For some entrepreneurs, working out of their basement is a viable option. Sure, there are tax benefits -- you can write off that Dilbert calendar as a business expense! -- but by no means is that a one-size-fits-all solution. Many business owners will actually need to scout another location to get things rolling, and for such individuals, it'd behoove them to check out World Business Chicago's recently unveiled Site Selector.
It's still in beta but clearly has huge benefits even in its current form. The site combines information from the city's open data portal with commercial real estate information and quality-of-life amenities. It's no substitute for hiring a professional in the field, but it's at least a great way to inform yourself before you get realtors and inspectors involved. Are you starting a business with 25-100 employees, and you want to open it in an enterprise zone that's also an industrial corridor? Just punch in that information, and the site will instantly spit out locations that are currently available that meet your needs -- and give you the address, too.
From there, you can hop over to Google Maps and do the street-view thing -- so there's no need to go outside. Ain't technology grand?
Check out Site Selector here.