directly affect small businesses. It also includes a lengthy quote from the Chairwoman of the Senate's Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

GLCEDC CEO Interview

Larry Vaupel, GLCEDC CEO, was recently interviewed by the Pontiac Daily Leader on a variety of different topics. Larry answered questions regarding the recovering economy, targeting growth industries, and current economic development activities going on in Livingston county. Please follow this link to the article.

“We are geared up to operate for the economy to improve slowly,” Larry Vaupel said. “We are assuming a slow recovery and are targeting industries that are growth industries. “

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pontiac RV in the News

GLCEDC member, Pontiac RV, was featured in a Pantagraph article today on successfully weathering the recession. The company has also expanded to include a retail parts and accessories store. Even with smaller sales, Pontiac RV was responsible for one of every 10 units sold in Illinois last year. Congratulations to the Kafer and Farrell families and the employees at Pontiac RV for all their success.

To read the full article, click here.

"We didn't know what was going to happen, and we took it day by day," Kent Kafer said. "One of the things we did was to take control over our inventory. We were never really concerned that we would close because it's a family-owned business and we don't live really high."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mike Stoecklin, Volunteer of the Year

GLCEDC Executive Committee Chairman, Mike Stoecklin was awarded the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award last week at the Chamber's annual banquet. Mike was honored for his work with the GLCEDC and other services to our community.

Please visit the Pontiac Daily Leader for more on this story.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Blogs for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

The blog world can be daunting. Who really has the time to sift through all of it? But taking a few minutes every couple of days to look through some helpful blogs could be useful for you. I've recently found three blogs that you may find useful if you run (or would like to run) a small business:

Small Business Trends One of the best features of this blog is the daily "Small Business News" article. The folks at Small Business Trends keep an eye on all of the other blogs and websites out there for business owners and summarizes the day's news, tips, and training opportunities. That way you don't have to go out searching for things.

Small Biz Survival This blog is specifically for small business owners in rural areas. The blog is run by a small business owner in Oklahoma. It is especially good for those in the tourism industry.

The Wall Street Journal: Small Business This site provides a lot of good national information for small business owners. It provides practical advice and case studies of small businesses. The current headline is "The Best Tax Breaks for Small Business" so be sure to check it out this month.

Lastly, one way that I keep track of the blogs and websites is to put them in my Google Reader account. All you need to do is set up a free account and google will walk you through the process. Another hint with google reader: you can add Google Alerts with your company's name to your Google Reader account. This will allow you to get all the information about what is being said about your business online.

I hope this was helpful! Please feel free to leave us a comment or send me an email (amy@glcedc.org) about what we could post that would be helpful to you. Also, don't forget to subscribe to this blog and updates will be sent to you directly.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

GLCEDC Brownfields Redevelopment Workshop

The GLCEDC, The Steveson Center at ISU, and The Farnsworth Group are hosting a workshop on how to redevelop contaminated parcels of land (Brownfields). The Pontiac Daily Leader highlighted the workshop this week. Please follow this link for more information on the Brownfields workshop.

Friday, February 12, 2010

GLCEDC in the News

County Board Chairman Bill Fairfield sat down to discuss the state of the county with The Daily Leader this week. Chairman Fairfield summarized the county's work with GLCEDC and highlighted the grant and loan programs as well as recruitment efforts in Dwight.

You can read the full text of the article online on The Daily Leader's E-Edition page.

"We have thus far invested $500,000 in the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Corporation (GLCEDC),”Fairfield said. “Of this amount the GLCEDC has given $13,000to the Cullom grocery store which has helped that community to once again have a grocery store."

Monday, February 8, 2010

GLCEDC in the News

The Pantagraph recently published an update on the county's efforts to assist Coils, Inc. in reopening their Dwight facility.

Please follow the link to read the article.

“These opportunities don’t come around very often, especially during the times we are in,” said Larry Vaupel, CEO of the Greater Livingston County Economic Development Council. “The county has lost over 1,000 jobs within the past couple of years, so this would aid us tremendously.”

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Info for the wanna-be entrepreneur

The University of Nebraska Extension has established a series of video podcasts for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The series is videoed and can be viewed here. Some of the videos are specific to the business environment in Nebraska, but many apply anywhere. Topics include:
  • Attracting venture capital
  • Making your small company appear big
  • Tips for hiring your first employee
  • Networking basics
  • Ag entrepreneurship

The following video is entitled "How to Become an Entrepreneur" and gives advice for those thinking about starting their own business. Follow the links for more video podcasts.

How To Become An Entrepreneur from NxBizSuccess on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Updates to the GLCEDC Business Assistance Page

I've recently added quite a bit of information to the Business Assistance page of the GLCEDC website. The information on this page is intended to help with the practical side of starting and running your business. Some of the information includes:

Information regarding financing, training, and additional resources are available on the For Entrepreneurs page of the GLCEDC website.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Available Classes at HCC Green Institute

The Green Institute at Heartland Community College sent us their Winter/Spring course offerings yesterday. The list of available courses is below. To register call 309-268-8160 or visit www.heartland.edu/communityed.

You may also be eligible for up to a 50% rebate of fees upon successful completion of the course. Call 309-268-8166 for more information.

More Discussion on High Speed Rails

The Daily Journal published an article in response to the announcement of $1.2 Billion federal dollars going towards high speed rail projects in Central Illinois. Both Larry Vaupel (GLCEDC CEO) and Kevin McNamara (Dwight Village Administrator and GLCEDC Executive Committee Member) were interviewed.

Please follow the link to read the article.

"People are spending three-and-a-half hours a day commuting. This could ultimately put Dwight 45 minutes from downtown" Vaupel said. "That would open up Dwight, Pontiac, Livingston County to others. People would be drawn to the quality of life we have here."

Friday, January 29, 2010

GLCEDC in Futures and Commodity Market News

GLCEDC was featured in the Futures and Commodity Market News this week in regards to the recovery zone bonds passed by the County Board.

The recovery zone bonds are a financing opportunity through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009. This bond program makes funding available for both public bodies and private businesses.

Follow the link for the full article.

High Speed Rail in Central Illinois

Several people in the past few days have asked us if we know anything about the high speed rail proposals in central Illinois. Yesterday President Obama announced that the State of Illinois will receive roughly $1.2 Billion for the rail corridor from St. Louis to Chicago.

The Pantagraph states that the Pontiac and Dwight stations will receive upgrades including air conditioning, parking, and lighted message boards and sections of track between Odell and Godfrey will be improved.

See The Pantagraph article for more information on this project.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Educational Opportunities This Winter

The following classes are available for all those running a small business or thinking of starting a small business. Many of these classes are free or charge a small fee.

ISU Small Business Development Center Seminar: Starting Your Business in Illinois

SCORE seminar: Mastering QuickBooks

Bradley University Turner Center for Entrepreneurship: variety of seminars for small
business owners or those thinking of starting a small business

Free Business Tax Seminars through the Illinois Department of Revenue

Please go to the GLCEDC Calendar page for more information and links to registration.

Monday, January 11, 2010

P.R.O.U.D. video

P.R.O.U.D. of Pontiac, IL recently released a video capturing the things they have been hard at work with over the past year. Congratulations to P.R.O.U.D. for all your success.

Friday, January 8, 2010

IRS Virtual Workshop: Small Businesses and Self Employed

The IRS has developed a virtual workshop for small business owners and self employed individuals. The virtual workshop includes 9 lessons that will help you navigate your complicated tax forms. Because it is a an virtual workshop, you can skip to the lessons that apply to you.

Follow the link to begin: www.tax.gov/virtualworkshop