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How to Start a Business in Ohio in 12 Steps

Do you want to start a business in Ohio? If yes, you are in the right place. Starting a business in Ohio offers a wealth of opportunities across diverse industries. Whether you are planning to start a business or are an experienced business owner looking to expand, Ohio’s business-friendly environment and strategic location can provide a strong foundation for your venture. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to start a business in Ohio and answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you navigate the process successfully.

As a matter of fact, small business accounts for more than 99% of entire business ventures in the state of Ohio. It is at present, the third-best state in the United States to avail of SBA loan funding. To start a legally compliant business in Ohio, you need to follow certain rules and paperwork. For a beginner who is starting a business for the first time, it might be troublesome.

For the benefit of young entrepreneurs, we lay down the right process to start a business in Ohio.

Here are 12 Steps to Start a Business in Ohio

Step 1. Select the Right Business

The first and most critical step is to find the right business as per the local demand, passion, and level of expertise. Some of the businesses that are flourishing in Ohio are the following:

  • Food Truck
  • Nightclub
  • Yoga Center/ Fitness Gym
  • Babysitting
  • Convenience Store

You can also check out our article on the best business ideas in Ohio that can be started with a small investment.

Step 2. Create a Business Plan

The second most important step, though often ignored by beginners, is to document a plan for the business. A business plan works as a roadmap for the present and future activities of a business venture. Pick an idea, work on it, and prepare a business plan. With a proper strategy, you can start a business properly by setting up the benchmarks, targets, and goals you wish to achieve.

Additionally, if you are looking for funding from investors, a business plan will be the most vital document. Almost every investor will ask for it.

If you are starting a small business and funding is not an issue, even then write a business plan document. It will equip you to properly analyze challenges in the present and future days. Some of the aspects you must include are:

  • Executive Summary
  • Name of the Business
  • Products & Services Offered & Pricing
  • Manpower Planning
  • Financials
  • Marketing Plan

Step 3. Naming Your Business

You will need an official name to register your business. It’s better to look for something unique. You can use a business name generator for suggestions. Make sure you register your business name with the US Trademark Department and buy an online domain of the same name immediately.

You must check with the United States Patent and Trademark Office whether the chosen name is available or not.

Step 4. Decide on the Business Structure & Register with the State of Ohio

Once you select a name, it is now time to decide on the structure of your business. There are various options available for legally structuring your business entity in the state of Ohio.

Some of the popular ones are Proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, corporation, partnership, and LLC. You can check the official site SBA and learn more.

If you are looking for a registered agent to do the job for you, you can avail of the services of certified vendors providing company formation services. Check our recommended list of Top LLC Formation Service Companies in the United States.

After the availability of the name and business structure, it is time to register your business entity with the Ohio Secretary of State. Upon successful submission, your business will be accepted as a legal company in the State of Ohio.

Step 5. Procure Business Licences

There are separate city-specific and business-oriented licenses applicable. You must check with your local authorities to make sure all your legal formalities are done beforehand.

For small businesses, you can apply for a business license as a sole proprietor with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Step 6. EIN Number & Tax Filing

Now you need to apply for an EIN at the IRS. The Federal EIN will allow you to file taxes separately for your business. The Federal EIN acts as a social security number for your business which also allows you to hire an employee legally.

Step 7. Register With the Ohio Department Of Taxation

To be legally registered as a business, you have to register your business with the Ohio Department of Taxation. To sell tangible items, you will need a sales tax permit and a consumer use tax permit for services.

In Ohio, it is compulsory for businesses to have worker’s compensation insurance in case there is more than one employee. There’s no mandatory insurance for selling services, but having professional liability insurance works as an added security.

Step 8. Setting Up Business Bank Account & Accounting System

A dedicated business bank account will help you simplify all your business transactions. Choose a good accounting software. This will help you to set up your business accounting system making annual taxation easy.

Step 9. Financing Your Business In Ohio

While business from home may require a very nominal startup investment, if you plan to start it on a larger scale, you will need sizeable capital. There are even different venture capital firms and investors in Ohio ready to invest in unique projects. If you choose to fund your own business, go for a long-term loan. In addition, you can approach for Small Business Administration (SBA) loans.

Step 10. Find a Location

Choosing a suitable location for your business is critical to its success. While finalizing the location, you must consider factors like foot traffic, accessibility, and proximity to suppliers and customers.

Step 11. Build Your Team

Hiring employees or contractors as needed is another crucial step toward setting up a business. Talk to a local attorney to ensure compliance with employment laws and regulations.

Step 12. Promoting Your Business

Promote your new business via social media channels initially. It’s free and easy to connect to your people around. If you have competition, it’s important to stand out in the market. Hiring an agency will help you promote your business in the right places.

Best Places To Start A Business in Ohio

Choosing the right location is going to determine how your business runs. Here are some of the best places in Ohio to start your business:

  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Cincinnati
  • Todelo
  • Youngstown
  • Akron
  • Strongsville

This is a complete hands-on guide on how to start a successful business in Ohio from home with minimal investment. Follow the steps sequentially, and make sure you are following your own business plan hand in hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Ohio Business Gateway?

The Ohio Business Gateway is an online platform. It allows businesses to interact with various state agencies, including tax and licensing departments.

How long does it take to register a business in Ohio?

The time for the business registration process varies. It can typically take a few business days to a few weeks, depending on the business structure and the completeness of documentation.

What taxes do I need to pay as a business owner in Ohio?

Business owners in Ohio need to pay state and local taxes. It includes sales tax, income tax, and employer taxes for employees.

Are there any incentives for starting a business in Ohio?

Yes, Ohio offers various incentives, grants, and tax credits for businesses.

Can I operate a home-based business in Ohio?

Yes, you can operate a home-based business in Ohio. However, you may need to comply with zoning regulations and obtain necessary permits.

Do I need a business license for my Ohio business?

The licenses and permits required depend on your business activities and location. Check with local authorities to determine your specific requirements.

How can I find funding for my Ohio business?

In addition to traditional funding sources, Ohio offers various grants, loans, and incentive programs to support small businesses.

Can I apply for an SBA loan for my Ohio business?

Yes, you can apply for SBA loans. They offer loans and financing options to eligible small businesses in Ohio.

How do I access business counseling and mentoring services in Ohio?

You can access business counseling and mentoring through the Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and SCORE chapters located throughout the state.