<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Inc Well | Small Business Advice for Chicago Entrepreneurs]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:34:23 -0500 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:34:23 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Chicago Ranks Second for Fast-Growing Businesses]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:36:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chicago+skyline+generic.jpg

Chicagoans mean business.

They mean so much business that city companies snagged 95 spots on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies, second only to New York’s 205.

Chicago beat out top start-up hubs like San Francisco, which was ranked No. 7 with 63 companies. The second-place ranking is a step up for the city after coming in fourth last year.

Rounding out the top five cities on the list were Atlanta, Austin, Texas and San Diego.

California-based Fuhu, maker of an Android tablet for kids, took the number one spot for the second year in a row thanks to a growth rate of 158,957 percent over the last three years, a rare feat for the Inc. 5000.

This year's rankings are considered to be one of the most competitive in the list's history with companies needing to achieve a minimum of 918.59 percent in sales growth in the last three years.

The highest ranking Windy City company was MAX Digital, developer of a cloud-based marketing and retailing software for automotive dealers, which was ranked at No. 51 for a three-year growth rate of 5,483 percent. The company recorded a revenue of $6.6 million in 2013.

"Thanks to a great team we have been able to provide cutting edge technologies that are transforming traditional industry in consumer centric ways," said MAX Digital Founder and CEO Pat Ryan. "We look forward to even greater growth and innovation in the years ahead."

MAX Digital was also the third-fastest growing software company on the list.

"It's a tribute to the great work ethic and opportunities in the city of Chicago that has made them thrive on this very competitive list,"  Inc. Media President and Editor In Chief Eric Schurenberg said in a statement. " What surprises me, even though I know it’s coming, is the sheer variety of the paths our entrepreneurs take to success, thematically reflecting how our economy has evolved."

Eight other city companies ranked among the top 500 on the list, including:

  1. Insureon (No. 107)
  2. Paramount Lodging Advisors (No. 188)
  3. Protein Bar (No. 200)
  4. Restaurantware (No. 366)
  5. AKTA (No. 414)
  6. Response Team 1 (No. 422)
  7. RIPT Apparel (No. 441)
  8. Framework Communications (No. 442)

In addition to the nine Chicago companies, 10 suburban companies were listed among the top 500, with Elgin-based Compass Automation leading the group at no. 55.

Following Compass Automation was:

  1. LaunchPoint (No. 100)
  2. Market6 (No. 143)
  3. Total Technology Solutions Group (No. 148)
  4. Forte International Tax (No. 167)
  5. Blue Star Tec (HNo. 221)
  6. Ameez Technologies (No. 370)
  7. Four Seasons Home Services (No. 393)
  8. Startex Industries (No. 397)
  9. Strategic Mobility Group (No. 496)

Howard Tullman, CEO of Chicago's 1871 tech incubator, said the results confirm Chicago is a "prime place for entrepreneurs."

The Inc results confirm that we're building solid businesses, creating "innovative products and services that are generating steady revenue, adding new jobs, and fostering growth across the economy," he said in a statement.

Illinois ranked sixth for states with the most companies on the list, leading the Midwest with 238. California topped the list with 694 companies, Texas followed with 404, New York with 335, Florida with 202 and Virginia with 284.

“There is great momentum building among Chicago’s small and medium sized businesses," World Business Chicago President & CEO Jeff Malehorn said in a statement. "Companies thrive here due to the city’s diverse economy, easy access to the world, and unmatched talent base."

For the full list of Inc. 5000 companies, click here.

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<![CDATA[Hostess Closing Schiller Park Twinkie Plant, Again]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:43:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/hostess-twinkies-156458828.jpg

Hostess Brands announced Wednesday it has decided to close its Schiller Park bakery, less than two years after the location originally was set to close as Hostess entered bankruptcy.

The Illinois bakery, which produced Twinkies since the 1930s, is expected to close in October. About 400 employees will be affected.

The company said the decision was made to "enhance its production and distribution capabilities and efficiencies."

"Hostess has brought these great brands back to the marketplace," CEO Bill Toler said in a statement. "We have invested heavily in all facilities to improve worker conditions and efficiencies in a very highly competitive environment and marketplace."

The company reopened the Schiller Park last July after Hostess was purchased by Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC.

Since then, Hostess says the competition that emerged during its bankruptcy has continued to be more fierce than expected.

"While the old Hostess company was in bankruptcy," Toler said, "many competitors took over the shelves and are tenaciously defending their business and thus we must be highly efficient and technologically advanced to compete. As a result, we have invested in more efficient production capabilities and need to streamline our manufacturing infrastructure and protect our ability to compete."

The location is one of four remaining bakeries and the last in Illinois.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[United Airlines to Offer Uber Service on Mobile App]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:49:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/451565438.jpg

Looks like United Airlines is hopping aboard the Uber bandwagon.

The Chicago-based airline company announced Wednesday that it has teamed up with the ridesharing service by adding Uber to the United mobile app.

Uber information will appear on the United App, which will show options including available vehicles, estimated wait times and prices. After a customer selects a ride, they will be transferred to the Uber app or website to sign up for an account and complete the transaction.

Customers who sign up for Uber via the United app will receive 1,000 MileagePlus award miles, the company said.

“Our partnership with Uber offers customers new opportunities to simplify their travel experience,” said Praveen Sharma, United’s vice president of loyalty. “Customers can use the app to ensure a more convenient journey, from checking in for an international flight from their home or office to finding instant ground transportation options at their final destination.”

The news comes just one day before TripAdvisor announced a partnership with Uber to add the ridesharing service to its app as well.

It also comes on the same day the taxi-alternative service announced it was hiring former White House adviser David Plouffe to lead its campaign for acceptance in the cities where it operates.

Uber has faced challenges in the Chicago-area this year as the company continues to fight a recently-passed bill that regulates ride-share businesses.

Some officials claim the bill is intended to ensure "basic consumer protections" for Illinoisans, while Uber supporters say the bill protects and encourages a "taxi monopoly."

Earlier this year, uberX was denied access to pick up passengers from O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago.

The decision came after the Illinois Transportation Association asked the city to look into what it called Uber's "unregulated airport pickups."

Uber's regular taxis and black cars are still allowed to pick up customers at the airport.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Apple Could be Considering Mag Mile Move]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:38:27 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Apple_ipad-chicago-11-1.jpg

Apple Inc. could be plugging in at a new location on Michigan Avenue in the future.

The California company’s flagship store in Chicago currently sits at 679 N. Michigan Ave., but Crain’s Chicago Business, citing sources familiar with the North Michigan Avenue retail market, reports that the company has hired brokers to find a potential alternative.

Among the scouted locations the firm has reportedly looked at were the Topshop store at 830 N. Michigan Ave. and the former Saks store at 717 N. Michigan Ave.

While the move is merely speculation, it could be prompted by a number of things.

The storefront is 11 years old and could be seen as outdated when compared to other flagship stores like one of the company’s New York locations, which has customers walk in through a glass box.

Crain’s also reports that the location scouting could be a tactic to give Apple leverage during negotiations for a new lease with its landlord, real estate firm Water Tower Realty Co.

Apple would be a valuable tenant for many landlords in the area.

The company’s North Avenue location on the city’s North Side has been hailed for its retail value after moving into the site of a former gas station in the wildly congested North & Clybourn corridor.

Greg Merdinger, a veteran Chicago developer, tells Crain’s the store “made the location,” turning it from good to great.

