So, you want to start a business in Wisconsin…

So, you want to start a business in Wisconsin…
Saul Newton, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Veteran Chamber of Commerce breaks down six steps to help get you started.


So, you want to start a business in Wisconsin…

You have an idea. You have a dream. You know what this is going to be.

But really, where do you start?

If you are like me, you want to get going right away and think that you will just figure it out as you go along. How complicated can it really be?

First piece of advice: slow down.

Setting up your business properly and legally from the start will save time, money and endless headaches later. It’s not hard, but it does take a little bit of thought and planning to make sure it’s done right.

Step 1- Name

First, what will be the name of your business? Is it already taken? You can search business names in Wisconsin here: to make sure.

You should also check if you can get the website domain, the Facebook page, the Twitter handle and the Instagram page, even if you have no plans to immediately use them. A great name speaks to what your business does. But a name that is already taken or easily confused with someone else? That’s not a great name.


Step 2- Structure

Second, what type of business organizational structure will best meet your goals? The organizational structure of a business entity will determine what must be done to officially "form" the entity, how taxes are paid, and many other details that will affect its day-today operation.

For new companies in Wisconsin, the state has a One Stop Business Portal that can help you register most businesses with the state easily. It can be found at:


Step 3 - Federal Tax ID

Third step, do you need a federal tax ID number? If you are doing business as anything but a sole proprietorship, you probably do. It’s quick and easy and free to obtain almost instantly online at the IRS website:


Step 4 - Permit or License

Fourth, are you opening a physical location? Are you selling goods or food? You may need a permit and or license. The state’s website can help you through many of the state issues, but you need to contact your local municipality to see what permits and licenses you need in your city, village or town.


Step 5 - Banking

Fifth, you need to set up a separate business bank account. If you start commingling your business funds and your personal funds, you will run into trouble. Start your business off right with a separate account. Your accountant will thank you later. If you need advice on a good business banker, we can help make suggestions for some very veteran friendly bankers who would love to help.


Step 6 - Become a Member

Finally, come get you your business certified as a veteran-owned or veteran-friendly business with the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. There are many benefits of membership and we want to be there for you to help your business grow all along the way!

Join Today: