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Small Business Development Center ( 2012 Report to the Community )

growing businesses. creating jobs. energizing our economy.

( About the Small Business Development Center ) Serving the four-county area of Winnebago, Ogle, Stephenson, and Boone counties, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Rock Valley College provides a centralized resource for business development and creation. We leverage a large network of resources to ensure the success of existing and start-up businesses that create jobs and grow our region’s


economy. No matter the size or industry of a business, the SBDC network provides valuable guidance on key business functions to ensure success, including: Legal Structure, Market Research, Sales/ Marketing, Human Resources, Operations, Patents, Accounting/Finance, Licensing, Commercialization, and Business Planning.

( A Message from the Director )

Welcome to the first report of the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Rock Valley College! In the short year I’ve had the privilege of leading this organization, it’s been energizing to witness the talents and passion demonstrated by the businesses we serve. With our region’s strong presence of advanced manufacturing, we were pleased to be named one of five (out of 35) SBDCs to receive funding from the state of Illinois to support technology-driven business growth. The funding has made it possible for us to expand our services to work with technology-based companies, and to include expertise on intellectual property, product development, and patents.

To increase our impact in the community, the SBDC has worked to develop and strengthen strategic alliances with the following organizations that share common goals: • EIGERlab • City of Rockford • Rockford Area Economic Development Council • Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) • Rockford Chamber of Commerce • SCORE • Local Lenders Historically the SBDC has focused its efforts on supporting business in Winnebago County. In 2013, we plan to improve our outreach to Boone, Ogle, and Stephenson Counties. The resulting relationships will provide a broader network of alliances that will benefit the entire region. According to research from the Edward Lowe Foundation, existing companies create 70 percent more jobs than startup

businesses. With this in mind, in 2012 the SBDC spent 51 percent (increased from 30 percent in 2011) of our time working with existing companies with a focus on growth and job creation. As you can see throughout this report, we now have programs to strengthen existing businesses and programs to assist new business. I see the future as being more creative, innovative, independent, and customized than it is today. American anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” At the SBDC, we know this to be true–because we work with entrepreneurs who do it every day.

Brian McIntyre, Director Small Business Development Center at Rock Valley College

( Our Results and Value to Your Community ) 2012 was one of the best years your center has ever had in providing value to our community. Our key performances indicators are set by the Small Business

Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The most important metrics are shown in the chart below:

Consultation Total Number of Clients Advised


Total Client Hours


Total Number of New Clients Advised


% of In Business Clients


Number of Women Clients Advised


Number of Minority Clients Advised


Number of Hispanic Clients Advised


Economic Impact Number of Jobs Created


Number of Jobs Retained


Number of Business Starts


Number of Business Expansions


Total Dollar Amount of Financing


Management Training Total Training Units


Total Training Attendees


Small Business Development is a critical part of each and every community in our country. It is doubly important in areas that have high unemployment. The Rockford area has the dubious distinction of having double digit unemployment for the past 48 months – a period of four consecutive years. As you can see from the chart, your SBDC in the Rockford Region is working diligently to end that streak by: • helping create and retain jobs, (182 total) • helping small businesses obtain the capital they need (almost $1.2 Million) • spreading the word to as many as we can (advised over 210 clients)



( Strengthening Existing Business ) Why does the SBDC focus on existing businesses? In any given year­–according to the Kauffman Foundation Research Series on Firm Formation and Economic Growth– the top performing firms generate roughly 40 percent of all new jobs. The “average” firm in the top one percent contributes 88 jobs per year, and most of these firms typically employ between 20 and 249 employees. The average firm in the economy as a whole, on the other hand, adds two or three net new jobs each year. The SBDC is committed to working with existing business owners and managers to put more of our region’s companies in the “gazelle” (high growth) arena. With that in mind, one of the services we offer is called The CTEAM.

Rapid Growth Assistance Via the CTEAM The leaders of rapidly growing businesses and high-potential start-ups often have management teams and advisory boards that are made up of just one or two people. Their vision and growth is often limited by their own individual experience. Candidates for the CTEAM include: • rapidly growing, existing businesses • businesses with an entrepreneur/owner who is doing everything • businesses that need to hire a management team • businesses that have capability to grow even more

The CTEAM partners with these businesses to develop new products, launch new divisions, resolve operational issues, or simply grow their business. The CTEAM is comprised of a group of select community professionals who volunteer their time to support and advance businesses in the region. These professionals have owned managed, bought and/or sold a variety of businesses and provide solid expertise. We expect businesses to experience exponential growth when partnering with the CTEAM, and most of the presenters have done just that.

“I’m really excited with TL’s potential for growth, and would highly recommend that any company owners who are forecasting rapid growth contact the group of professionals at the EIGERlab and the SBDC. They assisted us with stepping outside the day-to-day execution of our business to regain our focus in terms of implementing our short-term and long-term plans.” — Patti T., Thayer Lighting

( Strengthening Existing Business ) Workshops for Existing Companies

Kauffman FastTrac® Listening to Your Business™ Workshop

Most business owners start out with a great idea and after a year or two they find it takes much more than an idea to run a profitable business. To help bridge the gap, the SBDC provides workshops that enable business leaders to ask specific questions about their business; and to work with our experts and their peers to discover innovative solutions. We encourage business owners to take more time to work on their business instead of working in their business. The following programs are designed around that concept.

