How To Start & Grow Your Business

State Home Oklahoma

How to Start a Business in Oklahoma

Are you planning on starting a new business in Oklahoma, but aren’t sure how to get started?

provides free software and how-to content that will help you start, manage, and grow your business. You’re in good hands.

Sign up for free HERE

Let's Get Going

Thanks partly to strong energy sectors, Oklahoma’s economy has been booming since 2014. Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy are in Oklahoma City, and the business tax climate is one of the best in the country. Oklahoma can also boast energy costs that are 26% below the national average. “The Sooner State” also has the third lowest cost of living in the country.

Bonus

Discover bizHUMM's popular ebook

How to Start a Business

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Oklahoma

  • Phone Numbers

    Voice: 405-522-2520 (Sec. of State)
  • Oklahoma Business Incubators http://www.okbia.org

up

Fun facts about starting a business in Oklahoma

Famous business founded in Oklahoma Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake Energy Corporation is a petroleum and natural gas exploration and production company founded and headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The company was founded in 1989 by Aubrey McClendon and Tom L. Ward with only a $50,000 initial investment.

Famous entrepreneur born in Oklahoma Sylvan Goldman

Sylvan Nathan Goldman (1898-1984) was a businessman and inventor of the shopping cart, born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The shopping cart he invented had a pair of large wire baskets connected by tubular metal arms with four wheels.

“[The customers] had a tendency to stop shopping when the baskets became too full or too heavy.”

Sylvan Goldman
up

Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Oklahoma?

We strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best structure.

Here are 5 helpful steps to determine what is the best legal structure for your business:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Oklahoma.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a unique business entity that combines the taxation benefits of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability status of corporations. The owners of an LLC are referred to as “members,” and can range from one to several.

Steps to starting an LLC in Oklahoma:

  • Step 1 — Name your LLC.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — File Annual Certificate.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Oklahoma.

For help forming your LLC in Oklahoma we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively, visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Other Oklahoma resources for LLCs:

Secretary of State Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your Name Reservation here.
File your “Articles of Organization” here.
File your “Annual Certificate” here.

Business Licenses and Permits: Check out this site for licenses or permits that may be required of your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Oklahoma Tax Commission: If you will have employees or will be selling goods, you’ll need to register with this site.

Sole Proprietorship
Popular among individual self contractors or business owners, a sole proprietorship is a business entity that is owned and run by one person, and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner is in direct control of all elements and is legally accountable for all profits, debts, losses, and liabilities.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Oklahoma:

  • Step 1 — Give your sole proprietorship a name.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name report with the Secretary of State.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Oklahoma we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).

Alternatively, you can visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Other Oklahoma resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Secretary of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.
File your Name Reservation here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Business Licenses and Permits: Check out this site for licenses or permits that may be required of your business.
IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here. If you hire employees, you will need an EIN.

Oklahoma Tax Commission: If you will have employees or will be selling goods, you’ll need to register with this site.

Partnership
In a partnership, two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor, or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership.

Steps to starting Partnership in Oklahoma:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Create a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Oklahoma we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Other Oklahoma resources for Partnership:

Secretary of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership may use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.
File your Name Reservation here.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Business Licenses and Permits: Check out this site for licenses or permits that may be required of your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your partnership here. Partnerships must have an EIN, whether you have employees or not.
Oklahoma Tax Commission If you will have employees or will be selling goods, you’ll need to register with this site.

S Corporation
An S corporation (sometimes referred to as an S Corp), is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. A business electing to incorporate with S corporation status has its business income taxed only once, similar to how sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed. By electing to become an S corporation, a small business can gain the legal advantages available to businesses with a corporate structure, as well as the tax advantages available to partnership firms.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Oklahoma:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file a Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 10 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Oklahoma.

For help forming your S corporation in Oklahoma we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Or, you can visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Other Oklahoma resources for S Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your Name Registration here.
File your “Certificate of Incorporation” here.

Business Licenses and Permits: Check out this site for licenses or permits that may be required of your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Oklahoma Tax Commission: If you will have employees or will be selling goods, you’ll need to register with this site.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), under United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. However, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Oklahoma:

  • Step 1 — Name your corporation.
  • Step 2 — File a Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Find a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 10 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Oklahoma.

For help forming your C corporation in Oklahoma we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).

Alternatively visit the Oklahoma Secretary of State website.

Other Oklahoma resources for C Corporation:

Secretary of State Business Name Search: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your Name Registration here.
File your “Certificate of Incorporation” here.

Business Licenses and Permits: Check out this site for licenses or permits that may be required of your business.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Oklahoma Tax Commission: If you will have employees or will be selling goods, you’ll need to register with this site.

up

Why choose Oklahoma for my business?

  • 1

    Forbes: “The Best States for Business” (2014)
    Oklahoma ranks #10. “Thanks in part to a strong energy sector, Oklahoma’s economy has been booming. Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy are both fixtures in Oklahoma City. The business tax climate is one of the best in the country and employers also benefit from energy costs that are 26% below the national average.”

  • 2

    Oklahoma Incentives
    “Oklahoma is globally recognized for its outstanding incentive program and pro-business environment. Businesses can choose between a cash incentive or a tax credit package, and in some cases, qualifying businesses can take advantage of both programs.”

up