Starting Your Business in Wisconsin | A Step-by-Step Guide

Start a Business in Wisconsin

If you want to start an LLC in Wisconsin, there are numerous factors to consider. Starting your own business is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can do in Wisconsin. But where do you start? Follow our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in Wisconsin. We will assist you in removing doubt from the process and investigate your success chances. It will begin with defining your business idea and progress to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you every step of the way!

What Business to Start in Wisconsin?

If you’re looking to start a business in Wisconsin, consider starting a limited liability company (LLC). LLCs offer personal liability protection for their owners while also providing the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Beyond that, here is the list of businesses to consider in Wisconsin.

  1. Hunting Equipment Business
  2. Day Care Service
  3. Clothing Boutique
  4. Kennel Business
  5. Convenience Store

Whatever business you choose to start, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and create a solid business plan before diving in. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

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Starting a business can be a challenging but highly rewarding endeavor. By taking the time to research and plan, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you choose to form a corporation or start an LLC in Wisconsin, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong team that will guide you. Don’t let fear hold you back, take that first step towards turning your business dreams into a reality.


How to Start a Business in Wisconsin?

To form a business in Wisconsin, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your business.

Please continue reading to learn more about the overall procedure and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they complete each step.

Step 1: Creating a Business Plan

When developing a business plan, many factors should be considered during the decision-making process. Your business plan in Wisconsin serves as a road map for your company’s success.

A business plan should take into account the specific goals of your company. You should know the product or service you will provide in Wisconsin. A well-thought-out business plan is essential for determining how your company will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is ambiguous and unrelated to the service you provide, it will impact the business you are forming. Make sure your business goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Also, researching your competitors’ services will help you determine your strategy for your state business. Finally, you should consider your company’s funding.

With this article’s assistance, you can better comprehend your business’s essential components and success strategy. You can apply for Wisconsin Small Business Loans from banks and investor funding to help support your company in Wisconsin.

Once you have the entire plan in your hands, you can work on the legal framework of your company. Legally, you can form an LLC for your ideal business.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in Wisconsin

Selecting a business entity for your Wisconsin company. When starting your own business, you must choose a business structure. How well your personal assets are secured, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with will all be significantly impacted by the type of corporate entity you choose. Consider setting up a corporation, LLC, LLP, or sole proprietorship as your business entity in Wisconsin.

Sole Proprietorships

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in Wisconsin by yourself. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in which a single individual owns and operates the entire business. The owner and the business are considered the same legal entity in a sole proprietorship. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, meaning that the owner has complete control over the business operations, profits, and losses.

Sole proprietorships are best suited for Wisconsin small businesses with low risks and for individuals who want to maintain complete control over their business without the complexities of establishing a separate legal entity.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that combines features of both partnerships and corporations, offering limited liability protection to its owners (called members) while allowing flexibility in management and taxation. An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, meaning the members are not personally liable for the business’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.

It is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining management flexibility and simpler tax treatment. It’s essential to consult with a legal or financial professional to determine if an LLC is the best choice for your specific business situation.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is comparable to an LLC. However, it is usually used by licensed business professionals like attorneys or accountants. A partnership agreement is necessary for this kind of business entity. You can form an LLP in Wisconsin if you are planning to.


Forming a Corporation in Wisconsin reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, known as shareholders. It is created under the laws of the state it is incorporated in and is considered a separate “person” under the law. The corporation can enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued, and pay taxes separately from its owners.

A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

To choose the right business structure in Wisconsin, consider personal liability protection, taxation, management flexibility, administrative requirements, and setup costs. Consult a legal or financial professional to help you make the best decision.

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Step 3: Determine your Wisconsin Business Cost

In Wisconsin, you should determine the cost of your business. You should consider paying the Articles of Organization fee, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial Wisconsin Articles of Organization fee costs $130, while the LLC annual fee costs $25 in Wisconsin. In terms of filing Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation, the costs usually range up to $100 for online and by mail filing.

If forming an LLC is your ideal business, consider knowing the LLC Cost in Wisconsin.

Step 4: Name your Business in Wisconsin

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of Wisconsin Business Name Search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in Wisconsin, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In Wisconsin, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name. You must file a name reservation application in the Wisconsin Secretary of State to keep the name.

