Business Resources in Illinois
Find the best resources to help create your informal business structure (sole proprietorship or partnership), corporation (S corp or C corp), limited liability company (single-member LLC or multi-member LLC), or how to file a DBA in Illinois.
Use the following business resources in Illinois to learn how to choose the best LLC services, file the Articles of Organization, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and decide whether you should be your own registered agent or if you should hire a third-party registered agent service.
Becoming an Entrepreneur in Illinois
Just Starting Out
Every Illinois business starts out with a great idea. To get inspiration, you can try our business idea generator that can suggest businesses for you based on your interests and lifestyle.
Once you've found the perfect idea, it's time to create a game plan for your business. This step helps lay a solid foundation for the future of your company. You can move on to planning out your business with our business plan generator or simply browse our selection of startup ideas. We also have several helpful guides for planning out your business:
Coming Up With a Name
One of the most important decisions you will make for your business is coming up with a name and then seeing if it is available in Illinois. We have several naming tools and guides to help you get started with finding the perfect name for your Illinois startup, small business, nonprofit or corporation.
Different Types of Business Formation
A business structure refers to how a business is legally organized. The type of business structure you choose to form your business with can affect how your company is regulated, taxed, and more. Because of this, choosing the best structure for your business is an important decision to make. Below are guides on the different business structures you can choose to form your company so you can learn how to form a business that works best for you.
Forming Your Illinois Business
Now that you’ve created a business plan, found a name and chose your Illinois business structure, it's time to form your business. This process might seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. And if you want to save time and have someone else handle the paperwork, you can use one of our recommended services, like ZenBusiness, which will help to form your company for you or you can form it yourself using our helpful guides and tools.
This Illinois Checklist for Starting an LLC covers the necessary steps you need to take when you create your LLC.
Here are the required documents and forms you may need to help you get your business up and running in Illinois.
Highly Recommended Services for Your Business
Depending on the type of business structure your choose and how large your business is, you may also want to consider using the following services for your Illinois startup:
An Illinois registered agent is a person or business that sends and receives legal papers on behalf of your company. These documents include official correspondence like legal summons and state filing notices.
Illinois requires every business to nominate a registered agent when forming a small business. Your registered agent must be an Illinois resident or a corporation authorized to conduct business in that Illinois.
We also recommend hiring a professional registered agent service to provide you with peace of mind and help you stay compliant with the law.
Filing a “doing business as” (DBA) name, also known as an assumed name, is an easy process that is achieved by registering a DBA with the State of Illinois.
You can probably think of a dozen different companies in Illinois whose brands play an important role in your daily or professional life. Maybe you only buy certain brands or prefer to buy your groceries at one supermarket chain over another. Your dedication to these companies is primarily a result of one thing: their branding. Our branding guides and tools will go over the importance of branding your small business and provide some tips for getting started.
Financing Your Illinois Business
Small business finance is the raising and managing of funds to finance and operate a new small business. This includes banking, small business accounting, building business credit, and raising funds for your business.
When planning your Illinois business, you should determine what types of business funding options your company will need and when. Whether you are starting a low-cost business or starting a high-growth startup, knowing when to get funding and what kind of funding you need is important.
Setting Up a Bank Account
Opening a business checking account is one of the first things you will need to do as a new business. Business banking is a fundamental asset protection requirement for every business and, depending on your needs, may include checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and merchant accounts.
Every new and small business needs a business bank account to pay their business insurance, take care of payroll, collect money, and enroll with a merchant account to accept credit card payments.
Check out our guide on the Best Banks for Small Business for help finding a banking account for your business.
Getting a Business Credit Card
Small business credit cards are designed for professional use and provide a line of credit to small businesses while helping to maintain personal asset protection. It is crucial for small businesses to have a small business credit card.
Our guides will help you understand the importance of having a small business credit card and provide the steps for finding and applying for the best credit card for your business.
Finding Small Business Loans
Getting a small business loan is done by applying with a business lender, typically your bank or another lending institution, with the right documentation and your business plan.
A business loan can help to resolve cash flow problems, leverage growth opportunities, and even increase the value of a business. Making sure to plan for a loan ahead of time is extremely important, as is knowing the documentation needed by your lender when you do apply.
Small Business Financing for Female Entrepreneurs
Grants, loans, government contracts, investors, scholarships, advisors, tutorials — there are plenty of financial resources for female entrepreneurs and women leaders, and we’ll help you discover the best ones for you and your business.
