STARTING A BUSINESS IN OKLAHOMA
1. BUSINESS PLAN
A business plan is key to starting a business. It is required If you will need to secure a loan to finance your business. Even if you are self-financing or getting loans from family members to finance the business, it’s a good idea to develop an informal business plan just to be sure you have a thorough understanding of operating the business. Issues to cover in a business plan include:
Succinct description of your business & product/services
Description and analysis of your target market(s) and competition
Description of how your business will operate and reach the target customers
Listing of your start-up costs and projection of your financials
There are many resources available to assist you with developing a business plan: www.sba.gov, www.score.org, as well as searching the internet for free sample business plans for businesses similar to the one you are opening. The website https://www.bplans.com has a wide variety of free sample business plans. For help with a business plan or any of the other issues in this document, you may also contact any of the SBA Resource Partners below:
SCORE Oklahoma City (405-609-8004), www.okcscore.org
The Women’s Business Center (800-658-2823), www.reiwbc.org
Small Business Development Centers, www.osbdc.org
2. BUSINESS STRUCTURE
Most common types of business structures are:
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
Each type of business structure has pros and cons with respect to liability, paperwork and tax consequences. Use this link to find out more: https://www.sos.ok.gov/corp/organization.aspx
3. BUSINESS NAME
Choose a business name and reserve it with the OK Secretary of State at www.sos.ok.gov. You can search the Secretary of State’s database to see if the name has already been taken by another business in Oklahoma. A name may be reserved for a period of 60 days prior to the organization of the legal business entity for a cost of $10. This process allows you time to complete all other requirements to register the business.
It is also a good idea to do an online search of the name you want to use to avoid choosing a name that has been associated with a business with a bad reputation or other negative.
To do a name search for businesses outside Oklahoma, go to the US Patent and Trademark at this link: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/search
4. FEDERAL TAX ID (EIN)
Federal employer identification numbers (EIN) are obtained through the website of the Internal Revenue Service at https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online.
You need an EIN for one or more of the reasons below:
a) Starting a new business. If you won’t immediately hire employees do not check the box showing you have employees.
b) Hiring or plan to hire employees. (If you didn’t check the box showing you have employees when you initially registered for your EIN, you must go back to the website a couple of months prior to hiring your new employees and check the box.)
c) Opening a business bank account.
d) Changed the legal character or ownership of your organization (for example, changing from a sole proprietorship to an LLC or corporation)
e) Purchased a going business
5. REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS IN OKLAHOMA
Businesses must be registered in Oklahoma through the Secretary of State. https://www.sos.ok.gov/business/Default.aspx
Businesses must also be registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission in person or using their web address below. It is better to get your federal EIN prior to registering with the Oklahoma Tax Commission. https://www.ok.gov/tax/Businesses/New_Business_Information/index.html
6. BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT
To keep track of your business cash flow, it is highly recommended to set up a separate business bank account even if you are using a sole proprietorship as your business structure. This allows you to easily separate your business income and expenses. Most banks require an EIN to set up a business bank account.
Depending on your specific industry and business type, there may be additional licenses and/or permits required. To determine which state licenses and permits are required for your business use the link below.
Cities and counties may also have additional permits/licenses and/or zoning requirements so check with the City or County government where your business is located. Some local chambers of commerce websites have lists of local permits and licenses requirements.
7. HIRING EMPLOYEES
If you’re going to have employees, there are additional registrations and filings that are required. As noted above in No. 4 above, you must notify the IRS if you plan to hire employees.
You’ll need a withholding account for income taxes through the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC). The OTC can be reached at 405-521-3160 or www.tax.ok.gov.
You’ll need to set up an account for employees’ unemployment taxes through the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC). The OESC can be reached at 405-557-7100 https://www.ok.gov/oesc/newhire/app/index.php
You’ll need Workers Compensation Insurance. If you do not have a private policy, you can contact CompSource Oklahoma at 405-232-7663 or 800-347-3863 or. https://www.compsourcemutual.com/
Updated 2/1/21 by SCORE Oklahoma City Chapter