Small business is booming in the Prairie State, and the Internet is buzzing with searches for profitable Illinois business ideas. We’ve put together a quick guide on the most successful industries, niches for each industry, and tips to start a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, or DBA. We can also form your company for you with just a few details on our online order form. Whether you want to start your business yourself or would rather save some time and money with one of our formation packages, you’ll find everything you need to explore Illinois business opportunities and make your business official.
Since 2001, MyCompanyWorks has formed tens of thousands of companies across the U.S. Find out why entrepreneurs prefer our services and refer new startups to us. See the MyCompanyWorks difference for yourself. Discover some of the best business ideas in Illinois and turn your passion into a money-making machine.
While Chicago is the most obvious hub for business and trade in Illinois, over 1.2 million small businesses call the Prairie State home. According to Small Business Majority, about 45% of the private workforce (about 2.5 million people) is employed by small businesses. Below are the top 5 profitable products and services in Illinois.
Between these industries, there are a number of successful business opportunities, and you may find one that fits well with your passion and interests. Let’s explore each industry below.
Illinois Small Business Resources
If you’re inspired by any of these startup opportunities, you’ll need to register your business in Illinois to operate legally. Below are 10 steps to create an Illinois LLC, Corporation, or DBA, and market your business.
Save time and money. Manage your business in one place. Form your company now with MyCompanyWorks.
Selecting a name for your business may not seem like a big decision, but it’s important to give it thought, and search the internet and state business sites to make sure the name you select is available. Making sure to have a unique business name can help you avoid legal issues, such as lawsuits from other companies due to people getting mixed up on which company they’re dealing with.
The most common business type for startups is the Limited Liability Company or LLC. The LLC is considered the most flexible and easily managed entity. If you’re not sure which option to choose, talk with a lawyer or accountant who can help you make an informed decision.
A well-designed plan acts as a roadmap to growing your business. If you plan on getting financing, it helps to find investors who share your goals. If you’re seeking a business loan, you will need a detailed plan covering the short-term and long-term goals of your project and a way of showing how they will be accomplished. A business plan is one of the first things that lenders will ask to see after they hear your pitch. It’s a good idea to have one from the start of business, so you can provide them with it when asked. There are many different business plan templates online to help you get started fast. They not only allow you to change the language, but they are also flexible enough to accommodate changes in your company’s needs. We also have a guide to writing an effective business plan.
A good business plan should start with a summary. Include information about the company’s mission and what they do, followed by more specific details like pricing and marketing strategies in the next section. You’ll need to look into things like the local markets and demographics, as well as what pricing strategy is effective in your industry. On top of this, banks and investors want to know if you’ll be profitable in the future. Indeed has a great article that talks about how to forecast revenue.
Business Plan Highlights
NOTE: Investors want to know the average costs for each business stage, so they can see if your company is worth their investments. Estimate build-outs and rent as part of steps 1 and 2 in your business plan to give investors the best financial picture.
Startup costs will vary depending on trade, but you can get a pretty solid idea by researching the product, equipment, rent, storage & business licensing costs before you spend a dime. All Startup Packages include negotiated rates & we offer same-day turnaround time so it’s never too late to start your own successful business.
Related Helpful Resources
(Optional, but recommended for DBAs)
All Illinois LLCs, Corporations, and DBAs with employees must have a federal tax ID, officially called an Employer Identification Number to hire workers.DBAs need an EIN (employer identification number) only if they hire other people. However, using one reduces the risk of identity theft and it’s easy to apply with an SSN on the IRS website. International business owners may have to provide additional documents. You will need to apply by phone, email, or website application.
The EIN is an important indicator of a business’s existence. With it, you can open business bank accounts, hire workers and file tax returns.
TIP: Adding an EIN license to any business package is easy. We’ll submit your EIN application, and keep you updated about its progress.
The best way to keep your business and personal finances separate is to open a bank account just for business. This will also help you establish a credit score for your company. Get started by searching for business banking services at your personal bank, credit union, or one of our business partners. If they don’t offer it, you can always invest in a new account elsewhere. Before picking a bank, make sure to analyze and compare the features of different banks. A quick discussion with them at least is necessary so that you can get a clear idea about what you want in your banking experience.
Skip to Step 6 if you don’t need to rent or buy business space.
When you start your own business, you want to keep costs as low as possible. You also want to make sure the location works for your business model. If you can’t run an office from home and need commercial space, the commercial real estate brokers in your area can help you find a unit that suits your needs.
All Illinois businesses must be registered with the state to do business legally. You may also be required to register with your city and county, depending on the type of business you open. Permits also vary, so it’s important to research which ones you need to operate. You’ll need to check with local, county, and the state to find out which licenses and permits are required. You can save time with a business license compliance package from our partners. They’ll research your business and only offer the licenses needed for your specific business.
Want to save time and money? Our partners will provide you with the right licenses for your business.
Your company may have additional insurance requirements, common policies are listed below.
You don’t need to be an accountant to keep track of your finances. You can set up and manage your bookkeeping using accounting software like FreshBooks. You can also hire a qualified bookkeeper from our Vendor Network, so you don’t have to manage the books. It’s easier to keep your accounting organized if you start a system from Day 1, so make sure this priority is handled as soon as your business is registered.
