3.30.2021

How to Start a Business in Oklahoma

Written by Austin Chegini

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Ready to start a business in Oklahoma? Starting a business anywhere in the world can look like a massive hurdle until you actually get it done. Especially for small businesses, getting through the registration, publicity, and legal obligations can be quite a task. 

Well, it's not so hard if you know what steps to take.

States like Oklahoma have more favorable economic policies for private businesses. In the Bureau of Labor Statistics data released for January 2021, Oklahoma ranks 12th among states with low unemployment rates. This is largely due to the expansion of businesses and startups. 

But how can you start a business in Oklahoma?

If you intend to build your empire in the Sooner state, here are the major dots you need to connect to get your business up and running.

1. Choose and develop your business idea

Sometimes, people already have an idea or two in mind that stirs the need to create a business. Still, not everyone gets that sudden eureka moment. In this case, research goes a long way in forming an idea. To start, you should consider the following items.

  Products or services?

First, determine whether you would be offering a product for sale or if you would like to utilize any number of skills to provide a service. Retail products range from daily consumables like food items and clothing to industrial goods like machines and tools. Services include baking, plumbing, social media marketing, and a ton of other tasks.

You could also combine both of these to capture a wider share of the market. For example, you can start a retail grocery store but also sell custom cakes or offer catering.

Making the distinction is essential to guide your research and the development of your business. It will also help you see if you need additional certifications or extra training.

  Target audience

A target audience can be determined by age, occupation, nationality, or gender. For instance, clothing stores or manufacturers would have to consider the ages and gender of their customers for sizing purposes.

If you wanted to open a restaurant, you can't possibly cook continental dishes for everyone. So, always consider your target market. Doing so will help you carve a niche for yourself as you tailor your marketing and presentation to meet the demand.

  Online or offline

Yes, you can decide to run a completely virtual business from your home. The implication is that you may not have to look for an outstanding office space or hire several employees. On the other hand, your considerations would differ if you were to have a walk-in store or consulting firm.

2. Further Research

Now that you have a better picture or writing of what your business is about, you should gather more information. Some products are considered illegal, so trading in them will not only be criminal but largely unprofitable. 

For example, it would be unsafe to assume that certain weapons are legal in all states because they are in Texas. 

➢ Legal Requirements

Every state has laws that oversee businesses and companies. For instance, Oklahoma places a limit on sales by cottage food farmers, unlike other states. So, if you decide to be a producer, you must learn the restrictions of Oklahoma's laws or be guilty of a crime.

➢ Budget

A steady business plan requires a comprehensive analysis of how much money you would or may need to spend. You can do this at any point provided that you have gathered enough information on; the costs of filing, registration, and acquiring the necessary equipment. This will help you make further plans, if need be, to gather more capital.

3. Create a business plan

Once you have developed your idea, you should create achievable goals and assessment regimens.

➢ Choose a business name

Before you start your business in Oklahoma, you have to pick a name that represents your offering. Deciding what to call your business is a delicate task. You can take the familiar route and name it after yourself or your family, provided the name is available. 

Or, you could use words that resonate with what your business stands for alongside your name. The rule is to ensure that it is easy for customers to pronounce and remember. And they should associate the name with your business each time they hear it.

➢ Outline your USP

A USP is your Unique Selling Point. You have to determine what part of your idea is distinct enough to separate you from the several business owners who do what you do in Oklahoma. 

Outlining this will help you leverage it for a better online or offline presence i.e. your prospective clients will choose you out of all the others because they know that you have better deals for them. They will never find out what makes you different if you do not tell them.

➢ Decide Company Structure

There are four common choices for new businesses in Oklahoma: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, limited liability, or a corporation.

Sole proprietorships are companies registered and operated by one person, while partnerships have two or more people combining resources and owning the business.

They are the easiest to create, and you can determine which one suits your purpose by learning about them.

However, knowledge and experience show that registering your business as a limited liability company or a corporation is a better decision. Unlike the first two, LLCs and Corporations do not put personal assets at risk in any event. This is safer for startups.

➢ Choose your location

You have to decide what city or county you want to run your business. This decision should be based on the results of your research. The best location is one that gives you enough visibility and access to potential customers.

➢ Set realistic goals

This is also very important. Big dreams are great but realistic expectations are better. For your business, you should set targets and marks to be accomplished within a period of time. If you want to make, for instance, $20,000 profit by the end of the first year, your plan should spell out how to make that happen.

For a start, set small goals and make sure you achieve them. It helps to have an accountability partner if you're running a sole proprietorship.

4. Registration

Having covered those bases, it’s time to make it official. The first step is to register your business name with the Oklahoma Secretary of State. You could also file a federal trademark to prevent any other business in the country from sharing your name.

Certain businesses like liquor stores, restaurants, and bars require licenses or permits from the state government. See the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to see if you need a sales tax permit or other licenses for your business.

5. Get your FEIN

The Federal Employers Identification Number is essential for Limited Liability Companies and Corporations. Without it, you may be unable to open bank accounts or file your taxes. All you need to do is apply and fill the form. 

Keep in mind that it is not necessary for sole proprietorships.

6. Banks Accounts and Insurance

You shouldn't use your personal bank account for commercial affairs. Creating an account with your business name is a crucial step. It separates the business from you and helps recordkeeping and accountability.

You should also have a business insurance policy. This step is vital as it protects you and your investments in the business. While there are a variety of optional policies, Oklahoma requires you to obtain workers' compensation if you have up to five employees.

7. Go online

Whether you are running your business from a physical location or remotely, you should have your business listed on Google My Business. This helps to improve your visibility alongside other digital marketing strategies.

Additionally, consider creating a website for your customers. This way, they can easily access you from any part of the state or country. While it doesn’t have to be fancy, you must make sure the interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce are excellent for building a website with no experience. 

Redefining Business Transactions with EPOS Now

Every business needs reliable hardware and software to provide quality services to customers. As you start your business in Oklahoma, you need to provide easy and secure payment methods for your customers. This all starts with your point of sale system. 

Epos Now provides solutions for startups and small businesses who need reliable payment processing. Our systems run on desktops, tablets, and handheld devices.

Call today to learn more about Epos Now.

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