Welcome to the IMA Executive News & Views Blog. The blog format reflects our efforts to provide IMA members with timely, relevant and thought provoking information in a form that is accessible for easy reference. IMA’s Executive News & Views Blog will be updated on a regular basis. Weekly news update emails will be sent out to notify subscribers of new information posted on the blog. IMA members are welcome to submit material for the blog, or request specific information. Simply email Editor Stefany Henson at firstname.lastname@example.org with your information or request. Editorial submissions are subject to review.
Small businesses are becoming a larger target for criminals seeking to access sensitive data because attackers are well aware that small businesses have limited resources or personnel dedicated to information system security. In an effort to combat cyber-attacks, the Department of Homeland Security established October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month to educate the public about cyber security and to prepare the nation in the event of a cyber-incident. Here are nine cyber security tips for small business owners:
Unemployment insurance taxes are expected to fall for most employers in 2014.
The maximum rate will fall to 8 percent from 8.4 percent. The new employer rate will fall to 3.4 percent from 3.6 percent. These do not include the fund building rate.
Unemployment insurance benefits are funded through a payroll tax. Several factors are considered when determining a business’ tax obligation for unemployment insurance purposes, including the amount of money in the Trust Fund available to pay unemployment insurance benefits and how many individuals a business laid off in previous years.
Barometer highest since March 2011 — Production, New Orders, Order Backlogs posted double digit gains
The October Chicago Business Barometer rose to 65.9 in October from 55.7 in September, led by double digit gains in New Orders, Production and Order Backlogs. October’s gain placed the Barometer at the highest level since March 2011 with companies seemingly unaffected by the government shutdown.
October’s advance in the Barometer was its biggest monthly increase in over 30 years and only the third time in the past decade the Barometer has risen for four consecutive months.
In 2012, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association championed a 25-year extension of the successful Enterprise Zone Program. This fall, the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity will be participating in a series of public events around the state to explain the new Enterprise Zone Program and the application process. If your community is currently in an Enterprise Zone or would like to apply for one, it’s important that they learn how to apply and the new rules governing the program.
“If you’re working with others to develop a new product, how should you manage the process?” researchers from MIT Sloan School of Management asked rhetorically. “Very carefully,” was their answer. And they insisted they weren’t being flippant. Academics have been writing about the trend toward distributed product development or collaboration for the last 15 years or more, but they are still trying to succinctly define what it takes to make collaboration work. Studying the recent agreement between Ford and General Motors to develop 9- and 10-speed transmissions can provide some insights.
From IMA member Plante Moran …
Innovation is a priority for 94 out of 100 business leaders according to Plante Moran’s 2013 Innovation Survey results. That is 15 points higher than last year and indicative of a trend consistent with other recent high-profile surveys focused on corporate innovation.
2013 saw major gains in innovation:
• More organizations tie innovation to sustainability and growth (94 percent this year as opposed to 79 percent in 2012)
• Three out of four respondents think collaboration, rather than going it alone, speeds innovation
• New or improved products increased 10 percent, to 71 percent this year as opposed to 61 percent in 2012
• New or improved processes increased 7 percent, to 85 percent; it was 78 percent last year
• Innovation is part of strategy increased 8 percent this year, to 74 percent
• New or improved services increased by 4 percent, to 71 percent
From IMA member Corbett, Duncan & Hubly PC, author Brian Davidson, Manager, Assurance Services
So, you received an inquiry about your product(s) from a potential overseas customer? The potential customer is excited about your product and is willing to pay a premium for it? The projected order level with this one customer will allow you to expand your business, add more employees, and realize higher profitability? Does this all sound too good to be true?
From IMA member Wintrust Financial …
When small businesses do well, our community does well. The health of our economy is very much tied to the success of the local businesses that keep our communities thriving. Everyone with a stake in our country’s economic success is working to ensure that small businesses have access to the tools they need to be successful. That is why since its inception in 1953, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts and resources for small businesses across the country.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association offers a service, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Incentive Program (IMIP), to its members planning significant consolidation or expansion projects. For those companies considering new capital investment that will exceed $2.5 million and will create at least 25 new jobs over a two-year period, this program could provide significant savings. It has already been utilized to save a number of our members several million dollars.