Archive for the ‘Small Business Advice’ Category

Our Doors Are Open to the Community

July 2, 2010

The Suites Collection has a wide variety of conferencing choices available at our three locations – Court House Executive Offices and Tree Studios in River North and Theatre District Business Center in Chicago’s North Loop.

Recently, Court House Executive Offices had the pleasure of working with The University of Chicago/School of Social Services Administration.  They required the use of several of our conference rooms and a number of furnished offices.  The flexibility of our business center made this very complicated process run smoothly for their interview sessions for Administration positions for the Chicago Public Schools.  Their intent was to put together a team of Education Professionals that could be integrated into a public school and help them redefine their current administrative operations for optimum success.  

The staff and tenants at Court House Executive Offices met some very talented and dedicated individuals over the two weeks that they were here.  We had the opportunity to speak with staff and candidates alike and share the excitement they had about their plans.  It brought all the recent news headlines about our public schools to the forefront for all of us.  We wish University of Chicago staff and all of their candidates the best of luck in their endeavors.

At each Center, we have a large board room that offers a flat screen TV for presentations and all meeting rooms have internet and conference calling capabilities.  If needed, there are a number of great restaurants in the areas that offer tasty catering options for meetings. One of the great advantages to these rooms is the wonderful experience our staff and tenants provide when we host outside groups.  Our spaces are convenient for long term due diligence teams, shorter term training seminars, formal board meetings and quick casual meetings. 

 

If you would like to be part of our community and reserve a conference room for a special meeting or for a training session you are hosting, please contact us at 312-994-2700. 

We look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Summer in the City

June 3, 2010

One of the great pleasures of having your office in the city is being able to take advantage of the many summer events the city has to offer.  You can walk to an arts festival during your lunch break like the one starting tomorrow at Michigan and Lake, the Eastside Millennium Art Festival.  The Museum of Contemporary Art’s Tuesdays on the Terrace, the annual outdoor jazz series, will begin after work June 8th.  The annual Blues Festival begins June 11th in Grant Park followed shortly by Taste of Chicago on June 25th.  The Pritzker Pavilion is now home to the Grant Park Music Festival as well as several other concerts during the summer.  Just keep a blanket under your desk, stop off for some food and drink along the way and you’re ready to take advantage of some of the pleasures of the season.

Of course, we think the best place to have that office in the city is one of the business centers of The Suites Collection.  They’re each located conveniently close to public transportation so you can hop the red line whether you’re heading north to see the Cubs or south to see the Sox. 

Lunch in the sun is delightful each summer.  Court House Executive Offices is directly above Maggiano’s and steps from La Madia, NAHA and Frontera and their outdoor spaces.  Theatre District Business Center is above Petterino’s corner café and Tree Studios has its beautiful private courtyard and Pops for Champagne right downstairs.

There is plenty of time for you to make one of our centers your new summer business home.

Entrepreneurial Necessities

May 27, 2010

 

People embarking on new businesses adventures when traditional income streams dry up are called “necessity entrepreneurs”.  As you might imagine, the number of people turning into necessity entrepreneurs is increasing.  The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a research project that tracks entrepreneurship, cites “necessity” as a factor for 24.7% of new U.S. ventures in 2009.  This is up from 16.3% in 2007. 

If you no longer have a traditional job and you possess dreams of owning your own business, now is a great time to give yourself that chance!  Use local resources to help you set up shop and get the support you need to achieve success. 

Court House Executive Offices in River North is the ideal workplace for an entrepreneur.  You will have your own private, furnished, affordable office for as little as $600 per month.  That price includes your telephone and high speed internet connection as well as a receptionist to answer your calls and a professional office manager.  In addition, the benefits of working among entrepreneurs who have followed the same path can be inspiring and educational.   

Connect with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center and check out their newly federally funded program The Cluster Acceleration Program (CAP).  CAP provides entrepreneurs with access to resources and relationships in key industries – including alternative energy, consumer products and services, information technology for the new media, as well as financial services and healthcare markets.

For the lighter side of business networking, attend a “High Speed Networking” event with Chicago’s Networking for Professionals branch.  Meet other business people looking to make connections in a casual, but fast paced environment.  They claim that with high speed networking you can make more new business contacts in one evening than most people will make in 6 months!

Sometimes life gives you an opportunity.  Sometimes you have to take a risk and try something new.  The economy will be back and stronger than ever eventually.  Put yourself in a position to make the most of it – try something you’ve always wanted to and become a successful entrepreneur!

Should you work from home?

