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IL SBDC Client Spotlight

Mik's Bake Shop
Big Fat Soap
STEPS for Kids
Global Women's Leadership Forum

Mik's Bake Shop - Oswego, IL

Mik's Bake Shop LogoA school event attended by his wife and kids proved to be a career-changing moment for Jack Mikolay. His wife brought home a bag of delicious little donuts that she wanted him to try. One delicious bite of those mini donuts was all it took to get Jack interested in launching his own mini-donut business.  

A few months later, Jack decided to trade in his desk job and go the entrepreneur route and launched Mik's Tasty Bites, Delicious Mini-Donuts, selling at local farmer’s markets. After three years and 300,000+ donuts, Jack decided to open his own bake shop in Oswego. 

Jack met with the IL SBDC at Waubonsee Community College for help with his business plan and setting up an accounting system for his business.

"Starting a business involves making quite a few initial decisions. The SBDC has been an invaluable resource;  from giving me professional advice, to providing me with resources for developing a business plan, to giving me an unbiased list of references for people and suppliers in the food service industry, the SBDC has helped to point me in the right direction. Very quickly, I was able to get in touch with the right people to get my business plan on paper and in action." 

Mik's Tasty Bites is now Mik's Bake Shop, located at 4025A Rte. 34 in Oswego. Look for the log cabin just east of the intersection of Rte. 34 and Rte. 71. In addition to Jack's famous mini donuts and smoothies, you will find an expanded menu of goodies including fresh baked cookies, gourmet cupcakes, pies and locally roasted coffee.

Big Fat Soap - Sugar Grove, IL
Big Fat Soap logoDebbie Richards' business may be small, but her soap is not, hence the name Big Fat Soap. Her "eclectic" background that led her to become a certified artisan soap maker includes chemistry, fine art, quality control and customer service. Formerly a lab tech in R&D for Behr Paint, Debbie knows both the chemistry and the testing that go into making a product that has consistent quality. 

Debbie started soap making as a hobby, combining her chemistry background and her artistic nature to create something useful. After a year of her friends telling her "you should sell this," she decided to take the plunge.  Debbie worked with the IL SBDC at Waubonsee to complete her business plan and get answers to questions ranging from trademarks to bar codes.  

She officially launched her business in 2009, selling online and at fairs and farmers markets. Business has been brisk, and Debbie is now expanding both the business and her product line. In addition to her signature Big Fat Soap product, she offers a variety of bath, body and hair care products, as well as pet shampoo and cleaning products.

All of Debbie's products are made with natural ingredients.  Debbie says that she uses all her senses when making her products. From the scent as she adds ingredients, to the feel as she cuts the bars, she is constantly attentive to the quality of her product.

STEPS For Kids - Yorkville, IL

STEPS for Kids logoSTEPS for Kids provides occupational therapy and related services to children and their families affected by Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders, ADD/ADHD, learning disorders and other developmental conditions. After working in the occupational therapy field for more than 20 years, owner Debra Johnson wanted to couple her experience with her passion to define and build her own business. Debra's first job as an OT was with a small, privately owned clinic. She was impressed by how the therapists were able to create their practice based on their own beliefs about quality patient care.

Working with the IL SBDC at Waubonsee, Debra developed her business plan, chose a location from a variety of options she was considering and opened her doors in September 2010. STEPS for Kids offers Intervention Services, Educational Services and Purposeful Play opportunities to enhance social interactions. Debra's blog keeps clients and others updated on upcoming programs, events and educational information.

Global Women's Leadership Forum - Batavia, IL
Global Women's Leadership ForumMaureen O’Brien launched Global Women’s Leadership Forum in 2011 to inspire and share best practices with women’s business resource groups in Fortune 100 and 500 companies. Her first forum, hosted by McDonald’s in Oakbrook, was an incredible success. O’Brien reached out to the Waubonsee SBDC for assistance in creating a successful and constantly growing business.

With the help of the SBDC, and the Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center, Global Women’s Leadership Forums are now happening in Chicago, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan and California. The SBDC is helping O’Brien develop best practices that will allow her company to manage the rapid growth she is experiencing.

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