Starting a Business in Illinois

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Have you dreamed about starting a business but don't know where to start?

The Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU has provided consulting and training designed to teach and assist new entrepreneurs the basics of starting and successfully operating a business. It takes more than a great idea to have a successful business and the SBDC is here to help you succeed. 

The path for each business to get started is different, but some of the common steps include:

Step 1 - Attend the Starting Your Business in Illinois Workshop

The first step in getting started is attending one of our live Starting Your Business in Illinois workshops. This no-cost, two-hour informational seminar covers the basic requirements of starting your own business including the following: legal structure, start-up requirements, finding financing, and business planning basics. Be sure to reserve your seat by signing up today!

We have both live and on-demand workshops available. 

Step 2 - Start Writing your Business Plan

The business plan is your game plan and roadmap to success! Writing a business plan is important, not only if you are looking for a loan or investment but to get all your thoughts on paper and work out the details.

The SBDC can help get your plan ready!

Step 3 - Select a Business Structure

An important choice when starting a business is selecting a legal structure. The most common business entities include sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), and corporation.

The SBDC can help explain the differences between the business entities, the pros and cons of each and how to protect your personal assets. We can go over how to file the articles of incorporation and articles of organization, drafting a partnership agreement, bylaws or operating agreement and much more. 

Step 4 - Register a Business Name

The right name is essential in branding your business. Registering a business name in Illinois varies depending on the legal structure as some entities require a name search and registering with the Secretary of State while others require registering with the County Clerk's office. 

The SBDC can show you how to register and even protect your company name!

Step 5 - Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

When entrepreneurs think of registering their business, many only think of registering their business name. A variety of business licenses and permits may be needed, such as the federal employer identification number (FEIN) with the IRS, sales tax identification number with the Illinois Department of Revenue, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Department of Employment Security, state professional licensing, local business licenses, and others.

The SBDC can help identify what licenses and permits your business needs and how to apply for them!

Step 6 - Find Financing

There are different sources of financing to start a business. Some of the most common include business loans, revolving loan funds, investors, credit cards, and also personal funds.

The SBDC can help sort out the best sources of funding for your business using your business plan!

Step 7 - Hire Employees

Hiring employees is a critical yet complicated process, which is important to do correctly. There are multiple federal and state registrations and Department of Labor regulations to be aware of.

The SBDC can help show you the steps needed to hire an employee!

Step 8 - Preparing for Taxes & Record-Keeping

As a business owner, there are several taxes, which may apply such as self-employment tax, state and federal payroll tax, Illinois sales tax, and tax on business profits. It is crucial to track income, deductions, and profits/losses for each year. 

The SBDC can help you understand the tax requirements for your business!


The most important step is to get started!

Take the first step by attending one of our "Starting Your Business in Illinois" workshops. This two-hour, informational seminar covers the basic new business requirements including the following: business plans, legal structures, start-up requirements, financing opportunities, and more.  

Register by finding the next class you can attend in the "Upcoming Workshops" section on our site or by calling 618-536-2424.

After attending the class, the team at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU is available to work with you, one-on-one, to navigate through the process of starting a business in Illinois and help you succeed!


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