Want to Start a Business in Wisconsin?

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This page is dedicated to the best resources for starting a business in Wisconsin.

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Business Resources in Wisconsin

Find the best resources to help create your informal business structure (sole proprietorship or partnership), corporation (S corp or C corp), limited liability company (single-member LLC or multi-member LLC), or how to file a DBA in Wisconsin.

Use the following business resources in Wisconsin to learn how to choose the best LLC services, file the Articles of Incorporation, obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), and decide whether you should be your own registered agent or if you should hire a third-party registered agent service.

Becoming an Entrepreneur in Wisconsin

Just Starting Out

Every Wisconsin business starts out with a great idea. To get inspiration, you can try our business idea generator that can suggest businesses for you based on your interests and lifestyle.

Once you've found the perfect idea, it's time to create a game plan for your business. This step helps lay a solid foundation for the future of your company. You can move on to planning out your business with our business plan generator or simply browse our selection of startup ideas. We also have several helpful guides for planning out your business:

Coming Up With a Name

One of the most important decisions you will make for your business is coming up with a name and then seeing if it is available in Wisconsin. We have several naming tools and guides to help you get started with finding the perfect name for your Wisconsin startup, small business, nonprofit or corporation.

Different Types of Business Formation

A business structure refers to how a business is legally organized. The type of business structure you choose to form your business with can affect how your company is regulated, taxed, and more. Because of this, choosing the best structure for your business is an important decision to make. Below are guides on the different business structures you can choose to form your company so you can learn how to form a business that works best for you.

Forming Your Wisconsin Business

Now that you’ve created a business plan, found a name and chose your Wisconsin business structure, it's time to form your business. This process might seem complicated, but it doesn't have to be. And if you want to save time and have someone else handle the paperwork, you can use one of our recommended services, like ZenBusiness, which will help to form your company for you or you can form it yourself using our helpful guides and tools.

LLC Checklist

This Wisconsin Checklist for Starting an LLC covers the necessary steps you need to take when you create your LLC.

Formation Necessities

Here are the required documents and forms you may need to help you get your business up and running in Wisconsin.

Highly Recommended Services for Your Business

Depending on the type of business structure your choose and how large your business is, you may also want to consider using the following services for your Wisconsin startup:

Registered Agent

A Wisconsin registered agent is a person or business that sends and receives legal papers on behalf of your company. These documents include official correspondence like legal summons and state filing notices.

Wisconsin requires every business to nominate a registered agent when forming a small business. Your registered agent must be a Wisconsin resident or a corporation authorized to conduct business in that Wisconsin.

We also recommend hiring a professional registered agent service to provide you with peace of mind and help you stay compliant with the law.

DBA

Filing a “doing business as” (DBA) name, also known as a trade name, is an easy process that is achieved by registering a DBA with the State of Wisconsin.

Branding

You can probably think of a dozen different companies in Wisconsin whose brands play an important role in your daily or professional life. Maybe you only buy certain brands or prefer to buy your groceries at one supermarket chain over another. Your dedication to these companies is primarily a result of one thing: their branding. Our branding guides and tools will go over the importance of branding your small business and provide some tips for getting started.

Financing Your Wisconsin Business

Small business finance is the raising and managing of funds to finance and operate a new small business. This includes banking, small business accounting, building business credit, and raising funds for your business.

When planning your Wisconsin business, you should determine what types of business funding options your company will need and when. Whether you are starting a low-cost business or starting a high-growth startup, knowing when to get funding and what kind of funding you need is important.

Setting Up a Bank Account

Opening a business checking account is one of the first things you will need to do as a new business. Business banking is a fundamental asset protection requirement for every business and, depending on your needs, may include checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, and merchant accounts.

Every new and small business needs a business bank account to pay their business insurance, take care of payroll, collect money, and enroll with a merchant account to accept credit card payments.

Check out our guide on the Best Banks for Small Business for help finding a banking account for your business.

Getting a Business Credit Card

Small business credit cards are designed for professional use and provide a line of credit to small businesses while helping to maintain personal asset protection. It is crucial for small businesses to have a small business credit card.

Our guides will help you understand the importance of having a small business credit card and provide the steps for finding and applying for the best credit card for your business.

Finding Small Business Loans

Getting a small business loan is done by applying with a business lender, typically your bank or another lending institution, with the right documentation and your business plan.

A business loan can help to resolve cash flow problems, leverage growth opportunities, and even increase the value of a business. Making sure to plan for a loan ahead of time is extremely important, as is knowing the documentation needed by your lender when you do apply.

