Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Wisconsin (WI)

Doing business in Wisconsin might be more lucrative than you think! With the 7th best access to funding in the nation, the 7th lowest sales tax, and 10th ease of doing business overall, you may find your new Wisconsin-based business rolling in dough…and cheese.

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Best Business Ideas for Wisconsin

Wisconsin may be known for its cheese, but you don’t have to make cheddar to make cheese—if you know what we mean. Here are some small business ideas that are popular in Wisconsin:

  • Drive-in movie theater
  • Grocery store
  • Car dealership
  • Clothing boutique
  • Hearse repair specialist

Whatever you choose, it’s important to make sure you have a solid business plan set up. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Planning Processes

Planning your business can be daunting, we get it. That’s why we have a step-by-step instruction guide to drafting up your business plan.

1. Playing the name game

Choose a name for your business that is straightforward and doesn’t leave your customers wondering what exactly you do. While there are some rules and regulations for naming your business, don’t let that discourage you. For example, Gasket and Casket is an excellent name for your hearse repair specialist shop.

2.  Conducting market research

It’s crucial to get to know your market. Do search engine optimization research. Hold focus groups. Conduct surveys. You may find out surprising things! Gasket and Casket found out it may not have the lucrative business market it originally thought it would.

3.  Structuring your business

LLC, corporation, nonprofit, partnership, sole proprietorship: which is best? It depends on what your goal is. Registering as an LLC offers favorable tax treatment, while a nonprofit is funded by donations, as opposed to investors.

Gasket and Casket would likely work best as a corporation, LLC, partnership, or sole proprietorship.

Registering in Wisconsin

Get all the info you need about your business. Get your business’ name, the employer identification number (EIN), and the name of your registered agent, then file those formation documents. Depending on the structure you choose, you may need different documents.

Congratulations: Gasket and Casket is now a registered business in Wisconsin!

Best Location for Your Business in Wisconsin

Before you set up shop in the cemetery outside of your house, you’re going to need to consider a few things. Do you plan on having significant growth? Will your business rely heavily on foot traffic? If so, it would be a good idea to consider renting an office space in a heavily populated area, such as Milwaukee or Madison. Gasket or Casket needs a space with a large garage and parking lot. Whatever you decide your best option is, it’s important to ensure you get the proper documentation.

Banking and Accounting

It’s never a good idea to mix business and pleasure. Open a separate banking account for your business. This will not only help to protect your personal assets should your business get sued, it will also make it easier to monitor your business expenditures. It’s also a good idea to consider opening a credit line in your business’ name. Having established credit will make your business more attractive to potential lenders. We suggest hiring a business accountant or buying accounting software. Their services can help your business save thousands every year!

Ensure Your Business Is Insured

Business insurance is crucial to growing your small business in Wisconsin. It’s a way to ensure your business avoids any unknown risks, like an employee stubbing their toe on the property, or an American badger deciding that a hearse is a perfect place to raise a family. In Wisconsin, businesses with three or more employees (excluding business owners) are required to have worker’s comp insurance.

Permits and Licensing

Depending on what kind of business you’re opening and where you’re planning on opening it, you’re going to need different licenses and permits to operate it legally. The best way to determine what is needed for your business is to conduct a search on a federal and state level, then to call your clerk’s office and directly ask them what is needed on a local level. We recommend hiring a professional for this step to ensure you aren’t missing any important documentation.

Hiring Employees

When it comes to crafting your A-1 from Day 1 dream team, you’re going to want to ensure you’re doing it legally. This includes ensuring you’re registered with the IRS’ employee taxes, reporting all of your new hires to the state of Wisconsin, and registering for both unemployment insurance tax and withholding tax with the State of Wisconsin. After all of the tasks have been completed and your perfect team has been crafted, we recommend setting up a payroll. This not only ensures your employees get paid on time, but it helps you better manage your own time.


Branding is fun for some, miserable for others. How do you make your Wisconsin small business stand out? First, let’s start with the logo. Make sure your logo is representative of the brand and what you offer, and make sure it’s visually pleasing to your customer. Gasket or Casket thinks dark hues and a modern font work best to express what they do. You may decide light, muted colors work best for your brand. There is plenty of software online that can help you if you’re stumped, too.

Branding also requires you to think about what your values are as a company. Do you believe there aren’t enough hearse repair companies in the world? Do you think the idea of having an entire repair shop based on a pun is ridiculous? This might seem like an odd example, but it’s necessary to make it clear to yourself as much as to your customer the values your company holds itself to and what it can offer to your customers.

Do some personal reflection and truly embrace what your company believes in. Making sure these points strike home will ensure that your customers are in it for the long run.

Online Presence

In the day and age of social media, having an online presence for your brand is crucial. While this may include a website and online store (if applicable), this also means maintaining active Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok accounts. One of the best things you can do for your business is follow trends on social media. It makes you look hip and in-touch, and it will help your business flourish. Get creative!


Having an online presence is great, but what about marketing on those platforms? All legitimate businesses have a website. And, if we’re being honest, the less legitimate ones do, too. Unfortunately, social media profiles are not a replacement for a website. Having a professional website makes your brand seem trustworthy and reliable, and it offers more opportunities for good branding.

If this seems to be way too much stress, don’t worry! Companies like Ecwid help your store grow and succeed. They can help you create a beautiful, easy to navigate website while allowing you to market your products on other online platforms mentioned above. Ecwid even allows you to track your digital sales on a dashboard, where you can see your inventory. They’ll help make sure your Wisconsin small business is geared up for success.

Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

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Start Selling Products & Services Online

You don’t have to worry about the office or warehouse if you choose to sell online. Save your time and money.

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Learn the basics

Starting an Online Store Business is Easy.
We’ll Show You.

So you’re ready to start selling online. Now the million-dollar question… where do you start?

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Read real stories

Get Yourself Ready
For Surprises

Check out our blog series all about starting an online store without prior experience. It‘s sort of like our own ecommerce reality show—starring Nicole.

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Find a product

Looking For Things
To Sell Online?

Discover best-selling products and how you can start selling them online and make money.

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Select sales channels

Catch Your Customers Where They Are

We’ll help you navigate through the market and find the most profitable channels.

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Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

Start Selling Online

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