In today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to talk about a topic that I still get a lot of questions about, and that I've blogged about before, and that's how to start a small business in Oklahoma. For those of you who don't know, I am a panel attorney for Rocket Lawyer in Oklahoma, and I get a lot of inquiries and questions through their online portal. One of the most frequent questions I get in there is how to start a small business, what should I do first. In today's Freedom Friday blog, I'm talking about how to start a small business in Oklahoma.
Other than having a business plan for your small business, there are some very straight forward steps you can take to start a small business, either by yourself, or with others. In today's Freedom Friday blog and email newsletter, I want to share the four (4) basic steps involved in starting a small business in Oklahoma.
Pick a Name
The first step to starting a small business in Oklahoma is to pick a name. You need to make sure no one else in Oklahoma has the name, or else you'll run into trouble with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. When you get to the next step, you don't want the Oklahoma Secretary of State to say “no” because someone else already has that name. So, be creative, and try to pick a unique name for your small business. You should do an Internet search, and also a search with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You also may wish to cross-reference your search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Choose a Business Entity
The second step to starting a small business in Oklahoma is to choose a business entity. The business entity you choose protects you and your personal assets. Most small business owners choose a limited liability company (LLC) over a corporation because an LLC has a more flexible business structure. However, if you want to raise capital, a corporation may be more desirable. Of course, if you're starting a charitable organization, you will want to choose a non-profit corporation. It is a good idea to consult an attorney and/or tax professional to assist you in choosing a business entity which is right for you and your small business.
Get an EIN
The third step to starting a small business in Oklahoma is to get an EIN, which stands for the Employer Identification Number. This is a federal number issued by the IRS. You can apply for it with a simple form called an SS-4 which you can fill out online. The EIN is the equivalent of the social security number for your small business.
Open a Business Bank Account
The fourth step to starting a small business in Oklahoma is to open a business bank account. This step is essential if you want to keep your business assets separate from your personal assets. The bank will require you to get an EIN first and will likely want to look at your formational documents in order to get you set up. It's also a good idea to shop around with different banks, because their exact requirements will differ, and some banks are more friendly towards small businesses than others.