Starting a Business in Nebraska: 8 Essential Steps

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Swyft Filings is committed to providing accurate, reliable information to help you make informed decisions for your business. That's why our content is written and edited by professional editors, writers, and subject matter experts. Learn more about how Swyft Filings works, our editorial team and standards, what our customers think of us, and more on our trust page.

Kevin McGrath
Written by Kevin McGrath
Written byKevin McGrath
Updated November 08, 2023
Edited by Carlos Serrano
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Are you dreaming of entrepreneurial independence and eager to be your own boss? Starting a business in Nebraska could be the ideal pathway to make your dreams a reality. In the heartland of America, Nebraska offers a supportive environment with robust incentives, a skilled workforce, affordable living costs, and excellent infrastructure, making it an ideal location for businesses of any scale to thrive.[1]

Start Operating in Nebraska: Key Points

  1. Nebraska offers a supportive ecosystem with a high business survival rate, making it an attractive destination for startups.

  2. Crafting a well-thought-out business plan is crucial, defining goals, target markets, financial projections, and marketing strategies.

  3. Selecting the appropriate business structure impacts operations, taxes, and liability, requiring thorough research and consideration.

Set the Stage for Business Success

Easily start your business and remain compliant with our all-in-one tools, guiding you well past the initial setup with the right support and documents.

Start Your Business Journey

Ready to Start a Nebraska Business?

Are you eager to put your entrepreneurial dreams into action and start operating in Nebraska? Setting up a business in Nebraska doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, even for someone new to the entrepreneurial world. The Cornhusker State offers a supportive environment for small businesses, encouraging innovation and growth. 

However, becoming a successful business owner isn’t just about having a brilliant idea — it’s also about understanding processes like incorporation and acquiring the necessary permits and licenses. 

Below are the fundamental steps you need to follow to start your business journey in Nebraska. Take the leap with your eyes wide open and all the necessary tools at your disposal.

1. Choose a Business Idea

Embarking on a business journey starts with a powerful business idea. For many Nebraska entrepreneurs, that idea might already be alive and burning brightly. If you haven’t found your concept yet, don’t worry. You could start by discovering a problem begging for a solution, or connecting a passion with a practical business opportunity.

Finding the spark that will ignite your entrepreneurial journey might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Take a moment to reflect on your skills, your interests, and the needs of your community. Whether it’s a hobby you can monetize, a service you’re skilled in, or a product you think the market needs, your business idea should align with your strengths and passions. 

From environmental innovations to services tailored for recent college graduates, the spectrum of opportunities is vast. Don’t limit yourself — Nebraska’s business climate thrives on innovation and diversity. 

Get ready to start operating in Nebraska with the idea that speaks to you and fills a unique market gap by asking yourself the following questions: 

  • What are my unique skills and talents?

  • What are my passions and interests?

  • What problems or challenges do I see in my community that need solutions?

  • What products or services do I wish were available but aren’t?

  • How can I leverage Nebraska’s business-friendly environment and diverse opportunities for my business idea?

2. Draft a Nebraska Business Plan

Embarking on your entrepreneurial journey in Nebraska starts with a solid business plan. This roadmap guides your startup's direction, helping you articulate your business needs and strategize for success. Starting a business without a plan can lead to unexpected challenges. 

So, to prevent such pitfalls, consider these key steps as you draft your Nebraska business plan:

Market Research – Understand Nebraska's Business 

It's essential to conduct in-depth market research. To start, identify potential competitors, target demographics, and industry trends. This information will help you make informed decisions about your business strategy.

Business Definition – Set Clear Business Goals & Mission

Clearly define the goals and mission of your business. Having a well-defined purpose will guide your decisions and actions, ensuring that your business stays focused and on track to achieve success.

Financial Forecasts – Map Out Revenue Expectations & Costs

Create detailed financial forecasts that outline your projected revenue, expenses, and profit margins. These forecasts will help you understand the economic viability of your business and attract potential investors or lenders.

Marketing Strategy – Plan Customer Acquisition & Retention 

Create an all-encompassing marketing plan that effectively targets and appeals to your desired audience. Utilize various marketing channels, such as digital marketing, social media, and traditional advertising, to promote your business and retain a loyal customer base.

3. Select a Business Name

Choosing the right business name is a crucial step when starting a business in Nebraska. A good name forms the foundation of your brand and helps distinguish your business in the competitive marketplace. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while deciding on a name:

  • Make it unique and distinctive

  • Ensure it resonates with your target market

  • Avoid complicated spellings and pronunciation

To prevent legal and branding issues down the road, you should also perform a thorough search to ensure your proposed name isn’t already in use. You can do this through Nebraska’s official online business search tool.[2] For added assurance, consider also using Swyft Filings’ Free Business Name Search tool.

After confirming the availability of your chosen name, you can reserve it with the state of Nebraska, allowing you some time to start your business officially. 

Male manager putting his ideas and writing business plan

4. Choose a Business Structure

Choosing an appropriate business structure is a fundamental step in launching a new business. The structure you select will influence your operations, tax obligations, and personal liability, so it’s essential to consider your options carefully:

  1. Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC provides flexibility in operations and shields your personal assets by offering limited liability protection.