This workshop encourages participants to learn by doing. Workshop leaders are experienced entrepreneurs and talented facilitators. They guide business leaders through a process of reflection, vision, and planning that motivates participants and results in a three-year plan with action steps to achieve their personal and professional goals. In this workshop, business owners and managers will have the opportunity to: • examine their business today– including its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities • visualize their business three years from now • formulate an internal planning process to establish interim goals and strategies • identify resources to assist in reaching business goals • examine and respond to challenges and transitions

“I knew I needed to get out of the day-today of my business and take time to work on my business. I found “Listening to Your Business” was exactly what I needed to develop action steps to improve not just my business, but myself as well.” — J. Keyes, Keyes to Serenity

Profit Mastery – Knowledge-Driven, Financial Performance Workshop The greatest knowledge gap for many business owners is finance. The Profit Mastery Workshop provides a set of tools that enable business owners and managers to thoroughly understand the fiscal state of their organization. The material is practical, the delivery is dynamic, and the practice is hands on. The following areas are covered in detail in the Profit Mastery program. • Plan Properly • Monitor Financial Position • Understand Price, Volume, Cost • Manage Cash Flow • Manage Growth • Finance Properly • Plan for Transition

“We needed to look at our financials in a different way. Profit Mastery is an EXCELLENT way to better understand how our business decisions affect us financially. We were able to get an industry comparison just a day after completing the course. Needless to say, in most areas we are strong but we know the areas where we need to improve. I strongly recommend this program to any business owner who wants to improve financial performance.” — Jack R., Innovatech


( Assisting New Businesses and Start-Ups ) The Case for Entrepreneurship (data provided by Kauffman Foundation) • Since 1980, all net new jobs have been created by startups less than five years old. • More than half of 2009’s Fortune 500 companies launched in a recession or bear market. • In 2011, the pace of business startups reached its highest level in 16 years. • Approximately 600,000 new firms form monthly.

Workshops for New Business I Start-ups Assisting Start-Ups is at the core of what we do at the SBDC. Our workshops help our clients determine if they are ready to start a business and if so, we help them begin the process.

Starting a Business in Illinois (soon to be online training) Having an idea to start a business is the easy part. Gaining the knowledge to become a successful entrepreneur is a challenging path to pursue. The SBDC offers this course to arm entrepreneurs with an overview of the knowledge and skills needed before jumping into the life of an entrepreneur.

Self-Employment Training A business plan is just the first of many documents created when starting a business. However, the business plan is the key to getting started and the road map for implementation. The SBDC offers self-employment training to get started on the right foot and learn in depth the many skills necessary to be a business owner. We offer a diverse selection of training for companies in the areas below: • Manufacturing • Service and Storefront • Spanish Speaking

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

( Partners of the Small Business Development Center ) The EIGERlab is Northern Illinois’ comprehensive resource where entrepreneurs and inventors collaborate with pioneering leaders to incubate and accelerate businesses. Focused on increasing jobs and creating wealth in the region, EIGERlab provides the following resources: • Incubation • Acceleration • Center for Product Development • TechWorks Training Center • Center for International Soft Landings The EIGERlab assists the SBDC by providing space, clients, and product development resources.

Accion is a not-for-profit small business lender dedicated to providing financing and business education to small businesses. Accion assists the SBDC in bridging the

gap between capital that the entrepreneur needs and a lender’s ability to loan. Accion offers loans of up to $20,000 for start-up businesses and up to $50,000 for established businesses, as well as Credit Builder loans between $500 and $2,500. The SBDC is a partner with Accion and is authorized to close loans at our local office.

As the world’s largest independent publisher of U.S. industry research, IBISWorld’s team of expert analysts covers 700 different market segments. Each industry report is presented in an objective, easy-to-understand format, providing hard-to-find answers to top market research questions. Over 500 different industry reports are available free of charge from the SBDC. IBISWorld assists SBDC clients by quickly providing needed industry overviews.

The International Trade Center (ITC) takes the work out of locating sources for international trade information. They also assist Rockford Area businesses and SBDC clients evaluate their export potential/readiness, pursue trade opportunities, and achieve international business objectives.

The Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Rock Valley College (PTAC) is designed to improve the local economy by assisting small business and organizations in obtaining and performing under federal, state, and local government opportunities. The government market-place poses unique challenges that overwhelm a small business or nonprofit that does not have the proper resources or trained staff to pursue government contracting or grants.

( Resources for Both Existing Business and Start Ups ) Individual Counseling

The Growth Wheel

Our SBDC counselors have over 140 combined years of hands-on small business experience – meaning we have experienced many small business challenges in the areas below. Individual counseling allows us to learn about a business’ challenges and make connections to the right resources to get started.

GrowthWheel® is a tool for decision making in start-up and growth stage companies. It helps entrepreneurs and advisors get focused, set agendas, and take the next step. The GrowthWheel® toolkit consists of easy-to-use tools that deal with real-life challenges for entrepreneurs.

QuickBooks QuickBooks is a powerful financial management software program for small business. Rock Valley College and the SBDC offer two levels of courses to train owners and managers to use the software properly. Level One topics include: plan and create a new company, work with opening balances and balance sheet reports, work with customer and vendor transactions, and bank with QuickBooks. Level Two topics include: inventory, payroll, job costing, time tracking, designating classes, reports, graphs and balance sheet accounts.

GrowthWheel® was designed around the observation that all businesses – in all industries and life stages – have four lasting challenges in common: • create an attractive business concept • build a strong organization behind it • develop lasting customer relations • maintain profitable operations

“Thanks again for the GrowthWheel. Most practical/valuable analysis I’ve taken in years; immediate applications.“ — Brian McMahon, Former Director of Finance, Metro Centre



We are proud of our accomplishments in 2012. However, our expectations for 2013 are even higher. Thank you for your support.

The Illinois SBDC at Rock Valley College is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Rock Valley College.

Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Rock Valley College EIGERlab, 605 Fulton Ave., Rockford, IL 61103 815-921-2081 Brian McIntyre, SBDC Director Cari Fuller, SBDC Administrative Assistant

SBDC Annual Report 2013  

2013 annual report for the Small Business Development Center at Rock Valley College.

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