Apple Inc. could not immediately be reached for comment.

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<![CDATA[Ralph Lauren Knockoff Site Uses the N-Word ]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 16:44:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Polo_offensive_description1.jpg

Ralph Lauren caught some misguided flak on social media recently because of a colorful product description that appeared to be listed on its web site.

The offending item: A black model is shown wearing the Argentinean polo shirt with the color described as "N-- Brown Red" at Ralph-Lauren.us.com

Only it wasn't. 

The company says its is a fraudulent web site. Ralph Lauren's actual web site is the un-hyphenated RalphLauren.com, and the company claims that Ralph-Lauren.us.com has been causing them problems.  

A Ralph Lauren spokesman told NBC 5 that someone set up the web site under a Chinese domain and sold the goods using the derogatory descriptions.

The spokesman says the company's trademark enforcement team is attempting to have the site closed, and customers reaching out to Ralph Lauren's call center are being told that they are not affiliated with the web site.

Ralph Lauren couldn't determine when they'd be able to get the site taken down. The web site administrator appears to have removed the offensive word from the site, but not before NBC 5 and several people on social media took screen shots.

The web site uses the Ralph Lauren logo, and offers a wide range of men's and women's clothing and accessories at prices considerably lower than what you'd pay for legitimate Ralph Lauren merchandise.

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<![CDATA[Mariano's Could Move Into Old Dominick's Site in Lakeview]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 15:20:38 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Marianos_park-ridge.jpg

A Mariano’s may move into a Dominick’s store that burned down in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood nearly a decade ago.

The store, located on Broadway between Barry and Wellington Avenues, currently serves as a parking lot and has remained vacant since a fire gutted the building in 2005, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The proposal, which includes five stories and 125,000 square feet of retail space, is reportedly scheduled to be heard by the city’s Plan Commission Thursday with support from Ald. Tom Tunney and other business and community groups.

Mariano’s would occupy the first two floors of the building, parking would fill the third and fourth levels and an XSport Fitness health club would top off the building on the fifth floor.

The move would be in addition to the many former Dominick’s stores the grocery chain now occupies. By the end of this year, Mariano’s is projected to have 29 stores in the Chicago area.

If this latest plan is approved by the Plan Commission, it will then be heard by the city council.


 

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<![CDATA[McDonald's to Sell Packaged Coffee in Supermarkets]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 12:22:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/216*120/050509+McCafe+Picture+p11.jpg

Fans of McCafe will be lovin’ the latest McDonald’s news.

The fast food chain announced plans to start selling its packaged coffee at supermarkets across the nation by early next year, the Associated Press reported.

The company reportedly made a deal with Kraft Foods to manufacture and distribute bags of ground and whole bean McCafe coffee, joining other retailers like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks in the sale of branded packaged coffee. They will also sell single-cup pods for in-home coffee machines, according to the AP.

The world’s biggest hamburger chain debuted its McCafe product line, which includes coffees and other drinks, in the U.S. in 2009.

The chain has since redesigned the coffee cup to make it more appealing for customers and even released flavored lattes.

Earlier this year, the Oak Brook-based company highlighted the coffee line as a leading contributor in the company’s breakfast market, using it to draw morning customers during a two week-long coffee giveaway program.

McDonald’s Corp. and Kraft Foods reportedly began testing the packaged coffee in select markets last year.

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<![CDATA[5 Tips for Maintaining Workplace Happiness]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:31:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Generic+Happy+People.jpg

Oftentimes, employers talk about workplace productivity, workplace equality, workplace successes... but one thing they don't always talk about is workplace happiness.

Since most entrepreneurs are following their passion, they can sometimes forget that employees don’t always share the same level of enthusiasm. But a smart ‘trep knows that a happy employee equals a happy customer and this leads to great word-of-mouth marketing.

So if you want to motivate, inspire and get the most from your employees, here are five ways to do it.

1. Host an employee appreciation week. The best way to do this is by surprising employees with small and large gestures. For example, you could cater a meal, bring in a masseuse, give a cash bonus, or add an extra day to their vacation time.

2. Offer free training. Consider paying for classes that employees can use in their current job and in future jobs. For example, if most of your employees are part time while they’re in school, you could bring in an expert to teach them about accounting, how to handle difficult customers, or social media.

3. Create and promote your rewards system. Go beyond the basic “Employee of the Month” award with several awards to recognize employees. While you don’t want to dilute the value of the awards by having too many categories, you do want to broaden the scope. This can include awards for highest customer satisfaction ratings and longevity or you could even offer profit sharing.

4. Share your passion. When employees really understand your business, they are more likely to develop a passion for it, or a least a stronger interest in it. For example, if you’re running an ice cream stand, share fun facts about how the milk from the cows ends up in a banana split.

5. Engage employees. You don’t have to shower employees with gifts and awards to earn their trust and loyalty. If you regularly meet with them to let them know what’s new with the business, ask for their feedback, and learn about their interests, you’ll see lower turnover and absences along with higher customer satisfaction.

If you invest in your employees’ satisfaction, you’ll all be singing a happy tune.

Steve Robinson is Constant Contact’s educational marketing expert in the Midwestern United States (IL, IN, KY, OH, & MI). He has over 30 years experience supporting small business, with a background in small business marketing, management & development. He has helped thousands of small businesses, associations, and nonprofits develop and implement effective email marketing, social media, online survey and engagement marketing strategies. Steve has twice been named to Crain’s Chicago Business’ Who’s Who in Non-Profit Management and currently writes a guest blog for nbcchicago.com’s Inc.well Blog. Steve draws from this experience to be a valuable resource to Midwestern small businesses, nonprofits, and associations. Steve has educated more than 40,000 small businesses on behalf of Constant Contact since joining the team in 2007 and has presented at @Midwest, Techweek Chicago, & for the City of Chicago Treasurer’s Office Online Marketing Contest to name just a few.

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<![CDATA[Women Entrepreneurs Offer Advice]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:04:46 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Mompreneurs.jpg Within four years, women will own more than half of the country's 10 million small businesses. We profile three inspirational successful businesses created by females, Little Viper, EZLeaps and Luxe Bloom. ]]> <![CDATA[Jewel-Osco Computers Hit by Hackers]]> Fri, 15 Aug 2014 22:46:03 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP985800088575.jpg

Hackers tried to snag credit card data from Jewel-Osco computers but there was no evidence as of Friday morning that any customer information was obtained, company officials said.

According to Jewel's parent company, AB Acquisition LLC, the unauthorized access appears to have started June 22 and ended on July 17 of this year.

The breach affected all Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa. Data may also have been obtained from cards used at stores carrying the following brands: Albertson's, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher's, Shop 'n Save,  Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, ACME Markets, Shaw's, and Star Markets.

Information technology services are provided to the stores by Supervalu.

"We understand the inconvenience and concern an incident like this can cause, and we deeply regret that our customers’ data was targeted," said Mark Bates, the company's chief information officer, in a statement posted to JewelOsco.com.

Although it hadn't yet been determined whether any cardholder data was in fact stolen, and there was no evidence to date of any misuse of such data, the company offered customers whose payment cards may have been affected 12 months of complimentary consumer identity protection services through AllClear ID. Beginning at 3 p.m. CT Friday, concerned customers can call AllClear ID at 1-855-865-4449.

Updated information will be posted to JewelOsco.com, the company said.

The intrusion is just the latest in a string of data breaches at major retailers.