If the business name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 120 days. The online name reservation fee is $15 and the mail name reservation fee is $15. If your business plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done in two methods, by mail and in person, which you can file in Wisconsin Secretary of State. You can check out how to file a DBA in Wisconsin for clearer understanding.

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Step 5: Register Wisconsin Business

To register a business in Wisconsin, you need to file it with the Wisconsin Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a Wisconsin Registered Agent for your business. The Registered Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

You can serve as your own Registered Agent, or you can appoint a friend or family member, or you can check the Best Registered Agent Services in Wisconsin.

Apply For Articles of Organization

After you have a Registered Agent, you need to file the Wisconsin Articles of Organization, if you want to have an LLC structure, or you need to file the Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation if you want to have a Corporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, your Registered Agent should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in Wisconsin. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from the IRS.

The application of an EIN in Wisconsin can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLC the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

Recommended: Professional services have the EIN included in their LLC formation package. We recommend using –

LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Business licenses and operating permits are necessary to run any business in Wisconsin. Before launching your new business, request any required business license or permission. Most Wisconsin businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. It can start from $25 till going up to $100+. However, in Wisconsin, the business license fee ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 7: Obtain a Bank Account

Your business dealings in Wisconsin might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Opening a separate bank account for your Wisconsin business is essential for maintaining a clear separation between your personal and business finances.

You can check out the Best Banks in Wisconsin, which offers the best fees, services, and convenience for your business needs.

Step 8: Market your Business in Wisconsin

Now that your Wisconsin business is registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.


What types of businesses are popular in Wisconsin?
Agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism are popular industries in Wisconsin.
How do I choose a business name in Wisconsin?
You can check the availability of your desired business name on Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions website before registering it.
What is the process for registering a business in Wisconsin?
You can register your business name through the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
What are the requirements for LLC formation in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, you need to file your LLC articles of organization with the Department of Financial Institutions.
What is the sales tax rate for businesses in Wisconsin?
Generally, the sales tax rate in Wisconsin is 5%.
How do I obtain an EIN in Wisconsin?
You can obtain an EIN from the IRS by applying online, by phone or by mail.
What are Wisconsin’s tax guidelines for businesses?
Wisconsin businesses are required to pay state taxes on their income, with rates varying based on total income earned per year.
Can I operate a business out of my home in Wisconsin?
Yes, Wisconsin allows home-based businesses in areas where zoning laws permit them.
What are some sources of funding for Wisconsin-based businesses?
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and community banks and credit unions are potential sources of funding for businesses in Wisconsin.
Does Wisconsin offer any tax credits for businesses?
Wisconsin offers various tax incentives to businesses that create jobs such as credits for investment, training, brownfield cleanup or research and development.
What is Wisconsin’s minimum wage?
As of February 2021, Wisconsin’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
How do I get a business license in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin doesn’t have a general license requirement, but you may need to check with your local county or municipality regarding occupational licenses.
Are business taxes and personal taxes filed together in Wisconsin?
No, Wisconsin businesses have to file a separate tax return with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
How much does it cost to register a business in Wisconsin?
It costs $130 to register a business in Wisconsin on the Department of Financial Institutions website.
What is Wisconsin’s time frame for processing business registration applications?
Wisconsin businesses should expect their business registration to be processed within two weeks.
Can I register my business name in Wisconsin if it’s already taken in another state?
It depends on specific factors. To check and cross-reference availability of your business name, you could use databases offered by business service companies like LegalZoom.
How do I know if my business needs a state license to operate?
Research the activities and niche you plan to perform. Then, check available federal, state, and local business identifying requirements in Wisconsin.
Does Wisconsin offer a mentorship program for new businesses?
Yes, the Wisconsin Business Incubation Association does offer mentoring and education services to new businesses.
How does forming a nonprofit differ from forming a for-profit business in Wisconsin?
the incorporation procedures mostly remain the same between non-profit and for-profit businesses in Wisconsin. Non-profit companies are required to draft mission statements reflecting their business philosophy.
How long will it take for me to form an LLC in Wisconsin?
It can take 5-7 business days to form an LLC in Wisconsin usually from the day of submission to filing office.
What permits do I need to open a business in Wisconsin?
It varies based on anticipated geographic location of the business are. You could check with Wisconsin’s Business Resource to workshop this question more fully.
How many employees must a business have in Wisconsin to offer health insurance?
There are no medical insurance requirements in Wisconsin for businesses to offer health insurance.
Is there a fee for annual business registration in Wisconsin?
There isn’t an ongoing annual fee time-based incidence for general business licensing in Wisconsin payable at present.
When is the ideal time to apply for business insurance in Wisconsin?
You should purchase business insurance in Wisconsin before providing a product or service to reduce the potential economic risks associated with professional negligence.
When will I need to renew my Wisconsin state license?
This deadline time frame available can vary between Wisconsin municipalities commonly is yearly in the state.
What is Wisconsin’s process for creating an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)?
To form an LLP in Wisconsin, you’ll need to file a domestic LLP formations with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
Are foreign LLC registrants qualified to assume business in Wisconsin?
Answer:Yes, foreign organizations are permitted to conduct business and are expected to register to do business in Wisconsin by submitting the foreign LLF filing with Department of Financial Institutions in Wisconsin.
Can I be employed and own a business simultaneously in Wisconsin?
Yes, residents are allowed to perform employee roles as well as possess a business in Wisconsinbut you could check on legally allowable number off company participants and employee protection requirements.
What are the manpower prerequisite, Wisconsin mandatory work permit and restrictions for minor employees?
Wisconsin minors require employment certification and can’t work in specific occupations deemed dangerous to youth workers.
Would nonresident individuals be required to pay business tax in Wisconsin?
Check when constructing LLC and seek counsel accordingly.
What is Wisconsin law requiring growing cannabis for business?
Growing cannabis for business purposes is still illegal in Wisconsin, however, State of Minnesota already legalized medical marijuana.

