How to Start a Business in Nebraska

If you’re thinking of starting a business in Nebraska, you’re in good company. More than 99 percent of all businesses in Nebraska are small businesses. They employ about 50 percent of all workers in the state, too. Nebraska is a great place to start a business. Let’s take a look at why that is and what steps you can take to launch your own business.

Starting a Business in Nebraska

Nebraska is a state known for its welcoming people and high quality of life. Couple this with generous tax incentives, and you’re set to start in one of the friendliest states for small businesses. Even though the state offers some help, starting your Nebraska business takes work.

Step 1: Create a business plan for your Nebraska company

Your company begins with a business plan. Business planning can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. This is one of the most important steps of launching your business. It’s the guide to take you from the spark of an idea to opening your doors to customers.

Here’s what you need to answer to create an effective business plan:

  • What type of business do you want to run?
  • What customer problem does your business solve?
  • How does your business can stand out in the market?
  • Who your customers are and how will you attract them?
  • How will you fund your company until it reaches profitability?
  • What are your business goals and how will you track them?
  • What types of marketing will you invest in?
  • What is your short-term and long-term vision for the company’s growth?

To create a business plan of your own, follow our step-by-step business plan template.

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

Step 2: Choose a business structure

In Nebraska, you can choose to form your business entity using any of these structures:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • C-Corporation
  • S-Corporation

Sole Proprietorship

Sole proprietorships are the easiest Nebraska businesses to set up. Many entrepreneurs start out as sole proprietors. But there’s a risk in going this route. As a sole proprietor in Nebraska, you don’t have any legal separation between yourself and your business. That means you can be liable for any legal or financial trouble that your business runs into. That puts your personal assets at risk. You also report your business’s revenue and losses on your personal income taxes.


An LLC in Nebraska is a popular business structure. By forming as an LLC, you limit what you are responsible for should the business run into financial or legal trouble. That’s because an LLC creates separation of your personal assets and liabilities from those of your business. Thus, the name: limited liability company. You still have to report your business income on your personal taxes.


A Nebraska corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, or shareholders. Like with an LLC, forming a corporation means there’s a legal buffer for you if something goes wrong with the business.

There are a few types of corporations you can start in Nebraska:

  • C-Corp: This is the most common form of corporation. C corporations face double taxation. First, they’re taxed as a business entity. Then, shareholders have to report money they earn from the business in their personal taxes.
  • S-Corp: S corporations can have 100 or fewer shareholders. Also, they are only taxed once. There’s a lot more paperwork involved in starting an S corp.
  • Nonprofit Corp: Nonprofits must follow strict guidelines to keep their status in Nebraska. Since nonprofits are charitable organizations, they can apply for federal tax exemption. Employees of a nonprofit still pay personal taxes on their income. 

Still not sure what business structure to choose for your business in Nebraska? Get 100% certain by reading our business structures page.

Step 3: Determine startup costs for your Nebraska business

Before you can see a single dollar of revenue, you’ll need to know how much it costs to run your business. By factoring costs into your business plan, you are better prepared for financing and running your business. Here are a few types of expenses your business may need to plan for:

Business Entity Filing Costs


  • Business/Professional Corporation- $130 + $5/page
  • Non-Profit Corporation- $10 + $5/page

Limited Liability Company

  • Domestic Limited Liability Company- $100 + $5/page
  • Foreign Limited Liability Company- $100 + $10 certificate of registration + $5/page
  • Professional Limited Liability Company- $100 + $5/page


  • Domestic Limited Partnership- $200 + $5/page
  • Foreign Limited Partnership- $200 + $10 certificate of registration + $5/page
  • Foreign/Domestic Limited Liability Partnerships- $200 + $5/page

Name Reservation Cost

Nebraska lets you reserve a business name for up to 120 days before filing with the Secretary of State. The reservation costs either $10 + $5/page or $25 + $5/page depending on the type of entity.

Certificate of Good Standing Cost

If you need a Nebraska Certificate of Good Standing, you’ll find that the process is straightforward. The certificate itself costs only $6.50 if you buy it online. If you’d like to have the document mailed to you, you will pay a total of $10.

Other Business Costs

As a business owner, you’ll have fixed costs, recurring costs, and one-time costs to run your business. These include:

  • Purchase or leasing fees for office or storefront space
  • Office supplies
  • Store inventory
  • Payroll, contractor fees, and payroll taxes
  • Company website design, development, hosting, and updating
  • Technical equipment such as phones, tablets, and computers
  • Business insurance

Does math overwhelm you? That is okay! We’ll walk you through business cost calculation in this guide.

Step 4: Name your Nebraska business

Choosing a name for your business in Nebraska can be both challenging and fun. As you think about what you want your business name to be, consider what you’re trying to convey to customers. You’ll want to look at things like:

  • Your business location
  • Your products or services
  • Your brand values and message

Have a name in mind? Great! Before you register a domain name or print business cards, you’ll have to take a few steps.

