How to Create a Chicago Center of Influence


Due to an influx in technology, Chicago is awash with small to midsize businesses trying to make their mark on the city. These companies may have great reputations in their home cities, but doing business in Chicago is its own beast. The key to setting yourself apart as a business owner in Chi-Town is to go the extra mile. Not only should you be providing top-notch services, but you should also be a center of influence. The longer you spend in the Windy City, the more you’ll begin to realize it’s a city founded upon community, tight-knit neighborhoods and personal recommendations. With all of that in mind, here’s how to get down to business the Chicago way.

Build an authentic network. Your network is a direct representation of you and your business, so it’s important to cultivate your professional circle with care. But how do you build an impeccable network? Make it personal. It’s obvious when someone is networking just to add another connection to their LinkedIn profile. Chicagoans build networks on authentic relationships which is why you need to not only take a vested interest in a person’s business, but also them as a person. When your intentions are genuine, your network will begin to fall into place.

Offer up your network. The first step in creating lifelong working relationships with a client or someone in your professional circle is to provide the best service within your industry. From there, you set yourself apart from your competitors by offering up the impeccable professionals you have in your network. Identify people in your circle who are great at what they do and refer them to people who need those services. In Chicago, the best way to get business is to send business, but you have to be intentional. Creating a solid reputation for you and your business is a marathon not a sprint, and there’s no better way to create a lasting impression than making a thoughtful introduction.

Show up.  Connections continually need to be maintained. Like we mentioned above, you won’t get anywhere in Chicago by creating surface-level relationships. Keeping a strong professional circle is more than just referring business to each other — you have to make yourself available. Represent your brand by looking up events and places your network is attending or hosting and show up. If you become an active supporter of your network, you can expect that same support to be reciprocated when you need it.

Utilize these tips to make the most of your business’ presence in Chicago, and if you’re in need of a new office space to get your move started, let us know how we can help.

Executive Networking With Tenant Advisory Group


Every month, Tenant Advisory Group hosts an Executives Bruncheon to provide an opportunity for Chicago business leaders to build new, meaningful connections and discuss topics relevant to running a business.

During March’s Executives Bruncheon, attendees were prompted with the question, “What do you to do build stronger relationships?” Here are a few of the lessons shared in response:

Atish Doshi- I send articles that help me connect with people. I also try and remember how I met each person.

Dave Norris- I approach relationships differently depending on the person. I will ask for a receipt of a family dinner or upgrade a team member on the airplane. You have to keep employees involved. For clients, start with providing a good service, but it’s also important to spend as much time as possible with them, ie a round of golf.

David Wiers- I’m a fan of lifelong learning and challenging teams to grow and learn both personally and professionally. I also do the same for my clients.  I focus on culture and taking care of my people internally and externally.

Bill Himmelstein- With meeting 8-10 business owners every week, I had to do something to stay in front of everyone while adding value and not being salesy. I created the monthly executives bruncheon and luncheon as a way to bring the best people in my network to meet each other and learn through a topical discussion.

If you’re a business owner with 20+ employees and interested in attending future TAG events, please email Bill Himmelstein at Bill@TagCommercialBroker.com.

TAG Executives Luncheon Guest List

Carl Utz, Partner, Andromeda Technology Solutions

Martha Bell, Principal, Tilton, Kelly + Bell

Joel Wilcoxen, Former CFO, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago

Atish Doshi, President, Founder, Black Sheep

Brad Farris, Founder & CEO, Anchor Advisors

Liz Tilatti, CEO, ZipFit Denim

Mike Perich, CEO, Sewing Supplies Division of Bernina International

Mike Levin, Owner, Total Insurance Services

Dave Norris, COO, RedRidge Finance Group

Scott Glickson, Partner, McGuire Woods

David Wiers, Founder & CEO, Satori Energy

Brian Stumm, Partner, Stumm Insurance

Andy Mack, Managing Partner & Co-Founder, SnapMobile

Daniel Wang, CEO, Jexet Automation

Jon Wunderlich, President, Nyco Products Company

Kim Stapleton, Founder & CEO, The Network Effect

Alicia La Hoz, Founder & CEO, Family Bridges

Emily Lonigro, CEO & Founder, LimeRed

Lucas Ward, Co Founder & CTO, Kin

Jill Kerrigan, Founder & CEO, JAK Creative Design

Jamie Horn, CEO, Horn Design

Sherrin Ross Ingram, CEO- International Center for Strategic Planning, Vistage Chair, Chairman of the Board- DuPage Housing Authority Of Counsel- Tressler LLP

