Do you want to invest or start a small business in Nebraska? If YES, here is a guide on how to start a profitable business in Nebraska with no money.

Nebraska is a state in the United States of America. It has Lincoln as its capital city. The state stretches from the Midwestern part of the united states to the Great Plains. In terms of population, the state of Nebraska is ranked 37th amongst the 50 states and also 43rd in terms of density with Omaha as its largest city. The agriculture sector is a major income generator for the state of Nebraska.

Cattle grazing are common agricultural activities in the state and it is notable for producing pork, beef, corn, sorghum and soybeans. Another thriving industry that generates income for the state is the transport sector especially the rail industry.

It is important to note that the state of Nebraska also generates revenue from the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas were discovered in the state of Nebraska in 1939 and 1949 respectively. Yet another booming industry in this state is the manufacturing sector.

There are companies located in Nebraska that produce auto accessories, electronic components, farm machinery, clothing, chemicals and other consumable. Please note that a small business is an independently owned and operated company that is limited in size and in revenue depending on the industry.

A local automobile garage that employs 10 people is an example of a small business.  Also, an exercise book manufacturing company that employees less than 500 people is an example of a small business. To Start a Business in Nebraska, follow these steps:

How to Start a Small Business in Nebraska With No Money

Step 1: Choose a Workable Business Idea or Niche

First thing first, choosing a workable business idea or niche is the way to go if you are looking towards staring a business. In Nebraska, the first step that you are expected to take if you are serious about starting a business is to come up with a workable business idea.

If you are not too sure whether starting a Marijuana dispensary business is legal in Nebraska, why choose such business idea? So, the rule of thumb is that you must ensure that your business idea falls in line with what is acceptable in Nebraska and one that you can easily secure the necessary permits and licenses.

When it comes to starting a business, the most ideal thing you need to do that will place on the right path is to select a business that you are passionate about. The truth is that if you go ahead to choose a trendy business that you are not passionate about, you will easily lose the zeal and the steam to push the business on in the midst of challenges.

Step 2: Conduct Your feasibility studies and Market Survey

Irrespective of the town or city in Nebraska that you decide to start a business, the one important step that you are expected to take is to conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey.

With the result from your feasibility studies and market survey, you will be able to make informed decisions, especially as it relates to the type of business to settle for, the location for your office, factory or store, the demographic composition of the area, the likely competition that you will be confronted with, how to source for raw materials or goods and loads of other factors that can either make or mar your business.

Step 3: Choose a Catchy Name for Your Business

After coming up with a workable business idea and of course having conducted your market survey and feasibility studies, the next step is to choose a catchy name for your business. The truth is that, when it comes to Choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents.

Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business. Please note that for LLCs and corporations, you will need to check that your name is distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the Nebraska Secretary of State (SOS). You can check for available names by doing a search on the SOS website.

You can reserve an available name for twelve months by filing an Application for Reservation of Name with the Nebraska SOS (there are separate forms for LLCs and corporations). You can reserve a name for up to 120 days. There are also certain name requirements for LLCs and corporations (like including a word such as “LLC” for LLCs or “Company” for corporations).

Sole proprietorships and partnerships in Nebraska have the option of filing a Trade Name Application with the Nebraska SOS if they use a business name that is different from the name of the business owner. Trade names expire after ten years.

If you plan on doing the business online, you may want to register your business name as a domain name. In addition, to avoid trademark infringement issues, you should do a federal and state trademark check to make sure the name you want to use is not the same as or too similar to a name already in use.

Step 4: Write a Workable Business Plan

No matter the type or size of business you intend starting in Nebraska, it is a wise decision to first write a good business plan, complete with pro-forma financial statements. The truth is that in order to successfully run a business, you need a good and workable business plan.

With a workable business plan in place, you will reduce the trial and error approach of doing business. You will be able to manage your business with purpose and perhaps precision; you will know how to handle challenges, growth and expansion.

