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How to Start a Business in Ohio With No Money

Starting a business in Ohio can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to help you get started, even if you don’t have any money.

Decide on a Business Structure

The first step to starting a business in Ohio is to decide on a business structure. This will determine how you file your taxes and how much liability you have. The most common structures for businesses are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. 

Sole proprietorships are the simplest and most common type of business structure. They’re easy to set up and don’t require any special paperwork. However, sole proprietorships offer no protection from personal liability, so if your business is sued, your personal assets could be at risk.

Partnerships are similar to sole proprietorships, but they involve two or more owners. Partnerships can be either general partnerships or limited partnerships. Limited partnerships have at least one partner who is not personally liable for the debts of the partnership. General partnerships offer no such protection, so all partners are equally liable for the debts of the partnership.


Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) are a type of business structure that offers personal liability protection to their owners. LLCs are more complex than sole proprietorships or partnerships, and they require more paperwork to set up. However, they can be well worth the effort if you’re concerned about personal liability.

Corporations are separate legal entities from their owners, which means that the owners are not personally liable for the debts of the corporation. Corporations are also more complex than other business structures, and they require more paperwork to set up. However, they offer the greatest protection from personal liability. If you’re starting a high-risk business or one that requires a lot of capital, a corporation may be the best structure for you.

Pick a Business Name

Choosing the right name for your business is important. It needs to represent what your business does and be reflective of your brand. The name you choose should also be available as a domain name. You can check the availability of domain names through a domain name registrar such as Network Solutions. 

Once you’ve chosen a name, you need to register it with the Ohio Secretary of State. Registration is important to protect your business name from being used by someone else. The process for registering a business name is relatively simple and can be done online or by mail. To register online, you’ll need to create an account with the Ohio Business Gateway. 

Once you’ve created an account, you can search for available business names and reserve the one you want. If you register by mail, you’ll need to fill out a form and send it to the Secretary of State’s office along with a filing fee. Registering your business name is an important step in getting your business up and running. By taking the time to choose a good name and register it, you’ll be on your way to building a strong brand for your new business.

making logo

Register the Business

Registering your business with the Ohio Secretary of State is an important step in starting a new business. This can be done online, and it only takes a few minutes to complete. First, you will need to choose a business name. Once you have done that, you can begin the registration process. 

You will be required to provide some basic information about your business, such as your contact information and the type of business you are starting. After you have submitted the required information, you will need to pay a filing fee. Once the registration is complete, you will be able to start operating your business in Ohio.

Choose a Suitable Location for Your Ohio Business

When choosing a location for your business, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the location should be zoned for commercial use. This information can be found through your local zoning office. Second, the location should have the appropriate permits. These permits will vary depending on the type of business you are running. 

Lastly, the location should be large enough to accommodate your needs. This includes having enough space for parking, storage, and any other equipment you may need. Once you have found a location that meets these criteria, you can begin the process of setting up your business.

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Obtain Your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that is assigned to a business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is used for tax purposes and will be required when you file your taxes. You may need to obtain an EIN if you are starting a new business, or if you are changing the structure of your existing business (for example, if you are forming a partnership or incorporated entity). 

EIN for businesses

You can obtain an EIN by completing an online application on the IRS website. The entire process can be completed in just a few minutes, and you will receive your EIN immediately after submitting the application. Once you have obtained your EIN, you should keep it in a safe place for future reference.

Secure Your Ohio Startup Business Funding

One of the most difficult parts of starting a business in Ohio is securing funding. There are a number of ways to do this, including taking out loans, crowdfunding, and finding investors.


Loans can be a helpful way to finance your business, but it’s important to understand the different types of loans available and their pros and cons. One option is an SBA loan, which stands for Small Business Administration. These loans are government-backed, which means they come with more favorable terms than some other options. However, they may also require more paperwork and have stricter eligibility requirements. 

