- A business entity should have a unique name for the registration process and if the business is under an assumed name.
- A business plan should include market analysis and financial planning to increase productivity.
- Registration for an LLC, corporation, or non-profit organization is through the secretary of state.
- Specific insurance policies are mandatory for every business for legal and financial protection.
- If the business wants to hire employees, applying for a federal employer identification number is compulsory.
Critical Points to Starting a Business in Oklahoma
To start a business in Oklahoma, one needs to follow the regulations of the state. One should first find a unique name not taken by another entity in the state. The filing fee with a certificate of incorporation is also important. The licenses and permits will vary according to the business practice. It is also important to follow federal regulations and register with the internal revenue service.
Find the Right Idea
An entrepreneur needs to have a strong business idea to build a business first. The idea can be related to any industry and have any concept that a business owner can execute well. Then, one would either choose the goods or the services market or both, depending on their idea. While selecting the business inclination, it is important to understand the customer demographic and the projected profitability.
For instance, if the business is to be established in Oklahoma, one needs to conduct market research about the consumer patterns of Oklahoma residents. It is important to construct the place of business in accordance with the locality and the community you will be catering. One also needs to check whether they will be directly selling to customers or it will be a business-to-business venture. When it comes to profitability, factors such as distribution and packaging should be taken into account. You can even offer subscriptions to build a loyal customer base.
Choose a Unique Name
After choosing a business idea, the next step is to find a unique name that is also memorable. A unique name is essential so that there is no class with other establishments in Oklahoma. To check if your selected name is unique, you can search through the business entity list of the state. There are regulations about compulsory words depending on the business type.
For instance, a limited liability company has to mention its legal structure in its name. If your business is a foundation, association, company, society, or corporation, the word should be mentioned in the name or its abbreviation. After selecting a unique name, the next step is to reserve it until the registration process is complete. Reserving the name will come with an application fee of $10 to the Oklahoma Secretary of State.
The next point of concern is filing for a DBA. If your business is functioning under an assumed name, you will need to submit a trade name report. The filing fee for the submission of the report is $25. The fictitious or assumed name of the business should also be unique and comply with Oklahoma naming rules. After initiating the reservation process for your chosen name, it may also help to create a website with the same name. Therefore, choosing a domain name that matches the name of the business is essential. The domain's uniqueness should correspond with the business name's uniqueness.
Make a Business Plan
Any new organization will find it easier to gain footing in a competitive market with a business plan. A dedicated business plan follows the mission and vision of the business owner and creates a president on how the organization will run in the short and long term. A business plan would begin with the mission statement or a short summary of what the company intends to do. It should also include a detailed description of the company's core values.
One may also take surveys to conduct a market analysis. It would outline the reception of potential customers in the locality. The type of business structure and logistics plan will also be included in the business plan. Customer segmentation reports and the complete list of services offered will help outline the business's goals. Lastly, all the financial planning for the future should also be mentioned in the business plan to prevent any future disputes.
Find the Right Business Structure
A business owner can create a formal business structure before opening the doors to customers. The business structure describes the legal entity and the liability of the business owner. If only one business owner is involved, then the business structure would be a sole proprietorship. It is the default structure in the country for all businesses run by an individual.
The owner's taxes will not be separate from the business's taxes, and there is an unlimited liability to the business owner. A general partnership is a setup where two or more individuals form a business. The liabilities structure of a general partnership is similar to that of a proprietorship. A limited liability company protects its owners and also offers better tax returns. The company will do business in its name, offering its members liability protection. A corporation is also a distinct legal entity from its owners. This type of business can issue stocks and have shareholders along with owners.
Getting the capital before starting a business is essential, so everything goes smoothly. The primary source of funding for a business owner is bootstrapping. A business owner will first go through savings and invest from their current income. Bootstrap allows a business to sustain itself with ongoing profit. If a company needs additional capital, the next approach is to ask for loans from family or friends. The informality of relationships helps in getting capital without paying significant interest.
However, it is recommended to have a formal agreement signed on the terms of repayment. If a business finds it difficult to raise capital, it can approach a bank or lending Institution for a loan. Different banking institutions offer different interest rates based on the credit history of the owner and the business. Small businesses can also apply for grants as they do not require repayment. This is a source of capital without any strings attached. An applicant can submit their request with a grantor.
