Publications & Business Guides

​Below is a collection of helpful guides that offer information on starting and managing a business. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these guides. You may also receive a free copy of some of the guides by calling the Business Information Center at 1-800-252-2923 or Submit a Question.

Starting Your Business in Illinois

The Plan: A Step-By-Step Business Plan Workbook

Financial Guidance

  • A Simple Guide to Your Company’s Financial Statements (PDF English / Spanish)
  • The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Financial Control (PDF English / Spanish)
  • Understanding Commercial Lending: The Question and Answer Guide (PDF English / Spanish)

Grant Proposal Writing

This guide offers step-by-step instruction on how to create a winning grant proposal. 

  • Proposal Writing - The Basic Steps in Planning and Writing (PDF English)


  • A Simple Guide To Your Small Business Marketing Plan (PDF English / Spanish)

Assessing Your Business

  • The Small Business Report Card: Is Your Business Making The Grade? (PDF English / Spanish)

Buying & Selling


These three guides offered by the Illinois Attorney General's Franchise Bureau are designed to assist franchisors in selling franchises in Illinois and as well as to help prospective franchisees buy a franchise.

  • Illinois Franchise Act and Rules (PDF English
  • Franchisor Registration Tips (PDF English
  • Before You Buy a Franchise - Understand Your Risks (PDF English)


This guide offers tips on how to break into the retail market.

This free guide offers future grocery/convenience store entrepreneurs resources to assist in the start-up process as well as lending support to existing store owners.

  • Grocery/Convenience Store Start-up Profile (PDF English)

The  Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) Rural Grocery Store Start-Up and Operations Guide is a resource for Illinois entrepreneurs and community leaders interested in starting up, expanding, or transitioning a grocery store in their rural community.

  • Rural Grocery Store Startup Guide (PDF English)

This free guide provides budding restaurateurs with resources to assist in the start-up process and  support to existing restaurant owners.

Winery Startup

As the wine industry in Illinois continues to grow each year, the First Stop Business Information Center is making it easier for new and existing wineries to flourish. Included in this comprehensive guide are up-to-date industry facts, market and sales data as well as a business plan workbook created specifically for wineries. Cheers!

  • Winery Startup Profile (PDF English)