Almost every business has at least some paperwork, such as invoices, contracts, or notes. One of the best ways to manage paperwork is to have a filing system in place before things get out of hand. Documents like receipts, invoices, and legal or tax records need to be organized for easy access. Filing doesn’t need to be complicated, though. A filing cabinet or cloud storage system will work well for storing files. Whatever you choose, just make sure it suits your needs. It’s important that the system is good for your business and works well for you.
IMPORTANT: Tax returns need to be kept for at least 7 years following the filing year. Other paperwork can generally be kept for 3 years but there are a few exceptions. Read our Business Records guide to find out more information.
Skip to Step 10 if you’re working on your own.
If you’ve finished your business plan, it can give you an idea of what type of people you need to hire. For example, if your company is customer-facing, be sure to focus on those who are outgoing and personable. Hiring essential staff members who have skills in math or data analysis may seem like a no-brainer but they are hugely important. You avoid wasting time and money when hiring new staff members by ensuring they possess these vital skills. Finding the right people can be tough, but it is essential for the success of your business. You want to find staff members who believe in your vision and can represent your company well.
Learn how to develop and motivate a winning team
If you’re looking to recruit new members for your team, online job forums are good places to do it. There are tons of potential candidates on sites like LinkedIn and local job pages.
Develop a training manual and invest in training
Policies about things like company conduct, uniforms, and procedures should be defined in your training manual. Make sure to add a signature page so employees can sign off and confirm their awareness of the manual. You can use free templates that are readily available online to help with this step.
Write a job description for each position
A detailed job post with information about tasks, work environment, and the business will attract the most suitable candidates. Writing individualized posts for each position increases the quality of applicants and results in fewer unqualified applications. If you have specific needs and expectations, like doing heavy lifting or nightwork, make sure to list what you’re looking for in the ideal candidate to attract the best applicants and allow them to decide if the job is the right fit for them.
TIP: Expect to interview around 10 applicants to fill one position.
Interview qualified candidates and hire your team
On average, each job post receives 26 applications, but you may see hundreds of applications. Keep this in mind and only consider qualified candidates who have the skills to do the job. It’ll save time and money spent training them with misplaced expenses. Indeed.com is a great website that offers trusted tips to help you find and hire a quality team.
If you build “it”, they may come, but any successful startup will tell you that marketing is critical for a new business. A simple marketing plan makes it easy to map your strategy and see how various advertising efforts perform. You can tweak a template like this one to add social media text, links, and images and keep everything together.
70% of potential customers are more willing to buy products from a company with a well-designed website. Be sure to include contact information so people can get in touch if they need it. If you want to target locals, register your free business description with Google My Business (GMB). The exclusive Domain, Website, and Email (DEW) package by MyCompanyWorks is easy to set up and maintain, and you can order separately, or with any business formation order.
Use your unique business name on social media accounts to expand brand recognition. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google My Business should all be used to get the best exposure. Facebook and Instagram are already combined in their free business platform, but if you need help managing social media, you can find free and inexpensive bulk scheduling tools online.
We hope this article has helped you explore some profitable business ideas and offered tips and resources to register your business. Illinois is home to many successful business services, professional services, wellness and personal care, online education, children’s services, and clothing. These are the top five Illinois industries, and any motivated entrepreneur equipped with the right plan and the right tools can build their business in the Prairie State.
Once you have decided which niche fits you best, you can follow our guide to form an Illinois LLC, Corporation, or DBA, or order any of our startup packages online. All businesses in Illinois must be registered with the state, and possibly with your city and/or county. You’ll also need licenses, permits, and insurance to open legally. We have shared links to our partners to help you find licensing and insurance for your particular business. The MyCompanyWorks Vendor Network offers professional services for everything needed to run your business. Take advantage of exclusive partner pricing with many of our providers.
Now that all your paperwork is being processed, you can either set up an accounting system or hire a bookkeeper or accountant to manage your finances. You’ll also have various paperwork as time goes by, so it’s best to start a filing system before the papers and receipts start to pile up. We have linked to a couple of helpful resources, and you can also find lots of free tools like Google Drive or Dropbox to save documents online.
If your business needs a team, it’s time to write out job descriptions, post online ads on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor, pick the top candidates, and schedule interviews. You might get lucky and find the right people with just a few interviews, but it’s common to review around 10 candidates for just one position, so be patient. It’s better to find the right people than to waste money on training and turnover. Good people are always looking for work, and they’re worth the wait.
At this point, you’re likely ready to open your doors, so it’s time to announce that you’re ready for business! Marketing doesn’t have to be a mystery if you use a simple plan. You don’t even have to start out by spending money on advertising. A current, clean, easy-to-navigate website with active social media accounts is a quick and easy way to start broadcasting your company. Adding relevant blog posts will create a “footprint” on the Internet, and you can share products and posts on your social media accounts. You can hire marketing experts later on, but starting out with a simple strategy can actually be more profitable over time. Using bulk scheduling tools makes managing your online presence easy, and also saves time and money.
Find business resources, state websites, and help to get Illinois business licenses in our step-by-step startup guide. Our Startup Wizard will walk you through each step to start an Illinois LLC, Corporation, or DBA in about 10-15 minutes. Access the Startup Wizard free when you order a business formation.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2022 at 1:20 pm and is filed under New Business Ideas, Starting A Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.