Earlier this month, Target said that expenses tied to a breach leading up to last year's holiday shopping season could reach as high as $148 million. The incident led to a major shakeup and CEO Gregg Steinhafel resigned.

Restaurant operator P.F. Chang's confirmed in June that data from credit and debit cards used at its restaurants was stolen.

There have been smaller breaches at Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores Inc., and even at Goodwill.

There are currently efforts underway to change the technology used in credit and debit cards to make consumer information more secure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Yelp Opens Office in Merchandise Mart ]]> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:29:47 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Yelp+Generic+Screengrab.jpg

A San Francisco-based business review site is bringing jobs Chicago.

Yelp announced the opening of its new 50,000-square foot headquarters in Merchandise Mart.
Within the next 12 to 18 months, the company is looking to hire up to 300 people, mostly for sales positions.

"Yelp is an exciting company that has become globally recognized for supporting local business, the backbone of Chicago's economy, and we welcome them to the city," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

The company will move into its new downtown office in January 2015.

Yelp chose Merchandise Mart because its location  -- given the proximity near the CTA train and the Chicago River -- may be good for commuters, local businesses and restaurants.

The company currently has offices in New York; London; Hamburg, Germany; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Dublin, Ireland. Merchandise Mart also houses other tech companies like 1871 and Razorfish.

"Chicago’s history as a leader in innovation and supporter of small business and tech industry growth fits seamlessly with Yelp’s initiatives, and we are excited to build a home here with Yelp’s seventh office,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp's co-founder and CEO.

The company had a monthly average of 138 million unique visitors in the 2014 second quarter.

 

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<![CDATA[Chicago Tops 2014 List of U.S. Meeting Destinations]]> Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:16:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*160/104992627722171095108361814961537n.jpg

The Second City took the top spot on a event management firm's 2014 list of top U.S. destinations for meeting and events, but the city's investments in infrastructure and hotel may not be the top driver.

Rather, a spokesman for Cvent, which published the rankings on Wednesday, said the primary factor appears to be location, location, location.

"Across several metrics, we have seen more booking and interest in Midwestern and other centrally located cities during the past 12 months," said Bharet Malhotra.

In a release, Cvent said it evaluated more than 5,000 U.S. cities featured on the Cvent Supplier Network to compile the third annual list. Activity was tracked from July 2013 to June 2014 and the ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria consisting of:

  • Unique Request For Proposals Received
  • Total Room Nights
  • Awarded Request For Proposals
  • Awarded Room Nights
  • Percentage of Qualified Meeting Venues
  • Number of Profile Views

“I am pleased that Cvent has confirmed what we in Chicago have always said to be true - that when you invest in transportation and infrastructure, and provide access to world-class restaurants, hotels and entertainment, business will follow," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "When it comes to meetings and events especially, our city provides unparalleled access to the airports and transportation hubs that allow people from across the country to visit this most American of American cities and this ranking is a reflection of that. Making sure that Chicago is a premier destination for events is critical to our plan for growing Chicago’s economy and creating jobs for today and into the future.”

Chicago came in at the No. 1 spot, up from second place last year and fifth place in 2012. Central cities New Orleans and Nashville climbed into the top 10 ranking this year, both moving up several spots from last year.

The full list is posted on Cvent.com.




Photo Credit: chicagoaintcool/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Jelly Belly Production Moves Out of Chicago]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:56:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Jelly_bellys.jpg

Chicago soon will not be able claim to be the home of Jelly Belly candies.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jelly Belly Candy Co. is eliminating 70 jobs from its North Chicago factory and moving the production to Fairfield, Calif.

The company, formerly known as Goelitz Confectionary Company, has been making Jelly Belly jelly beans since 1978 and candy corn since 1913, the newspaper reported.

The company also reportedly shipped Jelly Bellys to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

Company officials told the Tribune that the employees will have opportunities to transfer to other locations.

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<![CDATA[Northwestern Study Finds Songs That Pump Us Up]]> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:43:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/music-festival-generic.jpg

Got a job interview or an intense meeting coming up? The right music could help prepare you to take it on.

Researchers at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management found that the right background music can influence how people process information and their readiness to take an initiative.

"Just as professional athletes might put on empowering music before they take the field to get them in a powerful state of mind, you might try [this] in certain situations where you want to be empowered," researcher Derek Rucker told Kellogg Insight.

After researchers played music for study subjects, the participants rated some songs as being more empowering than others.

Hearing empowering music can alter people's behavior and make them feel like they are more powerful, the researchers found. After listening to music, participants who heard high-power playlists opted to go first in a debate almost twice as often as those who had listened to the low-power playlist.

The top songs--50 Cent's "In Da Club," Queen's "We Will Rock You" and 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready for This"--made listeners feel more dominant and determined than others.

"One thing we know from prior research is that people who feel powerful tend to make the first offer in negotiations," Rucker told the . "Essentially, power is a propensity to act, to take charge in a situation."

Listeners perceived bass-heavy songs to be more empowering than low-bass ones, but researchers believe that bass is one component of music that affects people's perception of empowerment.

The results of the study suggest that the empowering effects of music are slightly unconscious and automatic. Previous research by Rucker and colleagues found that feelings of power led to better performance during interviews.

"Empowering music might be used strategically to get us in the right frame of mind," Rucker said. 



Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Resources for Job Seekers]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 09:56:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008340316_1200x675_316834371902.jpg The CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership stops by to tell us how jobseekers can get the resources they need to find work.]]> <![CDATA[Weekend Web: Hot, New Gadgets]]> Sat, 09 Aug 2014 08:43:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008339762_1200x675_316820035560.jpg Art Norman shows us the new and very hot tech gadgets, including a new tablet that is scratch proof and partially water proof. All the products are available from Verizon Wireless.]]> <![CDATA[Pizzeria Owner Wins Millions in Settlement With Village]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 13:08:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/court-gavel-generic-law1.jpg

Mount Prospect is set to dish out a $6.5 million settlement to end a years-long lawsuit filed by a local pizzeria owner.

The Village Board approved the settlement with Tod Curtis, owner of Ye Olde Town Inn, Tuesday night, the Daily Herald reports.

Under the agreement, the village’s insurance will pay most of the 6.5 million, $2 million of which will go toward attorney fees and legal costs.

Curtis, who has run the inn for more than 40 years, filed a racketeering lawsuit in 2008 accusing village officials and a local development company of conspiring to seize his land to make way for a new development project. The suit claimed the village and Oz Development LLC collaborated to try to drive him out for nearly a decade.

A confidentiality agreement would not allow either party to comment on the settlement, the Daily Herald reports, but Mount Propsect Mayor Arlene Juracek noted that in the settlement “neither the village nor any defendants admit to or have been found liable with respect to any allegations of the complaint.”

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<![CDATA[Unusual Resume Lies]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:41:45 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_120104_resumeexitoso.jpg A new CareerBuilder survey asked employers about the most unusual lies they've caught on a resume. Here are some of their answers.

Photo Credit: iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Most Common Resume Lies]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/22_170_resume.jpg

The pressure to stand out in a sea of applicants may tempt job seekers to be less than honest on their resumes, but is it worth the risk?

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, which analyzed responses from more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes, more than half of hiring managers said they’ve caught a lie on a resume.

Being caught in a resume lie could get you bumped from the potential candidates list almost immediately, the survey found.

