Workshops and Classes

Learn new skills to manage your business.

Understanding business fundamentals, such as finance and marketing, as well as staying abreast of the changing business environment, is key to the success of a business.

Harper College SBDC offers low cost seminars and workshops to help you manage your business and to keep up-to-date on new business developments.

Starting a Business Seminars

Have you ever considered being a business owner? Do you have the characteristics and fundamentals to run a business? Find out if entrepreneurship is right for you. During the session complete a self-assessment questionnaire to determine if you have the personal characteristics, the financial fitness and the business readiness skills to own a business. Then score and interpret your own results.

Choose one session to attend: (Wednesdays)

  • September 7, 8 - 9 a.m.
  • October 5, 8 - 9 a.m.
  • November 2, 8 - 9 a.m.
  • December 7, 8 - 9 a.m.

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: Free.

Registration: To register for this free seminar please email sbdc@harpercollege.edu.  Please include the following information in your email:  name, contact information (email and/or phone) and class date.

Starting a business requires pulling together many matters such as your strategy, marketing plan, start-up costs and sources of costs and sources of funds, and legal registration and reporting requirements.  And timing matters!  This course provides an overview of these critical tasks and helps the participants to create a timeline of critical tasks to launch.

Prerequisite: Starting a Business: First Steps or having an existing business.

Choose one session to attend:  (Wednesdays)

  • August 17, 2 - 4 p.m. - cancelled
  • September 28, 2 - 4 p.m.
  • October 19, 2 - 4 p.m.
  • November 16, 2 - 4 p.m.
  • December 14,  2 - 4 p.m.

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: Free.

Registration: To register for this free seminar please email sbdc@harpercollege.edu.  Please include the following information in your email:  name, contact information (email and/or phone) and class name and class date.

Financial Seminars

One of the most challenging parts about starting and growing a business is financial management.  In these seminars, learn more about small business financial management and options available to entrepreneurs.

Hands-on class in our computer lab designed for entrepreneurs with little experience working with QuickBooks. Topics include: setting up a new company, accounts receivable and accounts payable transactions, bank reconciliation, credit card reconciliation, running basic financial reports, tracking and paying sales tax. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to directly work on examples in QuickBooks during the session.

This session is taught by Anthony Baldassano, partner with BG Associates LLC and a small business advisor with the Harper College SBDC.  BG Associates is a tax and accounting practice located in Barrington.

When:  Thursday, September 22, 2016,  9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $150 (includes box lunch and QuickBooks manual)

Register Now

Should you use the QuickBooks Online Version or the QuickBooks Desktop Version?  

While there is no single answer to this question, understanding the differences between desktop and online QuickBooks accounting software can help you choose the version that is right for your businesses.  This session will explore these differences. 

We will also discuss how QB Online benefits small businesses, the cost, free resources available, and provide an overview of  the functions and reporting available with QB Online.

This session is taught by Margaret Borla, Senior Accountant, Porte Brown LLC, a full service accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Elk Grove Village.

When:  Wednesday, October 26, 2016,  9 to 10:30 a.m.

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $15

Register Now

LLC or sole proprietorship? S-Corp., C Corp. or partnership? Which corporate form is right for my business? 

While there is no quick answer to this question, this session will explore the differences between these options, helping entrepreneurs better understand the cost and legal flexibility of each option. 

This session is taught by Margaret Borla, Senior Accountant, Porte Brown LLC, a full service accounting and consulting firm headquartered in Elk Grove Village.

When:  Wednesday, December 14, 2016,  9 to 11 a.m.

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $15

Registration will open in November.  Email us at SBDC@HarperCollege.edu if you'd like to be notified when registration opens.

Marketing Seminars 

So many marketing options!  But marketing can be expensive and time consuming.  Attend these workshops to better understand your options and to assist you in creating an effective marketing strategy.

Before you can sell, your potential customers have to find your business.  Being found through the internet offers much potential, but your business is competing for visibility with an enormous amount of other information out there.  How will the right people find your business or your website?  This session will address selecting keywords for search, websites, and  identifying which social media channels are rights for your business.  We'll also discuss setting up business pages on Google My Business, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. 

