Paul Marchese – Marchese & Sons, Inc.
For the first time since this company was started in 1969, we decided that there was a need for the corporate officers to take an active role in understanding standard bookkeeping principals and to grasp an understanding of the true nature of a balance sheet and operating under a budget. 2011 started with left over debt from 2010, along with personal loans from the principals. We also lost a line of credit, which was … closed by our bank due to the death of one of the cosigners. Having sought out a new line of credit, we discovered some weakness … in using receivables as collateral, forcing us to navigate 2011 without a line of credit. Having no formal bookkeeping or business sense other than just winging it, we decided to seek professional help. By chance, we discovered the offerings at ECC and the Small Business Development Center. After summoning up the courage to admit to having no knowledge in how to run a successful business, we made an appointment to meet with Sybil Ege. What a blessing this has been. We cannot tell you enough how encouraging and knowledgeable Sybil is. She has given us excellent tools to work with, and with her coaching, we feel the ship will be righted soon enough.
Paul Schifferer – Garage Door, Inc.
I was referred to The Small Business Development Center by another small business owner earlier this year. I would have never heard of their services otherwise. We, as small business owners, should be shouting from the rooftops to spread the word about this fantastic (and completely free) service. Not only did Sybil meet me at my office and complete an extremely comprehensive assessment of my business, but then continued with helping me develop and understand a budget. The SBDC also helped me develop marketing plans as well as company policies and procedures. We have met many times and I leave every meeting feeling positive and with more ideas. Thank you Sybil for being an outstanding mentor and friend and I look forward to our next meeting!
Deb Lawrence – Informed Beginnings
I knew about the Small Business Development Center at ECC and had a one-time consultation several years ago about my sole proprietorship business. Early in 2011 a group of excellent childbirth educators were brought together with a plan for a new childbirth education organization. By the spring we had decided to form a cooperative but we still needed to determine what was involved in that process. We began working on some basic needs of developing this organization. By the fall I realized that, although we were good educators, someone needed to learn about business if we were going to succeed. I chose to take on that role.
I was fortunate to meet with Sybil Ege. I essentially brought in a big To Do list of items we had thought about and was looking for advice on the other things that needed to be added to the list. Sybil helped me to see that a proper business plan would give us focus and direction. She helped me to organize my thoughts and perspective about the steps still needed to get the business launched. I can vouch for the fact that the SBDC can take a very green business person and set her on the right path. We have a great set of skills on our Steering Committee and have been able to work together to make this organization a reality.
I have also taken advantage of the numerous seminars and workshops that are offered by the SBDC and ECC. I have recently begun attending SCORE workshops and seminars. I am learning as much as I can about business and have found that there are helpful and economical ways to do that thanks to the SBDC.
Lisa Stewart – Nutrition Care Systems
Working with Sybil Ege of the ISBDC over the past several months has proved very beneficial. Not only has she been able to advise and direct us on issues we identified as needing attention, but also has shed light on other areas of operations that could benefit from additional focus and improvement. Her advice ranges from corporate vision, strategy and implementation to personal support and encouragement through the various challenges of entrepreneurship. Although working with the ISBDC during the early stages of NCS would have been advantageous, we find it just as beneficial to work together now – 18 years later – as we navigate through this next phase of mature growth and renewal. Many thanks to the ISBDC for sharing such valuable experience and direction!
Dr. John Schori - Renewed Balance Health and Wellness Center
Working with the SBDC has been a great experience! Their friendly staff, helpful resources, and knowledgeable guidance have been a vital part in starting my new business.
Terry and Nancy Shaffer – T-Dogs BBQ, Inc.
As a second career for both of them, Terry and Nancy Shaffer decided to start a BBQ business. Terry took classes at ECC to learn about food handling and Nancy attended one of the ISBDC’s Start Your Business in Illinois classes. The Shaffers explain “through the guidance of Kris Knowles, we incorporated, beginning our mobile catering business. The first summer we did a few backyard barbeques and pig roasts. The second season we quadrupled our income by expanding to include local festivals. The learning curve has been steep. As we came into our third season, we were confused about which direction to go to continue to grow our business so we returned to the ISBDC at ECC. Sybil Ege has counseled us, asking questions and offering processes that have helped bring us the clarity we needed to make decisions. Goal strategies seem to be an effective step to take us to our next level. This season we hope to double the number of festivals we participate in, also doubling our income. We appreciate the support we have received at the business center.”