Another type of loan is a personal loan, which can be easier to qualify for but typically has a higher interest rate. There are also business loans, which are designed specifically for businesses and tend to have more flexible terms. Ultimately, the best type of loan for your business will depend on your specific needs and financial situation.

meeting with people


Crowdfunding has become a popular option for raising money to start or grow a business. Rather than going through traditional channels, such as banks or investors, businesses can now turn to the crowd to raise the funds they need. There are a number of platforms that facilitate crowdfunding, and each has its own set of rules and regulations. 

In general, however, the process involves setting up a profile for your business and then soliciting donations from the general public. Crowdfunding can be an effective way to raise money, but it’s important to remember that you’ll be asking people for money who may not be familiar with your business. 

As such, it’s important to put together a well-crafted pitch that explains what your business is and why people should invest in it. With a little effort, crowdfunding can be a great way to get the funding you need to start or grow your business.


One way to fund your business is by finding investors. You can do this by pitching your business idea and convincing them to invest in your company. In order to find investors, you need to determine what kind of investment you are looking for and what you are willing to give up in return for funding. For example, if you are looking for a large sum of money, you may be willing to give up a larger percentage of ownership in your company. 

However, if you are only looking for a small amount of funding, you may not be as willing to give up equity. Once you have determined what you are looking for, you can begin searching for potential investors. There are a number of resources available that can help you connect with potential investors, such as online directories and networking events. Pitches your business idea in order to attract potential investors who will provide funding for their business in return for equity ownership or a portion of the profits generated by the company. 

meeting in office

In order to find the right investors, entrepreneurs need to determine what type of investment they are seeking and be clear about what they are offering in return. There are a number of resources available that can help entrepreneurs connect with potential investors, such as online directories and networking events.

Open Business Bank and Credit Accounts

Before you can open a business bank account, you will need to choose a bank and obtain the necessary documents. When selecting a bank, you will want to consider factors such as location, fees, and services offered. Once you have selected a bank, you will need to provide them with documentation such as your business license and articles of incorporation. 

You may also be required to deposit a minimum amount of money into the account. Once your account is opened, you will be able to start using it to manage your finances. In addition to a business bank account, you will also need a line of credit. This will give you the capital you need to make purchases, pay employees, and cover other expenses. 

When applying for a line of credit, you will need to provide the lender with information about your business and your financial history. The lender will then determine the amount of credit they are willing to extend to you. Once you have been approved for a line of credit, you will be able to use it whenever you need it.

Set Up an Accounting System

When setting up your accounting system, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you’ll need to decide what type of system you want to use. There are two main types of accounting systems: accrual and cash-basis. The accrual basis records all transactions that have occurred, regardless of when the money is actually exchanged.

man working on his laptop

The cash basis only records transactions when money is actually exchanged. Which type of system you use will depend on the nature of your business and your personal preferences. Once you’ve decided on the type of system you want to use, you’ll need to choose software that can help you manage it. There are a number of different programs available, so it’s important to do some research to find one that fits your needs. 

Once you’ve chosen a program, be sure to set up your system carefully. This includes entering all relevant information, such as income and expenses, and setting up categories for easy tracking. With a little time and effort, you can set up an accounting system that will help you keep track of your finances and make running your business easier.

Obtain Licenses and Permits

Depending on the type of business you are running, you may need to obtain licenses and permits. Fortunately, the process for obtaining a business license is relatively straightforward. In most cases, you will need to fill out a short application and pay a small fee. Once your application has been approved, you will be issued a business license. 

However, keep in mind that you may need to renew your license on a yearly basis. In addition, if your business involves the sale of products or services, you will likely need to obtain a sales tax permit. This permit allows you to collect sales tax [1] from your customers and remit it to the state government. 

Obtaining a sales tax permit usually involves filling out an application and paying a small fee. Again, it is important to note that you will need to renew your permit on a yearly basis. While the process for obtaining licenses and permits may seem daunting at first, it is actually fairly simple. 

tax record

Hire Employees (If Applicable)

If you are going to be hiring employees, you will need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance. This is required by law in Ohio and will protect your business in the event that an employee is injured on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured while working. 

