How to Start a Business in Wisconsin


Steve Goldstein
Steve Goldstein
Business Formation Expert
Steve Goldstein runs LLCBuddy, helping entrepreneurs set up their LLCs easily. He offers clear guides, articles, and FAQs to simplify the process. His team keeps everything accurate and current, focusing on state rules, registered agents, and compliance. Steve’s passion for helping businesses grow makes LLCBuddy a go-to resource for starting and managing an LLC.

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Start a Business in Wisconsin

Starting your own business in Wisconsin is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can experience. But where do you begin? There are numerous strategies to establish a business, each with important factors to consider. If you wish to start a business in Wisconsin, there are many things that you should consider. Doing business in Wisconsin, popularly known as The Badger State, will give you many opportunities because of the current estimated population, which consists of 5,955,737. Considering the large numbers, you will cater to a lot of customers.

Follow our in-depth guide on how to start a business in Wisconsin. We will help you remove the doubt from the process and explore your chances of success. It will start from defining your business idea to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. And we will guide you every step of the way.

How to Start a Business in Wisconsin?

To form a business in Wisconsin, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your Wisconsin business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your Wisconsin business. Starting a business is not something you can do overnight. The processing, planning, and preparation take a lot of time. If you want to start a business in Wisconsin, you must have everything ready beforehand.

Continue reading to learn more about the procedure as a whole and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they carry out each phase.

Step 1: Create a Business Plan

The first thing you need to start your business is a solid plan. In creating a business plan, you should consider many things when you are in the decision-making phase. Your business plan in Wisconsin is a road map for your successful business.

A business plan should consider the detailed purpose of your business. You should know what product or service you will serve in Wisconsin. A purposeful business plan is important because that plays a key role in knowing how your business will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is vague and not aligned with what service you are giving, it will affect the business you are forming. Make sure to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and in a certain timeframe) with your business goals. Also, researching your competitor’s service is a great deal to knowing what strategy you will form for your Wisconsin business. And lastly, you should include the funding of your business.

A business plan should be created before you start a business. Without it, you have nothing but a blank slate. This document will help you understand the key parts of your business and the plan for success. Regarding the potential funding for your business in Wisconsin, you can avail of business loans in bank and investor funding.

You can continue working on the legal structure of your business once you have the whole plan in your possession. You may create an LLC for your business legally. You can check other business guides shared by the LLCBuddy Editorial Team.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in Wisconsin

A business entity refers to a legal structure formed to conduct business activities. It is a separate and distinct organization recognized by the law, which possesses rights, responsibilities, and liabilities distinct from its owners or members. Choosing a business entity for your Wisconsin business is significant.

You must decide on a business entity structure while beginning your own business. The form of company entity you choose will significantly impact how well your personal assets are protected, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with. You should consider forming a business entity in Wisconsin through having Sole Proprietorship, LLC, LLP, and Corporation.

Sole Proprietorships

A sole proprietorship is a simple and common type of business structure where an individual owns, operates, and manages the entire business. It is the easiest and least expensive form of business organization to establish and maintain. One of the most appealing aspects of a sole proprietorship is the owner’s direct control over all aspects of the business.

A key characteristic of a sole proprietorship is that the owner and the business are considered a single legal entity. This means that all profits, losses, assets, and liabilities are the owner’s personal responsibility. Although this can lead to increased risk exposure, it allows the owner to control their business operations completely.

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in Wisconsin by yourself. For legal and tax reasons, the owner and the business are regarded as one and the same. The business owner takes on liability for the business. Therefore, the owner is liable for all business debts in the event that the company fails.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company, also known as an LLC, is a business structure ideal for entrepreneurs and start-ups. It is perfect for start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs since it has limited liability issues for a company. The Wisconsin LLC is mainly used for the legal structure of a business between two or more companies that share management and profits. It also protects its owners from liabilities, debts, and responsibilities that may cause them in the future.

LLCs offer pass-through taxation, meaning that the profits and losses flow through to the members’ personal tax returns, avoiding double taxation that corporations may experience. Additionally, LLCs have fewer formal requirements and administrative burdens compared to corporations. Read Wisconsin classification of LLC tax to get more information about tax.

Another advantage of an LLC is the flexibility in the management structure. Members can choose to manage the company themselves or appoint managers to oversee the business operations. This allows for customization based on the unique needs and preferences of the owners.