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Why You Should Start Business in Wisconsin

One of the main reasons why starting a business in Wisconsin is a great idea is the state’s business-friendly environment. Wisconsin has consistently ranked among the top states for entrepreneurship and business development. The state offers a variety of resources for companies, including business grants, loans, and tax incentives that make it easier for small businesses to get off the ground.

Another key advantage of starting a business in Wisconsin is the strong work ethic of its residents. Wisconsinites are known for their hard work, dedication, and loyalty – traits that are essential for building a successful business. The state’s workforce is well-educated and highly skilled, providing business owners with a talented pool of potential employees to choose from.

Wisconsin also boasts a low cost of living, which can be a significant advantage for entrepreneurs looking to bootstrap their businesses. Lower overhead costs mean that businesses can invest more in growth and expansion, rather than pouring all their resources into just staying afloat. Additionally, the state’s reasonable tax rates make it a cost-effective place to do business.

In addition to its favorable business climate, Wisconsin also offers a high quality of life for residents. The state is known for its natural beauty, with picturesque lakes, forests, and rolling countryside that provide a peaceful backdrop for daily life. Wisconsin also boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with world-class museums, theaters, and galleries that cater to a wide range of interests.

Moreover, Wisconsin’s central location makes it an ideal hub for business activities. The state offers easy access to major transportation routes, including highways, airports, and railways, making it simple for companies to ship products and connect with customers across the country.

Entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Wisconsin will find a supportive network of like-minded individuals and organizations ready to help them succeed. The state is home to a strong network of business incubators, accelerators, and chambers of commerce that offer guidance, mentorship, and networking opportunities for aspiring business owners.

In conclusion, Wisconsin offers a wealth of benefits for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. From its business-friendly environment and talented workforce to its low cost of living and high quality of life, the state provides the perfect foundation for building a successful business. So why wait? If you’re considering starting a business, don’t overlook the potential that Wisconsin has to offer. There’s never been a better time to start a business in the Badger State.


Starting a business in Wisconsin has unique advantages and challenges since it offers a large and diverse market, access to skilled talent, and numerous networking opportunities, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs. However, business owners must also contend with a high cost of living, intense competition, and potentially complex regulations.

Ultimately, whether starting a business in Wisconsin is the right decision depends on the entrepreneur’s specific needs, goals, and industry. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as taxes, regulations, workforce availability, and target market when choosing a location for a new business. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success in the competitive Wisconsin business landscape.

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