Business & Economy
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Lopeti Etu & David Balluff   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014 08:06

Lopeti Etu and David Balluff are thrilled to announce the upcoming opening of L&D15, a new retail boutique devoted to clothing, accessories, art and housewares in downtown Davenport, Iowa. They will launch the store, located at 520-524 West 2nd St., with a grand opening event, featuring music, art and fashion, on November 15th, 2014.

“We wanted to create a space that supports our vision of the future of retail - a venue that not only allows us to produce and sell our own products in house, but also supports the greater artistic community,” explains Balluff. “Our store will offer a range of products, showcasing local artists and designers alongside nationally known luxury brands like Me&Ro, San & Soni, FGI’s Rising Star award winner Peter Hidalgo and fashion illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari.”

Both Balluff and Etu are especially excited by their exclusive arrangement with NYC jewelry design company Me&Ro, whose products have been featured in film and on TV, from The Devil Wears Prada and Black Swan to Scandal and Modern Family. “It’s crazy to think that our store will carry the same jewelry worn by so many actresses on the red carpet and on the big screen. Is it too much to hope that Angelina Jolie or Natalie Portman will stop by and pick up another pair of earrings at L&D15?” Etu wonders. “We can dream.”

L&D15 is located in a 2500 square foot building, ideally situated near downtown arts and entertainment venues. Built in 1910, it was once home to New York Hat Works, especially appropriate to designer and milliner Lopeti Etu.

“We immediately fell in love with the space, which gives us ample room for a workshop in addition to a unique retail environment. We think Davenport, Iowa is a promising location to start a fashion and artistic hub,” said Etu. “There is an appreciation for the arts in the Quad Cities, a growing population of young professionals, and a lot of new development and energy.”

Etu began his career in New York City doing window display at Bergdorf Goodman. He creates hand-blocked, one of a kind hats, cocktail hats and fascinators under the Lopeti Etu Millinery label, and has collaborated with several high profile designers in NYC, including Marc Bouwer, Catherine Malandrino and Patricia Field. Photos of his hats have appeared in French Vogue, Marie Claire, O Magazine, and in other print media.

Bettendorf native David Balluff is an artist and graphic designer with an MFA in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. He initially learned to silkscreen while working as an Artist-Educator at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA and began General Assembly, a hand-silkscreened t-shirt line, in 2009.

How to Run Your Home More like a CEO PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:30
4 Tips for Time & Budget Management from a Business Development Strategist

All successful CEOs have one thing in common: They’re able to maintain a big-picture perspective. It’s also something successful moms have in common, says Zenovia Andrews, a business strategist, speaker, author and mom who coaches entrepreneurs and CEOs on time and budget management.

“In business, CEOs implement a process that achieves efficient time and resource management in the most cost-effective way; sounds a lot like a mom, doesn’t it?” says Andrews, founder and CEO of The MaxOut Group, a company devoted to empowering and teaching entrepreneurs development strategies to increase profits.

“If every mom were a CEO, America would rule the world!”

Andrews, author of the new book “All Systems Go – A Solid Blueprint to Build Business and Maximize Cash Flow,” (, suggests the following tips for moms to better manage money and time.

•  CEOs utilize apps, and so should CEO Moms. When a CEO’s personal assistant isn’t around or, if it’s a small business and she doesn’t have one, then apps do nicely. There are several apps for moms, including Bank of Mom – an easy way to keep track of your kids' allowances. Set up an account for each child and track any money they earn for chores or allowance. The app also allows you to track their computer and TV time as well as other activities.

•  Measurement is the key to knowledge, control and improvement. CEOs have goals for their businesses and Moms have goals for their family members. In either case, the best way to achieve a big-picture goal is to identify action steps and objectives and a system for measuring progress. Want to improve your kids’ test scores, help your husband lose weight or – gasp – free some time for yourself? There are four phases to help track progress: planning, or establishing goals; collection, or conducting research on your current process; analysis – comparing information from existing processes with the new one; and adapting, or implementing the new process.

