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Small Business Has Big Impact on U.S. Economy

Did you know that 99% of all independent businesses in the U.S. employ fewer than 500 people? This means that small business technically dominates the U. S. market, accounting for 52% of all workers. Here are a few more numbers from the Small Business Administration:

  • The 28 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales.
  • Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
  • The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.

Furthermore, the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been "downsizing", the rate of small business "start-ups" has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.

  • The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49% since 1982.
  • Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses created 8 million new jobs.

One of the reasons small businesses do so well in the United States economy is agility—their readiness to respond quickly to economic pressures and local community needs. Small businesses are also innovative compared to major corporations, though some of the tech industry's biggest corporations started out as “hobby” projects and sole proprietorships. In general, entrepreneurship provides and easier entry point into the economy, particularly for those facing disadvantages in the workforce, namely women and minorities. Building a business has always been part of the American dream.
New entrepreneurs thinking about the possibility of starting up should consider taking advantage of the many workshops, learning opportunities and resources available at NaperLaunch. NaperLaunch is a business startup center and coworking space at the Nichols Library in downtown Naperville. Find out more about NaperLaunch programs.

Posted: 
Monday, July 3, 2017 - 10:30am

Top 10 Small Business Administration (SBA) Articles for 2016

The results are in!  The Small Business Administration (SBA) website has reviewed their blogs and tallied up the most frequently viewed articles of 2016.  Presenting a wealth of information, these articles cover topics such as marketing, cash management, taxes and business start-up. 

One piece on marketing, for instance, describes the essential components of a solid marketing plan, while another gives tips on identifying the appropriate target market for a product or service. The cash management article suggests ways to create a simple but usable spreadsheet for cash flow forecasting.  All of the articles are well worth reading, as might be expected based on their high viewership, and live up to the SBA’s reputation as a trusted site for business information.

For business owners and managers with a particular interest in financial management of a business, please consider attending the Naperville Public Library’s free program on financial statement analysis. Scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 19th in the Nichols Library Community Room, the program will cover the use of financial statement analysis to understand the sales cycle and its impact on cash flow, how to manage fixed and variable expenses to handle cash flow and how to build sales forecasts, manage inventory and prepare for the financial support of growth.  Registration is not required.

Posted: 
Monday, June 5, 2017 - 2:45pm

Increase Your Financial Intelligence during Money Smart Week 2017

April is Financial Literacy Month, and unfortunately studies show how poorly-informed Americans are when it comes to managing their money.

In 2002, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago created Money Smart Week, a public awareness and educational campaign to help consumers better manage their personal finances. With the collaboration and coordinated efforts of many organizations (including businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, not-for-profits, government agencies and the media), it sponsors classes and seminars throughout the Chicago area. Programs cover all facets of personal finance, such as saving money, using credit wisely, saving for college, managing student debt and financing retirement.

Naperville Public Library has been a Money Smart Week partner for more than five years. This year the Library will be hosting four programs on April 24 through April 27:

Making the Most of Social Security will be presented in the NaperLaunch facility at Nichols Library on Monday, April 24 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

Building Personal Credit will be presented in the NaperLaunch facility at Nichols on Tuesday, April 25 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

What to Do When the Paychecks Stop will be presented in the Nichols Community Room on Wednesday, April 26 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

The ABCs of Home Buying will be presented in the Nichols Community Room on Thursday, April 27 from 6:30-8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

You can find a complete schedule of Money Smart Week events in the Chicagoland area by clicking here.

Posted: 
Friday, April 14, 2017 - 9:30am

Mastering Effective Business Communication Skills

Most business people find the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of formats and to a variety of audiences to be a tremendous asset.  Modes of communication typically encompass writing, reading, speaking and listening, while the target of these efforts might include customers, staff, colleagues, bankers, accountants and more.  Regardless of the specific situations in which they are used, there are a number of general communication skills highlighted in this article from Entrepreneur magazine which can be of great value.  These include:

  • listening deeply:  many of us fail miserably at this!
  • interpreting non-verbal cues:  one study cited in the article estimated that more than half of the meaning contained in face-to-face communications is non-verbal.
  • managing expectations:  being clear about results and timeframes is preferable to promising more than can be delivered.
  • providing productive pushback:  communicating skillfully under pressure can minimize conflicts.
  • being concise:  this helps the time challenges of the entrepreneur as well as those of the audience.
  • confidently stating value and differentiation:   these are essential components of building a brand.
  • knowing your why:  don’t limit the focus of communications to how masterfully something is stated; be sure to know the reason why it’s being communicated and the desired result.

For more details, take a look at the full article or at some of the business communication resources at the Naperville Public Library.

Posted: 
Monday, March 13, 2017 - 9:00am

Career Guidance at the Library

Students of all levels who are exploring careers, first time job seekers, and experienced employees contemplating switching jobs or a second career—all will find the information resources they need with Ferguson’s Career Guidance Center, one of Naperville Public Library’s online resources.

This comprehensive career research resource is organized into three main sections.

  • Industries and Careers: Covers 94 different industries and career fields and thousands of professions with detailed profiles.
  • Plan Your Education: Helps students find schools that are the best fit, including undergraduate, graduate, vocational or technical schools in the U.S. and Canada. An advanced search option allows you to filter your list by location, tuition, areas of study, campus housing and other characteristics. An extensive collection of financial aid directories is offered. College data is provided by Peterson’s.
  • Launch Your Career: Provides expert advice on writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing skills, finding apprenticeships and internships, business etiquette and other workplace skills. Various resume and cover letter templates are available for download. There are links to live job and internship postings through a partnership with the job aggregator indeed.com.

Convenient listings make it easy to zero in on the fastest-growing, highest-paying, and most in-demand jobs. There is a career advice blog with an archive of over 2,000 posts, with up-to-date content on networking, managing your online presence, and using social media in your job search. Additional features include a career interest assessment, a video library of interviews with professionals working in various fields, and a list of tips for graduates on “soft skills” provided by career expert Sue Morem.

Ferguson’s presents in-depth information in a straightforward manner. You can browse or take advantage of the site’s basic or advanced search options. Articles can be printed, emailed or saved to a folder (with a personal account). All videos are mobile friendly. Explore this comprehensive resource.

Posted: 
Monday, February 20, 2017 - 9:30am