Growing a small business

By Marc Strauss

Growing a small business

February 10, 2012 Updated Feb 10, 2012 at 5:17 PM CDT

CENTRAL Ill. -- Earlier this week, Caterpillar officials criticized the business climate in Illinois when they elected not to relocate one of their plants here.  But what obstacles do small businesses face in our state?

Area small business owners packed a room Friday morning at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center.  They were attending a workshop, learning about various resources available to secure loans in order to grow their companies.

"Businesses have a great product, they have a great service, but they need capital to keep their doors open and help them grow," said Roxanne Nava, director of the Illinois Division of Financial Institutions.

"It's very hard for a small business to get started.  Most of them go out of business the first two years," explained Deb Bingaman, who runs her own small business.

Some of the small business owners who attended the workshop believe Illinois can create a better environment in which to operate.  Jason Parkinson helps run a start up media company.

"For small businesses, I think that the big thing is just tax incentives for hiring.  More tax incentives for being able to do business here in a state that we love to be in and would like to be able to stay here," said Parkinson.

According to the Small Business Administration over half of the jobs created in America come from small businesses.   Illinois Congressman Bobby Schilling (R-17th District) says that's why he and colleague Aaron Schock have introduced a bill to end the filing of 1099K forms, an accounting requirement that can cost small businesses thousands of dollars.

"It was going to cause them to go back and look at any credit card purchases and things like that and pay another employee how to deal with a 1099K and we successfully have gotten that pulled out," said Schilling.

But even with some of those financial obstacles there are small business success stories.

Excel Foundry and Machine in Pekin is planning a $15 million expansion.   Its president and CEO, Doug Parsons, told members of the Pekin Chamber of Commerce that could mean adding 100 employees.

"The demand is great and right now we can't get enough of the quality employees that we're looking for," said Parsons.  "That's part of the message that even with high unemployment there are companies like us that are still struggling to get the employees that they need."

Of course, the idea is to grow a small business into a big one.