Limited Liability Partnership

Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) are a unique business structure combining partnerships and corporations’ elements. An LLP offers limited liability protection to its partners, meaning that each partner is only responsible for their actions and debts rather than jointly and severally liable for the entire partnership’s obligations.

This structure is particularly popular among professional service providers such as lawyers, accountants, and architects, as it allows them to maintain the collaborative nature of a partnership while enjoying the liability protection typically associated with corporations.

In an LLP, each partner’s income is subject to self-employment taxes, and the profits and losses are passed through to the partners’ personal income tax returns, similar to a general partnership. This pass-through taxation avoids the double taxation issue faced by some corporations.

Corporation

Forming a Wisconsin corporation reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

Step 3: Determine your Wisconsin Business Costs

In Wisconsin, you should determine the business costs that you will form. You should consider paying the Articles of Organization fee for LLCs, Articles of Incorporation fees for corporations, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, office rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial Wisconsin Articles of Organization fee costs $170 (by mail and $130 online), while the annual fee costs $25 in Wisconsin. Read about the overall cost of LLC registration in Wisconsin cost to know more about Wisconsin LLC cost. If you wish to know more about how much it costs to form an LLC, you should look up and be guided by the LLC formation costs. For a corporation, you must pay the $100 for online and by mail filing. Besides, you need to pay taxes as a corporation.

Step 4: Name Your Business in Wisconsin

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of Wisconsin LLC name search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in Wisconsin, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Wisconsin, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name for 120 days. You must file a name reservation application in the Wisconsin Secretary of State to keep the name. There is a complete guide on LLC name guidelines for you to have a proper LLC business name.

Step 5: Register Your Business in Wisconsin

In order to register a business in Wisconsin, you need to file it with the Wisconsin Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a Wisconsin Registered Agent for your business. The Registered Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

Get the Wisconsin Registered Agent

You must get your Wisconsin Registered Agent before you file your business. The person should be eligible to conduct business in Wisconsin. Also, they must be aged above 18 years. You can be your own registered agent. However, that will not be a wise decision. Appointing a professional will be much more beneficial for your business than doing it on your own.

Apply For Wisconsin Formation Document

After you have a Registered Agent, you need to file the Wisconsin formation document. If you are filing an LLC in Wisconsin, you must file the Articles of Organization and if you want to have a corporation structure, you need to file the Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, you should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from IRS.

The application of an EIN in Wisconsin can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is 4 weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in a number of ways. It will give your LLC the final advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Obtaining a business license and operating permit is necessary to run any business in Wisconsin. Before launching your new business, you should request any required business license or permission. Most Wisconsin businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. You must contact Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for more details.

Step 7: Get a Bank Account

Your business dealings in Wisconsin might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Most banks demand an EIN to create a business bank account for firms other than sole proprietorships. Also, keeping separate finances helps you avoid combining personal and professional finances.

Step 8: Market your Business in Wisconsin

Now that your Wisconsin business is already registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Important Information

Do you need to have Business Insurance?

Your company needs insurance even if it’s a home-based business or you don’t have employees. Depending on your business planning and the risks you face, you may require different types of insurance. As your business expands, you might require more than one type of insurance. If you have employees, you are typically legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You must contact Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance to ensure what type of insurance is required for your business.

What is the most profitable type of business?

The most profitable type of business will vary depending on a number of factors, including your industry, location, target market, and business strategy. However, some companies, such as those that provide expensive products and other services, tend to be more profitable than others. If you’re unsure about the kind of business to launch, think about your abilities and interests and the demands of your target market to guide your decision on an effective business.