The whole idea of writing a business plan is not just for the sake of having a business document in place; but a detail guide on how to effectively run your business from the scratch. Your business plan should outline and cover strategies on how you intend to manage your business.

The rule of thumb in writing a business plan is to try as much as possible to be realistic and never to over project when putting figures on income and profits et al. As a matter of fact, it is safer to underestimate when writing a business plan so that you won’t be so disappointed when reality sets in.

These are the key areas that should be covered in your business plan;

Executive summary and Company descriptions: you are expected to write about the concept of your business, description of your company, your company’s vision statement, mission statement and where your company will be located and also if you intend selling out franchise or opening other outlets.

Other key components that should not be missing in your business plan are product offering, SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, marketing and sales analysis / strategies, target market, market goals, pricing, costing and financial projection, publicity and advertising strategy, expansion and growth strategies, budget and start – up capital generation et al.

Step 5: Choose a Legal Entity for Your Business

If you choose to start your business in Nebraska, Choose a business entity. Decide whether you wish to operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company or corporation.

Sole proprietorship: To establish a sole proprietorship in Nebraska, you don’t need to file any organizational documents with the state.

Partnership: To create a general partnership in Nebraska, you don’t need to file any organizational documents with the state. Although not legally required, all partnerships should have a written partnership agreement. The partnership agreement can be very helpful if there is ever a dispute among the partners. To form a limited liability partnership (often used by professionals), you must file a Statement of Qualification with the Nebraska SOS.

LLCs: To create an LLC in Nebraska, you must file a certificate of organization with the Nebraska SOS. You can file the certificate online; no paper form is available. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Nebraska for service of process. In addition, while not required by law, you also should prepare an operating agreement to establish the basic rules about how your LLC will operate.

Corporations: To create a corporation in Nebraska, you must file articles of incorporation with the Nebraska SOS. You can file the articles online; no paper form is available. You will also need to appoint a registered agent in Nebraska for service of process.

Although not legally required, you also should prepare bylaws to establish your corporation’s internal operating rules. Bylaws are not filed with the state. S Corporations must also file IRS Form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, with the IRS.

Step 6: Register Your Business Name

Once you are able to carry out all the steps listed above, then go straight ahead to register your business name. Of course, you would have done the necessary business name search that will ensure that you are not settling for a name that is already in the data base.

If you don’t want someone to register your business name, then you should be fast about registering the business name. Registering your Nebraska company as a legal business entity, such as an LLC or a Corporation, has two major advantages and they are Increased credibility and Protection from personal liability in the event your business is sued.

Step 7: Source for New Business Financing

When it comes to sourcing for loan for a small business in the United States, Small Business Administration (SBA) is your Go-to Place.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is a major source of financing for entrepreneurs especially those that operate small businesses. The Small Business Administration has several loan programs that has made readily available the needed funding to thousands of small enterprises who were unable to secure loans from lending institutions on their own.

It is on record that a number of Fortune 500 companies in the United States benefited from SBA loan when they are just starting out. Big corporations such as FedEx (Federal Express), Apple and Intel among others leveraged on loans gotten from SBA.

These organizations success, and of course the trend toward small-business start-ups and entrepreneurship in America, has encouraged both the SBA and its lending partners to continue to expand its loan programs. The only reason why you should ignore this step is if you already have the required startup capital needed to kick start your business.

Step 8: Apply and Obtain the Needed Business License and Permits

The nature of the business you want to run will determine whether you need to obtain any state licenses or permits.

Tax Registration. If you will be selling goods in Nebraska, you must register for a sales and use tax license with the Comptroller of Nebraska. If you will have employees in Nebraska, you must register with the Comptroller of Nebraska for employer withholding. For both kinds of registration, you can use the online combined registration.

EIN. If your business has employees or is taxed separately from you, you must obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Even if you are not required to obtain an EIN, there are often business reasons for doing so.

