Best Businesses to Start in Illinois

Ready to start a business in Illinois? We can help you form your dream business in just minutes. 

Starts at $0 + state fees and only takes 5-10 minutes

Excellent 4.7 out of 5 stars 15,317 reviews

Going into business for yourself is one of the most exciting steps in your career. Success begins with an idea and serious motivation. But even the most motivated entrepreneurs sometimes struggle to figure out the best business to start in Illinois. Deciding on the best small business in Illinois to start depends on your personal strengths as much as it depends on Illinois’s business trends and needs.

We’ve been helping Illinois small businesses brainstorm ideas for years. And once you’re ready to start your own business, our Illinois startup business resources and services can get help you get started quickly!

One of the first things you’ll want to do when setting up a new business is select a business entity type. The best business to start in Illinois could take any number of business entity forms. Whether you want to start a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation with your new business idea, we can make it easy with our Illinois LLC Formation Service, or our Illinois Corporation Formation Service.

We also offer a comprehensive suite of business services to get you started, including our Illinois Registered Agent Service to help your company navigate interactions with the state. And if you choose to use a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name, we can help with our quick and easy Illinois DBA Name Service. We’ve got you covered no matter how you need to get your business started.

Now that you’ve got an entity formed, what are some of the most profitable business ideas in Illinois?

The Most Profitable Small Business Ideas in Illinois

Illinois is a state full of entrepreneurs. In fact, The state saw a 70% increase in business start-ups in 2021. The moment is right for you to start a business too. So the best business to start in Illinois might be something you’re passionate about or something that fills a need in your area. Below are 7 types of businesses that can be profitable in the State of Illinois. 

Idea #1: Language Courses

Illinois is a rich and diverse state, with Spanish, Polish, and Mandarin Chinese being the most common languages spoken besides English. If you’re a native speaker of one of these languages, why not use your skills to your advantage? The best place to start a business in Illinois might be from the comfort of your own home! The pandemic has shown us that there’s a huge demand for people to learn online. Offering language classes and private lessons can leverage your skills, and allow you to help people build community.

Idea #2: Clothing Sales

Passionate about cool vintage clothes? Illinois is home to many vintage and resale shops. The best business to start in Illinois may be opening a fun clothing store. You could choose the option of selling your wares in a storefront, but you also have the option of having an exclusively online store. Depending on the needs and demands of your area, these are both great options!

Idea #3: Customized Tours

If you’re located in an Illinois tourist hotspot, like the Chicagoland area, why not capitalize on Illinois’s multi-billion dollar tourism industry? Some great business ideas in Illinois could include providing customized tours to out-of-towners, depending on your interests and expertise. 

Idea #4: Agriculture

Illinois is part of America’s breadbasket, contributing some of the most important agricultural products to our economy. Even if you don’t have traditional farmland or experience with agriculture, you might still be able to take part in one of the best businesses in Illinois to start through urban farming. If you’re not comfortable with large-scale agriculture, you can always turn home-grown herbs or vegetables into products for sale at farmer’s markets or online.

Idea #5: Information Technology

Illinois has a growing information technology and tech manufacturing industry. There are lots of opportunities for a savvy entrepreneur to build a great business. Whether you have expertise in providing IT services or manufacturing IT products, this might be the best business in Illinois to start for you. In fact, because the best business for you is one that draws on your unique skills, an IT pro could create a lucrative business nearly anywhere within the state. 

Idea #6: Professional Services

Do you have specialized training or licensing? As an accountant, licensed personal trainer, or psychotherapist you may be able to create a lucrative business using your training and professional license. Just make sure to identify the best place to start a business in Illinois, since you don’t want to open your therapy service in a small town that already has 50 counseling centers.

Idea #7: Moving Company

Why not help attract more people to Illinois and start a great small business at the same time? Offering safe, effective moving services can be a game-changer for many folks looking to move. Just make sure to check state, local, and federal regulations regarding moving companies. With the help of our partners at Avalara, we offer a Business License Report Service. Our comprehensive Business License Report tells you what licenses and permits you need to obtain to operate your moving company so you don’t have to comb through thousands of regulations yourself.

Why These Are the Best Small Businesses to Start in Illinois

These businesses are good businesses to start in Illinois because:

  • You can start many of them as home-based businesses or with little overhead
  • Most of them don’t require a lot of expensive equipment
  • Many of them are part of in-demand or growing industries in Illinois
  • They can have significant staying power

Just remember, the best business to start in Vermont draws on your own expertise. Many successful entrepreneurs have started extremely popular businesses with not-so-mainstream ideas, so don’t be dissuaded from following your passion.

Best Cities in Illinois for Starting a Business

The best place to start a business in Illinois depends upon a number of factors. Some of the most popular and lucrative places include:

  • Chicago
  • Oak Brook
  • Itasca
  • Lincolnshire

These places are clustered near Chicago. The municipalities provide support to small business owners and may be able to help your small business get started.

Why Form Your Business with Us?

We help your business take care of the paperwork so you can get to work faster. And once your business is off the ground, we can help you keep it legally compliant with our Worry-Free Compliance Service. And we’re not just here for the big business events that come up a handful of times in the year. Our extensive catalog of business support services can help you manage your invoices, find business inspiration, and organize your important documents. 


  • Illinois attracts top-notch talent from across the country and the world. The hustle and bustle of Chicago combined with the agriculture regions around the rest of the state make Illinois a major destination for a number of industries.

  • Many Illinois business owners can grow their businesses by researching their markets. Many also take advantage of the business resources and opportunities available in the state or offered by the Illinois government. Additionally, many municipalities offer terrific small business resources.

  • There are many franchise opportunities available in Illinois in various industries. In fact, several major fast-food brands were started in Illinois and still have their corporate headquarters here. Make sure to do your research before committing to a franchise.

  • The best online business to start depends largely on your business skills and resources, just the same as any brick-and-mortar business. However, a business owner can find a lot of success with online sales.

  • There are more choices than ever before if you want to work from home. Online sales and certain food services can be great options for home-based companies. You can start these businesses with little overhead and easily build a steady customer base.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

zenbusiness logo

Written by Team ZenBusiness

Best Businesses to start in each state

Ready to start a business? More leading business idea's listed by state.

Start Your Illinois LLC