  2. C Corporation: This structure is ideal for larger businesses as it allows for an unlimited number of shareholders and potential growth.

  3. DBA ('Doing Business As'): While not a legal entity itself, a DBA permits you to conduct business under a trade name, which can enhance your brand recognition.

  4. Nonprofit: This is a good choice for organizations seeking to provide a public benefit and achieve tax-exempt status.

  5. S Corporation: Notably, an S Corporation is a tax status, not a business structure. It allows businesses that meet specific IRS criteria to benefit from pass-through taxation.

While these structures offer unique advantages, it’s crucial for you as an entrepreneur to research and decide which one aligns best with your business goals and operational needs. If you’re feeling uncertain, consider asking yourself these questions to help narrow down your choices:

  • What level of personal liability am I comfortable with?

  • Do I want to separate my personal assets from business liabilities?

  • How much paperwork and administrative burden am I willing to handle?

  • Do I plan to raise capital from investors or venture into public markets?

  • Will I have employees, and how do I want to handle payroll and benefits?

Additionally, seeking advice from professionals, like our business experts at Swyft Filings, can provide valuable insights to aid in your decision-making process.

5. File Business Formation Documents

Navigating the business formation process in Nebraska requires understanding and filing the proper documents. The specific paperwork depends on your chosen business structure but can include a Certificate of Incorporation or Certificate of Formation, an Operating Agreement, and Corporate Bylaws. Errors or noncompliance in these filings can result in penalties or legal complications. 

Partnering with us ensures accuracy, allowing you to focus on growing your business. Remember, in Nebraska, most companies will need a registered agent, a role Swyft Filings can also fulfill.

The Nebraska Secretary of State’s website is a valuable resource to explore.[3] You can find a wealth of information, forms, and fee details related to business services on their website. Whether you need to register your business, file necessary documents, or obtain essential permits, the site offers a user-friendly platform to guide you through the process.

6. Apply for Nebraska Business Licenses & Permits

Operating a business in Nebraska requires appropriate business licenses and permits, whose specifics can vary depending on the nature of your business. These could be general, such as a sales tax permit, or industry-specific, like a liquor license for a bar or a cosmetology license for a salon. 

Proceed with caution on this step. Not securing the proper permits and licenses can lead to hefty fines or the shutting down of your business. To assist you in identifying and applying for these essential permits, Our Business Licenses and Research service can be a valuable resource. We offer comprehensive help to startups and small businesses in their journey toward successful incorporation and operation in Nebraska.

Additionally, it’s essential to consult your local county and city government offices in Nebraska to gain further insights into the specific licenses and permits required for your business. Each locality may have unique regulations and requirements, so it’s crucial to be thorough in your research. 

By visiting your county and city websites, you can access valuable information and contacts that will help you navigate the process with confidence. Remember, compliance with local regulations is a crucial aspect of running a successful and legally sound business in Nebraska. 

Portrait Of Couple Running Coffee Shop Behind Counter

7. File and Report Business Taxes

Filing and reporting business taxes is a critical part of maintaining your business’s legal standing. In Nebraska, you must be aware of various state-specific taxes, including the Nebraska franchise tax.[4] On top of state taxes, you must also keep track of federal tax deadlines the IRS sets. Not filing or paying taxes can result in penalties such as fines, interest charges, and possible liens on your business property.

Here are some critical steps to keep in mind to ensure proper tax filing and payment in Nebraska:

Understand Your Federal Tax Obligations

When starting a business in Nebraska, it's crucial to be well-informed about your federal tax obligations. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides comprehensive guidelines and resources to help businesses understand their tax responsibilities. Familiarize yourself with the various tax forms, deductions, credits, and reporting requirements to ensure compliance and avoid any potential issues with the IRS.

Be Aware of Nebraska-Specific Taxes

In addition to federal taxes, Nebraska imposes certain state-specific taxes that may apply to your business. One such tax is the Nebraska franchise tax, which applies to certain companies. It’s essential to understand the specific tax laws and regulations in Nebraska to calculate and remit any state taxes owed.

Track & Meet All Tax Deadlines

Meeting tax deadlines is vital to avoid penalties and fines. Both federal and state tax agencies set specific due dates for tax filings and payments. Keeping track of these deadlines and submitting your tax returns on time will help you maintain your business's legal standing and financial health.

Maintain Good Records

Maintaining accurate and organized financial records is essential for a smooth tax filing process. It can also be valuable in case of any potential audits. Keep records of income, expenses, deductions, and other financial transactions to support the information in your tax returns. Good record-keeping practices will not only simplify tax filing but also provide you with valuable insights into your business’s financial performance.

8. Open a Business Bank Account

Opening a dedicated business bank account offers numerous advantages that can streamline your finances and foster business growth. By keeping personal and business finances separate, you gain several benefits, such as financial clarity, professionalism, and legal protection. 

Maintaining separate accounts helps protect your personal assets in case of legal issues or financial liabilities. Having a dedicated business bank account also simplifies taxes, avoiding any potential confusion between personal and business transactions.  