Banks often require an EIN to open an account in the business’s name and other companies you do business with may require an EIN to process payments. You can get an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. There is no filing fee.

Regulatory licenses and permits. These cover areas such as: health and safety, the environment, building and construction; and specific industries or services.

For regulatory licenses and permits issued by the state, check the Business Licensing Resources section of the nebraska.gov website. For information about local licenses and permits, check the websites for any cities or counties where you will do business.

Professional and occupational licenses. These cover people who work in various fields. In many cases, you can get the basic licensing information by going to the Professions & Occupations section of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

For professions not listed on the DHHS website, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, and engineers, you’ll need to check the website for the state regulatory board for your profession (for example, the Nebraska Board of Engineers and Architects).

STEP 9: Taxes and Reporting

Nebraska taxes every kind of business and you can see Nebraska State Business Income Tax for more information on state business taxes in Nebraska.

Sole proprietorships. Pay state taxes on business income as part of their personal state income tax returns (Form 1040N).

Partnerships. Partners pay state taxes on partnership income on personal tax returns. In addition, some partnerships also must file Form 1065N, Nebraska Return of Partnership Income.

LLCs. Members pay state taxes on their share of LLC income on personal tax returns. In addition, the LLC itself must file a biennial report with the Nebraska SOS in odd-numbered years. Nebraska LLC’s taxed as corporations must also file a state corporation tax return. See Nebraska LLC Annual Report and Tax Requirements for more information.

Corporations. Shareholders must pay states taxes on their dividends from the corporation. A shareholder-employee with a salary also must pay state income tax on his or her personal state tax return. Moreover, the corporation itself is subject to Nebraska corporation taxes. Finally, corporations must file a biennial report with the Nebraska SOS in even-numbered years. The reporting requirement includes paying a corporate occupation tax.

If you have employees, you must also deal with state employer taxes. And, apart from Nebraska taxes, there are always federal income and employer taxes. Check IRS Publications 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, and 583, Taxpayers Starting a Business, available at irs.gov.

STEP 10: Open a Nebraska Bank Account

Once the IRS has issued an EIN Number to your business, you can open a business checking account. It’s best to have a business checking account order to maintain your personal liability protection. Using a personal bank account for your LLC is called “commingling of assets” and this can lead to personal liability issues if you end up in court.

Please note that having a separate business bank account for your business also makes record-keeping easier for accounting and tax purposes. Since banks in Nebraska has their own rules and regulations, it is recommend calling a few places to determine the following:

  • minimum initial deposit
  • minimum balance requirements
  • monthly maintenance fees (if any)

Step 11: Purchase the Needed Business Insurance

The rule of business engagement in Nebraska is that you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.

You might want to consider buying some or all of these insurance policy covers; General insurance, Health/Medical insurance, Liability insurance, Workers Compensation, Overhead expense disability insurance, Business owner’s policy group insurance and Payment protection insurance.

Please note that if you are going to operate your business from home, then you might want to learn about home-based business insurance.

Step 12: Lease or Rent an Ideal Office Location

Another important step to follow when establishing a small business in Nebraska is to choose an ideal location for your office. When it comes to renting an office facility in Nebraska, the nature of business you want to do should serve as a guide.

You can check with the local code enforcement officer to determine if your business will be in compliance with local zoning ordinances. Besides, you would need your business license and permit as part of the documents to be tendered before any landlord or realtor will sign any leasing agreement with your business in Nebraska.

Please note that when picking a location for your business, you are expected to check local zoning regulations. That includes if you work from home. You may be able to find zoning regulations for your town or city by checking municode.com

N.B: Please, note that the information in this article is provided only for general purpose and it is no way a legal advice. No lawyer – client relationship is established or should any such relationship be assumed. For legal advice, please consult with a professional lawyer. But, if you need additional assistance or have business-specific questions, we will advise that you contact the appropriate authority in your local council.

Solomon. O'Chucks