Small Business Financing for Female Entrepreneurs

Grants, loans, government contracts, investors, scholarships, advisors, tutorials — there are plenty of financial resources for female entrepreneurs and women leaders, and we’ll help you discover the best ones for you and your business.

Maintaining Your Small Business

Congratulations! Fewer than 14% of Americans have realized the dream of business ownership. To keep your Wisconsin business running, make sure you keep up with required government filings and maintain a clear record of all earnings and expenses.

Make Sure Your Business is Compliant

When you start a small business, you’ll need to determine if your business needs any licenses or permits to stay compliant.

Set Up Accounting and Bookkeeping

Having a business accountant will help you take advantage of tax benefits and potentially save you and your Wisconsin business a lot of money in taxes each year.

Finding a business accountant as soon as you start your business will ensure that you have the best advice from the very beginning.

Recommended: Hiring an accountant can save your company thousands of dollars in taxes each year. Get a free tax consultation with 1-800Accountant.

Set Up a Business Phone

Getting a business phone number is important for many businesses. Having a phone number for your customers to contact you with can go a long way in ensuring that your business is viewed as professional, trustworthy, and legitimate. 

There are also different business phone services and answering services that can ensure that you are able to answer more than one call simultaneously and that all of your customers feel heard. Check out our different phone tools and guides to help your Wisconsin business set up phone services.

Build a Business Website

With growing technology, more and more businesses are going online. We believe all companies need a website regardless of their industry or size to keep up with the times. 

So, how do you build a website? Luckily, technology has recently caught up with the massive demand for tools to simplify website creation. It’s never been easier to build your own website without the need for any web designer experience.

Our tools and guides provide an overview of the steps to build a website for your Wisconsin business as well as suggestions for which tools to use based on your business type and knowledge level.

Business Resources for Women

Starting your own business is no small feat; thankfully, there are many valuable resources dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs start and succeed. From woman-owned business certification to grants for female entrepreneurs, we’ll help you discover the women's business resources that will help you get the most out of your entrepreneurial journey.

Wisconsin Business Resources

Score Wisconsin

SCORE Wisconsin in partnership with various federal and state government agencies and the SBA provides a host of assistant services to early-stage companies and startups. Basically, it provides business mentoring and consulting and low-cost business trainings. SCORE Wisconsin not just fosters one-time counseling, but they are committed to working with entrepreneurs for the long haul and as required.

Small Business Milwaukee

Small Business Milwaukee is a small media networking resource that helps local business owners by letting them advertise their business online. In addition, Small Business Milwaukee also helps these owners by providing them with the proper education on how to go about in marketing their business effectively.

MCDEVCO

MCDEVCO is committed to growing business, building communities, and generally improving quality of life by providing resources and initiatives to start a business, finance resources, receive proper education and training, and broaden opportunities.

Gener8tor

As a concierge startup accelerator, Gener8tor invests in a number of high-growth startups every year. Gener8tor offers a 12-week development program, and provides at most $140,000 to five startups enrolled in the said program twice a year.

100 State

100 State is not your average co-working space or community. More than the workspace 100 State provides, it also provides connections and growth opportunities for people to transform their self, the community and in turn, the world. 100 State also encourages the 100state of Mind.

Scale Up Milwaukee

Scale Up Milwaukee is an entrepreneurial company composed of a diverse number of stakeholders that are geared towards business growth and success. The company does this by developing actionable strategies and programs that can be fully implemented by its members. Scale Up Milwaukee provides a host of membership benefits and has a number of membership program tiers.

Startup MKE

Startup MKE is a startup community that provides a host of resources and assistance to a number of growing companies in Milwaukee. Startup MKE primarily works with digital companies and other scalable business models. This startup community gives startups access to affordable office space, mentorship, talent, and capital.

Ward 4

As the lighthouse of innovation, Ward 4 provides its members with round-the-clock access to its co-working spaces. Complete with all the amenities needed to foster a thriving business or profession, Ward 4 is the number go-to destination of entrepreneurs, investors, startups, and other freelance professionals.

Horizon Coworking

Horizon Coworking is best known as the pleasant, quiet, and more importantly a welcoming workspace. With a number of workspace configurations in a library-like vibe, this co-working space also has a proven history of connecting professionals to the right startup teams. This is because Horizon Coworking is not just an ordinary workspace, but it’s also the perfect place to grow a successful business.

SBA

The US Small Business Administration was established with the welfare of the small business community across the country in mind. The Small Business Administration has a lineup of assistance programs all throughout the country through its district offices.

From how-to guides on starting a business to local mentoring and support to government contracting to seeking assistance in district and regional offices of the SBA, these are all provided by the US SBA. Another important function of the Small Business Administration is to provide opportunities for business grants and loan financing to start a business.

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