Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How To Become A Notary In Illinois

notary stamp
Many businesses need an Illinois notary or notary public, a person the state legally sanctions to certify the legitimacy of signatures on documents.

Why become a notary?

Various documents require a notary to certify the authenticity of the documents and the people signing those papers. Those include business documents, deeds, mortgages, powers of attorney and other official papers. Businesses from law firms to factories need one or more notaries on staff.

What are the requirements to apply?

  • Each state has its own regulations. Here are the requirements for applying in Illinois:
  • 18 years of age
  • U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted for permanent residence
  • Photocopy of driver’s license or state ID card
  • Must read, write and understand English
  • No felony conviction
  • State resident for minimum 30 days or resident of qualifying border state while employed in Illinois for minimum 30 days
  • $10 filing fee
  • $5000 notary public bond
  • Applicant's signature notarized by a notary public in Illinois
  • Applicant has not had a notary commission revoked or suspended in past 10 years

What are qualifying bordering states?

You can live in a bordering state and hold a notary position in Illinois if you have worked in Illinois for at least the last 30 days. But you can only receive a notary if your state's laws qualify it. Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin meet the criteria. If you live in Indiana, you should contact the Illinois officials to see if you qualify.

Where can you get a public bond?

  • Any bonding business qualified to issue surety bonds in the state of Illinois can write a bond. Beware of companies that do not have a good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Not all bonding companies are authorized by the state of Illinois.
  • Using an organization to get your license
  • Some organizations or associations help people obtain their notary public. You are not required to use associations or agencies. They are not associated with the government. Often, these organizations offer a package deal including a notary bond, notary seal and assist people with the application.
  • Check each one's BBB status because some are unreliable. Choose one with an A or A+ rating and compare costs and services rendered.

Resources
Illinois Secretary of State
Notary Division
213 State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62756
Phone: (217) 782-7017

The Illinois Notary Public Handbook













Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Managing Your Budget in A Small Business

When it comes to operating a small business, there are two plans that are crucial for maximizing your odds of success. The first is the business plan, which gives you framework to execute and succeed with your strategy. The second (and equally important) plan is the small business budget. It's much more than buying some budget software and thinking that will solve your problems. Creating and managing a budget will give your small business the needed financial discipline in order to survive and thrive in a competitive, ever-changing marketplace.

How To Create and Manage a Small Business Budget
Here is a step by step plan to create a budget for your small business.

Research and Organize Your Revenues and Costs
If you are just starting your business, and do not have previous cost data, research the average revenue and expense data for your industry. These will give you an idea of what your revenue and cost numbers will be, enabling you to create a realistic budget.

If you are already in business, simply organize your existing sales and cost data. When it comes to organizing your data, follow the "keep it simple, silly" or "KISS" principle. Do not create line items for every little expense; instead organize your expenses into categories such as "office supplies", "labor", "marketing", "rent", and other general categories.

Once You Have A Budget, Compare It With Your Actual Sales and Costs
Budget versus actual analysis is crucial in order to utilize your budget and effectively manage your finances. Run this analysis monthly, make a part of your routine. You can't just focus on the day to day operations, effective strategic planning is required for success, and analysis is a component of this planning.

Find Areas of Improvement, and Act Quickly
Once you are maintaining a budget, and running analysis against your actual performance, you will be able to look at the data, determine the reason behind this performance issue, and quickly make change that will increase cash inflows, decrease cash outflows, and materially enhance your profitability.

When It Comes to Your Budget, Flexibility is Key
Do not be too rigid when it comes to sticking to your small business budget. The budget is a tool for keeping effective track of your business performance. If you see any variance in your analysis that is negatively impacting your business, create a plan and act on it, do not dwell on past issues, focus on improvements for the future.

Creating a small business plan may be daunting at first, but, as the months progress, and you become more and more proficient at recording and analyzing your business performance, you will become a better small business owner, and greatly improve your chances of success.










Monday, April 14, 2014

So You Want To Start A Magazine...

English: Logo of the ' magazine.

There are a lot of universal business ideas out there that people kick around from time to time. "I want to start a restaurant!" Yes, we've seen enough episodes of the Food Network's Restaurant Impossible to see how that turns out. After musclebound host Robert Irvine tears into the owners for their lack of cleanliness, vision, knowledge of food, etc. he inevitably asks the question, "Do you have any experience in the restaurant industry?" The answer more often than not to that question is no.

But just because you're jumping into a new entrepreneurial venture doesn't mean you're going to fail. You just need to know what you're getting yourself into and have a plan. Today we'll look at the basics of starting up a magazine. You don't need to produce Rolling Stone to make some money on a magazine, but you can also lose your tail if you don't do it right. So here's a basic model for starting up and running a magazine.

1. Have a winning concept

You love cooking so why not start a cooking magazine, right? Many magazines fail because they don't accurately define and target a niche market. There are a sea of established cooking magazines, so how do you stick out? Perhaps you pick a certain type of cuisine, or you go after appetizers, or desserts. How can you be excellent AND unique? Who are your target readers? Are you going to go after the younger generation? Grandmas? Men? Women? Define who you are and how you're unique before you do anything else and make certain there's a business case for it (if people don't have a reason to keep reading/buying your magazine, why make it?)

2. Make industry friends

If you're going to travel overseas, it makes sense to talk to someone who has already traveled to the same place. Starting a business is no different. Seek out people that have launched successful magazines (it's easier if they're not competitors) to see what struggles they had and what advice they have to offer. Talk to other industry partners you'll need - potential advertisers, printers (do they specialize in magazine printing like a company such as Modern Litho?), contributors, and determine your costs and what other dangers and opportunities you may not have thought of.

