Showing posts from June, 2020

Pekin Community Bank's Andy Sparks to Retire

After 45 years of banking, Andrew J. Sparks will be retiring on June 30, 2020. Andy will still be associated with the bank in a capacity to assist others with his past clients as needed.  Andy has been a banker in Pekin for 33 years and the last 15 years with Morton Community Bank. His latest title held was Executive Vice President where he managed the Pekin Location and served on various committees in the bank including the Executive Loan Committee, Board Appointed Loan Committee, and Asset and Liability Management Committee.  Andy was involved in many community boards during his tenure in banking. Those included past President of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce, The Dirksen Congressional Board of Trustees, The Pekin Hospital Board of Trustees as Chairman, The Economic Development Advisory Committee at the City of Pekin as Chairman, Rotary International. Andy and his wife Trina plan to travel and play golf, and visit family in retirement.  On behalf of the Pekin busi

Your Employment, HR and Re-opening Questions Answered

The Illinois Small Business Development Center and Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, at Bradley University, have partnered with local attorneys from Miller, Hall and Triggs LLC to provide answers to your troublesome questions. During this live conversation webinar, our team will address questions you have regarding HR and employment law during the COVID-19 pandemic. Questions Covered: ·      What COVID-19 related laws should I worry about? ·      What is the difference between layoff and furlough? ·      Can I legally take each employee's and customer's temperature? ·      If someone has a fever, can I ask them to leave/not enter? ·      Can I require employees and customers to wear a mask? ·      Legally, can I require employees to be tested or obtain documentation from their doctor that they are permitted to work? Present

Ameren Grant Offer Expires June 30th

Ameren Illinois Offers Hardship Grants up to $500 to Small Businesses and Non-profit Organizations Until JUNE 30th Ameren Illinois announced that funding is available for small businesses and non-profits that have fallen behind on their electric bills. Under the company's COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery Program, one-time grants of up to $500 will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until June 30, or until the funds are exhausted. "This has been a challenging time for many small businesses and non-profits that have experienced economic hardship due to COVID-19," said Richard J. Mark, chairman and president of Ameren Illinois. "As these organizations begin to re-establish their operations, it's my hope that this funding will help them along the road to recovery." To be considered, businesses must have an active, non-residential account, 50 or fewer full-time employees, and a principal office in Illinois. Eligibile businesses may inc

6 Ways to Improve Customer Trust

People buy from those they know, like, and trust. “Knowing” comes from marketing and advertising. “Like” is cultivated by showing potential customers your human and endearing side. But how in the world do you help someone with minimal interaction with you and your business, trust you? It’s not as hard as you may think.   1.      Be Transparent in Your Copy Stay away from extreme superlatives—biggest, cheapest, most awesome ever. These claims make you sound like a disputable business and often are hard to believe. If you want to make an “-est” claim because you truly believe it, consider a guarantee to back up your word such as “cheapest price on this item in town or we’ll refund you the difference.” Someone who’s willing to make that claim must have confidence in it. 2.      Work at Getting More Reviews People believe reviews written by strangers much more than they believe marketing copy. Focus at least part of your marketing on improving the numbers of reviews you ha

Illinois Central College Announces Fall 2020 Plans

 Illinois Central College announced today the learning options for the Fall 2020 semester. These decisions were based, first and foremost, on ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees.  The college has created a plan that is flexible, safe and effective to help students achieve their educational goals. ICC will offer Fall 2020 courses in four formats – Online Anytime , Online Scheduled , Hybrid courses and Clinicals and Internships.    Online Anytime is a traditional online course, providing a convenient, flexible and student-centered way of learning. Students log in and complete their course assignments day or night, without coming to campus.    Online Scheduled is an online class at a scheduled time. Students log in to their class at the scheduled times and participate in live, video-supported classes with their instructor and classmates. This online course format is the most comparable to the face-to-face, on-campus experience.     Hybrid courses

2020 IDOT Fall Planning Conference

COME CELEBRATE 35 YEARS WITH US! In case you missed it, the IDOT Bureau of Planning announced the dates and call for topics for the 2020 IDOT Fall Planning Conference .  In consideration of these unprecedented times, we have decided to move to a virtual format this year and schedule a series of webinars for the month of October. The theme for this event is "Planning to Rebuild Illinois" . The webinars will be scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. on October 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, and 22.  There will be additional information forthcoming via e-mail on how you can register for these sessions.  We still need your topics!   The Fall Planning Conference is an event for you. We would like to deliver content about your good work or areas of interest. If there are innovative planning activities, initiatives designed to identify and address economic or social inequity, SPR projects, Rebuild Illinois issues, or other ideas you'd like to share, learn about and discuss with your colleag

Pritzker Administration Announces Availability of Additional SBA Loans

Pritzker Administration Announces Federal SBA Declaration to Make Additional Low-Interest Loans Available for Businesses and Communities Damaged by Civil Unrest Following request by State of Illinois, SBA declaration will unlock low interest, long-term loans; Program initially available for Cook and surrounding counties SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker today announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the state’s request for federal assistance to help businesses in the northern Illinois counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. The declaration stems from looting and other damages that took place in connection to civil unrest occurring May 26 through June 8, 2020. The approved SBA disaster declaration makes low-interest loans of up to $2 million available to eligible for businesses, homeowners, renters, and non-profits. To help businesses facing damages as the result of recent civil unrest and looting, the Department of Commerce and Econom

5 Things You Do That Turn Your Customers Off

One of the things marketing consultants and business coaches will tell you is to be yourself on social media and in your blogging. Let your tone come through and allow people to get to know you. Your personality will help you stand out.  And it does, whether you have a good one or a bad one. But since you don’t want to potentially alienate customers you should know there are two extremes when it comes to marketing – the job candidate approach and the like-it-or-leave-it approach. The job candidate approach is when you are you, but better. That’s when you leave your dirty laundry at home with all of your rants. The like-it-or-leave-it mentality, on the other hand, believes that your personality is essential in targeting your ideal customer and if someone doesn’t like it, they can go elsewhere. One business that has capitalized on this approach and turned it into an art form is  Ed Debevic’s in Chicago .  Most of us are probably in between those extremes, at least we think we are,