•  Understand your home’s “workforce.” A good CEO helps her employees grow and develop, not only for the company’s benefit, but for the employee’s as well. Most people are happiest when they feel they’re learning and growing, working toward a goal, which may be promotion within the company or something beyond it. When they feel the CEO is helping with that, they’re happier, more productive, more loyal employees. Likewise, CEO Moms need to help their children gain the skills and knowledge they need not only to succeed in general but to achieve their individual dreams.

•  A well-running household is a community effort; consider “automated” systems. In business, automated systems tend to be as clinical as they sound, typically involving technology. Yet, there’s also a human resource element. Automated systems are a must for CEO Moms, and they tend to take the form of scheduling at home. Whose night is it for the dishes, or trash? One child may be helpful in the kitchen, whereas another may be better at cleaning the pool.

About Zenovia Andrews

Zenovia Andrews,, is a business development strategist with extensive experience in corporate training, performance management, leadership development and sales consulting with international clients, including Pfizer, Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. A sought-after speaker and radio/TV personality, she is the author of “All Systems Go” and “MAXOut: I Want It All.”

Braley Fights to Give 300,000 Iowans a Pay Raise on National Minimum Wage Day, While State Sen. Ernst Opposes Minimum Wage Increase PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sam Lau   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:07

Braley fighting to raise minimum wage to $10.10/hr & restore its purchasing power.

In contrast, state Sen. Joni Ernst opposes the federal minimum wage and believes $15,000 a year is an appropriate wage for hardworking Iowans

Des Moines, IA – To mark National Minimum Wage Day, Bruce Braley today reiterated his call for an overdue increase to the minimum wage that would provide 300,000 Iowans with a pay raise and infuse $272 million in to Iowa’s economy.

“No one in Iowa should work a full-time job and live near or below the poverty line,” said Braley. “It’s been over five years since the last federal minimum wage increase, and the minimum wage buys less and less for Iowa’s workers. I’m committed to raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour because I believe that all Iowans deserve a fair wage for a hard day’s work. In contrast, Sen. Ernst again puts her reckless Tea Party agenda ahead of Iowans and thinks $7.25 an hour – just $15,000 a year – is an appropriate minimum wage for hardworking Iowans.”

While Bruce Braley is fighting to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour to benefit older workers and families, state Sen. Joni Ernst is opposed to the federal minimum wage, and has repeatedly said that she thinks $7.25 an hour – which means a full-time worker takes home just $15,000 a year – is “appropriate for Iowa.” Sen. Ernst showed just how out of touch she is when she said $7.25 is a “great starter wage for many high school students, those that are just getting into work experience,” despite clear evidence that shows that raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour would primarily benefit older workers.

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Governor Quinn Announces 500 New Jobs at Growing Technology Firm PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katie Hickey   
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 09:05

Innovative Company Expanding in Chicago and Elk Grove Village

CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced that software development company SpringCM will accelerate its growth in Chicago and Elk Grove Village and hire an additional 500 people within five years. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.

“SpringCM is a great example of our growing tech and entrepreneurial industries that are creating jobs across Illinois and helping to fuel our economic comeback,” Governor Quinn said. “As we continue to create jobs in communities across the state, we have seen good news for our economy but there is more work to be done. Investments in Illinois are further proof that we are headed in the right direction and SpringCM’s expansion here is testament to the strength of our workforce and position as a hub for technology and innovation.”

SpringCM is adding jobs in product development, sales and marketing and enlarging its space using $8 million in private investment this year. It projects growth of more than 50 percent annually for the next several years. If it meets its targets, the company’s payroll will generate close to $2 million a year in additional state income tax revenue by 2019.

SpringCM is receiving a $2.25 million state investment that will allow it to expand facilities in two locations at 180 N. LaSalle St. in Chicago and 1905 Lunt Ave. in Elk Grove Village. The company currently employs more than 90 people at the two locations. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will administer the investment.

“SpringCM has a massive opportunity as a cloud software provider to help companies put contracts and critical documents to work, fuel competitive advantage and drive bigger outcomes,” Founder and CEO of SpringCM Greg Buchholz said. “That's the same philosophy of the DCEO grant, to help growth companies expand right here in Illinois. SpringCM was intentionally founded and headquartered in Chicago because of the tremendous talent base and culture of the Midwest and because of the quality of life it offers our employees. Bottom line, the economic environment of Illinois enables us to build a world-class tech company much more cost-effectively than in Silicon Valley, Massachusetts or New York.”

