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Business Start-Up Guide

Welcome to Geneva!
Opening a new business can be both exciting and overwhelming. The City Economic Development Department has compiled this list of resources to help guide you through the process of starting your business in Geneva. A number of tools exist to help first time business owners ranging from free mentoring, low-cost workshops,help finding financing, and community outreach among our downtown merchants. Key to your success will be your ability to identify your own strengths and seek assistance in areas where your business will be better served through the expertise of others.

Our Business Resource Guide identifies the City Departments you will work with as you open in Geneva, and identifies other resources at the County, State, and Federal level. We highly recommend you start with services from a Small Business Development Center, SCORE, or others that can help you write a winning business plan. Demographics and statistics you will need for your Business Plan are found on our website and should be used as you approach your bank for financing. If you have any additional questions about Geneva or starting your business here, please contact our department.

Planning - the Foundation of Your Business Success
It is in your interest to reach out to local resources who are able to guide you in your planning. The
Geneva Economic Development Department maintains a relationship with both the Small Business Development Center at Waubonsee Community College, SnapRetail, and Geneva's Retail Minded, a local based, nationally recognized business that provides news, education, and support for independent retailers. We recommend you take advantage of the resources and training opportunities for business start-up, operations, and expansion that these partners offer.

Workforce Development and Training Programs - A list of federal, state, and local resources that can help you with the hiring and training of employees for your business.
Small Business Association - A federal program that specializes in small business development and education.                
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity - A state department devoted to business and economic development in Illinois.
SCORE - A local nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed nationwide.
Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center - A group of local business experts who provide mentoring and training to qualified start-ups.
Center for Business Education, Innovation, and Development - A local nonprofit group of volunteers who are devoted to educating new business owners.  

Questions to Ask Yourself
These articles will help you ask yourself the right questions to ensure your business starts off on the right track.
Is Entrepreneurship for You?
20 Questions Before Starting
Want to start a Business?
10 Steps to Starting a Business

Forming a Business Plan
The next step is to create a detailed business plan. The following links will help you determine what legal structure to use in forming your business and what questions to answer in your own plan:
Business Plan Start Up Guide 
Create your Business Plan
How to Write a Business Plan 
Common Mistakes to Avoid 
Writing a Business Plan 
Types of Businesses 

Understand the Geneva Area
One of the most important aspects of starting a business is understanding your market. Our Community Profile and Business Resource Guide will provide you with the information you need about Geneva. Additional census data has been provided as well:
Community Profile 
Geneva Demographics 
Kane County Census Data 
Current Geneva Businesses
Letter from Illinois Chamber 

Geneva's Available Locations
When choosing your location, you will want to consider location, co-tenancy, and zoning. What space will be the right size for you, near other businesses with whom you will share customers, and be zoned for your business activity? The Economic Development Department maintains a list of available commercial, retail, and industrial spaces within Geneva. Check our Available Locations Inventory on-line, or contact us at 630-232-7449 for a list tailored to your needs

Financing your Start-Up
Financing your start-up can be challenging but there are several methods to acquiring the necessary funding. They range from taditional financing (loan or grant), to crowd-source funding and local angel investors. Keep in mind that although non-traditional methods of financing are receiving a lot of recent press, they are highly competitive, selective, and limited in their availability:

Traditional Financing
Crowdsourcing  Angel Investors 
Loans & Grants
Hyde Park Angels
Getting a Business Loan
Angel List
Financing your Business 
  Cornerstone Angels

  Accion Microlending
    West Suburban Angels

Permits & Licensing 
Before you can open your doors, you must ensure that you have all the proper licensing:
Business Permits and Licensing for Geneva 
IRS Checklist for Starting a Business 
Registrations, Licenses, and Permits for Illinois 

Ongoing Training Programs
Workshops and seminars that provide training for all aspects of ownership and have different, revolving themes:
Frontline Trainings through Geneva         
SBDC Workshops
Local SCORE Workshops                                                
Online SCORE Workshops
SCORE Mentoring
Fox Valley Entrepreneurship Center (Selective)