Wisconsin Business Facts
Wisconsin’s economy is heavily driven by agriculture with 10% of the state’s employment generated from its 350,000 agricultural jobs. Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production and also has a heavy concentration in manufacturing with a large industrial sector in paper and printing. The largest cities in Wisconsin are Milwaukee and its capital, Madison. Wisconsin residents take pride in a rich political history, an active beer culture, football and the state’s enormous contribution to the $20 billion dairy industry.
Major Companies in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is the headquarters of major companies such as Culver’s, Kohl’s, Manpower and Northwestern Mutual.
Among US states, Wisconsin does not rank highly as good place to start a business. CNBC ranked Wisconsin twenty-one in the nation as recently as 2017 and the same year Milwaukee was ranked 39th on the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. Despite these low rankings, Wisconsin business owners do benefit from recent tax cuts.
There are 3 basic options: a Corporation, LLC or DBA. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Wisconsin, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Wisconsin state databases:
Restrictions on Wisconsin Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Wisconsin.
How to form an LLC in Wisconsin
How to Incorporate in Wisconsin
NOTE: When registering a new company the state can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Wisconsin is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Wisconsin
Optional Considerations when registering a Wisconsin business
Ready to register a business in Wisconsin?
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We can obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you might need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county depending on the type of service you offer. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We can help you identify the necessary forms to obtain your business license.
DBA: Your Wisconsin trade name should be valid for 10 years and may be renewed before the name expires.
LLC: Wisconsin LLCs are required to file an annual report by the end of the filing anniversary quarter each year.
Corporation: Wisconsin corporations must file an annual report each year by the end of the filing anniversary quarter. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $26.
Ready to start a business in Wisconsin?
Division of Corporate & Consumer Services (for Corporation and LLC filings)
4822 Madison Yards Way, North Tower
Madison, WI 53705
Wisconsin Taxation Departments
Wisconsin Labor and Employment Departments
Wisconsin Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Wisconsin
2. SCORE Wisconsin
3. Wisconsin Legal Statutes
4. Wisconsin Chambers of Commerce
5. Wisconsin One Stop Business Portal
6. Angel.co Wisconsin Startups
7. Wisconsin Business News
8. WEDC – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is committed to creating and maintaining a business climate that allows you to maximize your potential.
9. Wisconsin Small Business Development Center
The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and business education.
10. Wisconsin Green Masters Program – a recognition and assessment program for Wisconsin businesses interested in improving and being recognized for their sustainability initiatives.
Wow loved it thankyou! I dreaded making this for a month thinking it would be a hassle. It wasn't thanks to you guys!
Excellent in all aspects. Perfect for new business owners with limited resources but wants to start it off right.