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Guest column: On helping customers grow

by George F. Brown Jr. In 1970, Walt Kelly’s famous comic strip character Pogo used the phrase, “We have met the enemy and he is us” on an Earth Day poster. Since then, we’ve seen it applied in diverse settings from discussions of information overload to our nation’s challenges in Afghanistan. It is a universal […]

Companies save with wellness spending

Jerry Benish wasn’t looking for a medal when he finished Camcraft Inc.’s fun run and lost 10 pounds in the company’s “Biggest Loser” contest. He knew the biggest winner could be Camcraft itself. As director of human resources at the Hanover Park-based components manufacturer, Benish closely tracks health care expenses. Along with moving to self-funded […]

Do pets perk up the office?

Joe Williams brings a goofy little dog name Squidge to work most days, to the delight of many co-workers. “He gets rubbed by everyone, and he gets treats,” Williams said. “They love him.” Williams, who commutes an hour each way from the suburbs to Tails Pet Media Inc. on Chicago’s North Side, appreciates not having […]

Morphing business models can boost sales, create jobs

Like most small businesses, Blue Buddha Boutique started out as a one-person show, with founder Rebeca Mojica making and selling chain mail jewelry. But Mojica, who created her first pieces eight years ago when she couldn’t find a chain mail belt she liked in the marketplace, soon saw a larger opportunity in selling chain mail […]

Full Circle: Reflecting on the transition to self-employment

Two years ago I joined the ranks of the unemployed, hung out a shingle and declared myself a sole proprietor. I felt like one of the lucky ones. I parachuted out of a soon-to-be-bankrupt company with a parting gift of several months’ pay and health-care contributions to stake me in whatever came next.