It also provides death benefits to the families of employees who are killed on the job. In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance is obtained through a state-sponsored program. However, some businesses may choose to purchase private insurance. Either way, it is important to make sure that you are properly covered before hiring any employees.

Obtain Business Insurance

Another important step in starting your business is to obtain business insurance. This will protect your business from liability in the event that something goes wrong. There are a number of different types of business insurance available, and the type you need will depend on the type of business you have.

Product Liability Insurance

If you are in the business of selling products, it is important to obtain product liability insurance. This type of insurance will protect your business in the event that a customer is injured while using one of your products. Product liability insurance can help to cover the cost of any medical bills that may be incurred as a result of an injury, as well as any legal fees that may be incurred if the customer decides to take action against your business. 

In some cases, product liability insurance can also help to cover the cost of replacing the defective product. Obtaining adequate product liability insurance is an essential part of running a safe and successful business.


Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is a type of insurance that helps to protect businesses in the event that their property is damaged or destroyed. This can include buildings, equipment, inventory, and other business assets. Commercial property insurance can help to cover the cost of repairs or replacement, as well as lost income and other expenses related to the damage. 

In order to obtain coverage, businesses will need to purchase a policy from an insurance company. The amount of coverage and the cost of the policy will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type and value of the property, the location of the business, and the level of risk. 

However, with commercial property insurance in place, businesses can have peace of mind knowing that they are protected in case of an unexpected event.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance is a type of coverage that can protect your business if it is forced to close its doors due to a natural disaster or other events. This type of insurance can help to cover lost income and expenses, such as payroll and rent, during the shutdown. In order to qualify for business interruption insurance, your business must first have a physical location that was damaged or destroyed by the event. 

Additionally, you will need to prove that the shutdown has caused a loss of income. Business interruption insurance can be an important safety net for businesses, but it is important to understand the coverage before you purchase a policy. Otherwise, you may find that your business is not covered in the event of a shutdown.

reading documents

Workers' Compensation Insurance

As a business owner, it is important to have workers’ compensation insurance in place in case an employee is injured on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured while working. It also provides death benefits to the families of employees who are killed on the job. In most cases, workers’ compensation insurance is required by law. 

However, the requirements vary from state to state. In some states, businesses with a certain number of employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, while in others, all businesses are required to have it. Workers’ compensation insurance can be expensive, but it is an essential part of running a safe and successful business.

Systemize and Organize Your Business

The next step in starting your business is to systemize and organize it. This means creating systems and processes that will help you run your business smoothly. It also involves organizing your business so that it is easy to find what you need when you need it.

There are a number of different ways to systemize and organize your business. One way is to use a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This is a software program that helps you keep track of your customers and their contact information.

Another way to systemize and organize your business is to use project management software. This type of software helps you keep track of tasks and deadlines. It can also help you collaborate with other team members.

business meeting

Branding and Marketing

The final step in starting your business is to brand and market it. This involves creating a brand for your business and marketing it to potential customers.

Create a Website for Your Business

A website is a powerful tool that can help you reach a wider audience and build brand awareness. Your website is a reflection of your business, so it’s important to take the time to create a site that is professional and engaging. When designing your site, be sure to include clear calls to action, compelling copy, and high-quality images. 

You should also make sure your site is optimized for search engines so that potential customers can easily find you when they’re searching online. A well-designed website can be a valuable asset for any business, so don’t hesitate to invest in one for your company.

Use Social Media to Market Your Business

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to market your business. When used correctly, it can help you reach a wider audience, build relationships with potential customers, and even generate leads. While there are a variety of social media platforms to choose from, it’s important to select the ones that are most relevant to your target audience. 

For example, if you’re trying to reach Millennials, you’ll want to be active on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Once you’ve selected the right platform or platforms for your business, you can start creating content that will appeal to your target audience. Remember to keep your messages clear and concise, and be sure to include calls to action when appropriate.

social media

Online Marketing

Online marketing and PR is a great way to reach potential customers. It involves using search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s ranking in search results. It also involves using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to reach potential customers. PPC is a form of advertising where you pay each time someone clicks on your ad. 

