This overview is a summary of the discussions that occurred during April, 2013, at mini meetings and a monthly luncheon. Full participation and member engagement further the SBAC’s goal to transform a desire for improvement in the business climate into reality. Add your voice to the conversation.
Accessing Educational Opportunities â€“ Northbrook â€“ 4/8
Dialogue centered around the necessity to stay current in any industry. Conferences, webinars and professional study groups were all popular methods to receive additional training. Changes in government regulations and new technology often created the need for further instruction.
Mission and Growth of the SBAC â€“ Niles â€“ 4/15
Advocacy, education and networking opportunities for small businesses define the SBAC’s mission. Since inception about three years ago, the organization has acquired over 700 members.
Members shared their impressions of the sold out gala held April 11th attended by 230 guests. The Advocacy Dinner & Awards Ceremony honored Steve Jaffe as Advocate of the Year. Strategic Partners that share revenue in support of the Council’s efforts were given special mention. All members who gave their time and talent were thanked for their efforts.
Inviting guests to a mini meeting is an excellent way for the SBAC to expand as well as add depth and variety to the businesses represented as members. Focus groups and peer advisories are forming to gather input from the membership regarding a strategic plan for the next 12 months.
Protection From Cyber Crime – Lake Bluff â€“ 4/16
Use good business practices daily and stay up-to-date with data protection. Create strong passwords and perform periodic security reviews. Should a breach occur, have an incidence plan in place along with an action team ready to take corrective measures. Formulate company policies and educate your staff. Be cautious when using an open network in a public place. Safeguard your business’ funds by partnering with an experienced banker. Work with a banker who understands the needs of small businesses and can offer financial solutions.
Four Advocacy Issues Before the State Legislature Supported by SBAC â€“ Northbrook – 4/17, 4/19, 4/24
These topics were the focus of recurring discussions in mini meetings before the April 30th trip to Springfield. Members wanted to know what developments had occurred in the legislature with these matters.
- LLC Filing Fee Reduction – the measure has bi-partisan support and a sponsor in the state senate. The aim is to lower fees by 50% to be more in alignment with fees charged in neighboring states for similar services. Lost revenue could be easily recouped by the state through other means. The end result would be a more business friendly Illinois.
- EDGE Tax Credits – more definition on eligibility and how credits are awarded is necessary. Currently unavailable to small businesses because of high infrastructure investment requirements, the SBAC would like to form a board to explore options. There is a need for accountability and transparency on how funds are awarded.
- Unemployment Insurance Fees – secure a seat at the table to be a part of the discussion for reform. The SBAC would like payments to be spread over four quarters to be more manageable.
- Pension Reform – an ongoing issue requiring reform. Costs are depleting the state’s resources. Constitutional reform is crucial and steps must be taken to implement a workable plan.
Advocacy – Blanca Campos â€“ Northbrook â€“ 4/17
Attendees were asked: “What does advocacy mean to you?” plus “What role can you play and what are the benefits of participation?”
Blanca shared some insight about work on the Four Advocacy Issues, above. She mentioned how we are a non-partisan body seeking bi-partisan support from politicians to address our concerns. This sparked additional dialog from the group. Key phrases became a theme. A common thread was the unique qualities of the SBAC itself. The Council has encouraged people to get involved and form a coalition to speak with one voice. We have legislators’ attention. Advocacy for a common issue makes the SBAC different than a chamber of commerce. Members are helpful and are building a community. Encourage a guest to visit a mini meeting so they can experience the synergy.
Advocacy – Elliot Richardson â€“ Northbrook â€“ 4/19
Advocacy is member driven. When the SBAC was formed approximately three years ago, small businesses were seeking access to capital and affordable health insurance choices. This has been achieved. Now, 23 banks are SBAC members actively making loans to small businesses. Health insurance co-ops are in formation.
Looking ahead, members are encouraged to bring any issue forward for discussion and review. Collaboration and communication will move a proposal from an idea to reality.
Growth is consistent at the SBAC. The projection is to have 1,000 members by year end 2013.
4/24 Advocacy – Amy Masters – Northbrook
Contact your state legislator about the four topics supported by the SBAC. Using company letterhead has the most impact. The more vocal we are, the more attention we will receive as a voting group.
Inviting a politician to speak at a mini meeting is possible. This could be done in conjunction with a chamber of commerce.
The Lake County Chapter has been in existence about one year. There has been significant overlap with the Northshore Chapter. As the SBAC continues to grow, members are invited to speak up, accept a role by stepping up and contributing your skills to improve conditions for small business owners in Illinois.
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