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HOME > Guide to Starting A Business

Guide to Starting A Business

Ohio One Stop Permit Center

The Ohio Department of Developments One Stop Permit Center is one of the best starting points for any new business person.  The center can assist you in identifying and securing the necessary permits, licenses and approvals.  Packets are custom tailored to meet the needs of your business.  After you answer a few brief questions your personalized packet will be mailed to you.  The Ohio One Stop Business Permit Center may be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays by calling toll free at 1-800-248-4040

Business Plan

Adequate research and planning are important steps to take before starting a business.  A business plan basically involves organizing goals, determining the necessary steps to reach these goals, and putting this information on paper.  The business plan should include a simple statement of goals, a description of the proposed business, a marketing analysis, a management plan, and a financial analysis.  A good business plan is especially helpful when applying for a business loan.  The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers free copies of business plan outlines for various types of businesses.  To request one of these publications, write or call one of the SBA offices in Ohio:
Cincinnati SBA
525 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH  45202

Types of Business Structures

Before you begin in business, you must determine what the organizational structure of your business will be.  Business structures permitted in the State of Ohio include:  Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Partnership, Partnership Association, and Corporation.  You’ll probably want to consult with your accountant or attorney to learn the advantages, disadvantages, and tax consequences of each type of business structure.
Brief information about several structures follows:
Sole Proprietorship
In a Sole Proprietorship, the individual is the employer and sole owner of all assets.  The Sole Proprietor realizes the full profit from the business but also is responsible for all debts and obligations of the business.  The individual’s outside assets such as home, car and personal bank account also are subject to claims of business creditors.  A Sole Proprietorship is easy to organize since the person needs only to obtain the necessary licenses and permits for his/her particular business.  Also, there is no double taxation as the income is taxed through the owner.  It may be difficult, however, for a Sole Proprietor to raise capital from outside sources.  In the event of the owner’s death, there could be legal complications.
General Partnership
A partnership consists of two or more owners with the profits and losses being equally shared.  Each partner is liable for business debts and obligations.  Each partner’s outside assets are subject to claims of creditors.
A corporation is a legal structure that exists separately from the people who create it.  Incorporation limits an individuals liability in case the business fails or is sued.  Because the Corporation is a separate legal entity, a corporate tax must be paid on the money a corporation makes.  The individual must pay personal income tax on the money he/she takes out of the business as a salary.  A person wishing to incorporate must file Articles of Incorporation with the Ohio Secretary of State.  A statutory agent also must be designated for the Corporation.  At the time of filing, a fee based on the number of authorized shares must be paid.  Further information on incorporating may be obtained by contacting:
Ohio Secretary of State
Corporation Services
180 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH  43215
614-466-2655 or 1-877-767-6446
Before shares of the Corporation may be sold, they must be registered with or exempted by the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Securities.
Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Securities
77 South High Street 23rd Floor
Columbus, OH  43215-6123
614-466-3636 or 1-800-750-0750

Choosing and Registering a Business Name

Trade Name
A Trade Name is a name used in business or trade to distinguish a business. The user of this name has an exclusive right to use of this name.  Any person, partnership, or corporation doing business in Ohio is permitted to register a Trade Name with the Ohio Secretary of State.  Registration of a Trade Name provides protection against any conflicting Trade Name being accepted in the future without consent.  Ohio law states that if someone uses a registered Trade Name without consent, the registrant can take legal action against that person to prohibit the use of that Trade Name.  Check telephone and business directories to make sure that the name you want to use is not already in use.  You also can check with the Secretary of States office to see if the name you want to use is available.  The $20 Trade Name registration fee is effective for five years.  It may be renewed for a fee of $10.  All changes of business addresses must be reported to the Secretary of State, and a $3 filing fee must accompany any change.
Corporate Name
Any state-approved Corporate Name is protected from use by others in the same manner as a Trade Name.  The name of all corporations in Ohio must end with or include Company, Co., Corporation, Corp., Incorporated, or Inc.. Failure to report changes of the corporation address, the statutory agents address, or any change in the makeup of a corporation may result in the corporate charter being cancelled by the Secretary of State.  Additional information is available from the Secretary of States office.
Fictitious Name
If a business name is not registered as a Trade Name or a Corporate Name or does not fully identify the owner(s) of a business, it can be registered as a Fictitious Name.  This registration does not protect the use of that same name by another business. It is only a means of identification of the owner(s) of the business. The $10 Fictitious Name registration fee is renewable after five years for the same amount.  Registrants of Fictitious Names must report all changes of the business address to the Secretary of State.  A $3 fee is charged for filing a change.


Before requesting a loan, a person should be prepared to provide detailed factual information about the business.  A business plan is especially helpful in securing a loan.  Keep in mind that no bank or agency will take 100 percent of the risk.  Most institutions expect a business person to invest 20 to 30 percent in the business.  General credit requirements of a loan applicant include:  1)  must be of good character, 2)  must show ability to successfully operate a business, 3)  must have enough money or be able to provide from personal resources sufficient funds to withstand possible losses (this is particularly true during the early stages of a new business), and 4) must show that the proposed loan is of sound value and reasonably secured to assure payment.

Federal Taxes
General Information
A variety of free publications on such subjects as record keeping, withholding taxes, estimated taxes, and self-employment taxes, as well as detailed information on taxes for sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations, may be requested by calling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Taxpayer Assistance line toll free at 1-800-424-1040.  The regional IRSService Center for Ohio is located in Cincinnati.  The address is:
Cincinnati, OH  45999

Ohio Posting Requirements

Employers are required by law to post the State of Ohio Minimum Wage Information and Minor Labor Laws.
Both posters are available from:
Ohio Dept. of Industrial Relations
Div. of Prevailing Wage, Minimum Wage, and Minors
PO Box 825
Columbus, OH  43216
Ohio Fair Employment Practices Law
Poster available from:
Ohio Civil Rights Commission
2209 Parson Ave.
Columbus, OH  43215
If full cash refunds are not made on returned merchandise, a store’s policy on returned goods must be posted prominently.

Zoning Requirements

It is important to make sure that a prospective business location is properly zoned for your specific purposes.  Zoning information is available from your local village office.

County Health Department

Any business involved in food preparation must apply for a license to conduct a food service operation.  The fee, based on seating capacity of the establishment, is renewable yearly.  An inspection of facilities will follow the submission of license application.  For further information, contact the Brown County Health Department.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation coverage for work-related accidents and illnesses is mandatory for any employees or corporate officers of a business.  Sole proprietors or partners may choose whether or not they wish to be covered.  For further information, contact:
Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
246 N. High St.
Columbus, OH  43215
Toll Free 1-800-282-9536

Unemployment Compensation

Any business that employs at least one individual for some part of a day in each of 20 different calendar weeks or that pays wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter in either the current or preceding calendar year must register with the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services:
Ohio Bureau of Employment Services
145 South Front St.
PO Box 923
Columbus, OH  43216

Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which applies to every employer, requires that all workers be provided a working environment free from health and safety hazards.  For further information, contact:
Ohio Dept. of Industrial Relations
On-Site Consultation Services
PO Box 285
Columbus, OH  43215

Mt. Orab Auto Mall

P.O. BOX 21606
Georgetown, OH 45121
(Map to our office)
(937) 378-4784
(937) 378-1634 FAX

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