Starting A Business

Start Your Business in North Central Illinois!

Starting a Business Startup

The communities within North Central Illinois are home to many successful small businesses. Whether you are relocating or just starting your small business, we encourage you to work with the area’s local services that assist in small business development as well as encouraging all business owners to have a working relationship with the professionals (accountant, attorney, banker, and insurance agent). Starting a business does involve planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. Starting a business is not easy, and having a successful business requires a lot of preparation, research and work. In this section, we have brought together the resources you need to get your business started. Whether you’re sitting down to write your business plan, wondering about your legal obligations, or researching your financing options, you’ll find the information you need right here. Successful Business Owners have a BUSINESS PLAN. Successful Business Owners ALWAYS have a Close Working Relationship with their Banker, Attorney, and Accountant. The Cities, Villages, and Chambers of Commerce in North Central Illinois are ready to provide assistance in establishing your new business.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

United States Small Business Administration SBA

Additional Assistance for those wishing to start a small business, should contact the following offices:  

Prepare Your Business Plan by setting up an appointment with the Illinois Small Business Development Center. This service is available FREE OF CHARGE. The SBDC business advisers can show you how to write a business plan and guide you to the local professionals that will be vital to owning and operating a small business. Make an appointment at Illinois Small Business Development Center to meet with a business adviser.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Illinois SBDC at Starved Rock Country Alliance 
(815) 343-7289 - Click here for the Website

Illinois SBDC at Bradley University - Peoria, IL
(309) 677-3297 Click here for the Website
    Procurement Technical Assistance Center
    International Trade Center

Illinois SBDC at WIU Quad Cities - Moline, IL
(309) 762-3999 ext 62228 - Click here for Website
    International Trade Center

Illinois SBDC at Sauk Valley Community College - Dixon, IL
(815) 835-6248 - Click here for the Website

Illinois SBDC at Illinois Wesleyan University - Bloomington, IL
(309) 556-3171 - Click here for the Website

Click here to find your local SBDC office or Call (800) 252-2923. 

Review Real Estate, Financing & Building Requirments, and Incentives, by calling your local City or Village Economic Development Office or Chamber of Commerce.

Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce - (815) 795-2323   

Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce (IVAC) - (815) 223-0227

Mendota Area Chamber of Commerce - (815) 539-6507

Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry - (815) 433-0084

Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce & Main Street - (815) 875-2616

Streator Chamber of Commerce - (815) 672-6721

Walnut Chamber of Commerce - (815) 379-2141 ext. 241

City or Village
To find the list of local City or Village Economic Development Offices and their contact information, please go to city and village contact information

Start-Up ‘To Do’ List for Entrepreneurs

  • You should already be properly managing Your Personal Accounts and Personal Credit.    Is your FICO Credit Score above 690?  
  • Be prepared to Take Time to Prepare your Business Plan and Marketing Plan.
  • Realize that there are NO GRANTS AVAILABLE for your Start-Up Business. 
  • Know what type of business you would like to start and learn all you can about it.
  • Appraise your business strengths and weaknesses. Be strict and objective.
  • Prepare a comprehensive business plan, and include your action timetable. Call to find where the local Illinois Small Business Development Center at (800) 252-2923
  • Consult with experts. Establish your business partnership team including an attorney, banker, accountant and insurance agent.
  • Conduct thorough research of potential customers, your trade or industry, your competition, your licensing and tax requirements, location and name.
  • Determine the legal structure for your business. Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative. Your attorney and accountant will assist.
  • Secure necessary capital (bank loan, savings, borrow on insurance, angel investors, venture capital, etc.) Your banker will assist with options.
  • Evaluate possible site locations. Call the local Chamber of Commerce or local real estate professionals for assistance on real estate issues. Check with the City Hall for information on zoning, physical condition, suitability, traffic flow, parking, utility requirements and cost. Determine if you should lease or own.
  • Decide on your preferred business location. Do not buy or lease yet. Work with officials at City Hall. Inspections will be made that will assist you in budgeting for any needed improvements to the property.
  • Obtain needed facilities, equipment, furnishings, signage, supplies and stock.
  • Establish job descriptions and training program.
  • Decide on your business hours to meet demands of your customers and market.
  • Print business cards, stationery, invoice or statement forms. 
  • Get a Website.   Establish an appropriate Social Media Marketing presence.
  • Register the name of your business (your assumed name) and/or file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Publish a notice in the newspaper. Your attorney will assist.
  • Secure any necessary permits, licenses or zoning variations. Check with both local and state licensing agencies. Confirm with City Hall if you must obtain a business license, possible building permits and a Certificate of Occupancy Permit. Call your local City or Village Hall as soon as possible.
  • Register your business with the state and obtain a Sales and Use Tax Permit (if applicable). Your accountant will assist.
  • Register for a federal tax number (Form SS-4) and obtain employee tax and withholding information from the IRS. Your accountant will assist.
  • Establish a bank account (separate from personal account).
  • If you intend to hire employees in your business, phone your Department of Economic Security or Workforce Commission.
  • Phone the IRS for a free “Small Business Tax Kit” at (800) 829-3676. For information about free tax education workshops, call (800) 829-1040 or check out the IRS website for this information.
  • Publicize your new venture. Effective marketing is important. Do not simply rely on “word of mouth.” Become active in business associations.  Successful Businesses Require Good, Effective and Consistent MARKETING.

Small Business Resources 
Click on the below links for more information on how to start a small business.

Guidelines and Information for Starting a Business (Small Business Administration)
Information on Starting a Business in Illinois
Guidelines and Resources for Entrepreneurs
Basic Federal Tax Information for People Starting a Business



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