Caroline Arnould, an experienced phlebotomist in Dixon, IL, came to our Illinois SBDC with a vision and passion for fulfilling a very popular demand in our area: offering affordable lab testing to individuals without insurance or to businesses and individuals with high insurance costs. The concept of her business name, Value Lab, is based on providing fast, cost-effective, and a convenient option for lab testing requested by individuals and businesses.

Caroline originally visited the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College in May 2018 and met with Emily Zimmerman. Since then, our entire team of advisors have been providing Caroline with the tools and resources to make her business a success. We have assisted her in developing a comprehensive business and marketing plan, helped Caroline select the tools and technologies to help make her business operations efficient and effective, and advised her throughout the process of securing financing through a local bank and the Dixon Chamber of Commerce & Main Street MicroGrant program as well as the revolving loan fund.

Since Caroline has opened her doors in April 2019, she has become a member of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and has been offering affordable testing to all individuals and businesses in our area. She currently has glowing reviews on her social media and google pages with a common theme of gratefulness and appreciation that affordable lab testing is now available in our area.

When reflecting on her experience of setting up her business and working directly with the staff at the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College, Caroline had this to say:  

“The SBDC was so instrumental in the development of Value Lab. From my first meeting with Advisor Emily Zimmerman I knew I had found the resources I needed to make this a success, to get it done the right way, the first time! The SBDC staff not only helped with the business plan, but got us up and running on social media, assisted with marketing materials, provided critical contacts for the business, helped with setting up a POS system/merchant services, and so much more. The Sauk Valley region is so lucky to have such an incredible NO COST resource. Thank you for everything! Value Lab couldn't have done this without you!”

Value Lab (Caroline Arnould)

McKenzie Administrative & Consulting Services 

There has been a recent need for more virtual assistants in the region that can help the often cash-strapped and overburdened professionals as well as business owners take care of the daily operations that must be handled. Laura McKenzie, an experienced executive administrative assistant and consultant, came to the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College with an idea of providing virtual quality personal and administrative assistance to individuals and small business owners for the Northwestern Illinois region. Laura has opened her business, MACS – McKenzie Administrative & Consulting Services, as of May 2019 after spending several months working with the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College.


Laura initially met with the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College in February 2019. Laura sought professional advising on several topics from her advisor, Justin Bergman. Justin advised Laura on the pros and cons of each form of ownership, how taxation applies to each form of ownership and employees, and how to select the proper resources in making her decision. They also worked closely on a comprehensive business plan and the overall business model, including advising on branding, marketing strategy, and pricing based on industry market research data. Justin also advised and trained Laura on several pieces of technology and tools, including G-Suite and QuickBooks.


Laura has already begun working with several new clients and is hopeful about her goal of growing and expanding in the region as well as her commitment in providing exceptional services and project assistance to individuals and small business owners.


When reflecting on her experience on working with the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College, Laura explained the many challenges on getting started with a new business venture: “Anyone who plans to start a new business soon starts asking questions such as: What type of business? How do I secure a business name? What licenses are needed? How do I reach potential customers or clients? As I researched one answer, there were three more questions; and at times several potential answers. It quickly would have become overwhelming had I not discovered the no-cost services of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Sauk Valley Community College. Justin Bergman, Senior Consultant, has been my trusted advisor through all of those challenges. The answers, accountability and ongoing support he continues to offer has been invaluable. Mr. Bergman has provided great resources to quality research, online training opportunities, and technological resources that has better prepared me each step of the way. With his expertise and a personable approach, Mr. Bergman has been an incredible asset leading up to and launching MACS.”


www.macs-admin.com  ~ Providing administrative assistance wherever you are. ~ 815.200.9542

© 2019 by Illinois Small Business Development Center at Sauk Valley Community College

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. SBA, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and Sauk Valley Community CollegeAdditional funding provided by the Supporters of the Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College.