SEO is a process of optimizing your website to rank higher in search results. This can be done by improving your website’s content, structure, and keywords. Both SEO and PPC can be effective ways to market your business online.

Print Advertising

Print advertising can be an effective way to reach potential customers. This can include placing ads in newspapers and magazines, as well as distributing flyers and postcards in your local area. Print ads can be a great way to reach a wide audience, and they can be very effective in driving traffic to your website or brick-and-mortar store. 

One downside of print advertising is that it can be expensive, so it’s important to carefully consider your target audience and budget before taking this route. But if done correctly, print advertising can be a great way to reach new customers and grow your business.

Radio Advertising

Radio advertising can be a cost-effective way to reach potential customers. By placing ads on local radio stations, businesses can target their ads to a specific geographic area. In addition, radio ads can be easily scheduled and placed in a variety of time slots, making it easy to reach potential customers at times when they are most likely to be listening. 

lady with headset on

Finally, radio advertising can be used to reach a wide range of demographics, making it an effective way to reach potential customers with different needs and interests. As a result, radio advertising can be an effective tool for businesses of all sizes.

Television Advertising

Television advertising is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. Not only does it reach a wide audience, but it can also be customized to target specific demographics. For example, businesses can choose to place ads on local stations that are most likely to be seen by potential customers in their area. 

Additionally, television advertising can be flexible in terms of budget and timing. businesses can choose to run ads during prime-time hours or during low-demand time slots in order to save money. Overall, television advertising is an effective way to reach potential customers and promote products or services.

Start Launching Your Business

Now that you have an understanding of how to start a business in Ohio with no money, it’s time to start launching your business. 

Provide Quality Customer Service

One of the most important things you can do to launch your business is to provide quality customer service. This means always putting your customers first and providing them with the best possible experience. You can provide quality customer service by always being available to answer questions, addressing problems promptly, and going above and beyond to meet your customers’ needs.

meetup with agent

Develop a Sales Strategy

Another important thing you can do to launch your business is to develop a sales strategy. This will help you generate revenue and grow your business. There are a number of different sales strategies you can use. One option is to offer discounts and coupons. Another option is to create loyalty programs. You can also offer free trials or samples.

Watch Out for Competition

As you launch your business, it’s important to watch out for competition. This means always being aware of what your competitors are doing and how you can stay one step ahead. One way to stay ahead of the competition is to offer something unique that they don’t. You can also offer lower prices or better customer service.


Do You Need a License to Operate a Business in Ohio?

In Ohio, businesses are required to register with the Secretary of State before they can legally conduct business in the state. This is commonly called a business license. There are a number of different types of businesses that need to register, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. 

The specific requirements for each type of business vary, so it’s important to consult with the Secretary of State’s office to make sure you’re in compliance. In addition to registering your business, you may also need to obtain other licenses and permits, depending on the type of business you’re running and its location. 

For example, businesses that serve food or alcohol will need to obtain a permit from the health department. Similarly, businesses that operate in certain locations may need to obtain a permit from the city or county. 

What is Considered a Small Business in Ohio?

In Ohio, small businesses are defined as firms employing fewer than 500 employees. This definition is based on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) size standards, which are used to determine eligibility for government contracting and other assistance programs. According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all employer firms in the state.


Starting a business in Ohio with no money is possible if you are willing to put in the work. There are a number of steps you will need to take, including systemizing and organizing your business, branding and marketing it, and creating a website. With some hard work and dedication, you can start a successful business in Ohio with no money.

Charles McMillan
Charles McMillan
Charles is a family man, an entrepreneur, and a writer. He is skilled in finding the balance between efficiency, affordability, and high-quality offerings when it comes to business services. He’s on a continuing mission to discover and rediscover the most popular LLC services, while sharing his most accurate assessment and review to help business owners like himself.