This session is taught by Catherine Marsden, Managing Partner of Ardent Scope Marketing, a digital marketing agency.

When:  Wednesday, September 28, 2016,  6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs and their marketing staff

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $25

Register Now

Twenty to forty percent of businesses' revenue can come from the holiday season.  What is your plan to maximize revenue between this November and January? 

This session will discuss creating a plan, finding promotional offers that result in sales, and  setting up marketing campaigns to make this happen.

This session is taught by  Vanessa Cabrera, Founder and President of Your Social Media Mentor, Inc.

When:  Tuesday, October 4, 2016,  9 to 10:30 a.m.

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs and their marketing staff

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: Free

Registration: To register for this free seminar please email sbdc@harpercollege.edu. Please include the following information in your email:  name, business name, contact information (email and phone) and seminar name and seminar date. 

Small businesses owners want to know how to do more with less when it comes to marketing their business. In this session, we cover the essential online marketing activities small business owners should do to find and engage their target customers.   Topics include:  blogging, email marketing (timing and providers), Facebook organic results and paid advertising, LinkedIn for lead generation and Yelp and other review sites.

This session is taught by Catherine Marsden, Managing Partner of Ardent Scope Marketing, a digital marketing agency.

When:  Wednesday, October 12, 2016,  6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs and their marketing staff

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $25

Register Now

A good website is at the core of successfully marketing. Because more than 50% of searches are done via mobile phones, a mobile responsive website is a must for most businesses. But having a website is not enough. Your website needs to convert visitor traffic into customers. What key elements are needed to do this?

Many options exist. This seminar will discuss various types of websites and provide guidelines for you to use in evaluating your options.

We’ll also discuss how to track and analyze how well your website and other social media tools are working. Speaker Joe Skibbie, of JRS Mar/Com, a digital marketing firm, connects the dots between what you know, what you’ve heard and what is best practice.

When:  Tuesday, October 18, 2016,  9 to 10:30 a.m.

Who: for small business owners, entrepreneurs and their marketing staff

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $15

Register Now

Email Marketing: Strategy and Interactive Hands-on Workshop Using Constant Contact. Email is a cost-effective way to stay connected to customers. Increased referrals, repeat sales and greater customer loyalty are benefits. Are you effectively using this marketing tool?  In this three session workshop, you will learn email best practices and strategies. Hands-on use of Constant Contact in our computer lab to build emails and templates, including template selection, formatting, inserting links and images. Strategies for list building and management. Topics covered:

Week 1 – Email marketing strategy
Week 2 – Using email marketing software (Constant Contact)
Week 3 – List building and management

This session is taught by Joan Dubnicka, a small business advisor with the Harper College SBDC.

When: Tuesdays, October 25, November 1 and November 8, 2016; at 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Who: for small business owners and those responsible for marketing small businesses

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $50 for all three sessions

Register Now

Automate Your Marketing. Learn how to inspire your new subscribers to take action NOW!

Ever wish you had a way to reward new subscribers and inspire them to take action NOW, when their interest is RED HOT? Ever send the same information out over and over again? Ever forget to follow up with new subscribers or customers on anniversaries/birthdays? Need a convenient way to share success stories and customer testimonials? 

Automate your email campaigns!  Use them to follow up, inform, entertain, and provide incentives for action and engagement.  Set up a plan to work automatically while you focus on your business.  In this seminar, Vanessa Cabrera of Your Social Media Mentor, Inc., will help you: 

• Decide which emails you should automate 
• Understand how to automate your emails the RIGHT way 
• Share real-life examples of how businesses are automating their emails 
• Show you how to combine social media with an automated email marketing plan

It's easier than you think.

When:  Thursday, November 17, 2016,  9 to 11 a.m.

Who: for small business owners and marketers

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $25

Register Now

For many businesses, it is critical to be found on the internet.  SEO? On-line advertising? Other options? Learn more about each option and the costs and benefits to help you select the right mix of tactics for your business in this ever-changing environment. 

In this session, we'll compare these two marketing techniques, and discuss best practices, to help you decide how to best use your marketing budget and time. Time for questions and answers is also provided.

This session is taught by Jasmine Panayotov, President of Proceed Innovative, a Schaumburg-based internet marketing company.

