Start Your Business Today!

How to Open a Business in Ohio.

Are you planning to start a business in Ohio? Do you have a business idea that you’re sure will turn a profit? The state is rife with an entrepreneurial spirit. It has a robust small business community featuring hundreds of thousands of companies. These small businesses employ almost half of the state’s population.

If you’re ready to start a business in Ohio, then this state-specific guide outlines the key steps you’ll take.

Benefits of Opening a Business in Ohio

There are numerous benefits to starting a business in Ohio. One of the most significant advantages of business ownership in the state is the favorable tax benefits.

Ohio Business Tax Benefits

Ohio has some terrific tax benefits. The state government doesn’t levy a corporate income tax, and it provides a 75% tax reduction for many small businesses on a company’s first $250,000 in revenue.

Ohio has opportunities for any Business Type

Over the last decade or so, Ohio has quietly become a hotbed for tech startups, being home to companies that create everything from connected cars to health care products. However, any type of business can make it big in Ohio, so check out the landscape to see if your idea can grow into a very profitable opportunity.

If you’re ready to start a business in Ohio, then check out our guide below to get started!

Step 1: Create a Business Plan for your Ohio business

Every business in Ohio needs a business plan. A business plan explains how the company will be structured, how it will operate, and how it will generate income.

What to Include in your business plan

There are many business plan templates available online, but most include a company overview to explain your specific type of business, a list of SMART goals, and an analysis of competition.

You’ll also want to explain the company’s target customers, how you plan to attract them, and the profit margins you’ll set. 

Research Tax Breaks and Local Grants in Ohio

When you write a business plan, also include a look at state-specific tax breaks and local grants. Ohio has a list of funding assistance for small businesses you can refer to.

Need help creating a business plan for your Ohio business? We put together a comprehensive library of articles and guides on business planning.

Step 2: Choose a Business Structure

One of the first decisions an Ohio entrepreneur must consider is choosing a business structure, meaning you’ll have to decide which type of business entity your company will be. There are several different business entity types, but the sole proprietorship and limited liability company (LLC) are among the most popular startup choices. 

Sole Proprietorship in Ohio

sole proprietorship is a free, no-fuss business entity that entitles the company owner to all profits. It’s an unincorporated option, which means it’s not registered with the state, and the owner can be held personally liable for debts. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC) in Ohio

An LLC is registered with the state. LLC formation paperwork is known as the Articles of Organization. These documents must be filed with the Ohio Secretary of State, which includes a fee. The most significant benefit of an LLC is its liability protection.

The owner’s assets are separate from the business, so if the company is sued or ends up in debt, its assets are protected. This liability protection makes LLCs a very attractive business model.

Still not sure what business structure to choose for your business in Ohio? Get 100% certain by reading this guide.

Step 3: Create a Business Name in Ohio

Do you already have a business name in mind? In Ohio, as in many states, no two companies can have the same business name. Perform a business name search on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

Business Name Rules

Ohio has specific rules about how you should choose a business name. Your company name cannot have inappropriate language in it or reference a branch of government like the Internal Revenue Service. For a closer look at the rules, refer to the Ohio Guide to Name Availability.

Reserving a Business Name

The state also gives you the ability to reserve a business name for 180 days before filing incorporation papers. We can also do this for you. And if you’re considering a business trademark but haven’t fully come around to the idea, learn why you should.

Consider a Domain Name

As you brainstorm ideas, consider looking into a domain name for a potential business website. It’s best to choose a domain name that’s either the same or very close to your business name.

You can streamline the process by registering your domain name with us.

Step 4: Register Your Ohio Business and Open Financial Accounts

If you’re ready to turn your business idea into a reality, register your business structure with the state of Ohio. For an LLC, you’ll file LLC formation papers and pay a filing fee. Here are some things to consider as a business owner.

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Most businesses require a federal employer identification number (EIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service for federal tax purposes. You’ll also register your business with the Ohio Department of Taxation, which you can do through the Ohio Business Gateway. You can get an EIN with us.

Get Business Insurance

Look into business insurance policies. The state suggests that all startups look into liability, business, and auto insurance in its guide, Starting Your Business in Ohio.

Get a Business Bank Account

You can benefit from having a bank account to keep track of your business income and business expenses. In Ohio, there are many banking options that can provide terrific perks for your business.

Do a little digging around to find one that’s best for you. These banks should also provide business credit cards to help with funding.

Obtain a Business License and/or Permit

Depending on the type of business and which industry you’re going into, it’s important to secure all necessary business licenses and/or permits. Do a bit of research on what you’ll need.

Step 5: Market Your Ohio Business

Many Ohio businesses use a combination of digital and traditional tactics for marketing. Your marketing strategy will almost always revolve around your target customers. Every business owner should consider marketing their business in some form to grow a customer base. Here are some suggestions.

Using Social Media

Social media is a popular avenue for business marketing, but who you’ll market to depends on which social media brand you’ll use.

If you’re trying to market to Ohio’s younger and middle-aged crowd, you’ll probably lean heavily on social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. But if you want to attract Ohio’s growing senior sector, consider using Facebook.

Another way to market your business and stay plugged into the community is to join Facebook groups like Ohio Small Business Owners.

Registering with Online Directories

Provided you’re opening a brick-and-mortar shop in Ohio, register its location with online directories like Google My Business so your business will start appearing in local searches. Do a little more research to find other options that can be helpful.

Finding a Marketing Firm

There are several top-rated marketing firms in the state that can help you put together a complete marketing and advertising strategy for your Ohio business.

Marketing a new business takes time and planning here are some great actionable ideas for marketing your business.

Step 6: Examples of Good Businesses to Start in Ohio

The largest employers in Ohio are in health care, manufacturing, and food services. A company that falls into any of these categories could fare well in the state, but Ohio is home to many other business types:

  • Tech startups
  • Construction business
  • Education services
  • Senior support services
  • Agriculture business

Get more information and new ideas about the best businesses to start in Ohio.

We can help

Ohio has a wealth of profitable business opportunities for entrepreneurs. The state boasts a business-friendly environment with a pro-business tax structure and several incentives to help companies thrive. While there are multiple steps involved in starting your own business in Ohio, it’s not hard to find resources to ease the workload. You can always find help online through trusted sources like the Small Business Administration, and, of course, us.

Hopefully this guide has given you a strong foothold to becoming a business owner. Remember that we also offer many services and products to help your dream get off the ground. These include getting a registered agent, worry-free compliance, and more. We are here for you no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

Ohio Business FAQs

  • Starting a small business varies widely, but research suggests that it costs about $30,000 to launch a company from scratch. In Ohio, there are specific costs to establish a business, one of which is a $99 filing fee to register an LLC.

  • A survey that ranked Ohio cities based on 19 business-friendly factors like five-year survival rate and office space costs ranked Columbus as the best Ohio city to start a business. However, the same study showed that Toledo might be the cheapest option since it has the most affordable office space.

  • You may consider setting up shop in one of Ohio’s fastest-growing areas like Hilliard, a suburb of Columbus, or Harrison, a suburb of Cincinnati. Affluent neighborhoods like Powell could be ideal for businesses offering premium products or services.

“This is your life.
You want to get it right.”

– Mark Cuban on Starting a Business

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank host lays out
3 steps to follow when starting a business

  • Form an LLC to protect your liability
  • Set up your banking and accounting
  • Grow sales by marketing your website

Play Video

Start a Business in Your State

Popular States for Starting a Small Business