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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.
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.
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:
To create a business plan of your own, follow our step-by-step business plan template.
In Nebraska, you can choose to form your business entity using any of these structures:
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. 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:
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:
Limited Liability Company
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.
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.
As a business owner, you’ll have fixed costs, recurring costs, and one-time costs to run your business. These include:
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:
Have a name in mind? Great! Before you register a domain name or print business cards, you’ll have to take a few steps.
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.
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.
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.
Once you’ve secured your business name, you can draft the 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.
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:
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.
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 IRS.
Talk about your possible business insurance needs with a local agent. You can also open business bank accounts. A business bank account is necessary so you can start receiving income and paying expenses.
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.
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:
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:
Nebraska is one of the friendliest states to do business in. If you want to be your own boss, but don’t know what type of business to start, here are a few ideas: