All posts by SmallBusinessAdvocacyCouncil

5 Signs That you Need a Custom Web Application

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5 Signs That you Need a Custom Web Application
Contributed By: MXOtech, INC

Data is power – and in order to use your data to the fullest, you might need custom web applications.

Building a custom web app from scratch is a big commitment, but it’s one that can pay huge dividends to small- and medium-sized businesses in competitive markets. If you’re unsure about investing in a custom web app for your business, here are five telltale signs that you should.

  1. Data management is becoming an issue

As your business grows, more data rolls in, requiring advanced systems that are capable of managing thousands of files full of information. Custom web apps not only host your files, but they also use intelligent algorithms to organize them so they are easy to access, share, and collaborate on.

  1. You aren’t making the most of your data

Data management systems that organize and tabulate are great, but if you’re growing fast, adding customers, hiring employees, and expanding your products and services, you’ll need something more robust than a spreadsheet. You’ll need something that delivers insights on all that new information and provides solutions to intelligence gathering and security issues.

  1. There is a security threat to your data

Intelligent use of your data is almost certain to lead to increased revenue. So you need to guard your files at all times, and keep in mind that even if you are a small business, you can fall victim to hackers.

Any entity can be the target of hi-tech hacking, but most sensitive information can be protected if contained on a custom web app.

  1. Users have limited access

Limited employee access to data can decrease productivity and profitability. As long as users have internet connection and authorized login credentials, they’ll be able to access data wherever they are at any time of day, on any mobile device.

  1. You’re looking for ways to save

Building your own app has several cost-cutting opportunities. Regardless of how creative you get with app design, you’ll enjoy lower IT costs, since maintaining custom web apps remotely is relatively cheaper than an in-house IT staff maintaining an offline database.

MXOtech is a technology consulting company that delivers Managed IT Services, Custom Web Application Development and System Integrations. Started in 2005, and built on the core values of clarity, inspiration, trust and accountability, MXOtech works every day to help their clients use technology to grow their businesses. To learn more, contact Jennifer Kurland at

Venture Pitch Session Companies Selected!

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The upcoming SBAC & MB Financial Bank Small Business Conference will feature the Venture Pitch Session highlighting three companies in growth mode, who will compete for almost $4000 in cash and prizes – thanks to UPS, MB Financial Bank, Pasquesi Partners, Open One Solutions and WeWork!

Learn about top up and coming companies in Chicagoland and hear from our expert panel of judges – and perhaps learn some tips for your own business!

The three presenting companies are:

Gather Voices: a Chicago-based software company that helps businesses, nonprofits and associations dramatically increase their digital engagement through video. The GV-One platform from Gather Voices makes it easy to collect, edit and publish videos from customers, donors, members, alumni and other stakeholders.

Paycove: a software that allows users to create custom quotes and invoices in seconds directly from their current CRM. Paycove users can integrate their existing CRM system to create quotes and invoices and payments while simultaneously updating their CRM in real time when a quotes been created/accepted or an invoice has been paid.

Spotivity: a dynamic and interactive search, mapping, and education app that helps enable users (kids and/or parents) make the best decisions about how to use time outside of school hours.

Register today!

SBAC Members Make Their Voices Heard

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This week the SBAC teamed up with the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce to host a legislative breakfast. The event featured elected officials from around the region and after introductory remarks by SBAC CEO, Scott Baskin, about 60 small business owners had the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Questions focused on economic development, taxes, and what is being done to stop residents and small businesses from leaving the state.

The Daily Southtown was on hand and reported on the details of the event. To read the full article, which includes a plug for the SBAC’s successful efforts to lower LLC fees in Illinois – click here.

Special thanks to Sue Harrawood and Linda Ehlers for all of their efforts in the Chicago Southland region on behalf of the SBAC!


SBAC’s Premier Small Business Conference is Back!

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Join us on October 25th to connect with a community dedicated to helping small businesses start, stay and succeed in Illinois!

The SBAC & MB Financial Bank Small Business Conference features breakfast, open networking, a keynote discussion and the return of the Venture Pitch Session. Click here to register today!

We all know about the challenges small businesses face in Illinois, but this event will provide an opportunity to see the positive forces at work to stimulate economic growth and innovation in our state. Register today for a no-spin conversation with Mark Peterson, the CEO of Intersect Illinois, the lead economic development office for the state.

