The Ultimate Guide to Business Plans - Comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for an e-commerce store.
Palo Alto Software has a very large number of sample business plans.
Missouri Small Business Development Centers Library is an excellent site containing links to TONS of resources on business plans, including sample plans.
FormSwift - SWOT Analysis - An excellent tool for analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business, from the Start-up FormSwift.
U.S. Census Bureau website where you can search any zip code, city, county, metro area or state for demographic data. Very helpful in defining the size of your potential customer base.
The Small Business Development Centers National Information Clearinghouse has a huge amount of statistics for various industries, trends, and customer data.
eBusiness Resources - A link to our own resource page for eBusiness and online commerce.
Finance Resources / Getting Funding for Your Business
Best Business Credit Card Guide:
This directory has the most popular business credit cards today. The directory is updated on a weekly basis to reflect any new changes, to add new cards, and to remove expired cards. The business credit cards directory is a highlights the most important features for each card. The directory is maintained and updated consistently to make sure it’s always current.
Average Wages by Occupation in Illinois
To view occupational employment and wage estimates for the state of Illinois
A guide to successfully find and secure a small business loan
Startup Wisdom: 27 Strategies for Raising Business Capital, a free e-book discussing a variety of techniques to raising capital from loans and crowdfunding to more non-traditional methods such as factoring and vendor financing. This is an easy to read book that explains all the ways a business can get funding to start or grow.
General Business Tools/Resources
The Internet's largest source of information for small business.
- Starting a Business
- Financial Management
- Sales & Marketing
- Personnel Management
- Internet Business
- General Management
- International Business
- Buying a Business
- Business Plans
Many small business tools including:
- how to start a business
- writing a business plan
- accounting, tax, and law
- employee benefits
- loan payment calculator
Business Owner's Toolkit has many sample forms and guides for almost any business topic.
Hiring for a Job
Hiring for a job - This website provides some basic information on how to create a job posting, how to interview, and how to hire for the job.
- Small Business Recruiting and Hiring Guide
- How To Write A Killer Job Posting
- How To Interview Job Candidates
Legal and Liability (Insurance) Resources
freeadvice.com has plain English explanation of legal concepts for business owners.
Insure.com's small business section has a plain English explanation of insurance for small businesses.
The Company Corporation does incorporation for you.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website, where you can obtain information and guides on preparing patent applications and trademarks. You can also search for existing patents and download forms.
Illinois Secretary of State website where you can search for corporate name availability and access incorporation form
FormSwift - Incorporating - A guide on how to incorporate and the steps involved from the Start-up FormSwift
FormSwift - Independent Contractor - A guide on the use and determination of independent contractors from the Start-up FormSwift
Constant Contact helps small businesses, associations, and nonprofits connect with their customers, clients, and members. With its email marketing, online survey and event marketing tools—supported by its expert personal coaching and support—help all types of small businesses and organizations create professional-looking email newsletters and insightful online surveys and begin a dialogue with their customers.
Survey Monkey is a website for creating free surveys.
Word of Mouth Marketing Association, WOMMA, is where you will find the latest on marketing strategies.
Small Business Organizations and Resources
Small Business Administration
Women's Business Center directed at the special needs of women-owned businesses. Information available on a variety of topics including marketing, management, technology, and doing business with the government
Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs, the state agency responsible for assisting small businesses. Contains information, guides, loan program information, and referrals to other resources.
Business Owners Idea Cafe website is operated by top entrepreneurs that include varieties of award-winning resources.
IRS website where you can download and print every tax form and publication or ask questions.
Illinois Department of Revenue site where you can obtain information and forms on sales tax, income tax and more.
Website Builders - This site will provide you a list of the top ten rated website builders. These builders will allow for you to build your own website, saving money in the process.
Building your own website - This site details a variety of topics on how to build your own website.