When:  November 9, 2016,  9 to 10:30 a.m. 

Who: for small business owners and entrepreneurs and small business marketers

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $15

Register Now

Other Seminars

Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim.

 In this seminar, we'll discuss:

  • The scary risks of mobile and cloud computing – and critical policies, procedures and protections every business must have in place now to protect themselves; overlook even one and you’re exposing yourself to security breaches, damaging and expensive litigation, employment lawsuits and having confidential company information exposed to competitors, hackers and cyber criminals.
  • The #1 security threat to your business that anti-virus, firewalls and other security protocols are defenseless to.
  • A shocking truth about bank fraud that most businesses don’t know about that could (literally) wipe out your bank account.
  • Why firewalls and anti-virus software give you a false sense of security – and what it really takes to protect your organization against new threats and today’s sophisticated cybercrime rings.

This session is taught by Karla Zehnder, CEO of Hodgson Consulting and Solutions, a Buffalo Grove based IT consulting firm founded in 2000.

When:  Tuesday, September 13, 2016,  9 to 11 a.m.

Who: For small business owners who are concerned about: lost or stolen devices, privacy of confidential information, employment litigation introduced when employees use personal devices to access company data and State and Federal laws that carry heavy fines for lost or stolen data. This is of particular importance for those organizations that handle ANY sensitive data such as credit card and financial information, medical records (or serve clients who have medical records) or who simply want to avoid having their bank account wiped out due to a cyber-attack

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: $15

Register Now

Don't trust your computer network's security and irreplaceable data and files to just anyone.

In this workshop, you'll learn:

  • How to spot a well meaning, incompetent technician
  • Five costly misconceptions about computer maintenance and repair
  • How to be certain your business will be up and running fast in an event of a major network disaster
  • More about viruses, worms, spyware and hackers.  And what you need to know to protect yourself.
  • Seven questions to ask before buying any computer equipment
  • Five critical characteristics you should demand from your computer repair technician.  (And one surefire sign you should run - not walk- out of a computer repair shop!)

This session is taught by Karla Zehnder, CEO of Hodgson Consulting and Solutions, a Buffalo Grove based IT consulting firm founded in 2000.

When:  Tuesday, October 6, 2016,  9 to 11 a.m.

Who: For small business owners

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: Free.

Registration: To register for this free seminar please email sbdc@harpercollege.edu.  Please include the following information in your email:  name, contact information (email and/or phone) and class name and class date.

Whether you've been recently downsized or dream about being your own boss and using your skills and knowledge to assist a multitude of companies rather than just work for one, this seminar will address the positive and the negative of working on your own.  It will give the novice entrepreneur and the experienced consultant details they will need to make the decision to build their business model and act on it.  Join Bob Podgorski who has taken the journey of executive to small business owner and consultant as he shares his formula for success.

 When: Next Session TBA

The ability to sell a business' product or service effectively is key to its success. Strong selling skills are key. But sales isn't rocket science.  You can do this.  Learn the basics of consultative selling.  It's not pushy or annoying.  It is need-based, conversational and will be welcomed by your prospects. 

Topics include:
• Preparation
• Presentation
• Objections
• Closing

Role-playing exercises will also be offered to help you experience different sales scenarios.

Instructor Dennis LaPorta of Sales Planning Services, LLC will discuss ways to make the sales process more effective and more enjoyable.

When:  Next session December 2016

Who: For small business owners and their sales/marketing staff

Where:  650 East Higgins Rd, Schaumburg, in the Harper Professional Center, (not on main campus) Suite 18N

Cost: FREE

Registration: To register for this free seminar please email sbdc@harpercollege.edu.  Please include the following information in your email:  name, contact information (email and/or phone) and seminar name and seminar date.

Patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets are not just for Fortune 500 companies. All business owners need to be aware of what can be protected and how to secure this protection for these valuable business assets.  All business owners also need to be aware of potential intellectual property red flags that are commonly encountered.

Patent attorney Brie A. Crawford of Crawford Intellectual Property Law LLC will cover the basics of patent, trademark, trade secret and copyright law in this practical and informative two hour session.  The class will be presented from a business owner's perspective with hypothetical real life scenarios and limited legalese.

When:  Next Session TBA