April 12, 2010

Working from home may seem like a walk in the park for some.  For others, it is an absolute impossibility.  Why the difference?  You may think the disparity lies between older workers accustomed to traditional offices vs. younger workers who are “hip” to technology trends.  Actually the difference is more about personality type and life situation than your age bracket or owning a smart phone.

In his recent Chicago Tribune editorial titled, “Work at Home?  Not so darn fast”, Clarence Page admits that working from home can make him feel like a “prisoner”.   Especially for extroverted personalities, being alone all day is depressing.  For people whose home office is a make-shift desk in the corner of a living room, they just can’t achieve the privacy and quiet they need to accomplish anything. 

Editorial staffers at Inc. Magazine just undertook a fascinating work experiment.  They spent an entire month away from their Manhattan office and made their department virtual.  When it was over and they returned to the office, most of them were relieved.  Their blog about it is a fascinating read on how the experiment impacted the individual employees and overall business. 

Not everyone gets to make a choice about where they work, but if you can, it is a hugely important decision.  As Americans, we spend more time working that doing anything else – 8.8 hours a day on average!   At The Suites Collection, we count many former telecommuters among our current tenants. Their reasons for choosing our offices range widely, but “professional environment”, “support services” and “networking opportunities” rank among the highest.   Depending on the type of person you are and the type of business you are in, you just might want a traditional office where you can feel productive and connected.   If so, contact us and we will find you a great new location. 

How’s business?

February 10, 2010

It’s not hard to find predictions for the U.S. economy in today’s 24/7 media frenzy.   If you look around long enough you’ll find one that predicts just about every possible scenario.   One of the direst comes from Russia, where a former KGB agent is asserting our country will enter into civil war, the dollar will collapse and our nation will break into six pieces in 2010 – with Alaska reverting to Russian control!  This baloney was not reported on some fringe website, but by the Wall Street Journal.  The media will keep throwing darts hoping they’ll land somewhere accurate or entertaining.  Meanwhile, it’s small business owners and their employees doing the heavy lifting in this economy, and we’ve got to keep our ear to the ground for valuable information.

From 1980-2005, firms less than five years old accounted for all net job growth in the country. In 2007 alone, young firms (1-5 years old) accounted for nearly two-thirds of job creation.  As such a singularly vital part of the economy, we should look to each other for ideas.  That’s one of the biggest benefits in a shared office environment: the day to day opportunities to exchange practical information with other small business owners, employees and burgeoning entrepreneurs.  Going to work and connecting with your neighbor becomes a way to expand your understanding of your own business.  Another way we can increase our individual prowess is to present an organized front to legislators.  Kaufman, the foundation for entrepreneurship, is one group dedicated to doing that.  They aim to organize entrepreneurs to confront fundamental issues needed to achieve an improved small business climate.

At The Suites Collection, we are researching some big new trends in our sector and examining how we can incorporate these new approaches in 2010.  Change is constant in every business, and we are working hard to understand how our changes will affect us at every level – from daily operations to upper level management to the overarching marketing strategies.  Even though the specifics of each business may be unique, the subjects we tackle are the same.  We know we’ve got to stay nimble and find ways to do more with less.  Flexibility, affordability and adaptability are the new economy key words and they are here to stay.

A great deal at Court House Executive Offices

January 12, 2010

How much does something cost?  It is a simple question, but have you ever been frustrated in trying to get an answer?  Some businesses play games by offering promotional pricing that expires all too soon or by demanding mandatory fees for services you don’t even use.  At The Suites Collection, our prices are not promotional and there are no mandatory fees.  Far from it, we include a telephone and internet connection in every office.  That means your monthly rent includes everything you need to get your business started tomorrow!

At Court House Executive Offices, our professional staff members run an efficient environment and handle daily operations behind the scenes.  This leaves you free to concentrate on your own business.  With prices ranging from $600 a month for a one person office to $2,200 a month for a team of people,   we have something available for companies in any stage of growth.  Our current tenants believe we offer, “convenience” and “a great business environment”, so we invite you to check out our available suites – the prices are printed online – and contact us for a tour

Executive efficiency

December 11, 2009

How do you start work each day?  If you are at home, do you have a way to establish the difference between your personal and professional activities?  If you work in an office, do you use a set routine to kick off each morning?  Can you count on others to respect your schedule or do you sometimes get interrupted?  Productivity will diminish if you don’t have a quiet, dedicated place to conduct your business.   Having a distraction-free work environment is ideal.  Finding the right place that allows you to work efficiently means the difference between success and failure in business (or even just good days vs. bad days).

