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Wisconsin is teeming with new small businesses – 99% of businesses in Wisconsin are considered small businesses according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), while half of Wisconsin’s workforce works for small businesses. The Badger State promotes a variety of industries. It provides a higher percentage of manufacturing jobs than any other state, and is one of only two states with a comprehensive retirement system. Wisconsin’s corporate tax rate is 7.9%, close to the US median and lower than neighboring Illinois. This has led many small business owners to look to Wisconsin as a place to work. Here are eight steps to guide you when starting a business in Wisconsin.

  1. Choose a business idea 

The long-term success of a business often depends on the strength of its core ideas. Some great business ideas involve creating an entirely new product or service, while others improve existing ones. As a new Wisconsin business owner, you’ll need to research your target market, paying attention to underperforming customers. You’ll also find it helpful to study successful businesses in your industry, analyze their strengths, and find out where you can offer better products or services. This initial market research will serve you well throughout your business life. 

  1. Name your Wisconsin business 

A well-chosen business name provides customers with information about the company’s product offerings, prices, and specialties. To register your new Wisconsin business, you must: 

  1. Create a business plan 

All types of businesses, from sole proprietorships to C corporations, need a business plan that defines organizational goals, growth, and lays out the criteria for success. Most business plans include a financial plan that balances the costs and expenses of the business. You can view business plan templates or business plan templates to learn how to create your own. The most complete business plan includes: 

  1. Choose a business plan and get started

Your Wisconsin business can take the form of one of three business structures: a sole proprietorship, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Each of these upcoming business entities has its own benefits and legal requirements. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue provides easy-to-use online tools that make starting a business easier and lower the barriers for startups. Here are more details on the different trading systems: 

You get an EIN 

If your Wisconsin business plans to hire employees, you must apply for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. An EIN works like a business’s tax identification number. You use it in many business situations, from setting up a business bank account to paying business taxes.

 You must also use your EIN to obtain a seller’s license to do business in Wisconsin. Apply for a license for your seller from the Ministry of Revenue. Wisconsin’s state sales tax is 5%, as of 2022. State law allows Wisconsin counties to levy an additional 0.5% sales tax. All Wisconsin businesses must collect sales tax and remit it to state and local governments. Another requirement is Wisconsin business tax registration, which costs $20, plus an annual renewal fee of $10. 

WIncorporating in Wisconsin

isconsin requires new companies to file their records with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. The application fee is $100 whether you apply online or by mail. Your policy should include: 

  1. Obtain business licenses and permits 

The Wisconsin state government provides a one-stop, convenient business gateway to obtain licenses and permits for your business from various state agencies, including the Department of Human Resources Development and the Department of Financial Institutions. If you operate an LLC or foreign corporation that has not previously been incorporated in Wisconsin, you must first register with the state Department of Revenue.

There may be additional licenses required to trade in Wisconsin, depending on your occupation. The Department of Security and Professional Services maintains a database of interactions that connect you with authorization from the department.

  1. Explore business insurance options 

The Wisconsin Insurance Commission publishes a consumer guide to insurance for small business owners. The state mandates two types of business-specific insurance: workers’ compensation and auto insurance. Business owners often choose professional insurance, including:

  1. Understand financial matters 

Open an account at a commercial bank or credit bureau to manage the banking of your new business. If you are planning to create subsidiaries, you will need several bank accounts, one for a legal entity. Business accounts can be more busy than personal accounts; many companies pay for advanced accounting software or use an accounting firm.

 Your new Wisconsin business may need investment capital to get approved. The Wisconsin Economic Development Center and the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center provide information about grants, affiliate programs, and traditional financing options that help start new businesses. Another agency is the US Small Business Administration, which has two offices in Wisconsin, in Madison and Milwaukee. The Chamber of Commerce provides information on angel investors of Wisconsin. You can also connect with lenders and investors using customer support services like Shopify Capital. 

  1. Market your business 

Once you have all your legal documents in place, it’s time to put your marketing plan in place and build your brand. Create logos, slogans, color palettes and fonts that match your brand values. You will be ready to launch a marketing campaign that includes: 

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