Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Illinois (IL)

Starting a business can be a huge step in someone’s life. A business venture can open up so many opportunities, and demonstrate that there are people out there who can benefit from your great ideas. Opening a business in Illinois may be particularly beneficial as well.

The state is 13th lowest when it comes to taxing income, and 12th highest in access to venture capital. Illinois also has the fifth largest economy in the nation.

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Illinois’s Most Popular Businesses

When you are thinking of opening up a business, you need a good concept for your store. What are you going to sell? What is your business going to offer to the local economy? Illinois does have some popular business ideas that are very popular to their residents and visitors. Consider these popular options if you need some ideas or motivation. Businesses like clothing boutiques and towing companies are often quite successful in Illinois.

Planning Processes

After you figure out what you want your business to sell, you must go about the process of opening it up legally and correctly in the state of Illinois.

1. Pick a name

Picking a name for your business can be very exciting, and may help it feel more real to you—as if your dreams are now becoming a reality. This is the first step in representation and branding as well. Your name should be expressive of your business values. It will be a sneak peek of what your customers can expect before they step into your store.

In Illinois, there are some rules to keep in mind while choosing a business name, but don’t let those slow down your creative juices or hinder your process.

2.  Conduct market research

Depending on what type of business you are opening up, you may want to take some time in the beginning stages to research your desired audience. This can help you see what their needs and wants are from a business like yours. Research can also help you determine what your competitors are doing to engage with your target audience.

3.  Choose a structure

To help increase your business’s credibility and help protect against any future liabilities, you will want to pick a business structure that suits your vision. In Illinois, you can choose from an LLC, corporation, non-profit, sole proprietorship, and partnership.

Registering in Illinois

Once you have the business structure you believe will best represent your business, you can go to the state and get it registered. Illinois may ask for your business name, employer identification number, formation documents, and your registered agent that helps with your taxes. Depending on which structure you choose, the state may ask you for different documentation or certifications as well.

It’s All About Location

If you plan to open a brick-and-mortar store, the location you choose for your business can be extremely important. You should be choosing an area with high foot traffic and direct access to your target audience. In Illinois, you could look at cities such as Chicago or Rockford. On the other hand, if you want to open up a fully online business within Illinois, its location may not be as important.

Focus on Banking

When you are opening your businesses, one of the most important parts can be to separate your personal finances from your business ones. This can be done by setting up a business banking account and by opening a business credit card. These can help keep track of transactions and spending while also developing your business’ credit score.

Another way to keep your finances situated and easy to handle is to hire an accountant—or invest in accounting software. Accounting services track your spending, sales, and taxes.

Insure Your Business

When you open your business, you’ll want to keep it safe from any risks or liabilities that could come its way. To do that, you want to sign your business up with relevant insurance policies. These might be as simple Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, or Professional Liability Insurance. In Illinois, you must have a form of Workers’ Compensation Insurance if your business has one or more employees.

Hiring Employees

When you get to the stage of hiring employees, this can be an exciting change. It shows growth within your business and allows you to take people with similar visions and mindsets under your wing. However, hiring also has to be performed legally throughout Illinois. All this means is that you need to register with the IRS for employee taxes and report all your new hires to the state.

Other than that, you can have fun growing and expanding your business.

Branding

The branding you implement for your company can be one of its most important features, as well as a place to be creative and have some fun with your business idea. Your brand is how your audience/customers will see you and think of your store. This is your chance to show off your vision, values, and goals to the public.

What do you want your brand to represent?
How do you want to be seen by your customers?

Asking yourself questions like these can help ensure you find the right way to brand yourself and your business. You are giving your customers an experience unlike anyone else does.

Next to branding, you will want to create a logo. A logo is a way to brand yourself inside and outside your business, as this graphic can go on price tags, business cards, and your website. A simple set of words or pictures can set you apart from your competitors.

Get Online

Working online these days can be crucial, as the whole world revolves around the internet. Designing a website for your business can be a great way for customers to find you and share your business with friends. The site can show off your brand, information, a summary of who you are, and even tools so you can sell your products right from the website.

Social media can be a great place to sell, as well as a great place to show off your business to the public. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have become amazing platforms to connect with local and online customers—and develop a following.

Online Business

If you want to open a purely online store, a website is the first place to start. If you already have a website or need help making one, companies like Ecwid provide templates and amazing development assistance. They can help make your online store a reality, while also connecting you to other selling platforms. Sell your products across a wide selection of social media, like Facebook and Instagram. By selling on multiple platforms, you allow for more virtual traffic. In the end, you will get more sales.

Ecwid can also help keep track of all those sales and your inventory to let you know when you may need to restock an item. If you are looking to open an online store, Ecwid could become your best friend.

Marketing

Next to having an online presence, marketing is also a key part of selling your products. Whether you are looking for online or offline marketing strategies, you will need a budget. Depending on the size of your business and your goals, you may want to set aside $250 to $1,500 a month.

These funds can go toward offline marketing, such as making business cards, pamphlets, signage, or community events you wish to attend. If you are interested in marketing online, consider buying ad space on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, as well as photography and videography. Email and text subscriptions are also a way to keep customers coming back and getting regulars to your store.

At any rate, if you want to open your own business, starting in Illinois might be a great next step!

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So you’re ready to start selling online. Now the million-dollar question… where do you start?

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Read real stories

Get Yourself Ready
For Surprises

Check out our blog series all about starting an online store without prior experience. It‘s sort of like our own ecommerce reality show—starring Nicole.

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We’ll help you navigate through the market and find the most profitable channels.

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Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

Start Selling Online

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