Do a Nebraska Business Name Search

First, you have to make sure your business name is unique. In Nebraska, businesses can’t have the same name. Before you choose a company name, do a Nebraska Business Name Search. This will tell you whether your chosen name is available. If it is, you can reserve your business name.

File for a DBA

Now sole proprietorships do business under the owner’s name. If you want another option, you can file for a “doing business as,” or DBA name. A Nebraska DBA lets you have one name for your business, and conduct different business under different names. Any business entity type may use a DBA.

Reserve a Website and Social Media Accounts

Once you choose an available name, make sure the web address and social media handles are available. Marketing your business will be harder if you have to send customers to a website that sounds similar to, but not the same as, your actual business name.

Step 5: Register your business in Nebraska

Once you’ve secured your business name, you can draft the Nebraska business registration documents to make your business entity a reality.

The Nebraska Secretary of State requires several documents to file for your business. You can submit Nebraska Articles of Incorporation for a corporation or Articles of Formation for an LLC, online, through the state’s e-Delivery service. Foreign LLCs have to submit a Certificate of Existence with their application. Professional corporations may need to file a Certificate of Registration with their application. You’ll also need to pay your state filing fee when filing your formation documents.


In Nebraska, business entities are not required by law to draft a binding agreement upon formation. But you should consider the benefits of including bylaws in the organization of your business. Bylaws allow you to delineate the rules under which the entity will operate. You can also determine managerial tasks and duties. Here are several examples of Nebraska business agreements:

Hire a Registered Agent

You need to have a registered agent in Nebraska for your business. This can be a business or individual that can to do business in Nebraska and has a physical address in the state. If your business is located in Nebraska, then it can be its own registered agent.

File for Licenses and Get and EIN

You’ll need to figure out which business licenses and registrations you may need to apply for. Your city and county may have licensing, zoning, tax, and permitting requirements, too.
A sole proprietor can use their social security number as their taxpayer ID number. But an employer identification number (EIN) is also an option. All other entity types must get an EIN, available from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is also known as a federal employer identification number, or FEIN.

Open a business bank account and take out any needed business insurance

Talk about your possible business insurance needs with a local agent. You can also open business bank accounts. A business bank account is crucial in order to separate your personal and business expenses, as well as to start receiving income and paying expenses.

Step 6: Market your business

Marketing your business lets customers know about your services and products. It’s your way of telling someone why they should choose you over your competition.
A company website is essential. Your website needs to tell about your business, share your product information, and have a way for customers to reach you.

Online directories, like Yelp or Google My Business, are a good way highlight your business. Optimize those listings and your website, too. Potential customers are more likely to find your business in online searches.

Benefits of opening a business in Nebraska

Nebraska offers generous tax incentives for entrepreneurs. Whether you start an LLC or a corporation in Nebraska, you have the opportunity to enjoy many tax incentives in the state. Two of the best business incentives in Nebraska are the Microenterprise Tax Credit and the Angel Investment Tax Credit.

The types of businesses you can start in the Cornhusker State go way beyond agriculture. The top industries in Nebraska include:

  • Insurance
  • Financial Services
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture

Start an entity in Nebraska

You have several options for forming your business entity in Nebraska. The way you structure your business will decide what kind of taxes you’ll pay. It also creates rules for how you’ll run your business. Some business structures give you more flexibility in how you operate. Others provide you with personal liability protection.

Here are the different Nebraska business structures you can choose from:

Ideas for businesses to start in Nebraska

Nebraska is one of the friendliest states to do business in. Want to turn your business idea into a reality? We can help you form your new business. If you want to be your own boss, but don’t know what type of business to start, here are a few ideas:

  • Trucking company
  • Real estate business
  • Elderly care
  • Virtual assistant service
  • Cattle farm
  • Restaurant
  • Social media management service

For more ideas, read our guide on the Best Businesses to Start in Nebraska.

Top Nebraska Cities to Form Businesses

Omaha: Largest city in Nebraska with a significant economic presence. Strong in finance, insurance, telecommunications, and technology. Home to five Fortune 500 companies and a vibrant startup scene.

Lincoln: State capital and home to the University of Nebraska. Diverse economy with strengths in public sector, education, and healthcare. Growing tech sector supported by university resources.

Grand Island: Regional manufacturing and retail hub. Benefits from an agricultural base and growth in logistics and distribution. Strategic location along major transportation routes.

Kearney: Strong industrial base with expansion into technology and healthcare. Home to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, providing access to skilled labor. Central location and high quality of life.

Bellevue: Proximity to Omaha enhances access to larger markets. Known for educational institutions and the presence of Offutt Air Force Base. Growing sectors include education, healthcare, and retail.

These cities offer a mix of economic strengths, strategic locations, and supportive environments, making them suitable for various types of business ventures in Nebraska.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information 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.

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Written by Team ZenBusiness

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