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Everything Else for Your Business

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Business Plans

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Will Your New Company Thrive?
Enloop helps you evaluate the likelihood of success for your idea for a new company.
http://www.inc.com/tech-blog/enloop-the-turbo-tax-of-business-plans.html
http://www.enloop.com/ 

Local Help Right Here in Chicago
SCORE Chicago is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Use this site for many helpful tips and tricks on business plans.
http://www.scorechicago.org/item_list.asp?subcat=342&subtitle=Business+Plans

Business Plans and Marketing Plans
Business Plan Pro provides business plan and marketing software for entrepreneurs. These cost money, but they’re very helpful.
http://www.paloalto.com/business_plan_software

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Funding

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The Basics on Microfinance
Learn more about microfinancers, very small loans from nonprofit organizations for new small firms, on CNN Money.
http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/smallbusiness/1107/gallery.top_microfinance_companies/

Some popular microfinancing/lender sites:

Raise Funds for a Small Start-up
ProFounder helps small entrepreneurs and businesses find and access investors.
http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/30/profounder-launches-to-help-small-businesses-crowdsource-fundraising/

Teen Entrepreneurs
This incubator provides hands-on instruction and mentorship to help aspiring teen entrepreneurs see their ideas become a viable business.
http://mashable.com/2011/07/13/teen-incubator/

Government Grants for Small Business
SCORE Chicago offers four potential options for obtaining government grants.
http://www.scorechicago.org/item_list.asp?subcat=348&subtitle=Government+Grants

Help Applying for a Small Business Loan
From requesting an appropriate amount to touting your talents, SCORE Chicago helps you apply for a small business loan.
http://www.scorechicago.org/item_list.asp?subcat=341&subtitle=Business+Loans+and+Financing

Local TIF and Your Business
Learn how Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenues can help small business owners within specific districts to repair or remodel their facilities:
http://www.somercor.com/sbif/

Free Chicago Facade Improvement
Facade funding from the City of Chicago provides improvements for neighborhood businesses through financial and technical aid.
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/provdrs/ec_dev/svcs/improve_the_facadeofyourcommercialorindustrialproperty.html

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Working with the City of Chicago

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Three Simple Steps to Apply for a Business License
The City of Chicago walks you through what it takes to get a business licence, including registering with the Illinois Secretary of State, getting a federal Employer Identification Number, application fees, and more. You can also call 311 for assistance.
http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/3_simple_steps_toobtainabusinesslicense.html

Get the Most from the City of Chicago Site
"City Services" on the left-hand side of the City of Chicago website is an easy way to find online answers for your small business. Below are a few examples.
http://www.cityofchicago.org

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Energy Costs

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Save on Electricity Expenses
ComEd suggests how to save on small business energy costs.
https://www.comed.com/sites/businesssavings/pages/smallbus.aspx

Save on Gas Expenses
People’s Gas has several ways to assist business owners in increasing their energy efficiency.   http://www.peoplesgasdelivery.com/business/saving.aspx

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Sales

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Landing New Customers
If you have wondered why potential customers haven’t converted, a detailed article illustrating the concept of a “sales funnel” can help provide the answer:
http://www.nyreport.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Feature.showFeature&FeatureID=404

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General Advice

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How Strong Small Businesses Get Ahead
If you are going to spend, let it be on technology, and other helpful tips for keeping your business strong.
http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/innovation/article/how-the-strongest-small-businesses-get-ahead-1

Blog for Entrepreneurs
Ann Dwyer writes about ideas and news for local entrepreneurs in her blog for Crain’s Chicago Business.
http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/on-entrepreneurs

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