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Steps to Success

Get Started

So you want to start your own business?  Good for you! Over 98% of businesses in Illinois are small businesses and they employ almost 50% of the workforce. Nearly 90% of the exports from Illinois come from small businesses. See the latest Illinois Small Business Profile for more statistics about your fellow business owners -- you're in good company.

Why do you want to start a business?

  • You have a great idea.
  • You want to be your own boss.
  • You want financial independence.
  • You want creative freedom.
  • You want to fully use your skills and knowledge.

All good reasons but is your business idea feasible? There are a number of personal factors to consider, specific requirements for success, and significant challenges you will face.

Bridge was developed with the needs of new and existing small businesses in mind. Accessing the Steps to Success directly is for those business owners who know which specific areas they want to explore. For everyone else we recommend either signing up with the Small Business Development Center or using the Assessment Quiz to help you get started.

More Resources to Help You Get Started

These links are to resources that you might not need to use right away but will be helpful at some point early in your startup process.


The Gallup Entrepreneurial profile, however, is an online tool that will assess your entrepreneurial characteristics so you can take advantage of your strengths and improve areas that need work. The assessment fee is only $12 and the results will be extremely valuable. 


The SBA's Start and Grow Your Business website is formatted much like Bridge and contains a wealth of information and resources for startups and existing businesses.

SBA Office of Advocacy

The SBA Office of Advocacy recently updated its most widely used publication: “Frequently Asked Questions about Small Business.” The Small Business FAQ is the place to go to for the...

Steps to Register Your New Business

Don Elmore, Director

Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC

What are the right steps and what’s the right order when you register your new business? These steps are not difficult and most of them are free, but it’s easy...