Tenant Advisory Group/Rightsize Penthouse Soiree!


We want to thank all those who were able to attend our soiree last week. We’re pretty sure we can speak for everyone when we say a good time was had by all! Even more importantly, some wonderful connections were made. It’s amazing what can transpire when you fill up a room with such incredible people.

We are honored you took the time to spend the evening with us and hopefully it was well worth your time. A special thank you is reserved for our event sponsor, Mason Awtry of Rightsize Facility. He is a wonderful partner and worth getting to know.

In addition, all guests are entitled to a free custom made shirt from Gentleman’s Cooperative. All you need to do is schedule an appointment with Mike Berntsen so you can select the material and design and they will fit it to you perfectly! Thank you Mike for your generous offer!

I have included the guest list below in case any connections were missed. We are always thrilled to put great people together.

TAG would be honored to serve as a commercial real estate resource for your business or someone you may know. We always enjoy meeting like-minded people who run businesses.

Thanks again for coming!

Guest List:

Atish Doshi
President & Founder
Black Sheep

Bob Domenz
CEO
Avenue

Jim Kales
CEO
Aspire

Zak Dabbas
Co-founder
Punchkick Interactive

Pat Emmons
Founder & CEO
DragonSpears

Rob Bisceglie
CEO
Action for Healthy Kids

Bob Berland
President
Berland Communications

Mark Rickmeier
CEO
Table XI

Jim Chakires
Managing Partner
Apex CPAs & Consultants

Josh Haid
Founder & Managing Partner
Women’s Divorce and Family Law Group

Josh Strauss
CEO
Pekin Signer Strauss Asset Management

Liz Tilatti
CEO
Zipfit Denim

Manny Flores
President & CEO
SomerCor

Roy Chomko
President
Adage Technologies

Chris Gandy
Founder/ President
Midwest legacy Group

Kirby Atwell
CEO- Green Vet Homes
COO- Bunker Labs

Leah Caplanis
CEO
Social Sparkling Wine

Mike Perich
CEO
Sewing Supplies Division of Bernina International

Bruce Billmeyer
Partner
BCU Risk Advisors

Anna Maria Viti-Welch
President
Guy Viti Insurance

Dr. Lori Ann Halvorson
Founder & CEO
Lake Forrest Hearing Professionals

Muhammad Azfar
Managing Partner
Auctus Capital Partners

Sandy Marsico
CEO
Sandstorm Design

Zach Ziliak
Managing Partner
Ziliak Law

Kimberly Anderson
Managing Partner
Anderson & Boback

Adam DeGroot
President
Degroot Logistics

Anil Ahuja
President
CCJM Engineers

Charlie Norwesh
Principal
Norcon

Andrew Balster
Managing Partner
Cannon Design

Ted Weitzel
VP Finance & Operations
G2 Crowd

Josh Herz
President
Associated Agencies

Marc Bushala
Managing Partner
MAB Capital Management

Jacob Babcock
President/ CEO
NuCurrent, Inc

Randy Rich
President
Vortex

Andy Priester
President
Priester Aviation

Tom Pryblo
CEO
Anchor Building Services

Darell Butler
Managing Director and Founder
Billow Butler & Co

Mason Awtry
President
Rightsize Facility

Executive Networking with Tenant Advisory Group


Every month, Tenant Advisory Group hosts an Executives Luncheon to provide an opportunity for Chicago business leaders to build new, meaningful connections and discuss topics relevant to running a business.

