10 Simple Steps
To dramatically increase the odds you’ll get the most out of your business, kick things off by building a game plan that hones in on your pitch, irons out a structured executive summary, creates initial budgeting forecasts, addresses ideal markets, and so forth.
There’s too many variables to tackle in your first couple years. The most dependable way to improve your odds of success is to take serious time to get your game plan straight.
Take Action: Check out our 100% free Business Planning Guide designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.
The next step is to come to terms with the type business structure you intend on forming. Once you’ve made your decision get the ball rolling on registration so that you can protect your personal assets (house, car, etc) and secure your brand name.
Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it has all the benefits of a Corporation without the disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you’re trying to take your company public or raise substantial outside capital, you should probably form a Corporation.
Take Action: Since this step is so important and expensive if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing 10 minutes to go over your options through our business structure comparison guide. You’ll get a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each while building a solid legal foundation for your business.
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 reaching out the the SBDC near you with any questions.
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 finances through 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 place.
So basically, there’s Chicago (which could be its own mini-country) and its immediate suburbs of all flavors, and then there’s the rest of Illinois. Where you choose to set up shop is critical. The idea is to find somewhere with the most resources and that helps to make managing your business easier. For every downside of the location, and there will be some, there should be 3 upsides in these respects.
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 business website has to be majestic, but in order to be taken seriously you need a digital presence. Potential customers need to be able to Google you and investigate your business. They need to have digital payment options. They need contact forms and blog-content in some cases to see what your brand is all about.
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?
Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in Illinois, here are the two we believe in most. With an incorporation service and business plan software, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.
Incorporation services register your business with the state and handle all paperwork. For as low as $49, they'll bring your business to life by registering your LLC or Corporation in record time.See The Top 7 Options
One of the most important aspects of starting a business can also be the most tedious: the business plan. A business plan software will walk you through the entire process in half the time.See The Top 7 Options