SpringCM has more than 400 customers, including large companies and the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Companies like SpringCM are a cornerstone Illinois’ economic comeback,” DCEO Director Adam Pollet said. “Just as SpringCM has shown faith in Illinois, we are showing our faith in the company’s business plan and long-term objectives.”

SpringCM offered its first product to help companies automate their business services in 2006 and since then has grown by more than 30 percent annually. Earlier this year, its investors put an additional $18 million into SpringCM, including the $8 million capital infusion for its expansion plans. The company expects it will double its headquarters space at 180 N. LaSalle St. to 42,000 square feet.

Terms of the investment require SpringCM to retain its current staff count in Chicago and Elk Grove Village, create 200 jobs within two years and another 300 within five years.

The state investment is an example of Governor Quinn’s ongoing support for the tech sector, which studies show is adding jobs in Illinois faster than in the nation as a whole. Chicago also is ranked highly as a destination by entrepreneurs, in part because of its lower costs compared with other premier cities and the proximity of world-class universities and research labs.

For more information on doing business in Illinois, visit


The 3 Major Sins of Sales Management PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 10 October 2014 15:58
CEOs Must be Aware of How They’re Using Key People, Says Sought-After Speaker

It’s a simple fact of business: Without sales, no one else downstream can do their jobs, says veteran sales manager and business speaker Jack Daly. Because of how vital sales are to a company, CEOs frequently tend to misuse their best people, he says.

“There are three sins that minimize the sales management role, which ultimately holds the company back from achieving its growth,” says Daly, author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” (

“When they misallocate key players, small to medium-sized businesses tend to go into one of two directions. They either stay small to medium, or they go out of business. When you ask why, it most often comes down to a violation of one or more of these three sins of sales management. Having the right people in important spots is absolutely the secret to success.”

To ensure continued growth, Daly says the people at the top must avoid the following:

Sin No. 1 … is committed when the CEO or owner wears the hat of the sales manager. If you are doing that, you’re essentially relegating both the CEO job and the sales manager job to part-time status. In effect, you’re saying, “I’m going to grow my business part time.” If you want your business to grow, you must grow your sales force, and you need someone doing that full time.

Sin No. 2 … is to make the best salesperson the sales manager. It can work, but seldom does. The usual scenario, however, is you lose your best salesperson and get a mediocre sales manager. The role and the responsibilities are entirely different. A salesperson’s role is to win new customers and nurture the ones you have, thereby differentiating you from your competitors. The sales manager’s job involves recruiting, training, coaching, building and developing. Being effective at one of those jobs is not an indicator that a person will be equally effective in the other. Salespeople are used to immediate gratification, involving a deal-to-deal routine. Sales managers, by contrast, must take their time to recruit, train and coach. A salesperson might easily become disenchanted with the pace of the new role and look for another sales job, perhaps with your competitor.

Sin No. 3 … is probably the most grievous of all. The best salesperson is made a sales manager, but he or she is also required to continue booking business. It’s absolutely ruinous. The person’s focus will remain fixed on the customer, as that is how their compensation is driven. Accordingly, the sales team will be underserved, missing the opportunity for leveraged growth.

The key to growth is to put the right people in the right places, Daly says.
“Since sales drive business, it’s essential to match skills and personality types to the jobs, and to ensure the people can focus on their roles,” Daly says.

About Jack Daly

Jack Daly, author of “Hyper Sales Growth,” (, is an experienced and inspirational sales trainer and sales coaching expert who, as a sought-after speaker, motivates audiences to take action in the areas of sales planning and training, and customer loyalty. Daly draws upon more than 20 years of business experience, with several successful stints as the CEO of fast-growing companies. He has a Bachelor’s in Science degree in accounting, a Master of Business Administration degree, was a Captain in U.S. Army and is an accomplished author with audio and DVD programs.

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