* Crain’s published an op-ed today that has some advice for whomever is elected Chicago’s mayor: Help small businesses start and grow. Here are a few of their suggestions, which are all pretty good..
Create easy-to-find checklists for license and permit applications. Entrepreneurs often have to spend hours waiting in City Hall only to be told they do not have all the paperwork they need to receive a license or permit.
Treat minor regulatory infractions with a friendly warning rather than a fine. Today, a first-time offense means a fine that runs in the hundreds of dollars, and often an administrative hearing that requires expensive legal support.
Reduce the administrative hearings that require businesses to spend money on legal representation. Chicago has an online system to deal with minor traffic violations like red-light tickets, but none for minor business violations. When business owners get a ticket, they must appear before the Department of Administrative Hearings and then sometimes appear again before the Department of Business Affairs, even when the ticket has been dismissed […]
Simplify signage and awning rules. Chicago should have a one-step online application for sign and awning permits. Today, the entire City Council votes on each signage request and on every awning that hangs over the public way. Furthermore, a bonded sign-erector is required to put up every sign.
Foster home businesses. Don’t outlaw the next Jeff Bezos. Let home businesses operate in garages so long as they don’t disturb the neighbors or impact the environment. Repeal the prohibition against home businesses hiring more than one employee, especially for remote employees. And end the restriction on selling homemade products outside of the home.
Make it quick to start up. It takes 32 days to start a professional-services business in Chicago. In Phoenix, an online system gets businesses through permitting and licensing in one day.