Get Registration Done
The Secretary of State undertakes registration and incorporation in the state of Oklahoma. Suppose the business structure is that of an LLC. In that case, the essential documents are the articles of association along with the address and details of all the members and the company agent. The filing fee for the registration of an LLC in Oklahoma is $100, either online or through the mail.
The certificate of incorporation is essential for a corporation or a non-profit organization. The filing fee is $50 either online or through the mail. A sole proprietorship does not need a specific incorporation because it is not a unique legal identity apart from its owner. However, for every business entity separate from its owners, choosing a registered agent for communication is essential. Getting an employer identification number is crucial if your business is planning on hiring employees.
Get Licenses and Permits
Business licenses and permits can vary from business to business. The business license of a restaurant will be different from that of a grocery store. Some industries require extensive permits to function in the state. For instance, if your business includes landscaping, car repair services, business advisory and consulting, or computer and IT consultants, you might require additional permits in Oklahoma. One can find the list of business licenses on the secretary of state website. The permits for selling goods are different from the permits for providing services. If your business is primarily retail and selling goods, it is mandatory to have a sales tax permit. The Okhla home tax commission provides this permit.
Become an Employer
To become an employer in Oklahoma, one needs to get a federal employer identification number. A federal EIN gets the company registered with the internal revenue service. It is a nine-digit number that is a unique identification number for each business in the state. Only after a business gets its employee identification number can it start hiring employees in a professional capacity. This number will also enable the business entity to create bank accounts in its name. In addition, a credit card in the business's name will only be possible after getting an employer identification number.
Find Insurance Options
There are four primary insurance options in Oklahoma for all business owners. Insurance policies are important in case of unexpected losses that can lead to a serious setback in profitability and daily business. Asset protection is essential to cover the inventory, plants, and machinery, as well as the property of the business. Workers' compensation insurance is mandated for all businesses that hire employees in Oklahoma.
Any business that hires full-time or part-time employees should compensate the workers for disability medical bills, days with lost wages, and even death resulting from workplace accidents. This insurance benefits the business as it protects the organization from lawsuits. In addition, general liability insurance covers a range of financial losses and potential liability due to injuries on the work premises. It is optional for all businesses but commercial spaces.
Professional liability insurance protects the business against negligence and wrong conduct during the ordinary course of business. It covers potential mistakes and prevents the chances of potential lawsuits. Medical officers and law firms most commonly use professional liability insurance. Business owners' policy includes multiple insurance coverages in one package. It can give the business a more comprehensive range of protection while being cost-effective. The state's small business administration maintains all mandatory insurance policies that a business must have.
Create a Marketing Plan
A business can attract more food fall in the initial day by enabling an effective marketing strategy. A marketing plan helps raise awareness about your brand's products and services. Promotional offers can also attract potential customers and create a loyal customer base. The client response will also depend on the customer demographic, which is why a market analysis before establishing the business is important. Market research will help understand the customers' buying habits and their community background.
Through market analysis, one can also have an idea of the competition in the locality. Advertising on social media and through printed brochures can create awareness about the brand even before the business gets started. Using digital platforms to your advantage can improve client engagement.
Social media is especially important if the primary source of your work is to provide services remotely. The advertising and promotional drives should work at creating good relationships with potential customers while increasing visibility across different demographics. A marketing plan also focuses on retaining customers. It is essential that the products and services being advertised match the promise of quality and hence allow a customer to return.
A new business requires proper documentation before applying for incorporation with the Oklahoma secretary of state. Business entities like LLCs, corporations, or non-profits need to follow different regulations during the registration process. After registration, applying for adequate licenses and permits and the employer identification number is essential. A good business plan and marketing strategy can help with awareness and customer retention while simultaneously increasing the business's profitability. It is also necessary to look for a good insurance policy for financial and legal protection.
Learn more with us
- How do I start a business in Washington State?
- How do I start a business in New York?
- How to start a business in Oklahoma?
- How to start a business in Connecticut?
Access our Guides.
We can help!
At levy, we help early-stage founders streamline and automate regulatory and legal ops, HR, and finance so you can focus on what matters most — your business.
We can help you streamline operational processes for your business and save up on time in the long run. Learn more.
Like our content?
Subscribe to our blog to stay updated on new posts. Our blog covers advice, inspiration, and practical guides for early-stage founders to navigate through their start-up journeys.
Note: Our content is for general information purposes only. Levy does not provide legal, accounting, or certified expert advice. Consult a lawyer, CPA, or other professional for such services.