This event will also feature the Venture Pitch Session highlighting three companies in growth mode, who will compete for over $2000 in cash and prizes – thanks to UPS, MB Financial Bank and WeWork! Learn about top up and coming companies in Chicagoland and hear from our expert panel of judges – and perhaps learn some tips for your own business!


Chicago Business Owners Can Now Pre-Pay Some Fines

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The city of Chicago announced that it will allow business owners to pre-pay fines for certain municipal violations, instead of requiring them to hire lawyers and go through the city’s administrative hearing process. The SBAC and a robust coalition worked with the city to develop this pilot program. This initiative is a big win for Chicago businesses, and we look forward to continuing the effort expand the number of violations that can be resolved without an administrative hearing. Please see additional information in our press release below.


Get the most bang for your buck!

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Looking for ways to save on your business expenses? SBAC Members get access to awesome deals and the opportunity to find new business. Check out the SBAC Marketplace today!

Are you interested in offering a discount of your own? Increase your exposure and gain new clients by offering great deals to your fellow SBAC members. Contact Kim Brisky at to promote a Marketplace offer today!



National Voter Registration Day!

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National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday celebrating our democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. Held on the fourth Tuesday of September, National Voter Registration Day will be observed on Tuesday, September 25th this year.

The 2018 general election is just 6 weeks away — and those voting by mail will start receiving their ballots as early as this weekend! Are you registered? Do you have questions on when/where to vote? Check out the Illinois State Board of Elections website, your county clerk site or reach out to Kim Brisky on the SBAC staff at for more information.

SBAC Speaks at Public Roundtable on Occupational Licensing

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The SBAC represented the Illinois small business community at a joint event hosted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Governors Association and the Council of State Governments. This event, moderated by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, focused on current state policy and practices surrounding occupational licensing.

IDFPR licenses and regulates over 1 million professionals and firms in Illinois including a variety of healthcare related professions such as doctors, nurses, and veterinarian, as well as a variety of occupational professions such as CPAs, barbers, engineers, and detectives.

At the hearing, SBAC member, Paul Detlefs of The Prestwick Group, spoke on the impact of occupational licensing on small businesses. Streamlining, simplifying and clarifying the occupational licensing process, while be responsive to public safety concerns, is a critical issue the SBAC will focus on as part of the 2019 advocacy agenda.

Sales Tax Guidance for Out-of State Sellers

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This week the Illinois Department of Revenue posted resources for remote (out-of-state) sellers regarding the required collection and remittance of Illinois sales tax beginning October 1, 2018.

Since the Quill v. North Dakota decision in 1992, states did not have the authority to collect sales tax from out-of-state businesses unless the company had a physical location (i.e. store/warehouse) within in the state. This summer the Supreme Court ruling on the Wayfair v. South Dakota case, opened the door for states to collect sales tax on out of state businesses, widening the definition for what is considered having a physical presence with in a state.

In preparation for the decision, Illinois legislators included a section dealing with this issue in the 2018 Budget Implementation Bill (PA 100-0587), which was signed into law on June 4. 2018. This language defines businesses doing “over $100,000 of business or over 200 transactions in Illinois annually as maintaining a pace of business in the state, and therefore requires those businesses to collect and remit sales tax to the state.”

For brick and mortar businesses in Illinois, this levels the playing field, allowing them to compete with online vendors who previously sold products without subjecting their consumers to sales tax. This will create an estimated $200 million in additional revenue for Illinois without creating any new taxes.

Please see the IDOR press release below and visit the online resources here.


Pitch Session Application Deadline is Friday 9/28

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Deadline to Apply – September 28th 5:00 PM!

We are seeking aspiring Chicagoland entrepreneurs and companies in growth mode to showcase their businesses and receive feedback from expert judges in front of a live audience. Applicants range from those seeking exposure, to capital, and/or guidance on their business.

This event will be featured at the upcoming SBAC & MB Financial Bank Small Business Conference, where over 100 business owners will meet to address key issues facing entrepreneurs and the small business community. The conference includes breakfast, networking, a keynote speaker and the pitch presentations. The winner will be chosen live and receive a prize package valued at over $2000 –  sponsored by UPS, WeWork, MB Financial & SBAC!

Only 3 applicants will be selected as finalists to pitch at the SBAC Venture Pitch Session, so submit your application today!


Special thanks to our expert panel of judges: