Northwest Business Magazine

Small-Business Marketing: Illinois, Your Business State

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Just because the common discourse suggests you have a problem doesn’t mean you lack positive qualities. Susan Dobbe-Leahy shares how a different outlook on your assets produces results.

Mark Peterson, Intersect Illinois

Doing business in Illinois, one receives mixed messages about opportunities and workforce. Getting the facts and understanding the realities of the state of business in Illinois can make a difference in your business plan. It may inspire you to seek new partners and bring new growth to your business. Know and use these facts to market your business, your property and your future potential.

Did you know that Illinois has the labor force, location, infrastructure, education system and quality of life that appeal to business headquarters worldwide?

The facts are astounding, considering the generally disappointing news about Illinois most often circulated. And, foreign business is widely distributed throughout the state, from large to small cities.

Mark Peterson, president and CEO of Intersect Illinois, detailed some of the benefits of our state when he spoke to the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation’s annual dinner this past October.

Here’s some good news about Illinois:
• 6.47 million civilian labor force
• 2 major airports with 1,400 daily departures
• 36 Fortune 500 companies
• 440 major corporate headquarters
• 1,800 foreign companies
• 1.2 million small businesses

Economic overview:
• Third largest city in the U.S. (Chicago)
• Fifth largest GDP in the U.S.
• 17th largest economy in the world
• 4.9 percent unemployment rate (in 2017)

Illinois is a global powerhouse!

Many of us are located in Illinois by mere accident of birth or marriage. Doing business in Illinois was based upon being close to our homes and families. When compared against other states, Illinois offers advantages that should be promoted.

Located in the center of the country, Illinois is a crossroads. Its people, products and businesses are within a 4-hour flight of the entire North American market, and they have non-stop service to more than 50 destinations.

“Illinois offers tremendous advantages to companies around the world looking for workforce, education, strong communities, infrastructure, logistics, reliable low-cost energy, as well as reliable water and natural resources,” Peterson said. “Illinois is an environment for rapid growth at a lower cost than locations on the East or West Coasts.”

Peterson delivered an inspiring message that engaged the audience of more than 350 business leaders from the region. He clarified the myth that Indiana and Wisconsin were competing for business with Illinois.

“Illinois GDP is more than the combined GDP of those two states,” he told the MCEDC gathering. “Neither state has the infrastructure, transportation, education or workforce strength to match Illinois.”

Intersect Illinois provides regional partnerships, foreign direct investment and property search. Teams from Intersect Illinois lead international outreach visits with companies in countries seeking connections in Illinois.

Foreign businesses are scattered around the state, from large to very small cities. Many international businesses seek the kinds of quality-of-life benefits offered by small towns and cities.

MCEDC president Jim McConoughey selected Mark Peterson to present. “The theme for our annual dinner was “I had no idea…”” he explained. “There are so many positive facts about McHenry County and Illinois, we wanted to emphasize that doing business here is a very good idea. The MCEDC is focused on retaining, supporting and attracting business to the region.”

More positive information on the state of Illinois can be found online at IntersectIllinois.org. McHenry County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private partnership with investors throughout McHenry County.

Business growth potential increases when you know the environment and leverage its strengths. With a better understanding of the advantages of doing business in Illinois, your business can benefit from partnerships regionally and globally.

Share the good news about Illinois with your business contacts and networks. Emphasize what is best about your location. Start the conversations among your industry group, Chamber of Commerce and professional service organization. Leverage the advantages of Illinois to build your own business success.

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