Fifty-one percent of employers said they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on a resume, while 40 percent said that it would depend on what the candidate lied about. Seven percent said they would be willing to overlook a lie if they liked the candidate.

“Trust is very important in professional relationships, and by lying on your resume, you breach that trust from the very outset,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “If you want to enhance your resume, it’s better to focus on playing up tangible examples from your actual experience. Your resume doesn’t necessarily have to be the perfect fit for an organization, but it needs to be relevant and accurate.”

Here are some of the most common resume lies:

  1. Embellished skill set
  2. Embellished Responsibilities
  3. Dates of Employment
  4. Job Title
  5. Academic Degree
  6. Companies Worked For
  7. Accolades and Awards

Employers may also be taking more time to look over resumes.

Forty-two percent of employers said they spend more than two minutes reviewing each resume, a 33 percent increase since December, the survey found.

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<![CDATA[ArrowStream Founder's Wife Steps In as Acting CEO]]> Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:19:51 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Lavoie-p1.jpg

After a workplace shooting left ArrowStream CEO Steven LaVoie in critical condition, the company has announced that LaVoie's wife Jody has taken on the role of acting CEO.

"Jody LaVoie is currently acting CEO of ArrowStream, supported in daily management by the existing executive team of the company," the company said in a statement. "We are fortunate that she can step in to maintain Steven's vision for the company."

Jody LaVoie is expected to remain in the position until the company names an interim CEO. The selection process is already underway and ArrowStream expects to make an announcement "in the near future."

Steven LaVoie was critically injured when a recently demoted employee opened fire in his office in Chicago's Loop.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that LaVoie was shot in the head and the stomach at the ArrowStream Offices at 231 S. LaSalle Street and was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital with "grave injuries."

McCarthy said it was an isolated incident and likely retaliation from an employee who was demoted recently.

"What we have here is a workplace violence issue. Apparently there's a technological company on the 17th floor. They've been undergoing a downsizing. They've demoted a number of people."

Updates on LaVoie's condition are being posted at the Caring Bridge web site, and according to a Wednesday post, LaVoie is still in critical, but stable, condition.

Family members said LaVoie is "still showing small signs of improvement" but remains largely the same.

LaVoie, who earned a Master's degree from Yale University, is married with three daughters, and, among other activities, serves on the Board of of the Chicago Institute of Psychoanalysis.

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<![CDATA[Walgreens to Stay in U.S.; Will Acquire UK Drug Chain]]> Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:02:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/220*120/Walgreens2.jpg

Walgreen plans to keep its roots firmly planted in the United States, saying it will no longer pursue an overseas reorganization of the company that would have trimmed the amount of U.S. taxes it pays.

The nation's largest drugstore chain said early Wednesday that as previously planned, it will buy the remaining stake in Alliance Boots that it does not already own, but it will not pull off an inversion with the Swiss health and beauty retailer.

The Deerfield, Illinois, company  said it is not in the best long-term interest of its shareholders to re-domicile outside the United States.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel both issued statements Wednesday praising the company for its decision.

Shares of Walgreen Co. fell Tuesday on media reports that the nation's largest drugstore chain will not reincorporate itself overseas — a politically touchy move that could have significantly lowered its tax bill.

Walgreen owns a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots, the largest drugstore chain in the United Kingdom. Walgreen has said it will soon announce whether it will acquire the remaining stake of the company. It has been considering whether to use an organization technique called an inversion to take advantage of the U.K's lower corporate tax rate.

Citing unidentified sources, Sky News of the U.K. on Tuesday first reported that Walgreen would acquire Alliance Boots without moving its tax base overseas.

The reports come as President Barack Obama and members of Congress denounced inversions as an unpatriotic trick used to dodge U.S. taxes.

In an inversion, a U.S. business combines with a foreign company in a country with a lower tax rate, allowing the company to lower its tax bill. Frequently the companies maintain their U.S. headquarters and operations, and the U.S. entity often maintains control of the company.

Dozens of U.S. companies have completed inversions in recent years, and they're especially popular with health care companies that have extensive overseas operations. But elected officials have raised concerns about the tax revenue the federal government is losing as a result of the deals.

At 35 percent, the United States has the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world. The U.S. also taxes income that's earned overseas but brought back to the U.S.

While some Democrats are pushing to make it harder for U.S. firms to reincorporate overseas, Republicans argue that Congress should lower the corporate tax rate so that businesses won't feel the need to leave the U.S.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department said that legislation from Congress is the only way to address the problem fully. However, since inversions are eroding the U.S. tax base, the Obama administration plans to seek ways to provide a partial fix without requiring new laws from Congress.

Walgreens Co. runs more than 8,200 drugstores in the U.S.

Company shares fell $2.99, or 4.2 percent, to close at $69.12 in trading Tuesday. They added 1.3 percent to $70.01 in after-hours trading.



Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Left Off List of Best U.S. Craft Breweries]]> Tue, 05 Aug 2014 12:19:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/187774436.jpg

Chicago takes pride in its craft beer scene. From mainstays like Revolution Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company and Metropolitan Brewing, to solid up-and-comers like 5 Rabbit Cervecería and Finch's Beer Company (among many others), it's not a stretch to call this city a beer town.

So we had to look twice at The Daily Meal's new list of the 50 Best Craft Breweries in America: Though the Midwest is represented, Chicago doesn't make the list.

Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, leads the pack at No. 1, followed by Stone Brewing Company in California, Russian River Brewing Company in California and Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware.

Michigan gets another nod at the top with Bell's Brewery ranking fifth. Other Midwest mentions -- all well-known in Chicago, though not produced here -- include Three Floyds Brewing Company in Indiana, New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin and Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis.

How was the list created, and how exactly was Chicago left off?

The Daily Meal's methodology started with asking a panel of craft beer experts to nominate breweries they believed in.

"They chose from among new breweries that have really started to make a name for themselves, as well as older standbys that continue to brew excellent, consistent beer year after year," the publication explains. "In the end, we tried to focus on craft breweries that offer a range of great brews, rather than those that offer one particularly stand-out beer."

Jess Novak, drink editor at The Daily Meal and admitted lover of Revolution Brewing, seemed a little surprised too.

"Revolution has some great beers," she said. "I don't know why that one didn't make it on the initial list, because, again, that was decided by our panel. But Revolution is definitely a top brewery."

The Daily Meal certainly has been kind to Chicago in the past, giving us spots on best burrito, best cupcake and best tacos list. It even named a local burger and Mexican eatery the best in the country.

As for our breweries?

"That's just this year," Novak said. "I think Chicago is an amazing beer town with a lot of strong candidates for next year's list. We love Chicago."

Here are the top 20 best craft breweries. For the full list, click here.