To open a business bank account, you will typically need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) provided by the IRS. Swyft Filings offers an easy-to-use service to help you obtain your EIN, ensuring you meet this requirement. 

Take Your First Steps Toward Small Business Ownership

At Swyft Filings, we understand that starting a business can be thrilling and daunting. That’s why we’re here to support you every step of the way. As a leading business formation service, we take pride in helping entrepreneurs like you make their dreams a reality. Our user-friendly platform and expert guidance will ensure your business formation process is smooth, efficient, and compliant.

You can confidently start a business in Nebraska, knowing that all the necessary paperwork and filings will be handled. Assistance will be provided to you by our team of experts. Obtaining the required licenses and permits and nearly every other aspect of starting a small business, including name registration and getting your EIN.

Don’t let the fear of bureaucracy and paperwork hold you back from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams. Embrace the possibilities of small business ownership in Nebraska, and let us be your trusted partner in this exciting journey. Take the leap, and together, we’ll build a solid foundation for your business success in Nebraska.

Your Dream, Our Mission: Partnering for Success
  • Your Perfect Fit: Whether you're looking at a simple LLC or a dedicated nonprofit, we'll help you identify the best structure for your dream business.

  • Continued Support: Your entrepreneurial journey doesn’t stop at formation. Our key management services help ensure your business thrives. 

  • Tailored Affordability: Get value-packed options suited to your business needs, starting at just $0 + state fees.

Begin Your Business Journey

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Starting a Business in Nebraska

Is Nebraska a good place to start a business?

Nebraska presents a welcoming environment for those looking to start a business. The high business survival rate in the state speaks volumes, suggesting a promising landscape for startups. Companies launched in Nebraska generally stand a better chance of overcoming initial challenges and progressing into successful enterprises.

How much does it cost to start operating in Nebraska?

Starting a business in Nebraska will incur several costs, which may vary depending on the nature of the company, its structure, and the industry in which it operates. Here is a general breakdown of potential costs associated with starting a business in Nebraska:

  • Business Formation Costs: These involve the fees for filing the necessary paperwork to establish your business structure, such as an LLC or a corporation. For instance, the filing fee for an LLC in Nebraska is approximately $105, and corporations cost around $60-$120.

  • Registered Agent Fees: In Nebraska, most businesses must have a registered agent. You have the option to act as your own registered agent without any cost or enlist the services of a professional registered agent. The price, typically between $50 and $300 per year, varies.

  • Business Name Reservation Fee: If you decide to reserve your business name before incorporation, the Nebraska Secretary of State charges a $15 fee.

  • Business Licenses and Permits: Costs can vary widely depending on the nature of your business. For example, a sales tax permit is free, but other licenses can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars.

  • Professional Services: Legal, accounting, and consulting services could be essential in ensuring the smooth setup and operation of your business. The cost of your business can vary depending on its complexity, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

  • Marketing and Advertising Costs: These costs depend on the scale of your marketing efforts. They could include website setup and maintenance, online advertising, print advertising, and more.

  • Rent and Utilities: If you're operating out of a physical location, costs for commercial rental and utilities can be a significant portion of your initial outlay.

  • Employee Wages: To hire employees from the outset, you must account for wages and benefits.

  • Equipment and Supplies: Depending on your business type, you may need to purchase industry-specific equipment, technology, or supplies.

  • Insurance: Business insurance protects your business from potential liabilities. The costs depend on the level of coverage you choose and the nature of your business.

Keep in mind these are general estimates, and actual costs may vary. 

Can I start a business in Nebraska without a business plan?

You can start a business in Nebraska without a business plan. However, this may not be the most advisable route to take. Despite no legal stipulation necessitating a business plan, its utility in structuring your venture cannot be overstated. 

A business plan offers several benefits vital for entrepreneurs and small business owners, including a strategic roadmap, risk mitigation, and a way to set financial projections and funding requirements.

What does Nebraska require to start a business?

Starting a business in Nebraska involves several steps, and specific legal requirements must be met:

  1. Choose a Business Structure

  2. Register Your Business

  3. Obtain an EIN

  4. Business Licenses and Permits

  5. Register for Taxes

  6. Unemployment Insurance Tax and Workers' Compensation

  7. Open a Business Bank Account

What is the process for starting a business in Nebraska?

The process for starting a business in Nebraska involves several steps, including:

  • You'll need to choose a business idea and conduct market research.

  • You'll need to select a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation.

  • You must register your business with the Nebraska Secretary of State’s office and obtain any required licenses and permits.

  • It’s essential to comply with tax obligations and have a solid business plan to guide your growth and success.


  1. Nebraska Department of Economic Development. "Why Nebraska?" Accessed July 22, 2023.

  2. Nebraska Secretary of State. "Corporate and Business Search." Accessed July 22, 2023.

  3. Nebraska Secretary of State. "Forms and Fee Information." Accessed July 22, 2023.

  4. Nebraska Department of Revenue. "Businesses." Accessed July 22, 2023.

Originally published on November 08, 2023, and last edited on November 08, 2023.
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