Becoming an excellent business doesn't just happen -- it comes from hard work and overcoming numerous challenges.
That theme was the thread that wove through the 23 suburban companies and business organizations honored Thursday evening during the 29th Annual Awards for Business Excellence, presented by the Daily Herald Business Ledger and its sponsoring partners. Around 130 people attended the event at Northern Illinois University's Naperville campus to cheer on the honored businesses.
Annual Awards for Business Excellence honoreesSmall Company (Up to 50 Employees):• Broad Street Home Care, Wilmette
• Coaching Financial Concepts, Inc., Des Plaines
• Generation Painting, Lake Zurich
• Katz, Goldstein, & Warren, Bannockburn
• Tash Wellness for Women, Skokie
Mid-Sized Companies (51-150 Employees):• BCS Financial, Oakbrook Terrace
• Cornerstone Partners Horticultural Services Company, Elgin
• York Solutions, Westchester
Large Companies (Over 151 Employees):• Grove Dental Associates, Bolingbrook
Innovation in Business:• Impact Networking, Lake Forest
Family Business:• Orange Home Services, Elburn
• Plum Grove Inc., Hoffman Estates
• Pulse Technology. Carol Stream
Architecture:• Michael Menn Ltd., Northbrook
• Mid-States Glass and Metal, Inc., Niles
Business Organization/Economic Development Entity:• Batavia Chamber of Commerce
Educational Institution, Entity, or Program:• Dominican University, River Forest
Entertainment / Hospitality Company:• Paramount Theatre, Aurora
Manufacturing:• Iverson & Company, Des Plaines
Not-for-Profit:• Allendale Association, Lake Villa
• Batavia United Way
• Diveheart, Downers Grove
• Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault, Arlington Heights
The AABEs are awarded to businesses and organizations in recognition of achievements, growth and community involvement. Companies are based in or have a significant presence in the suburbs. The honorees were selected among nominations submitted by their peers and selected by a panel of Daily Herald Business Ledger staff members.
Eric Lundstrom, founder and partner of Focus Capital Advisors in Downers Grove, spoke of the importance of focusing on planning and taking advantages of opportunities and ideas as keys for making a business grow and succeed.
"There's a little bit of luck," he said. "but it's good old fashioned hard work that makes a business excellent."
Lundstrom also stressed the need for finding a niche to capitalize on, as well as creating a winning culture. Above all, he added, is the need to never stop planning and looking for new ideas.
"Be an insatiable planner, look for ideas, and get people engaged," he added.
A number of the honorees noted that their business's excellence lies in their team approach.
John Gotschall, owner of Coaching Financial Concepts in Des Plaines, spoke of how he started his business experience as a paperboy, which taught him valuable lessons that have kept with him through his life. He also noted the importance for small businesses to work together to help each other succeed.
"We can't succeed if all of us don't succeed," Gotschall said.
Mike Lepper, general manager of Impact Networking in Lake Forest, also stressed the importance of having an excellent work culture.
"We wouldn't be here tonight if it weren't for the dedication of our employees," he said.
More details of the AABE honorees can be found online at dhbusinessledger.com and in the April issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger, publishing April 22.
Presenting sponsors for this year's AABEs are B. Gunther & Company, Focus Capital Advisors and NIU Naperville MBA Program. Marketing partners are MRA-The Management Association and Small Business Advocacy Council.