1. Founders Brewing — Grand Rapids, Michigan
2. Stone Brewing Company — Escondido, California
3. Russian River Brewing Company — Santa Rosa, California
4. Dogfish Head Brewery — Milton, Delaware
5. Bell's Brewery — Kalamazoo, Michigan
6. Lagunitas Brewing Company — Petaluma, California
7. New Belgium Brewing — Fort Collins, Colorado
8. Cigar City Brewing — Tampa, Florida
9. Oskar Blues Brewery — Longmont, Colorado
10. Three Floyds Brewing Company — Munster, Indiana
11. Firestone Walker Brewing Company — Paso Robles and Buelton, California
12. Avery Brewing Company — Boulder, Colorado
13. Deschutes Brewery — Bend, Oregon
14. Southern Tier Brewing Company — Lakewood, New York
15. Prairie Artisan Ales — Tulsa, Oklahoma
16. Epic Brewing Company — Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado
17. Victory Brewing Company — Downingtown, Pennsylvania
18. Great Divide Brewing Company — Denver, Colorado
19. Allagash Brewing Company — Portland, Maine
20. Brewery Ommegang — Cooperstown, New York



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[App Helps Kids Learn About Economics]]> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 11:11:21 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008253395_1200x675_314550851938.jpg Art Norman introduces shows us a new APP called Risk Ranch, which is a new game that kids and adults can play to learn about math, finances, marketing, and other basic economic issues. This a project that Chicago's CME group is partnering with 4-H clubs across the country.]]> <![CDATA[The Do's And Don'ts Of Crowdfunding]]> Sat, 02 Aug 2014 11:12:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/236*120/gofundme+screen.jpg Actor and digital strategist Kit Williamson explains how he used the site to fund his own web series EastSiders and some of the do's and don'ts of using crowdfunding websites such as kickstarter]]> <![CDATA[Nordstrom Acquires Chicago's Trunk Club]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 18:26:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/trunk_club_blurb.jpg Chicago startup company Trunk Club is now in the hands of national retailer Nordstrom.

It's not clear how much Nordstrom paid for the company, which is located in River North.

Trunk Club is an e-commerce business that offers personal stylists who hand select clothing for men.

The company has raised several millions of dollars in venture capital funds and is expected to continue operating independently while receiving support from Nordstrom.

According to the New York Times, the company may start carrying lines from Nordstrom and customers may have access to tailors at the departments stores. ]]>
<![CDATA[Whole Foods Details Plans for New Stores]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 14:22:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/whole_foods.JPG

Whole Foods has reportedly announced plans to open the first of seven renovated Dominick’s stores next year.

The store, located at 255 E. Grand Ave. in Streeterville, will open Jan. 28, 2015, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

The company is set to open six other locations-- including storefronts in the West Loop, Edgewater, Lincoln Park, Evanston, Elmhurst—will open after the Streeterville location, but specific dates have not yet been announced.

Dominick's parent company, Safeway, announced last year its decision to pull its 72 stores out of the Chicago market because of poor sales.

Mariano's purchased 11 of the stores, and four Dominick’s stores have since re-opened as Jewel-Osco supermarkets.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed a high-level task force in Chicago to market the many still-vacant spaces.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Program Uses Selfies to Determine Life Expectancy]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:08:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/face+my+age+2.jpg

Your next selfie could be saying a little more about you than you think.

New facial recognition technology called Face My Age uses a selfie, along with a few personal details, to determine how long a person is expected to live and how old they look.

The program was developed by S. Jay Olshansky, a biodemographer from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dr. Karl Ricanek Jr. from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

“Scientists know that 'looking old for your age' is associated with a higher risk of death, but research in this area involved only a handful of people looking at pictures of identical twins and deciding which looked older and younger,” according to the program’s website. “A subdomain of facial recognition coined facial analytics eliminates the judgment, automates the process of facial comparison for age, and establishes scientifically verified ‘ages’ of your face.”

The Face My Age site asks users to upload a photo, including the person’s age, birthday, gender and race, then asks questions about drug use, smoking, education, relationships, sun exposure and plastic surgery.

The program then uses that information to calculate your “face age,” expected lifespan and your probability of living over the ages of 65 and 85.

According to the site, Face My Age determines your “face age” by evaluating everything from face shape to facial muscle.

The results can be affected by poor photo quality and whether or not a person is smiling.

Olshansky said the next steps for Face My Age include age progression photos, which will allow users to see how they will look as they get older.

"You can actually see how you will look if you're a smoker, without smoking, excessive exposure to sun," he said.

The new features are expected to be implented on the site later this year.



Photo Credit: Face My Age]]>
<![CDATA[Shake Shack To Open Second Chicago Location in 2015]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:02:31 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/190*120/shake+shack+getty.jpg

New York-based Shake Shack, as famous for its lines and web cam as its burgers and shakes, is adding a second Chicago location before opening the first.

The fast-casual chain makes its Second City debut late this year at the corner of Ohio and Rush streets. On Tuesday it announced another location to open next year on the ground floor of the new Chicago Athletic Association Hotel at Michigan and Madison.

Both locations will serve the modern-day, “roadside” burger-stand staples Shake Shack is known for: burgers, flat-top dogs made with Chicago’s Vienna Beef, frozen custard, craft beer and wine.

Until then, Shake Shack unveiled six life-size, interactive sliding puzzles on the first location's work site wall on Ohio Street. The puzzles feature artwork by artist Noah MacMillan, known in the city for the Chicago Loop District’s iconic “Float” mural.

"In the spirit of Chicago’s vibrant public art collection and in homage to Shake Shack’s roots as a hot dog cart art installation in New York City," organizers said, "the puzzles invite the neighboring community to engage with them."

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Uniqlo To Open First Store in Chicago Next Fall]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:55:57 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/uniqlo+getty.jpg

Clothing store Uniqlo plans to open its first store in Chicago -- and the Midwest -- next fall.

The flagship location of the hip Japanese casual wear brand, to be located at 830 N. Michigan Ave., will be the chain's second largest store in the United States, after its New York flagship on Fifth Avenue

“Chicago is a global city that’s home to some of the finest cultural and sports institutions in the world, and we are thrilled to join the city’s rich landscape,” UNIQLO USA CEO Larry Meyer said. “We look forward to bringing our innovative, high-quality apparel, world class customer service and modern, bright store aesthetic to the people of Chicago.”

Meyer said the store will begin recruiting at all levels with open positions posted here.

Uniqlo has 21 stores in the Northeast and San Francisco Bay area. It plans to continue its expansion this fall with openings in the Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia areas.



Photo Credit: Getty Images for Uniqlo]]>
<![CDATA[Workers Demonstrate Against Timed Bathroom Breaks]]> Tue, 29 Jul 2014 05:53:08 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Protest_toilet_breaks.jpg

Union workers at a Chicago faucet manufacturer demonstrated Monday against their employers enforcement of timed bathroom breaks.

Teamsters Local 743 claims WaterSaver Faucet Co. recently implemented a policy that tracks and records employees' bathroom usage as well as interrogates employees when they have to go.

The workers say they are limited to six minutes of bathroom time a day or risk facing discipline. But company officials say the union agreed to the bathroom policy and is using it as a publicity stunt.

Union representatives claim the new policy was put into place four days after Local 743 asked the company for $15 an hour, as well as paid sick days per Chicago's ordinance, insurance co-pay deductions and a progressive disciplinary policy.

The union filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the State of Illinois Labor Relations Board after it said a spokesman told the union the bathroom policy was not up for bargaining. The union claims some of the workers are being disciplined for what the company calls excessive bathroom usage.

"The company has recently implemented a ridiculous bathroom policy that's solely intended for Union workers and infringes on workers privacy rights," the union said in a statement.

 

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<![CDATA[Unlock Your Phone with Motorola's "Digital Tattoo"]]> Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:34:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/moto+x+tattoo.jpg

Say goodbye to unlocking your phone with a fingerprint, and hello to a digital tattoo.

That’s right—Motorola has unveiled new technology that allows Moto X phone users to unlock their phone using a digital tattoo.

