Registering your business in Ohio isn’t as difficult as you might think. In fact, some people can complete the process in as little as fifteen minutes!
After you’ve done your research and decided what type of business entity you want to start (I generally recommend that most people form a limited liability company), your first stop is Business services on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. Then click on “Online File” and log into your existing account or create a new one (you will see these links at the top left).
Creating your profile is pretty straightforward and once you’re done the site will confirm the username and password you created. The site also gives you an “e-signature”. You’ll use all three (username, password, and electronic signature) every time you log in, so keep track of them.
Now that you are logged into your account, you will be presented with several options. Hover your mouse pointer over “Business Declarations” and choose “File a new business or register a new name”. From the drop-down list that says “Pick one,” select the action you want to do (in this case, I’m choosing to register a limited liability company that will be located in Ohio). If for some reason you need to expedite your deposit, you can do so for an additional fee. I’m in no real rush so can see my deposit will cost $ 99.
After clicking “Continue” you will be given the option to see if the name of the company you want to use is available. It only takes a second to do and it can save you time overall. In fact, I really suggest reviewing this before you even create your account. You can search for businesses registered in the state of Ohio at any time here. Basically, if the name you want to use appears “Canceled”, “Dead” or not at all, you should be able to use it.
Now that you’ve sorted everything out on your name, just click on “Start Deposit”. For each field that you can fill, it will tell you whether this information is necessary or not. For example, the name you want to give to your business is very necessary while having an “object clause” is not. Don’t forget to indicate on this page whether you are starting a profit or non-profit business!
On the next page, you indicate who is the legal agent of your company. Simply put, the agent must be a resident of the state in which you are registering the business. So, strange as it sounds, you can be both the owner of your business and the statutory agent. It is possible that another company is the statutory agent of your company, but that is a bit outside of this introduction. Be sure to “sign” the last box to indicate that you agree to be the agent for your company, even if you choose to be that agent.
The next page asks if you are going to attach files to your registration: attachments are quite rare. If you’re not sure, just click “Why would I need an attachment?” Which specifies when you would need to add anything.
We are nearing the end! On the next page you will put your name in the first box to “sign” again that you are okay with everything. If you have a partner, or several partners, they will add their “signatures” by clicking on Add then by typing their name in a similar field.
Once done, you hit “save and continue” and then check that everything is correct and hit “preview document”. The preview usually opens in a new tab in your web browser, so just click the tab on the left to return to your registration. If everything looks good and you are ready to deposit, click “Check for Payment”.
No, click on the box to the left of Document ID, tap “Add selected deposit (s) to checkout,” then pay for the deposits. Enter your credit / debit card information and press “Confirm and continue”.
Now I know I promised it was a really easy thing to do and I still stick to it, despite how many words it took me to explain the process. The good news is that you are not alone if you are looking to register your business with the state. Librarians at the Business and Investment Center and the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County are here to help you navigate this process and many more.
Edward Koltonski is the librarian of the Business & Investment Center. To make an appointment, call 330-744-8636 or email the Librarian at the Business and Investment Center at [email protected]
This press release was produced by Youngstown and Mahoning County Public Library. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.