Any entrepreneur who has ever launched a new business will tell you that the process is nothing short of arduous.
Regardless of whether you’re starting a business in Oklahoma or in Florida, you’re going to have a lot on your plate.
Needless to say, though, getting your business on its feet will require different things of you depending on where your business is based.
For this reason, those of you who are thinking of starting a business in Oklahoma will be bound to different rules than your entrepreneurial Floridian cousins.
So what exactly differentiates Oklahoma business law from business law in other states?
Follow along as we give you a crash course on how to successfully launch your business in the state of Oklahoma.
Register Your Business’s Name
You know that your business needs a name, but you don’t have the option of just choosing any name that appeals to you and rolling with it.
There are, after all, laws which prohibit businesses from using names that are identical or similar to pre-existing business’s names, and these laws vary from state to state.
As a result, you’ll have to choose a unique name and clear it with Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. If for some reason, you are unable to register your business’s name immediately; you have the option of putting the name on “layaway” for up to 60 days for the low cost of 10 dollars.
Thus far, we’ve assumed that your business will be domiciled in Oklahoma, but there is always the possibility that your business already exists elsewhere.
In such a case, you’ll have to take the extra step of registering your business as a foreign entity; this stipulation is not unique to Oklahoma. You’ll also need to go through the Secretary of State if you have to take this route.
While registering your business with the state of Oklahoma will protect your business’s name in the state of Oklahoma, you might want to eventually consider applying for federal trademark protection.
Trademarks are federally acknowledged, so, assuming that your bid for a trademark is successful, no company in any other state will be able to use your business’s name. Consequently, you’ll have an easier time building your company’s unique brand.
Of course, trademarks can only be “granted on distinctive names, logos, and slogans.” In other words, don’t be disappointed when you aren’t granted sole ownership of a generic sandwich shop name such as “John’s Deli.”
Obtain a License
Surprising enough, not every business needs a license to operate. For example, one New York City attorney, in response to a question about opening a toy shop, claimed that “toy shops [generally] don’t require specific business licenses,” though, to be fair, she wasn’t specifically referring to Oklahoma state law.
For example, one New York City attorney, in response to a question about opening a toy shop, claimed that “toy shops [generally] don’t require specific business licenses,” though, to be fair, she wasn’t specifically referring to Oklahoma state law.
Even so, you probably won’t be lucky enough for your business to fall into a category of businesses which doesn’t require a license; if you’re starting a business in Oklahoma, you’ll almost certainly need a license since the list of required business licenses can get rather lengthy depending on where you live in the state.
If for instance, your business’s specialty is advertising and it’s situated in Oklahoma City, you’ll need a license to operate. Oklahoma City also requires that businesses have a license to engage in “charitable solicitation.
Oklahoma City, though, is just one of many places in Oklahoma, and the laws certainly differ from county to county, so you’ll ultimately need to do your own homework before starting your business in order to make sure that you’re on the right side of the law.
Luckily, the state of Oklahoma offers resources to hopeful entrepreneurs which make that research a bit simpler. One such resource is Oklahoma’s Business Customer Services.
There are also many other resources you can turn to, so don’t hesitate to find as many as you can make use of.
Choose Your Business’s Legal Structure
At some point, you’ll have to choose a legal structure for your business, and the legal structure you select for your business will significantly affect your future business dealings. As a result, you’ll definitely want some
As a result, you’ll definitely want some legal counsel before you decide on a legal structure.
The most common legal structure is a sole proprietorship. In a sole proprietorship, “one individual or married couple” runs a business alone.
Though the sole proprietor is free to manage his or her business as he or she sees fit, sole proprietorship comes with complete liability, which means that the proprietor is responsible for “all debts incurred by the business.”
Another common legal structure is a general partnership. In a general partnership, “two or more persons (usually not a married couple)” agree to “contribute money, labor, and/or skill to a business.” This structure is true to its name; it is a partnership in which “each partner shares the profits, losses, and management of the business.”
Because each partner is also “equally liable for debts of the partnership,” this legal structure is less burdensome to those who incur losses after starting their businesses.
Don’t, however, just rush into a partnership without considering all of your options.
You might very well find that sole proprietorship (or some other legal structure) is ideal for you and your business, so talk to an attorney before you make your final decision.
Does Your Business Have Employees?
If you plan on hiring someone to do work for your business, you have yet another step (or two) to complete.
Your first order of business should be to create an account with the Oklahoma Tax Commission in order to withhold and remit state income taxes as necessary.
You’ll also need to set up an account with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission for the purpose of withholding and remitting state unemployment taxes.
You will also have business to take care of at the federal level; you’ll be required to set up an account with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) so that you may withhold and pay any required taxes.
More on Starting a Business in Oklahoma
In the end, starting a business in Oklahoma is not much different from starting a business in any other state, but there are many slight differences that you’ll have to watch out for as an entrepreneur.
Even after you start your business, you’ll have to be careful since there are a plethora of other laws which dictate just how you may run your business in the state of Oklahoma, so you’ll need to stay vigilant in order to stay out of trouble.