Made of "super thin" and flexible materials, based on eSkinTM technology by VivaLnk, each digital tattoo is designed to unlock a phone by touching it to the device. The nickel-sized, shiny tattoo is designed to last for about five days and can withstand showering, swimming and vigorous activities like jogging, the company said in a release.

The new technology is designed to unlock devices faster than the average 2.3 seconds and eliminates the possibility of forgetting your password.

“Digital tattoos make it faster to safely unlock your phone anywhere without having to enter a password,” the company said in the release.

The tattoos are available in packs of 10 on VivaLnk.com.
 



Photo Credit: Motorola]]>
<![CDATA[Emotion Trumps Data for Business Decision Makers: Study]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 16:17:19 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/gmail+unsend.jpg

Big jobs often call for big decisions and decision makers may rely on different elements when it comes to making their choices.

Some require cold, hard facts and others go with their gut.

But according to a new study, business decisions aren’t always “strictly business.”

Fortune Knowledge Group and gyro surveyed 720 senior executives about the role of emotion in business decision-making and many said emotional elements play a large role in their choices.

Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they tend to trust their gut more than big data and 61 percent said they rely on experience over hard analytics.

“With more information comes more complexity,” Jed Hartman, Group Publisher Worldwide of TIME, FORTUNE and MONEY, who oversees the FORTUNE Knowledge Group, said in a statement. “Business decision makers are, of course, using data to their benefit. However when looking to select a business partner, it is clear that emotion plays a vital role. Decision makers do not just want a partner who looks good on paper. They want to create a relationship that can lead to a successful, long-term partnership. As with any relationship, aspects like values, reputation, trust and emotion come to the forefront.”

While data consistently plays a role in decisions, it is more often used as a tool, the survey found.

Nearly two-thirds of executives said subjective factors like a company’s culture or corporate values makes a difference when they’re evaluating competing proposals.

“Business decisions are made emotionally and justified rationally,” Christoph Becker, CEO of gyro said in statement. “A side effect of the tsunami of digital content is, too often, there is an utter lack of human relevance. That is why if you truly want to connect with business decision makers, you must make them feel. That is why you must focus on the ‘why’ of your business, the pure idea. The overwhelming desire to connect to this essence has been, and always will be, incredibly powerful.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images/MedioImages]]>
<![CDATA[Postal Workers Protest Staples in Chicago]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:55:41 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/219*120/staples+protest+7-20.jpg

Hundreds of members of the American Postal Workers Union protested outside a Staples in Chicago Tuesday in hopes to keep mini-post offices from opening up inside the business.

The group, which included leaders from the Chicago Teachers Union, gathered outside a Staples at Wabash and Washington in Chicago to “turn up the heat” on their “Don’t Buy Staples” campaign.

The protest comes as postal workers claim the stores finished a pilot program allowing for postal counters to open in more than 80 Staples stores nationwide.

“About a week ago, the USPS and Staples attempted to derail the boycott,” Union President Mark Dimondstein said. “They announced the pilot was over, but admitted that Staples clerks would continue to do the work of uniformed postal workers under a program with a different name. We’ve got news for them: our campaign to stand up for living-wage jobs and quality service for our customers isn’t over until we say it’s over.”

It's not the first time workers have protested the center. Nationwide protests were also held earlier this year after news of the pilot program was first announced.

The workers say the pilot program jeopardizes their jobs and the security of the mail, because the retail counters are staffed by Staples employees, not postal workers.

“We’re not falling for that ruse, and neither are the labor and community allies who have joined with us in this fight,” said Dimondstein. “This campaign will continue so long as the USPS tries to replace experienced, uniformed U.S. postal workers who are accountable to the American people with low-wage, high-turnover employees who have little training and who are not qualified to handle the U.S. Mail.”
 

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<![CDATA[Alpana Singh Reveals Details About New Chicago Restaurant]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 16:39:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/Blogapalooza_14_alpana.jpg

With plans for her upcoming eatery ripening quickly, Alpana Singh has announced some details about her highly anticipated Chicago venue.

Construction is underway at the Michigan Avenue location, located across the street from the Art Institute, Singh told Eater Chicago.

The name of the restaurant is Seven Lions and Singh says it will be an "American clubhouse," featuring "comfortable and approachable" updated American cuisine and a largely American wine list.

She told the foodie site she hopes to open the location later this year or by early next year.

The restaurant will hold a large center bar with a separate dining room, a sidewalk patio and private event space.

Rumors of the restaurant sprouted more than two years ago after the master sommelier announced she was parting ways with Lettuce Entertain You and resigned her post as host of WTTW's popular "Check, Please" program.

The project is in conjunction with Bistronomic owners Matt Fisher and John Ward.



Photo Credit: Leon Serdin]]>
<![CDATA[Four Tips For Landing Your First Job Right Out of College]]> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:49:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_120104_resumeexitoso.jpg

Based on a job market that, of late, seems to be trending up, recent graduates have more of an opportunity to get the job that they want, rather than settling for the job that they need.

But the job market hasn’t fully bounced back and it’s still tough out there, so here are four tips to consider before hitting the job trail:

Start your search early. Students should get a head start on understanding what they want in a career – based on both professional interests and what they expect from an employer – to ensure they are prepared to move forward when presented with the right opportunity. Beyond reflecting on what they want, students need to spend time actually researching prospective opportunities.

There are so many tools available for students to use to learn more about a company or an industry – such as a company’s website or social platforms – that students should take the time to research an organization’s mission and values. That kind of due diligence always comes in handy during the interview phase. For additional insight on an industry or a specific organization and help further refine the job search, students also can speak with a professional recruiter.

Work your network and follow up. Top companies make hiring decisions well in advance of graduation, so that means the job search needs to begin well in advance of your last college exam. Connect with friends, family and teachers to advertise your job hunt. You never know what kind of opportunities you can uncover unless you ask.

Students also should take advantage of professional organizations on campus both for networking opportunities and for the chance to learn more about what they do or don’t like. As a result, hopefully you won’t waste time on that six month unpaid internship in an industry that doesn’t suit you, but instead, you’ll channel your efforts into what you know you want. And as with any meeting, don’t forget to follow up with new connections and send a thank you note, even after informational interviews. Take advantage of LinkedIn, connect with everyone you know including recruiters, follow companies that you are interested in working for and join groups that you are interested in.

Get comfortable with major trends in your field. Read industry publications to understand the major trends and how they fit into the bigger picture of the business. Graduates with a fresh perspective and solid understanding of an industry are more valuable to hiring managers than folks that don’t have a similar level of industry awareness.

For example, in the IT world, every organization across every industry is investing in how data is captured, stored, analyzed and kept secure. Yet, there is a shortage of qualified candidates.

If you’re coming out of school with a strong understanding of not only how data works, but what core functions are trending in the industry, AND you can prove you’re a quick learner, you’ll be in great shape as an attractive candidate to employers.

Get the right work experience. Understanding the type of work experience required for a new job is central to landing it. Experience is one of the first things hiring managers look at when evaluating a candidate. Whether it’s a paid position or an unpaid internship, think ahead to the roles you’ll fill in the future. Are you adequately preparing for them? Research the certifications or degrees you’ll need down the road, and start mapping out how you’ll earn them en route to your dream job.

Katie Kocmond is an Information Technology Recruiting Manager at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.



Photo Credit: iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[5 Tips to Stay Productive at Work]]> Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:25:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/text_suit_generic.jpg

It’s already 1 p.m., and despite spending half your day in the office, you have yet to cross off any of the items on your to-do list.

