Illinois Business Startup Guides
Starting a Business in Chicago, Illinois
Thinking about starting a business in Chicago, Illinois? This step-by-step guide walks you through the major decisions you should consider before opening a new business in Chicago.
Chicago, Illinois Demographic Information
Chicago has an active business community that includes small businesses, mid-sized businesses and large businesses.
To give you a better feel for Chicago demographics for small businesses, we have tabulated the small business sizes, based on number of employees, for business in Chicago.
As a new Chicago entrepreneur, you may also be interested in the table below. It shows how many businesses there are in Chicago for each business category. By looking at this chart, you can get a general sense for how much competition there is in the business niche that you are pursuing.
Choosing a Company Name
A good company name can give a big boost to a new startup. It might seem like an easy thing to do, but there are many things to consider when naming a business.
Even if the name doesn't do it by itself, many naming experts believe there should be a story behind the name that ties into your company mission.
Numerous company naming issues are discussed in more detail in this article: Branding Advice.
There's one other important factor when naming a business. Since you are planning on starting a business in Chicago, it's critical that you ensure that no other Illinois company is using the business name you want to use.
Company Formation in Chicago, Illinois
It's essential that your business is formed as a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Doing so will protect you from personal liability for business debts and obligations.
The entity you form can be a corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership or other structure.
Incorporating is a very popular way to form a business. Of course, you have to decide which type of corporation to form and where to incorporate. Just because you are starting a business in Illinois, you don't necessarily have to incorporate in Illinois. In fact, you can incorporate in the state of your choosing. For example, it's very popular to incorporate in Delaware, and incorporating in Nevada has become very trendy as well. Don't forget, though, that you will have to register as a foreign entity in all states that you do business in.
There's a lot to know about forming a company. We recommend you read some of the educational articles about company formation that are availabe on our site, such as Piercing the Corporate Veil. You may also want to seek the advice of an lawyer. Finally, if you are starting a business in Chicago, Illinois, our information on Incorporating in Illinois may be a useful resource if you decide to incorporate in Illinois.
Don't Skip the Business Plan
A business plan is critical in laying a solid foundation for your business success. Indeed, your business plan is your game plan for how you hope to grow your business. Failure to write a business plan is a recipe for disaster.
Before you start writing a business plan, we suggest you skim Business Plan Contests. You should also take advantage of free business counselors available to you through your local SCORE chapter in Illinois.
Marketing Your New Company
To rise above the crowd in Chicago and build your business, you need a great marketing plan.
We have some helpful resources on this site for entrepreneurs who are working on marketing plans. National TV Spot Advertising Rates is an article that will stimulate a few thoughts on your marketing plan. That's just a taste of the many useful articles we have on Marketing a Small Business.
The Art of Selling
Do you know how to sell? In order to attract customers to your new Chicago business, you need to focus on sales.
Why should customers buy from you instead of buying from competitors? Let us help you refine your selling techniques through our many useful sales advice tips.
Interviews With Chicago Entrepreneurs
Enjoy these interviews we've had with Chicago entrepreneurs.
- Interview with Brian Andrews, Founder of Wallet Zen
- Interview with OrecX Co-Founder Bruce Kaskey
- Interview with Doors for Builders Founder Greg Wozniak
- Interview with Bizhemia Founder Matt Goodman
- Interview with Matt McCormick, Founder of Jet City Devices
- Interview with Greg Stallkamp, Founder of Holosfitness.com
- Interview with Martha Mele'cio, Founder of Bangledox Clothing
- Interview with Melissa Johns, Founder of Queerly Wed
- Interview with Ian Coburn, Author of Choice - The Meaning of Life: How to Have More and Better Choices in Business, Relationships, Government and Life
- Interview with Tracy Wright, CEO of Executees.net
- Interview with Sam Glenn, Founder of Everything Attitude
- Interview with Desiree Vargas, Founder of GiveForward.org
- Interview with Jay Rudman, Founder of Paperly
- Interview with Tracy Kellner, Founder of Provenance Food & Wine
- Interview with Andrew Geant, CEO of WyzAnt.com
Never Give Up
As an entrepreneur in Chicago, you won't be working for the boss anymore. You are the boss.
From this point on, you control your own destiny.
We are here to help Chicago businesses to be successful. We want to be there for you to answer your business questions, whether you are a new Chicago entrepreneur who is just getting started or you are already up and running with your new venture.
More Entrepreneurial Resources for Starting a Business in Chicago, Illinois
Here are more links that we believe will help you be successful in starting a business in Chicago.
- Resources for Chicago, Illinois Entrepreneurs - Browse a variety of resources we've collected to assist Chicago entrepreneurs.
- Illinois Entrepreneurial Resources - We've gathered state-level entrepreneurial resources to help new entrepreneurs who are based in Illinois.
- Illinois Small Business Development Center - Illinois Small Business Development Centers located throughout the state provide assistance to new and existing small businesses.
More Business Startup Guides for Illinois
Share this article
Additional Resources for Entrepreneurs