10 Simple Steps
Starting, basing or buying a business in the great state of Illinois without a game plan is like putting ketchup on your chilidog that’s already got all the fixins…you just don’t do it folks. In this case, the dog is your brand, and the fixings of your plan should be pitch, executive summary, financials, marketing approach, management, etc. You get the idea. What’s the ketchup? Winging it…
Take Action: Seize upon our free and easy email-based Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide tons of other great tools along the way.
Unlike the complexities of choosing what kind of toppings you’ll have on your deep dish, picking the legal structure of your business isn’t a brain-buster. Look at how each entity is treated under Illinois laws and regulations and pick which one best serves your ambitions. Consider things like future partners, overall team structure, which provides the most protection, and so forth.
Take Action: As this part of starting a business can be rather sensitive, we’ve developed quick-guides for the most popular entities if you want to skip over to those.
Depending on the type of business you’re in, your business structure, whether you’re hiring local Illinoisans, and where you set up shop, syncing with the tax code can happen as easily as hockey melded with Chicago. If you don’t have or can’t yet afford legal help, consider working with an online incorporation provider who can help with steps 2, 3 and 4 all at once in record time with less headaches.
For many small startups it’s just basic requirements, but it can get complex quick if you’re say, opening a clothing store downtown. Might we suggest you have a look at a free PDF online called “The Benefits of Doing Business in Illinois” published by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute back in 2014. As you’ll see, the regulatory environment can be very startup-friendly.
This step can be as simple or as time consuming as you want it to be. All you’re really doing is establishing your brand\s financial persona through linking two components: your dedicated business bank account and your accounting software. Once that’s in order your books are building on autopilot all clean and tidy in one secure place.
So basically, there’s Chicago (which could be its own mini-country like Boston) and its immediate suburbs of all flavors, and then there’s the rest of Illinois. There’s so much between Chicago and St. Louis it’s really hard to describe. Or all that’s between Davenport and Terre Haute just over the eastern border into Indiana. The area around Decatur is stunning, as well as everything south around Marion and the Shawnee National Forest.
Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
Don’t be shy, Illinois has every financing and funding option known to humankind both in terms of conventional loans, state/local grants and programs, CrowdFunding communities, and what have you. All that matters is how strong your ambitions are and how resourceful you can be when the world’s your oyster.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like The Windy City and snow. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
No one’s saying your site has to be as majestic as a Sunday sunset from certain parts of Route 66, but in order to be taken serious you need a digital presence. People need to be able to Google you and investigate your platform. They need to have digital payment options. They need contact forms and blog-content in some cases to see where your brand’s coming from.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many yet. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.
Listen, if you can’t market a product or service in Illinois then you might want to re-think things a bit. Illinois is truly one of the biggest cultural melting pots in America where there’s another micro-niche in every nook and cranny. The challenge is not getting lost and in over your budget’s head.
Take Action: We hammer down on this a ton – start marketing as close to home as possible. If you only have one or two clients/users/customers, then show them as much love as you can. Shower them with incentives in return for honest feedback, juicy content, or perhaps a referral.
Along your path to greatness we hope you add Startup Savant to your bag of goodies. Around here we focus our efforts on valuable ongoing education, exploring the newest software solutions for new businesses, and sharing insight from fellow change-makers, ambitious creatives, and innovators. Sound good?
Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories/interviews directly from ambitious professionals like you.
Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in Illinois, here are the two we believe in most. With IncFile and LivePlan, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.
IncFile is the most affordable online incorporation available. Since 2004, IncFile has helped over 75,000 entrepreneurs incorporate their business on a budget. For $49 + State Fee, they'll bring your business to life by registering whichever business structure you choose.Visit IncFile.com
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