New Zealand has been voted the favourite country outside Europe.
By Michael Alter
It looks like we’re settling into the doldrums of summer a little early this year. Temperatures are reaching into the triple digits. Unfortunately, though the heat is rising in Chicago, the small-business job market isn’t exactly heating up along with it. Our SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard found hiring down 0.2 percent in the Chicago area for the month of June. The average paycheck was flat.
Why aren’t we seeing more jobs? We seem to be following the national trends, which saw hiring down 0.1 percent and paychecks up 0.1 percent in June. Optimism among small business owners is at 60 percent.
In our Scorecard survey, 80 percent of small business owners said they are concerned about turmoil in Europe and slow growth here in the U.S. Our flat paycheck number locally suggests some businesses are becoming more productive with the people we have and others are pulling back.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, we saw the Supreme Court uphold a controversial health care reform law. Only 19 percent of small business owners in our survey said a generally favorable ruling for health care reform would be positive for business. Half said it would have no impact.
None of this seems to suggest a positive swing any time soon. We’re going to have to be patient and push harder. Something has to change. We clearly need a boost. I think the city’s efforts thus far have been good, but they’re more for the long term.
You don’t have to look far to see that we look like the rest of the country. Our college and law school graduates aren’t finding jobs. They’re coming back home to live with us. We’re facing budget crises and we’re stuck in traffic all the time.
We look like the rest of the country, but we should look better. We’re a world class city.
In a season of heat waves and droughts, though, we’re just going to have to sweat it out a little longer.
Michael Alter is president and CEO of SurePayroll, a small-business payroll services company based in Glenview. The company collects information on small-business hiring based on its nationwide database of SurePayroll software users; Mr. Alter comments on trendlines in the data each month here on Crain’s blog for Chicago entrepreneurs.
By Barry Moltz
Most business people realize that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. What you know may get you invited to an opportunity, but who you know will get you the business every time. Just think what you could do if you had a network of 50,000 contacts in Chicago.
Mary McFarlin, founder of Linked N Chicago, has built such a network over the last five years. In 2005, she returned from Europe to look for work and realized that she did not have a network to help navigate the business landscape and connect with people that could help in her search for a job. Mary decided to start her own network on Yahoo as a Listserv group with 150 of her own contacts. In 2007, when LinkedIn developed the “groups” functionality, she migrated her network to this social-media tool. In the past five years, it has evolved, as Mary says, into almost 50,000 members “one business card at a time.” She attributes her success to a basic philosophy of “Be the gift first. Receive second.”
Linked N Chicago’s monthly networking events for members takes this online community and brings it offline in a comfortable atmosphere to make connections and grow companies. Her plans include a new business website to be launched in March. It will enhance the group experience and provide new opportunities to the membership. These will include additional workshops,webcasts and special offers.
Check out videos from Linked N Chicago’s YouTube channel, including this interview with Ms. McFarlin, uploaded in June:
What do you think are the best networking groups in Chicago?
Barry Moltz is a Chicago-based serial entrepreneur, business consultant, marketing expert, mediator, speaker and author of several books on small-business success. Look for his advice on Crain’s blog for entrepreneurs every Monday. Barry is also a regular contributor to the American Express Open Forum.
Follow Barry on Twitter: @BarryMoltz.
Listen to podcasts of Barry’s “Business Insanity” radio show here.
We welcome your comments, but to comment, you have to register! Registration is free – click here to get started.
The debt crisis in Europe has companies anxiously holding onto cash, threatening to crimp a key source of demand for Chicago manufacturers. Crain’s monthly video series, “Retooling Chicago,” explores how local producers are scrambling to adjust to the volatile situation across the pond.
- mobiletxtmarket: the next time you get your phone bill think of unlimited 4G talk, text & data $49.00 a month or FREE http://t.co/Ipcwr1Elp8 May 22, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Do you have to market your business using Mobile Technology, ABSOLUTLY yes, all will show you why. http://t.co/K0509ZquLA May 20, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Win a FREE year of @Solavei Mobile Service by #Tweet2getFREE #SolaveiCHICAGO Click 2 win http://t.co/AQEoDytNlR May 14, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @Dontoverpaymktg if you love nw marketing you'll love this http://t.co/Y23jw3PJPr take a look and connect with me on the page, April 29, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @avonforwomen @sparkitup add a 2nd direct sales you can sell to both the your avon customers and their spouse http://t.co/TlF0VpXWKv April 29, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: take a look at this video and contact me... 4g unlimited text, talk, data, http://t.co/vVdnKfx0Nh April 24, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: do something about the high cost of mobile service http://t.co/vVdnKfx0Nh April 24, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: #solavei members in IL contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. what to do a social at Buffalo Wild wings,, want to join April 11, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: Lennon & Maisy - Ho Hey (The Lumineers) NASHVILLE: http://t.co/FPnuIydL1F via @youtube April 6, 2013
- mobiletxtmarket: @angelaksgiles sorry for the delayed, can NOT keep pace with all that's going on in the mobile world. email me at email@example.com March 31, 2013