BUSINESS START-UP GUIDE: A ROADMAP TO OPENING A BUSINESS IN THE CITY OF NORMAN
Thank you for considering the City of Norman as the home of your new business! To help facilitate launching your new business seamlessly, we have assembled the following information to help you navigate the various city departments and other agencies necessary to embark on your new venture.
Please note, requirements may vary according to the type of business you intend to start, and it is the responsibility of the business to make sure they have the appropriate approvals, including required licenses, before opening. We hope you find this information helps you avoid any delays in the process.
Plan your business
Plan your business
Opening a business is a multi-step process that, without proper planning, can often be complex and costly. Before you launch, it is a good idea to thoroughly research several aspects of your business, including but not limited to the following:
- Develop a marketable business concept
- Identify a target market, product or service customer group
- Determine business location
- Develop a marketing strategy
- Identify operational needs
- Project start-up expenses
- Create projected financial statements for three business years (realistic case, best case, and worst case)
- Research competition
- Select advisors (consultant, lawyer, CPA, etc.)
There are several low-cost or free resources available to assist entrepreneurs in the start-up process including:
- U.S. Small Business Administration: www.sba.gov
- Oklahoma Department of Commerce: www.okcommerce.gov/business
- Oklahoma Small Business Development Center: www.oksbdc.org
- Oklahoma City Score: www.oklahomacity.score.org
Register your business & business structure
Search for business name availability and register your business name and structure with the Oklahoma Secretary of State
Oklahoma Secretary of State
421 NW 13th Street, Suite 210
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Depending on the nature of your business, you may also consider register your trademark with the federal government.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Always consider tax implications and legal liabilities as you select the business structure that's right for your business. While it is not required, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney and/or a CPA for advice as to which legal structure (sole proprietor, general partnership, limited liability company, etc.) best suits your needs.
Register with Tax Authorities
everal types of taxes may be levied on businesses including income tax, employment tax, sales tax, etc. For state taxes and to obtain a sales tax I.D. number, visit the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The Oklahoma Tax Commission also hosts free tax workshops for new business periodically across the state (view the schedule here).
Oklahoma Tax Commission
2501 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73194
All forms of legal structure, except sole proprietors with no employees, must obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). The FEIN is your federal tax I.D. number, and is administered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Internal Revenue Service
Understand your responsibilites as an employer
A new set of responsibilities arise when a business hires employees. The business must register as an employer with federal and state authorities, pay additional taxes, file new hire reports, withhold, match and submit employee withholdings, obtain workers' compensation insurance, and adhere to employee eligibility regulations. To learn more about these and other responsibilities, please contact:
Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
Select your business site, zoning & site permit requirements
When selecting a site, it is important to make sure the zoning is appropriate for your type of business and the site meets your business needs in terms of location, size, access, parking, etc. If you need assistance finding a site or market data about your potential site, please contact the City's Retail Marketing Coordinator.
If you will be constructing a new building, remodeling an existing building, or renovating a site, you will likely need to apply for a building permit. All work must conform to the current building codes and meet ADA standards. You may need to hire a licensed architect, engineer, and/or contractor with expertise in these areas. If the building will undergo a change a use, you will likely need to obtain a building permit and/or a certificate of occupancy. If you have questions about the development process in Norman, please contact the City's Development Coordinator.
The City of Norman's zoning code also regulates the types and sizes of permanent and temporary signs allowed within city limits. Please make sure to get the appropriate approvals before installing your signage.
Below are several relevant links to the City of Norman Planning and Community Development Department.
Determine if your business requires special permits or licenses
Obtain required licenses or permits from the agencies or governments that issue them as well as information on regulations and other operating requirements. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce has information on what is required for various industries at www.okcommerce.gov/business/licensing.
Some businesses will require additional licenses from the City of Norman, the Oklahoma State Health Department, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) Commission, or other entities.
City of Norman, City Clerk's Office
201 West Gray Street
Norman, OK 73069
Oklahoma State Department of Health, Consumer Health Services
1000 N.E. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OKC 73117
Oklahoma ABLE Commission
3812 N. Santa Fe, Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Call for inspections, obtain final approvals & certificate of occupancy
A building inspection may be required prior to opening your business. If building and trade permits (electrical, mechanical, plumbing) are required, final approved inspections will be required in advance of obtaining your Certificate of Occupancy. For questions about building permits and inspections, please contact the City's Permit Services Supervisor. Outside licensing agencies, such as the County Health Department and the ABLE Commission, will also likely need to complete a final inspection prior to opening day.