Maintaining Your Small Business
Congratulations! Fewer than 14% of Americans have realized the dream of business ownership. To keep your Illinois business running, make sure you keep up with required government filings and maintain a clear record of all earnings and expenses.
Make Sure Your Business is Compliant
When you start a small business, you’ll need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to stay compliant.
Set Up Accounting and Bookkeeping
Having a business accountant will help you take advantage of tax benefits and potentially save you and your Illinois business a lot of money in taxes each year.
Finding a business accountant as soon as you start your business will ensure that you have the best advice from the very beginning.
Recommended: Hiring an accountant can save your company thousands of dollars in taxes each year. Get a free tax consultation with 1-800Accountant.
Set Up a Business Phone
Getting a business phone number is important for many businesses. Having a phone number for your customers to contact you with can go a long way in ensuring that your business is viewed as professional, trustworthy, and legitimate.
There are also different business phone services and answering services that can ensure that you are able to answer more than one call simultaneously and that all of your customers feel heard. Check out our different phone tools and guides to help your Illinois business set up phone services.
Build a Business Website
With growing technology, more and more businesses are going online. We believe all companies need a website regardless of their industry or size to keep up with the times.
So, how do you build a website? Luckily, technology has recently caught up with the massive demand for tools to simplify website creation. It’s never been easier to build your own website without the need for any web designer experience.
Our tools and guides provide an overview of the steps to build a website for your Illinois business as well as suggestions for which tools to use based on your business type and knowledge level.
Business Resources for Women
Starting your own business is no small feat; thankfully, there are many valuable resources dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs start and succeed. From woman-owned business certification to grants for female entrepreneurs, we’ll help you discover the women's business resources that will help you get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey.
Illinois Business Resources
Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC)
The SBAC is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the success of small businesses through political advocacy, support services, and educational programs. The organization believes small businesses must have a powerful and unified advocacy voice at the local state and federal level.
America’s SBDC Illinois is part of America’s Small Business Development Center Network to assist in job creation, support entrepreneurship, job start-up, expansion, productivity, and to sharpen small business management in the region. The network’s goal is to help new entrepreneurs achieve their goals and assist new businesses in staying successful in the marketplace locally, regionally and globally.
Urbana Business Association
An organization not-for-profit and membership-driven whose mission is to promote Urbana as a dynamic place in which to live, work, and do business. The Urbana Business Association website offers a full range of business information to members wherein they get access to networking opportunities, marketing support, access to events, and support working with the government to start or grow your business.
Illinois Innovation Network
Illinois Innovation Network helps in the search for more information and a broader network of resources for entrepreneurs and innovators residing in Illinois. The innovators can use resources and other information from the website while they can also add their own that they would want to share with others.
Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC)
Women’s Business Development Center is a nonprofit which advocates women’s business ownership and women’s economic empowerment. They have programs designed to help in the different phases of business development. WBDC is an also part of the following organizations: Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), Women’s Business Center (WBC), and The Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
SCORE is a non-profit organization that provides business mentorship and coaching for free to small business owners. This is provided by experienced business professionals and consultants who have voluntarily and willingly offered their services to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners as they go through the challenging process of building a startup.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government agency and is the largest provider of small business resources in the United States. Startup and business management resources are offered for free to new and existing businesses so that they can increase their chances of success. The agency also provides local assistance, loans, grants, and training.
Illinois Business Financial Services (IBFS)
Illinois Business Financial Services is a certified development company that helps small businesses in Illinois by providing resources through commercial lending, assisting with guaranteed loans and express programs. The company assists in determining the right option for you and your business.
1871 Chicago's Entrepreneurial Hub for Digital Startups
1871 Chicago is a base for digital entrepreneurs who want to build and improve their businesses through the power of technology. They have round-the-clock access to space as well as hundreds of lectures, seminars and other programs which they rely on sponsors for their operations.
Every entrepreneur wants their business to have an impact to the community as well as to gain uniqueness among others. Blue 1647 allows entrepreneurs to innovate through people development, workforce development, and business acceleration. The communities program evolves with the need of each member.
M. Hedayat & Associates
A law firm in Illinois that has been working with different businesses and business owners. A business undergoes stages or phases from the start until either the company grows or becomes bankrupt. M. Hedayat & Associates have expertise in every stage that enables them to give business owners services that safeguard and protect them from the changing status of the market.