Starting a business in Chicago, Illinois comes with several advantages, including the proximity of tons of resources and a small business community that is currently thriving. Of course, as with any major endeavor, there are lots of details to consider when it comes to a move to Chicago, including making sure that your family is safe and comfortable as you get your ideas off the ground.
Here are a few reasons why Chicago is the perfect spot to start or relocate your small business:
Chicago has a lot to offer without the major city prices
With a few exceptions, Chicago’s cost of living isn’t as high as you might expect for a bigger city. In fact, the average sale price for a home in Chicago is about $291,200, while rent typically runs between $1,692 and $5,119 per month. The rental market is wide open right now, with plenty of beautiful homes to choose from if you’re not looking for an apartment. This is the perfect option for families who need room to spread out; just search online for the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Not only that, you’ll have peace of mind that with this beneficial cost of living, your business will thrive, and you’ll be able to find affordable, quality talent when you’re ready to hire.
Chicago has a supportive business community
As you get started building the business of your dreams, it’s important to find resources that will help you feel supported. Becoming part of a community can lift you up during challenging times and keep you motivated; it can even provide a mentor or potential business partnership. Here are a few local small business resources that will inspire you:
- Chicago United, which promotes diversity and opportunities for people of color
- Dynamic Professional Women’s Network, which focuses on women-owned businesses
- Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, which provides resources for business owners looking to network or find information about local government
Find a wonderful cultural environment in Chicago
As you look for business resources, you’ll also find that Chicago is a culturally-diverse city full of locations and events that improve the quality of life for its residents. Not only is this beneficial for you and your family, it’s a boon for your business to be located in an area where potential employees love their hometown. Some of the most popular attractions include:
- Grant Park, which includes sporting areas and is often home to music festivals
- North Avenue Beach, which boasts stunning views
- Jackson Park, where you’ll find a Japanese-style garden
Chicago has great schools
While the culture of an area contributes to both your family’s enjoyment and the quality of life for your future employees, the schools play a major role in your ability to find quality talent. Chicago is close to several universities that have turned out hundreds of professionals each year, including:
- The University of Chicago
- DePaul University
- Lake Forest College, which ranks highly among liberal arts colleges
- Loyola University Chicago, which is rated highly for athletics, diversity, and academics
You’ll find plenty of startup resources
Once you have the location of your business picked out and are ready to start the process of getting your ideas off the ground, it’s important to find helpful resources that will allow you to tackle tasks like obtaining a business license, registering your business, and obtaining an EIN, and conduct a zoning review for your business address.
During this phase, you’ll also need to consider which business structure is best for your needs. Forming an LLC will afford you some protection by keeping your assets safe in the event of litigation, and it comes with tax advantages as well. Every state has its own rules for formation, so read up on the steps that are specific to Chicago.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to look for resources solely in the Chicago area; you can also find helpful tools online, especially when it comes to spreading the word about your company. For instance, you could hire a graphic designer to create branded materials, but there are free tools you can utilize as well, such as a banner maker that allows you to create a customized banner for your website or social media pages by adding your choice of colors, fonts, and images. This is a great way to bring attention to your brand, and the process is simple.
Starting or relocating a business can be stressful for the entire family, but by utilizing a few helpful resources, you can set up for success in Chicago as smoothly as possible. Do some research when you’re ready to find a house, and take advantage of all the small business tools at your disposal.