3. It might be your passion but this is a business

You're going to have costs so you better have a very clear plan of how you're going to cover those costs. How much will you make in subscriptions and advertising? How many advertisers will you have? How much will printing and shipping cost? How much will you have to pay writers? Editors? Photographers? Support staff? How will you market to your target audience? Will you have additional staff to work on sales and marketing? Will you need office space? Equipment? Office furniture? How much will your utilities cost? Leave no stone unturned in laying out your finances. Many great concepts die with poor business plans.

Having a defined team with clear responsibilities is a huge issue in the magazine world as well. You'll need someone responsible for managing writer deadlines, someone responsible for the overall layout, you'll need editors for photography and copy. If these responsibilities aren't clearly defined for your staff you'll have duplicated work, deadlines will be missed and quality will suffer.

4. One eye on the future

Another issue that plagues many new magazines is getting past the first issue. So much time and effort is put into getting the first issue out there that when it comes time for issue two, no one is prepared. This leads to delays and in some instances an early death. Lining up advertisers and article concepts weeks or months down the road keeps things running smoothly and is a vital component to any successful magazine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Home & Garden Tips - Axes, Lamps & Log Siding

Not to get too far off the course of business, but I've made some additions to my home and office lately and thought it would be worth running them down as I've been very happy with both.

First, I added some new log siding to our guest house (which is laid out neatly in a wooded area) and it really does look fantastic. We added cedar paneling to three rooms and have been amazed how these subtle changes have really changed the look of the place. Town & Country supplied the materials and my in laws provided the labor. A fabulous addition for sure!

On the exterior we also added some gorgeous electric lanterns that add a certain majestic touch that it would otherwise lack. We've received nothing but compliments on this thus far and I'm also happy we chose to go with electric in stead of gas lanterns. I'm a bit of a fire-a-phobe, if such a word exists. Which brings me to my next point as someone who once escaped a burning building...

There is an issue about shattering toughened car window screens in accidents. However, I think there is also a case for tackling this problem in the home. Many doors and windows are made from toughened double glazing which makes it tremendously difficult to break through in the event of a fire.

Some thing like this emergency hammer is perfect for keeping under the bed at night just in case.

The features of this Draper Emergency Hammer include:

• Shatters automotive and domestic glass.

• Cuts through automotive seat belts.

• Hardened carbon steel hammer striking point with tough ABS plastic contoured handle for user comfort.

• Supplied with mounting rack and fixings.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Starting a new Business

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while! I have been busy doing research for my next business adventure!


I am going to be starting a bowling center! I think a bowling alley will be a great addition to my community! 

When I first thought of opening a bowling alley, I didn't know much about the bowling business. I have quickly learned the basics, but the bowling alley business is much more complex than I anticipated! Based on the little research I have done, I have decided to open a bowling franchise

The majority of my time is now spent deciding what bowling equipment and bowling supplies I need to buy which is leaving very little time for blogging!

I am really excited about how everything is progressing and I will keep you guys updated on the progress when I can! 


Friday, August 31, 2012

How to get a Marketing Campaign Going

LONDON - FEBRUARY 18:  Conservative party lead...
(Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Extraordinary Marketing

Over time I have seen a multitude of marketing methods in our industry. I have seen the basic (direct mail, newspaper advertising) to the bizarre (sandwich boards, pony rentals) to the unique (well, it wouldn’t be fair to those involved to list those here). I have also seen some people spend more time setting up their computers, Web-sites, and letterhead than they do going out and getting business.

Awhile back, as part of a “state of the industry” address, I discussed marketing and my belief that you had two choices — to be either exclusive or unique. If you were “exclusive,” your potential clients would not necessarily be aware that someone else (other than you) could help them. If you were “unique,” you would manifest some quality that made you stand out from everyone else.

At this point I want to simplify my thoughts into one single message. Regardless of what cash flow you are going after — matter of fact, regardless of what business you are in, I am reminded of a basic thought that my mentor taught me 20 years ago.

Everything you do should be centered on this thought. If it is not — such as worrying about your logo or business card — understand that those types of behaviors or actions don’t get us any closer to doing deals (just doing them in a different way). I can hear you now, “Ok, Fred, what is the message?” It is only five words…

Get Your Phone to Ring

That is it. Everything you do, and I do mean everything, should be concentrated on getting your phone to ring. Whether you are focused on advertisements in the local free paper, a direct mail campaign, flyers, etc., etc. — everything should be about getting a person to call you. That is especially true if you have a Web site. A Web site is nothing more than a 24 hour a day presence for you and your business. Don’t get me wrong, I think a Web site is essential in today’s market — but it also has the goal of getting someone to call you.

In today’s market, “contact” is important. At least 80 percent of your time should be spent searching for business. That’s right, 80 percent of your time should be spent trying to get your phone to ring. Everything else can be done by others. If you find too many deals, someone else can fill out worksheets, someone else can type offer letters, and someone else can go to the bank and deposit money (although you may want to reserve that one for yourself). My point is, no one else can do your marketing — that is your job.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Most Powerful Women Business Leaders

Ellen J. Kullman - World Economic Forum Annual...
Ellen J. Kullman - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2009 (Photo credit: World Economic Forum)
Women have played an increasingly powerful role in the corporate world, and there are no signs of that slowing down. According to CNN Money, here are the top ten most powerful women in the world of business:

1. Irene Rosenfeld
2. Indra Nooyi
3. Patricia Woertz
4. Ellen Kullman
5. Angela Braly
6. Andrea Jung
7. Ginni Rometty
8. Ursula Burns
9. Meg Whitman
10. Sherilyn McCoy

Congrats to all of these leaders, and we hope to see quite a few new names added to the list in the coming years.