OK, you’ve gotten advice and input. You’ve crafted your business plan. You’ve lined up the capital you need. Now, you have to make it official and file all of your paperwork so your business can get up and running. Here are my recommendations:
1. Starting Your Business in Ohio (2014 edition) – the Ohio Development Services Agency puts out a downloadable .pdf that covers a lot of the paperwork issues, including, among other topics. I recommend reading this to get yourself familiar with what you need to do:
- Business Name & Legal Structure
- Independent Contractor v. Employees
- Vendor’s License
- Licenses and Permits
2. Get the checklist – ODSA also provides a checklist for more than 250 different types of businesses, from starting an accounting firm to zoo. Simply go to Step 3 at business.ohio.gov/starting and see if the business you’re planning to do is listed there. Also get this to familiarize yourself with specifics.
3. Quick Start for Business Entry – once you have that information, I recommend first taking actions listed on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. These apply to almost any business. They include:
- Registering with Secretary of State
- Getting your EIN Number
- Opening a Bank Account
- Contacting Ohio Dept. of Taxation
- Employers – New Hire Reporting Center, Workers’ Compensation, Job & Family Services
4. Licensing & Permits – the Ohio Business Gateway also has a listing of many of the professions and the licenses needed to perform them. This should complement what you found at the First Stop Business Connection as well (also housed at the Ohio Business Gateway.)
5. Seek Professional Help (maybe) – at this point I recommend considering whether you want to seek the assistance of a professional individual/firm to do a lot of the paperwork for you. It’s a little like your income taxes – you can do it yourself, but do you want to? Answer – it depends. You can also start with this as step one. The three main “paperwork partners” are going to be an attorney, accountant, and insurance agent. If you need additional specialists (e.g., patent attorneys), they can assist you with that as well. Some of the local specialists (and there are many good ones) who support SIEDC include Gordon Law Office, Supance & Howard, Meyer & Kerschner (attorneys), Lisa Young CPA (accountant) and United Insurance (insurance.)
6. Redo Starting a Business – Step 1 (advice) – you may want to run what you’re intending to do from a paperwork standpoint by the Small Business Development Center folks. Steve Auxter would be happy to help you with that.