FAQs

Where can I find information to start a business in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provides a variety of resources to help individuals and businesses start, grow, and succeed in Wisconsin. Visit wedc.org for more information.
How much does it cost to start a business in Wisconsin?
The cost of starting a business in Wisconsin depends on the type of business you choose and which licenses and permits you need. The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions provides a fee schedule and other information to help you determine the cost of starting a business in Wisconsin.
What licenses and permits do I need to start a business in Wisconsin?
You may need licenses and permits from local, state, and federal government agencies in order to operate your business in Wisconsin. Visit the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions’ website for information about the licenses and permits required for your business.
Does Wisconsin offer any incentives to start a business?
Yes, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation provides a variety of incentives to help businesses start and grow in Wisconsin. Visit wedc.org for more information.
How do I register my business in Wisconsin?
You can register your business online with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Visit their website for more information.
How do I file for taxes as a business in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue provides information and assistance for filing taxes for businesses in Wisconsin. Visit their website for more information.
What are the steps to start a business in Wisconsin?
The basic steps to start a business in Wisconsin include
What type of business can I start in Wisconsin?
You can start any type of business in Wisconsin, as long as it is legal.
What type of documents do I need to start a business in Wisconsin?
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to register your business name with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, obtain licenses or permits, file articles of organization for LLCs, obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), and obtain a Wisconsin Seller’s Permit.
What type of taxes do I need to pay in Wisconsin?
Depending on the type of business you operate, you may be subject to federal income tax, state income tax, Wisconsin corporate income tax, Wisconsin sales tax, and local taxes.
Is there help available to start a business in Wisconsin?
Yes, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provides a variety of resources and assistance to help people start a business in Wisconsin.
How do I register my business name in Wisconsin?
To register your business name in Wisconsin, you must file an application with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
What type of licenses and permits do I need in Wisconsin?
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to obtain business permits and licenses from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Do I need to register my business with the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue?
Yes, you will need to register your business with the IRS and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
What type of business structure should I choose in Wisconsin?
The most common business structures in Wisconsin are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Corporations, and Non-Profit Organizations.
Do I need to obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Wisconsin?
Yes, you will need to obtain an EIN if you are forming a partnership, an LLC, or a corporation.
Do I need to obtain a Wisconsin Seller’s Permit in Wisconsin?
Yes, if you plan to sell physical goods, you will need to apply for a Wisconsin Seller’s Permit.
What type of local taxes will I pay in Wisconsin?
Depending on the location of your business, you may be subject to local taxes such as property taxes, sales taxes, and county taxes.
Where can I find resources to help me start a business in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provides resources and assistance to help people start a business in Wisconsin. Additional resources can be found on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s website.
What resources are available for starting a business in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) offers a variety of resources to assist individuals in starting and sustaining a business in Wisconsin, such as free business counseling, startup funding, and business loans.
What types of businesses are allowed in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin does not restrict the type of business you can start, although certain businesses may require extra permits or licenses.
What taxes do I have to pay as a Wisconsin business owner?
Wisconsin businesses are typically subject to state income tax and sales tax, as well as local taxes such as property taxes and payroll taxes. You may also be subject to federal taxes, depending on the type of business you own.
Do I need a business license to start a business in Wisconsin?
Certain businesses in Wisconsin may require a business license, although most businesses will not require one. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation can help you determine if you need a business license.
What paperwork do I need to start a business in Wisconsin?
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to file paperwork with the state, such as Articles of Incorporation or an LLC Registration, as well as local government paperwork.
What is the process for registering a business in Wisconsin?
The process for registering a business in Wisconsin starts with selecting a business structure, such as a corporation or LLC, and then filing the necessary paperwork with the state and local government.
How do I select a business structure in Wisconsin?
The business structure you select will depend on the type of business you are starting, your tax obligations, and other factors. You can consult with a business attorney or accountant to determine the best structure for your business.
How do I get financing for my business in Wisconsin?
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) offers a variety of financing options for businesses in Wisconsin, including startup funding and business loans.
Do I need to file an annual report in Wisconsin?
Yes, certain businesses in Wisconsin are required to file an annual report with the state. The WEDC can help you determine if you need to file an annual report for your business.
How do I hire employees in Wisconsin?
When hiring employees in Wisconsin, you will need to comply with state and federal labor laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. You will also need to register with the state and obtain any necessary permits or licenses.
What regulations do I need to follow in Wisconsin?
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need to comply with various state and federal regulations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other laws.
What are the legal requirements to start a business in Wisconsin?
The legal requirements to start a business in Wisconsin vary depending on the type of business you are starting, but typically include registering with the state, obtaining any necessary permits or licenses, filing the necessary paperwork with the state and local government, and complying with any applicable state and federal regulations.
What are the benefits of starting a business in Wisconsin?
Starting a business in Wisconsin offers a variety of benefits, such as being part of a strong and diverse economy, access to a talented workforce, and access to resources and financing from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Also Read

Why Start Business Wisconsin is So Important

Wisconsin has long been known for its strong work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. The state is home to a diverse range of industries, from manufacturing to agriculture to technology, offering ample opportunities for individuals to turn their ideas into successful businesses. By encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship, Wisconsin can further strengthen its economy and create new job opportunities for its residents.

