Whether you’re thinking about buying a home or starting a business in Oklahoma, you’re not alone. Thanks to the Sooner State’s low cost of living and high quality of life, people are leaving the coasts and heading to the prairie. If you have a business idea, Oklahoma just might be the perfect location to get started.
Entrepreneurs often begin with a business plan, which is frequently a requirement for obtaining financing from a financial institution. The business plan is a blueprint of sorts, to help flesh out ideas and plan actionable steps. Once your business plan is in place, there are a few must-dos. If you’re hoping to open a business in Oklahoma, consider this your how-to guide.
Decide on business structure.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is decide on your business structure. The two most basic options are a Sole Proprietorship, in which an individual or married couple owns a business and a General Partnership, in which two or more people enter into business together.
In Oklahoma, there are four additional structures you can choose from: a Limited Partnership, a Limited Liability Partnership, a Limited Liability Company (LLC), and a Corporation. To form an Oklahoma LLC, you will need to file the Articles of Organization and a $100 filing fee with the Secretary of State. To form a corporation, file the Certificate of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. The cost is a minimum of $50 or 1/10 of 1% of the Total Authorized Capital (TAC).
Choose a name.
Deciding on a name for your business can be an exciting step. If you establish a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you can choose to use your legal name or create a “fictitious name.” If you file a trade name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State, the use of your name will be protected within the state. The filing process will also suss out any potential conflicts with existing businesses.
To get started, you’ll want to register your fictitious business names with the county clerk’s office where the business is located. Alternatively, you can file a Trade Name Report with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. This filing will prevent any one else in the state from using the name.
Unlike in a sole proprietorship or partnership, if you create a corporation or LLC, you’re required to choose a unique name for your entity. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that partnerships, corporations, most LLCs, and sole proprietorships with employees are required to register for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can file for an EIN on the IRS website or by mail or fax via IRS form SS-4.
File for business permits/licenses.
In Oklahoma, you don’t need a license to start a business, but you may need a license or permit for specific activities (e.g. to sell food or collect sales tax). Licenses and permits generally apply to either the individual or company or the type of item/service being sold.
A sales tax permit is one of the most common types. It’s required for retailers or anyone who sells tangible property. You can obtain a sales tax permit from the Oklahoma tax commission.
There are a number of other permits and licenses you may need so it’s a good idea to research requirements for your business based on your specific location — different municipalities may have different rules. If you’re planning on setting up shop in Oklahoma City, their municipal website has a comprehensive list of potential licenses and permits.
Look for office space (and employees!).
Once you’ve checked off all of the administrative tasks, you might want to consider some square footage for your new venture. Luckily, office space in Oklahoma won’t break the bank. Thanks to the state’s very low property taxes, you’ll be able to get more bang for your buck. If a home office is more your style, Timbercraft offers a number of flexible floor plans that can function as both a living and working space!