Court House Executive Offices offers a distraction-free environment to allow you to get down to business.   One of the many ways that we excel at taking care of you is by the efficient way you begin each day as our tenant.  Our offices are furnished with workstations that are comfortable and convenient.  Your telephone and high speed internet connection is already in place.  Our experienced and helpful support staff will greet your guests, handle equipment problems and make sure there is fresh coffee every morning.   We’d love to show you around our unique office atmosphere.  Please schedule a visit and see how productive you can be when you spend your days surrounded by like minded business professionals at Court House Executive Offices.

We’ll take care of your office while you take care of your business

November 5, 2009

Corner

Court House Executive Offices provides private suites and meeting rooms for entrepreneurs.  Our tenants enjoy shared amenities and a congenial atmosphere surrounded by like minded business professionals.  Beginning today, our new blog series will examine the ways that Court House Executive Offices (“CHEO”) empowers companies to succeed in this economy –  with flexibility, efficiency and affordability. 

Because we are independently owned and managed, we can be flexible when responding to your specific business needs.  If the time comes change  your staffing, technology or space considerations, we will work with you to find the perfect solution.  Joanna Greene of the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, our tenant since 2003, says, “The best part is the flexibility we have to expand our space (when business is going well) or reduce it when we need to.  We also convene many meetings, so having access to all types and sizes of conference rooms has been very valuable.”  Indeed, the well appointed facilities at CHEO can accommodate a wide range of meetings from personnel interviews to court depositions to training programs.

We’d like to share more with you about the benefits of bringing your business to us.  Please call us at 312-994-2700 to schedule a tour today!

 

Chicago’s holiday survival guide

October 20, 2009

daley plaza holiday

Even though our recent blogs on the improving economy were rightly optimistic, that doesn’t necessarily mean that small businesses are seeing more money in their bank accounts (yet).  After a year of frugality and belt tightening, you are probably ready to loosen up and kiss 2009 good-bye!  Show your staff and loyal clients extra appreciation during this festive season.  Our vibrant city offers plenty of options to make merry without draining the bank.  Dining and entertainment are probably areas where they have trimmed their personal budgets, so give them the chance to get out and have some fun. 

The hospitality industry is finding creative ways to compete for your business this year.  Deals abound, especially if you plan strategically.  Take your team to dinner and give them a gift that is free for you by dining at any Lettuce Entertain You restaurant.  They are awarding a $25 holiday Bonus certificate for every $100 in Gift Cards purchased between November 1 and December 30, 2009.   Smaller venues are offering deals too.   La Madia Pizzeria at 59 W. Grand is offering $25 gift certificates for every $100 spent on holiday parties booked by Nov. 15.   If you have a favorite restaurant in mind, give them a call and see what deals they are offering for the holidays. 

Local entertainment can also be fun and affordable.  A great way to kick off the season with a small group is to attend a free caroling concert under the Bean in Millennium Park.   If you are planning to provide a night out for a larger group, take a private trolley holiday lights tour for only $23 per person.   Or for a treat they can use with family or friends throughout the year, give gift certificates for the Imax at Navy Pier.  Any gesture will certainly be appreciated.

Finding a way for your business to help someone in need would make poignant addition to your year end celebrations.  The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a worthy cause to consider during the holidays.  The food distribution center is always looking for donations or volunteers.  For a finishing touch, mail out greeting cards to vendors, delivery people and any one else whose work influences your business.  Include a brief note of thanks for their important contribution.  You can support a good cause by purchasing your cards from Chicago Lights Tutoring, whose cards are designed by participants in their tutoring program, which serves children from low-income families across Chicago. 

Energize and Maximize

September 30, 2009

help wanted

Today concludes the third quarter of 2009 and The Dow Jones Industrial is up 15.3% for the period, on track for its best quarterly performance since 1998.  It’s fitting news for the last installment of our blog series on keeping on top of the economic wave.  While the climate improves, we should keep in mind that the result of this recovery will be a new economy unlike the one we enjoyed just one year ago. 

How will it be different?

1)      The consumer will place more emphasis on value.

2)      Labor markets will be volatile.

3)      The environmental & renewable-energy sector is a powerful new force.

Given the new realities, what choices can you make to better your position in your sector?  It is our business to be aware of issues facing independent and small business owners.  We find that being informed about our clients’ concerns makes it easier to build long lasting relationships and gain their trust.  Lately, we have taken our blog advice to heart and have delved into every area of our organization to find ways to energize new initiatives and maximize current realities.  We are going through a marketing blitz, reinforcing our assets and resurrecting stalled initiatives.  Our staff team goal is to not leave any stone unturned in our quest to better every area of our business.  We are excited to see what comes next and are glad that the news keeps getting better!