1. Careful Planning
2. Reserving a Business Name in Nebraska
3. Business Formation
4. Tax Registration
5. State Taxes

Knowing how to start a small business in Nebraska is an essential skill for entrepreneurs.

The first step towards this is coming up with the right business idea. The business you choose must be one that suits your natural abilities, personal goals and interests. This greatly improves your chances of success and will help you to stay motivated during rough periods.

Careful Planning

Businesses become successful as a result of careful planning. You should critically analyze your business idea and create a feasible game plan before committing significant financial resources towards the execution of your idea. You should consider the following:

  • Product development. What solution does your business offer to existing problems? Are there any defining characteristics that distinguish your product from that of the competition?
  • Sales and marketing. Who are your business' potential customers and how do you catch their attention and get them to buy your products?
  • People and partnerships. Do you need to enter into professional relationships to develop and execute your business plan? What kinds of employees do you need to hire?
  • Financial planning. What is the number of sales or clients you need to break even? How much capital do you need to get to this point and where do you expect to get the funding?

A well-drafted business plan gets the idea out of your head and creates a roadmap of where you want your business to go. It is a critical element to the success of any business and should be done thoroughly.

Reserving a Business Name in Nebraska

Before you start undertaking business activities in Nebraska, you need to register your business name. To do this, you should:

  1. Visit the SOC website and download a copy of the form, “Application for Registration of Trade Name.”
  2. Publish a legal notice in a local newspaper that circulates around the county, village or city where you intend to locate your business. After publication, the newspaper will issue you a notarized Affidavit of Publication. The Affidavit of Publication must be filed with the office of the SOC forty-five days after you register your business' trade name.

Before registering a business name in Nebraska, LLCs and corporations need to pick a unique name at the time of filing. You can visit the SOC to check whether your preferred name is available and reserve it before continuing with the filing process.

Business Formation

Registering your business as a corporation or an LLC in Nebraska comes with two major advantages: increased credibility and personal liability protection.

For small business entities, it's best to register as an LLC. LLCs are easier to manage and set up than corporations. They also get more favorable tax treatment.

If you decide not to officially register your business entity, you become personally responsible for the business' debts and liabilities. You may also be required to file for DBA (i.e. Doing Business As).

Entrepreneurs prefer to register their businesses as LLCs to get all the advantages of a corporation and none of the disadvantages such as double taxation and appointment of corporate officers and board of directors. However, you should register as a corporation if you intend to raise substantial capital from outside investors or you want to take the company public.

Tax Registration

Nearly all businesses are required to obtain a tax ID number. Also called a Federal EIN, a tax ID number is used to identify businesses for the purpose of federal tax filings. You can't open a business bank account or hire employees without the EIN.

It only takes a few minutes to file for an EIN online. You can also file by calling the IRS or mailing in Form SS-4.

State Taxes

There are several Nebraska taxes that may be applicable to your business.

  • You need to register for Sales Tax if your business deals with the selling of physical products.
  • You also need to register for Employee Withholding Tax and Unemployment Insurance Tax if you intend to hire employees.
  • Check with the Department of Revenue to determine if you need to register your business with them. Depending on your business activities, you may need to obtain the DUNS (Data Universal Number System) number.

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