Sound familiar?

Whether you work in a home office, shared office or more traditional space, chances are your work environment is filled with distractions that threaten to torpedo your productivity. While five minutes here and 15 minutes there may not seem like a lot, this time quickly adds up and, in some cases, takes a financial toll on your business.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, one in four people admit to spending at least one hour per workday on personal calls, emails or texts. And more than 20 percent said they spend an hour or more on the Internet searching for non-work-related information. As part of the survey, respondents were asked to list their primary workplace distractions.

Among the culprits were cell phones and texting, gossip, the Internet and social media.

  • You can find the list of the top 10 productivity killers here.

With so much going on around you, it’s no wonder you have a hard time getting things accomplished.

Here are five tips to help you stay focused and on-task in the office:

Unplug – Working on a tight deadline? Turn off your phone, set up an out-of-office reply, and turn your web browser to offline mode. (It’s under the “File” menu.) If you absolutely have to look something up, go directly to a search engine or site you’ve already bookmarked, locate the information you need, and log back off.

Prioritize – Not every call or email requires an immediate response. If you’re in the middle of something that’s more important, finish what you’re working on and then return the message.

Break it up – Designate certain times of the day to take a mental break and check personal emails, texts and social media accounts.

Block it out – Look for a quiet workspace where you can escape from noisy neighbors and other distractions like TVs and radios. If you don’t have a private office of your own, try an empty conference room or lounge.

Learn how to say “I’m busy” – Be prepared to tell co-workers (or anyone else who drops by unexpectedly) that you simply don’t have time to talk. To avoid coming off as rude or dismissive, explain what you’re working on and suggest another time to catch up. Most of the people who interrupt you have experienced interruptions of their own and will appreciate your candor. It will also make for a better conversation later when your mind isn’t preoccupied with something else.

Frank Chalupa is president and co-founder of Amata Office Centers, Chicago’s largest privately owned office suites provider. Founded in 2002, Amata offers an array of full- and part-time office solutions to businesses of all sizes. With six locations to choose from in downtown Chicago, including the company’s newest center at 150 S. Wacker Drive, Amata offers flexible terms that allow businesses to change and grow as needed. Learn more at amataoffices.com.



Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[3 Easy Ways to Reward Your Employees This Summer]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 12:23:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Sunbathing-beach-generic-14.jpg

Summer is finally here and taking advantage of the season is top of mind for employees. After a harsh winter, how can businesses allow their employees to enjoy the warm weather while still encouraging hard work?

Here are three easy ways to reward your employees this summer.

Offer summer vacation days.

Many employees today don’t take the vacation time allotted to them for various reasons including workload pressures, job obligations or performance anxiety. Depriving themselves of a vacation may seem advantageous to their work life, but in fact, bypassing vacation will not benefit an employee’s health or the company’s bottom line. Half-days provide a nice option to ensure your employees get a much-needed break, without spurring the aforementioned vacation-related concerns.

While offering half-day “Summer Fridays” – a common practice for many companies in the summer season – may not work for your business plan, consider offering two additional vacation days between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Employees can choose how and when to leverage their additional days off, whether it’s in one fell swoop or taking a couple half-days throughout the season.

Encourage employees to use them.

Taking time off from work is crucial to avoiding burnout. Additionally, many employees get their most innovative ideas when they aren’t worrying about addressing every crisis that pops up or managing tedious work assignments. The short-term disregard of vacation days can lead to mental “check-out” during the work day and long-term health problems, such as depression, increased stress and heart disease, none of which will benefit the company.

As a result, communicate the importance of taking vacation time with company supervisors early and often. Ensure that managers are promoting this value in your organization because in the end, prioritizing vacation will boost productivity and employee wellness across the board.

Treat your team to a cookout or happy hour.

This reward definitely is the easiest to execute, and only requires a small budget and planning, but it makes a big impact on team morale. Invite families to the team cookout and just relax, avoid “talking shop” and focus on team-building outside of office hours.

Alternatively, you can take your next planning meeting outside. Encourage your employees to get out of the office and unplug for a few hours while you brainstorm. Even moving a single meeting outdoors can boost morale. A change of scenery can also improve creativity and lead to new, fresh ideas.

It’s important to take steps to promote wellness and work-life balance in your organization. Providing employees with simple additional incentives like the ones listed above will help your team avoid burnout and improve productivity.

Jane Garner is an Administrative & HR Recruiting Manager at Addison Group, a nationwide provider of professional staffing and search services. Addison combines a national network and localized service for broad reach with a personal touch. Specialized practices deliver the right candidate at the right time in Administration & Human Resources, Finance & Accounting, Healthcare, and Information Technology. Addison has received Inavero’s Best of Staffing award for both Client and Candidate service for the past four years. Learn more at www.addisongroup.com.

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<![CDATA[Second City Expands Comedy Training Center]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:59:50 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Old-Town_second-city.jpg

The training center for Chicago's famous Second City comedy group is expanding.

The Second City Training Center announced Tuesday that it will lease a 25,000 square foot former AMC movie theater next to its Piper's Alley location on the city's North Side.
 
The expansion would double the comedy school's space to include new classrooms, student theaters, voice-over studios and on-camera training areas.
 
"We are very excited to enhance our students' experience with the development of this new space,” said Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc in a statement on the web site. “This will give the opportunity for more student performances in front of audiences, resources to enhance their education, places to work and collaborate, and program-specific materials and technology in classrooms. For our team, it's taking what's already a fantastic training institution and heightening it to the best experience possible for our students."
 
Second City says the space should be finished and students can start using it by spring of 2015.
 
The Second City improv comedy group has been in Chicago for more than 50 years. Its alumni include actors like John Belushi, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis.
    

 



Photo Credit: flickr.com/acordova]]>
<![CDATA[New App Aims to Give Picture Perfect Baby Pics]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:38:24 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/WMAQ_000000008062620_1200x675_308575299857.jpg Charlie Wojciechowski and Art Norman introduce us to Babysnapps , a new APP that helps you take a perfect picture of your baby with your smartphone. Invented by Kathleen Rickerson, a photographer and IT consultant from Saint Charles, Illinois.]]> <![CDATA[Water Tower Place Offers Same-Day Delivery Service]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 04:59:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/water+tower+place+cms.jpg

Water Tower Place is now offering a same-day delivery service for online and in-store purchases.

Shoppers at the Michigan Avenue mall “will enjoy same-day delivery service from a variety of participating jewelry, fashion, footwear and luxury retailers,” the Chicago Tribune reports, citing a joint release from Water Tower Place and mall operators Simon and Macerich.

The service is currently free for Water Tower shoppers, but after July 31, same-day delivery will cost $5, officials said. Only packages up to 50 pounds are eligible.

“The goal is to make it easy and convenient for the shopper to have their bags delivered to their home the same day,” Marketing Manager for Water Tower Place Katie Lindsay said.

Several other area malls are expected to roll out the new service by the holiday season, Lindsay said.

The shops at North Bridge and Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont will begin offering same-day delivery in August, and Woodfield Mall is expected to follow, the Tribune reports.

Lindsay said about 10 malls are expected to introduce the service in the coming months.

The introduction of the service at General Growth-owned Water Tower Place comes after a similar launch at Oakbrook Center began last November.

The service, which is offered via a partnership with California startup Deliv, is a way for stores to combat online retail giants like Amazon and eBay.

