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The Illinois Small Business Development Center of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University 

Do you have a product or service idea that

you want to turn into a business?

There are a few steps that you will need to take to start your business properly, and below are a few resources that will be helpful in each step toward starting your business. 


Step 1: Choose a Business Name

Use this site to find out if the business name you would like to use is already taken. 


Step 2: File an Assumed Business Name with the County Clerk

Learn everything you need to know about how to file an assumed name with the County Clerk. This is necessary for any individual operating a sole proprietorship or general partnership under a name different than their own.  

Complete this fillable form using the instructions in the "Step 2" link above. 


Step 3: Obtain an Employer Identification Number

Visit this site to learn more about if you need an Employer ID Number (EIN), and if you do, how to apply for one.


Step 4: Register Your Business in Illinois

Here you will need to create a login for yourself, and then complete the REG-1 form to register your business online.


Step 5: Obtain any Necessary Licenses, Permits, and Zoning Clearance

Find out what permits, licenses, and zoning clearances you will need to operate your small business within your specified profession and location. 

Resources for the above:

We have courses, training, resources, programs and business advisors to help you launch a start up small business across our region.

The SBDC of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan offers a full range of services and information for small businesses of all types. We are a free resource team that can help you in many ways, and we’ve been helping new and existing business owners for more than 30 years.

Before starting a business or investing money in one:

  • Evaluate the idea for your business by researching similar businesses

  • Do a self-assessment of your abilities and determine where your skills are strongest and where you need to learn more

  • Research the market and your potential customers

  • Do a financial analysis on the feasibility of your business venture

  • Write a basic business plan

  • Our Centers offer assistance with the above areas and much more.

  • A smart first step is attending our no-cost Start Business 101 workshops with one of our knowledgeable advisors.

  • Get your basic questions answered and start developing your small business in this hands-on interactive session.

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