During February’s Executives Luncheon, attendees were prompted with the question, “What new technology is disrupting your industry and how do you plan to adjust or take advantage of it?” Here are a few of the lessons shared in response:

Olivia Nelligan, CEO, Nasco: Education has not progressed with the tech times. On the health care side many problems and mistakes can be attributive due to lack of communication. Developing AI to help with communication. Many point to tech as the underlying problem but oftentimes it might be the business itself.

Jordan Katz, President, JR Katz: Tech has been elusive to the insurance industry. Now some tech in underwriting to speed up the process and make better predictions. Need tech to accelerate the process.

Stephanie Jenkins, Director, BD of Vault Innovation Group: AI and machine learning is big disrupter. Is there an ROI to build AI into their app or technology.

Barbara Best, Founding Partner & Principal, Capital Strategies Investment Group: Technology is disrupting financial services as it creates lots of criminals. It’s also pushed down margins to make things better and cheaper. Indexing now popular as it changes the way people invest. Now people can be more efficient, optimize a portfolio and protect against making bad decisions.

Mike LaVista, CEO, Caxy Interactive: Machine learning and AI has been the opportunity. It’s almost always hype. Everyone wants blockchain. Every 3 years something comes along that changes the way we do business. Used to do mobile app development and now everything is web based.

If you’re a business owner with 20+ employees and interested in attending future TAG events, please email Bill Himmelstein at Bill@TagCommercialBroker.com.

 

TAG Executives Luncheon Guest List

Ann Brennan, Founder, Brennan Executive Benefits

Thomas McMenamin, Vice Chairman, Masuda Funai

Kimberly Anderson, Managing Partner, Anderson & Boback

Mike Black, Mortgage Advisor, Michael Black Group

Olivia Nelligan, CEO, Nasco

Jordan Katz, President, JR Katz

Andy Hulett, Founder & Partner, EmPowerHR

Erryn Cobb, Founder & CEO, Fetch IMC

Geoffrey Waguespack, Partner, Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig

Stefanie Jenkins, Director of BD, Vault Innovation Group

Dave Stolarek, Partner, PSM

Paola Meinzer, Partner, Manning Silverman & Co CPA

How to Maintain Low Rent in Booming Areas


Up-and-coming areas can be a scary concept for some business owners. One day you’re paying low rent in a semi-popular part of town, then a few years pass and the area is booming, people and other businesses are flocking over and rent is skyrocketing. However, you don’t have to pay a fortune in rent or change locations if you take the right precautions. Here’s how you can hold onto your prime real estate at a fair rate.

Stipulate a Rental Rate

When negotiating the renewal clause in a lease, oftentimes there is a fair market value clause that leaves negotiation of rental rates open for when an area grows in popularity. But fair market value leaves too much freedom for the landlord to hike up the rates to match the new standard, which could end up being well above your budget. One benefit to using a good broker is that they know to negotiate for a specific rental rate based upon a finite escalation instead of relying on a fair market value agreement. This ensures that the you can afford the future rental rates and also reflects the increase of growth in the area.

Negotiate a Right to Terminate

The termination option is also an extremely valuable piece of negotiation leverage. A landlord will not offer this unsolicited. For leases longer than five years, it is very helpful to have a termination right. By negotiating this into the lease, should rates dip below market value, then you will be able to exercise the right to terminate and move or use this as leverage to reduce your rate. Conversely, if rents have skyrocketed, you can utilize the leverage of the termination right to extend your lease and keep your rates below market for the foreseeable future.

Sublease Your Space

Another option you can consider when the rent goes up is to sublease. As always, any business leasing a space should work with a broker to ensure that a sublease clause is included in the lease. From there, if the ability to sublease is allowed, you can move elsewhere to pay a lower rate while subleasing your original space to help offset the overall costs. This is especially beneficial if you are able to reduce your square footage as well.   

Maintaining your presence in a popular area all comes down to your lease. Working with a reliable broker to negotiate the correct terms can take the stress out of rising market rates and give you peace of mind about staying in your space.