“What they’re doing now is trying to match is the terms of delivery from the online retails,” said Larry Kilduff with commercial real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle. “Anything that a brick and mortar retailer can do to come up with equalization for some of that customer value that the customer perceives, they’re doing.”

Each mall will reportedly have their own runners, item storage, shipping locations and parking for crowd-sourced delivery vehicles.

“It’s all about creating an experience for our shoppers when they come to the mall,” Lindsay said.

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<![CDATA[Boeing Releases Statement on Malaysia Airlines Crash]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:29:30 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/480432713.jpg

Chicago-based Boeing, which provided the Malaysia Airlines jet that reportedly crashed Thursday in Ukraine near the Russian border, said it stands ready to provide assistance as details stream in about the crash.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board MH17, as well as their families and loved ones," the company said in a statement. "We stand ready to provide assistance."

The Boeing 777-200 plane was carrying 295 people when it crashed. An adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister said the jet had been shot down, The Associated Press reported.

Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter account that it lost contact with flight MH17 while the plane was traveling over Ukrainian airspace.

"We are aware of reports on MH17," Boeing tweeted after the crash. "We're gathering more information."



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Native Debuts "Peeing Accessory" For Women]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:20:04 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Stand+Up+Pee+Festival.jpg

Hey ladies—are you looking to stand up to dirty toilet seats and bathrooms? Well, urine luck.

A young entrepreneur who has dubbed herself “Queen Pee” is rolling out a new bathroom accessory to help women pee standing up.

With summer festival season underway and Lollapalooza on the horizon, Chicago-native Sara Grossman hopes her newly launched “peeing accessory” dubbed Stand Up can ease the sanitary concerns for women using public bathrooms.

“When encountering a less-than desirable peeing locale, many women opt to squat, which isn’t easy! We can feel off-balance, like we’re about to fall through the stall door, or maybe like we’re modern-arting a one of a kind pee-splatter-painting for the next unlucky hopeful sitter,” Grossman said. “There’s just no winning when it comes to squat-peeing, which is why I invented the Stand Up; I believe women can have a hygienic and dignified peeing experience if they so choose.”

Launched this year, Stand Up is a triangular-shaped disposable and biodegradable peeing accessory, Grossman said. It is made of neon pink, gloss-finished cardstock that allows liquids to easily slide off.

Grossman said the accessory can help women keep their distance from messy toilet seats and hopes her handy creation can assist Lolla ladies, because “nothing compares to the nastiness of a public toilet at a summer outdoor music festival.”

Grossman's disposable design isn't the only bathroom accessory that helps women pee standing up. Similar concepts have been released, such as the female urination device known as Go Girl, which acts as a reusable funnel to direct urine away from your feet.

Stand Ups are available in three “packs” ranging from $6 to $30 and can be purchased online at www.the-stand-up.com.

NOTE: Lolla fans hoping to get their packs in time for the fest will need to order by July 28.



Photo Credit: Andrew Meade Photography]]>
<![CDATA[Chick-fil-A Could Outpace McDonald's Growth: Analyst]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:40:23 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/chik-fil-a-sign.jpg

Fast food consumers may be compelled to "Eat Mor Chik'n" as opposed to digging into a Big Mac over the next decade.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a restaurant industry analyst projects Chick-fil-A will increase U.S. sales between $6.3 billion to $9 billion by 2023, whereas McDonald's growth is projected at anywhere from $1 billion to $10.5 billion.

Atlanta-based Chik-fil-A has surpassed KFC in the fast-food chicken category nationwide, and is poised for greater growth as it expands into more northern states.

While McDonald's total U.S. sales dwarf those of Chik-fil-A's, the industry analyst shows that the fast food giant can no longer ignore its plucky competitor.



Photo Credit: The Richards Group]]>
<![CDATA[Theater Owner Hopes Crowd-Funding Can Save Venue]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:22:29 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/antioch+theatre.jpg

The owner of a shuttered suburban movie theater is hoping he can crowd fund enough money to save the historic site.

The Antioch Theatre closed its doors in May following financial fallout due to maintenance and technology issues, but owner Tim Downey is hoping he can drum up community support to restore and reopen the building, returning it to its position as a staple in the suburban city.

Downey created a Kickstarter fundraising page titled "Save the Antioch Theatre," asking for residents to raise $65,000 in 45 days to help pay for new digital equipment-- and he's offering up incentives to his supporters.

The theater first opened in 1919 as a live performance venue called the Majestic Theatre. It was converted to a single-screen movie theater and renamed the Antioch Theatre in 1924. But manitenance problems, ownership struggles and a mandatory conversion to digital projection forced the building to close its doors in May.

New owner Downey hopes to renovate and expand the theatre by adding a 29-seat boutique theater, new screens, drapery and seating, a new marquee, a renovated lobby, sprinkler fire protection and, with the help of the Kickstarter page, new digital projection and sound.

With a little more than two weeks left on the Kickstarter event, residents have already pledged to donate more than $36,000 to the cause.

But there's an added incentive for those donate.

Supporters who pledge $10 or more will receive rewards like free movie passes, concessions, engraved glass stars, a personalized seat plaque, or even an engraved granite sidewalk star outside the theater. The higher the donation, the bigger the reward.

"Movie theaters are like heartbeats for small downtowns," the theater's website reads. "When a downtown theater closes, fewer people visit, and other businesses suffer too. We want to make sure that doesn't happen."

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<![CDATA[Modern PR vs. Traditional PR: What You Need to Know]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:00:14 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/computer2.jpg

Thanks to the Internet, the world of PR is continuosly evolving. But with this evolution, there seems to be even more questions as to exactly what public relations is and what it can do for a company.

Many publicists may run social media accounts, manage SEO, send out newsletters or write blog content, but PR isn't just one thing.

The bottom line is if your publicist is not generating media stories and creating proactive tactics to engage your audience and drive them to your website it’s not PR.

When the PR industry was first pioneered, it was created as a way to communicate proactively with media rather than always being in crisis mode when the media got hold of a story. Over time it has become a powerful marketing tool, creating awareness and connecting audiences with brands through credible third-party endorsements (i.e. the media).

Thanks to social media and other tools, today PR is truly about relating to your audiences and engaging with them indirectly and directly. While traditional, proactive media pitching is still considered by a majority of professionals to be the foundation of a campaign, companies now implement other strategies using social media to further a campaign reach.

Separately, SEO, social media and blogging work to accomplish different goals. Together, they can have a powerful return for your business. The real key to success is knowing how all of these elements work separately, knowing and understanding your audience and how to find them, and creating a strategy to develop compelling stories that will invoke an emotional response from customers to click the “buy” button or pick up the phone.

Where the traditional PR approach has more power is that an abundance of positive media stories on your company create links back to your site that can increase your SEO automatically, and when customers see links to these stories on your website or social networks, it instantly builds credibility. Because, at the end of the day anyone can pay to be on Page 1 of a search engine, but nothing is as powerful as a referral from a trusted source.

Jennifer Fortney is President of Cascade Communications, a boutique virtual PR and marketing communications company in Chicago for small business and startups. In her 17- year career she has worked with some of the top Fortune 500 companies and a wide variety of small businesses and startups across the country. A Journalism major from The University of Kansas, she has written broadcast news, worked in sports and broadcast marketing, is the PR Instructor at SCORE Chicago and Founder of @MyStorySource live media pitch feed on Twitter and Facebook. @SmallBizPRXpert

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