Manage Your Business

From marketing, to financial and legal assistance, to hiring, training and more, get the help you need to support your small business operations.

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Filing Your Taxes

We’ve put together resources to help you prepare your 2023 taxes and set yourself up for success all year long.

  • Use this Tax Checklist created by the Source to help you prepare your 2023 taxes. View the Tax Checklist in Spanish, here.
  • The Source frequently hosts tax-related programs and workshops. To see upcoming events, check out our events page.
  • Schedule a business advising consultation with one of our experts to get targeted advice about your business. We’re here to help, sign up today. 
  • To find resources for taxpayers who file Form 1040 or 1040-SR, Schedules C, E, F or Form 2106, as well as small businesses with assets under $10 million, visit the IRS Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Center. 

Good Standing

Make sure your business is in good standing with the State of Illinois. Your business may need to get a copy of your certificate to:

  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for a business loan
  • Seek investments from investors
  • Purchase small business insurance
  • Register to do business in another state

Keep a current status of Certificate of Good Standing on file to maintain eligibility for grant opportunities offered through the Cook County Small Business Source! No purchase necessary, a screenshot or pdf of the certificate showing the active status of a small business will suffice.

Legal Assistance

Lawyers can assist you in a multitude of ways. Lawyers can help incorporate your business, file a patent, review contracts and leases, and protect you in the case of a lawsuit.

  • Refer to this directory of legal aid and pro bono organizations from the Circuit Court of Cook County Office of the Chief Judge for free and affordable legal help in the Chicago area. You can also find free online legal information and court-based help desks.
  • Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights expert legal staff provides small businesses owners with the knowledge to sustain the quality of their programs, improve outcomes, and spur economic development. Find out how you can receive assistance by visiting the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s website.
  • Ensure you stay legally compliant with local and federal laws and use this U.S. Small Business Administration tool to find local legal assistance for your small business.
  • The IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship provides free legal assistance, support and advocacy for low-income entrepreneurs in Chicago. The IJ Clinic also trains the next generation of attorneys to be vigorous and creative advocates for entrepreneurs. Visit their website to find more information and see if they are able to assist your business.

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Managing your Finances

Learn to manage your finances effectively and discover incentives available to help you level up your small business. 

  • Understanding your balance sheet is essential for success. Download this balance sheet template if you don’t know where to start. 
  • Managing your finances responsibly is critical to running a successful business. For more tips, read this small business guide on financial control from Illinois Small Business Development Center.
  • To gain a basic understanding of how to read financial statements, read this guide on understanding financial statements from Illinois Small Business Development Center.
  • Through its Financial Capability program, Ladder Up helps clients build a lasting foundation for self-sufficiency by working with them to secure financial aid for higher education and to gain the skills needed to make sound financial choices. Learn more here.
  • Visit to learn more about the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC), access financial services, and find resources to strengthen your financial capability.
  • 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is a national volunteer effort of the nation’s Certified Public Accountants to help Americans understand their personal finances and develop money management skills. For more information about 360 Degrees of Financial literacy, visit

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Marketing Strategies

As you look to attract customers, it is important to develop a marketing strategy. 

Marketing Basics

  • As you look to implement a marketing strategy it is important to identify your ideal customer type. This can make it easier to tailor your content to your target audiences. Refer to HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Guide to learn how to develop representations of your ideal customers.
  • With the new year right around the corner, learn the 5 Smart Marketing Strategies To Embrace In 2023 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Social Media

  • Social media can be a successful low-cost way to raise awareness for your business, gain new customers, and reach new markets. Shopify’s Engagement Guide can help inform your social media strategy and content creation.
  • Use Asana’s calendar template to create a schedule to ensure you are keeping your social media up-to-date and adding fresh content regularly.


  • An up-to-date website is crucial to create an online presence for your business. Use this website builder from Wix to aid in designing and launching your website.

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Recruiting and Managing Your Team

It is important that the individuals you hire are the right fit for your business. Additionally, as an employer you hold responsibility for managing and retaining your team. Learn how to recruit the best employees for your business and get tips on how to keep employees motivated to increase retention.

Labor Laws

  • When hiring and managing employees it is crucial to understand how to create a basic payroll and understand state and federal labor laws. The U.S. Small Business Administration provides information regarding the following:
    • A plan to hire and pay employees including tax requirements, payroll administration service and compensation plans for holidays and vacation.
    • The difference between filing taxes with employees or independent contractors.
    • A plan to offer employee benefits including benefits that are required by law and optional benefits the business may choose to offer.
    • Resources to ensure the business is adhering to labor laws.
  • Are you currently a solopreneur? Follow these three steps from Bizwomen when hiring your first employee.


Working Remote

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the workplace. More small business owners, and their teams, are working remotely.

Workplace Benefits

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