One of the main reasons why starting a business in Wisconsin is so important is the positive impact it can have on the local economy. Small businesses are the backbone of any community, creating jobs, driving innovation, and contributing to economic growth. By starting a business in Wisconsin, individuals can help stimulate the state’s economy, attract investment, and create a more vibrant and dynamic business environment.

Furthermore, starting a business in Wisconsin can also help address some of the unique challenges facing the state. For instance, Wisconsin has experienced a decline in manufacturing jobs in recent years, leaving many individuals without stable employment opportunities. By starting new businesses and creating new jobs, entrepreneurs can help diversify the state’s economy and provide new opportunities for those affected by the decline in traditional industries.

In addition to economic benefits, starting a business in Wisconsin can also foster innovation and creativity. Entrepreneurs are often at the forefront of new ideas and technologies, driving progress and shaping the future. By starting businesses in Wisconsin, individuals can tap into the state’s culture of innovation and creativity, bringing fresh perspectives and new solutions to existing challenges.

Moreover, starting a business in Wisconsin can also help individuals achieve their personal and professional goals. Many entrepreneurs are motivated by a desire to make a positive impact on their communities, pursue their passions, or achieve financial independence. By starting a business in Wisconsin, individuals can pursue their dreams, build a legacy, and create a better future for themselves and their families.

Overall, starting a business in Wisconsin is a crucial step towards building a stronger, more resilient economy and creating new opportunities for individuals across the state. By encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting new businesses, Wisconsin can harness the talents and skills of its residents, drive economic growth, and build a more prosperous future for all. So, for anyone considering starting a business in Wisconsin, the potential benefits are clear and the opportunities are endless.

Why Open a Bakery in Wisconsin

First and foremost, starting a business in Wisconsin allows individuals to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and contribute to the local economy. Whether it’s a small mom-and-pop shop or a thriving tech startup, each business brings a unique set of products or services to the market, enriching the local landscape and providing consumers with more choices. In turn, this diversity fosters competition, stimulates growth, and spurs economic development.

Moreover, starting a business in Wisconsin helps create jobs and reduce unemployment rates. As new businesses launch and expand, they require a diverse array of talent and skillsets, from entry-level positions to executive roles. By hiring local residents, these businesses not only provide stable employment opportunities but also support families, boost consumer spending, and strengthen communities. In essence, each job created has a ripple effect, improving the overall quality of life for Wisconsin residents.

In addition, starting a business in Wisconsin fosters innovation and drives progress in various industries. Entrepreneurs are adept at identifying gaps in the market, solving complex problems, and bringing new ideas to fruition. By investing in research and development, harnessing cutting-edge technologies, and embracing a culture of creativity, businesses in Wisconsin can stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive in an ever-evolving global marketplace. This spirit of innovation not only benefits individual companies but also elevates the state’s reputation as a hub for forward-thinking entrepreneurship.

Furthermore, starting a business in Wisconsin helps build strong, resilient communities. Small businesses serve as the backbone of local economies, providing essential goods and services, supporting grassroots initiatives, and fostering a sense of pride and identity. When entrepreneurs invest in their communities, whether through charitable donations, volunteer work, or partnerships with local organizations, they contribute to the overall well-being of residents and create a more vibrant and cohesive society.

Ultimately, starting a business in Wisconsin is not just about turning a profit or achieving personal success; it’s about making a lasting impact and leaving a positive legacy for future generations. By leveraging their skills, knowledge, and resources, entrepreneurs can drive economic growth, create job opportunities, fuel innovation, and strengthen communities, all while shaping a brighter future for the Badger State.

In conclusion, starting a business in Wisconsin is not just a vehicle for financial gain; it’s a catalyst for positive change and progress. By embracing the entrepreneurial spirit, individuals can unlock their full potential, contribute to the greater good, and help build a thriving, sustainable economy that benefits all. So, if you have a dream, a vision, or a game-changing idea, don’t be afraid to take the leap and start your business in Wisconsin. The possibilities are endless, and the impact is priceless.

Conclusion

In conclusion, embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of starting a business in Wisconsin, also known as The Badger State, requires thorough research, planning, and dedication. Understanding the local business landscape, choosing the right structure, and complying with all regulatory requirements are essential steps to ensuring your venture’s success. This article has provided valuable insights and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to seize the opportunities present in Wisconsin’s dynamic economy. By leveraging available resources and approaching the process with diligence and determination, you can lay the foundation for a thriving and prosperous business in Wisconsin.

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