How to Start a Business in Ohio: The Step-by-Step Guide

Businesses provide value to individuals and communities., however, starting a business demands a lot of sacrifices. In Ohio, heavy tax regulations and few qualified professionals stifle the success of many businesses.

According to Wikipedia, Ohio had become nicknamed the “fuel cell corridor” as they’re a contributing anchor for the region now called the “Green Belt,” regarding the growing renewable energy sector.

Although the state experienced heavy manufacturing losses during the start of the 20th century and suffered from the Great Recession, it was rebounding by the second decade in being the country’s 6th-fastest-growing economy through the first half of 2010.

So, if you don’t know how to start a business in Ohio, you will learn some key steps to help you on this journey. Additionally, you will learn about the different business opportunities available in the state.

About Ohio

Ohio is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. From over fifty states, it is the 34th-largest state by area with a population of nearly 11.7 million. They remain the seventh-most populous and tenth-most densely populated state in the U.S. The state’s capital and largest city is Columbus, with the Columbus metro area, Greater Cincinnati, and Greater Cleveland being the largest metropolitan areas.

Ohio’s geographic location is a key asset for economic growth and expansion. Because Ohio links the Northeast to the Midwest, a lot of cargo and business traffic passes through its borders along its well-developed highways.

From just over 40,000 residents in 1800, Ohio’s population grew faster than 10% per decade until the 1970 census, which recorded just over 10.65 million residents in the state. Growth then slowed for the next four decades. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Ohio was 11,689,100 on July 1, 2019, a 1.32% increase since the 2010 United States Census.

Are there Opportunities in Ohio?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the total number of employees in 2016 was 4,790,178. Unique employer establishments rallied up to 252,201, while the non-employer establishments kept up at 785,833. In 2010, Site Selection magazine put Ohio in second place for best business climate based on a business-activity database.

Ohio’s unemployment rate stands at 4.5% as of February 2018, and this is a decline from the 10.7% it had in May 2010. Till date, the state still lacks 45,000 jobs compared to the pre-recession numbers of 2007. Currently, the labour force participation as of April 2015 is 63%, slightly above the national average Ohio’s per capita income culled at $34,874.

By employment, Ohio’s largest sector is trade/transportation/utilities, which employs 1,010,000 Ohioans, or 19.4% of Ohio’s workforce, while the health care and education sector employs 825,000 Ohioans (15.8%). The Government employs around 87,000 Ohioans (15.1%), manufacturing employs 669,000 Ohioans (12.9%), and professional and technical services employ 638,000 Ohioans (12.2%) according to employment statistics.

What Type of Business Should I Start in Ohio?

When you want to start a business in Ohio, you must consider your experience, credibility, and scalability. If you can’t scale the business, then you shouldn’t venture into it at all.

I know building a website sounds like the perfect idea as it will save you the stress of renting an office space, however, with over 2 billion websites competing for a market share, you would need to do extra work if you want to sell only online.

As an Ohioan looking to start a business, you can find some ideas that you can implement to start your business. These ideas include:

  • E-commerce
  • Rental Services
  • Walk-in Stores
  • Tutoring Services
  • Logistics
  • Dropshipping

How to Start a Business in Ohio in 2022: The Step-by-Step Guide

When you want to start up a business in Ohio, there are a few key steps you must follow to start and run a profitable business. These steps include:

Step 1: Choose an Idea

When you think of owning a business, you must start by deciding with all the ideas in your head. In seeking an idea, you must find one that suits your interests, your personal goals create good income and strengthen your natural abilities. With such an ability, you remain motivated when the going gets tough and this will improve your odds of success.

Some businesses you can model and start-up easily include:

Step 2. Plan Your Business

When you carefully plan your business journey, you increase your chances of success to a great height. Before you commit your resources towards building your business, critically analyze your idea and create a game plan. At a minimum, have appropriate answers to the following questions.

Business Name

Getting a good name for your business is usually an enormous challenge. You’ll want to choose a brand name that follows Ohio naming rules, resonates with your customers, and is available as a URL.

Product Development

You would need to solve a serious problem with your new product in a buzzing market. And therefore your product development must be strong.

Sales & Marketing

You would need to find a plan that will help you market your goods and services expertly.

People and Partnerships

For every journey your business takes, it needs partnerships and individuals to aid it in the process.

Financial Planning

At this point, you would determine how much funding you would need to keep your business afloat.

Step 3: Form Your Business

A lot of businesses grow to a tremendous level and then get hit with heavy taxes. These taxes can cripple the company’s finances and even get them a ban when they are not careful. However, these issues can be avoided when there is increased credibility or powerful protection from legal issues. And this will happen when you form your business.

For most small businesses, registering an LLC is a great option. Compared to other businesses, LLCs are easier to set up and manage, and they have favorable tax treatment. You can set up an LLC in Ohio for as little as $250.

Another important aspect of forming your business would be to secure your domain. When you secure your domain, you can own your business on the online space while you battle with offline registration.

Step 4: Register for Taxes

Taxes are vital for citizens and employees in the U.S. With seriously limited exceptions, most businesses demand an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Tax ID Number. With an EIN, you can identify a business in its federal tax filings. However, without an EIN, you can’t hire employees or open a business bank account.

Register for Ohio State Taxes

Unemployment Insurance Tax

Step 5: Set Up Accounting

According to eCareers, 75% of companies fail within the first 18 months, showing just how hard a task it is to build an enterprise from the ground up and manage the finances to a level that is sustainable. While poor management or the lack of market penetration causes many failed startups, a good number of them fail because of poor financial planning.

A cure for poor financial planning would be the use of an accounting system. An accounting system aids you to track the performance of your business and simplifies annual tax filings. Quality accounting software allows you to download your bank and credit card transactions, making accounting fast. With these strategies in place, you’ll be on top of your accounts every time.

Step 6: Obtain Permits & Licenses

Without a license, you cannot successfully operate a business. You will consistently fall out with the government and regulatory agencies. To operate your new business legally, you will need to comply with federal, state, and local government regulations.

In many cases, this involves getting one or more business permits and/or licenses. For example, a restaurant will probably need health permits, building permits, signage permits, etc.

Learn how to obtain the licenses and permits for your business

Step 7: Get Insurance

Business insurance helps you manage risks and focus on growing your business. All small businesses including home-based businesses must purchase a general liability policy. Businesses selling professional advice or services, such as consulting and accounting firms, should also consider a professional liability policy.

In Ohio, the law pushes businesses with one or more employees, excluding LLC members and company officers to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Step 8: Define Your Brand

A brand separates you from your direct and indirect competitors in the business world. When you create a brand, you build a customer loyalty bond that will continue to draw more people to your business.

In creating your brand, you must ensure you have a unique selling position and great advertising channels. A popular advertising channel is Facebook which can help you create great brand awareness for your target market.

Step 9: Establish a Web Presence

A professional website is instrumental to the long-term success of your business, regardless of what industry you are staying, you. A website gives potential customers to find your business online and discover the products or services you offer, and it also enhances your business’s credibility.

Besides a website, you should also consider other avenues for promoting your business online:

  • Setting up social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Creating accounts on review sites (Yelp, Google Reviews, etc)
  • Registering for a local Google profile


Before you start a business in Ohio, there’s so much you have to consider. However, with the number of outstanding guidelines you’ve seen in this article, you’ll do better when you start your business in this state or another.


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