Starting a Business in Madison

So you have just moved to Madison with your entire family and eager to start a business? Have no worries because we will give you tips on how to get your business going in this wonderful capital while you are settling in your beautiful community and home with a bold red garage door.

In Madison, “the customer base is fantastic.” That is according to one happy entrepreneur by the name of Tony Trapp who owns the Trapp Remodeling and Repairs business. Trapp, a successful entrepreneur, is himself a transplant. He has started his home remodeling business in Madison in 2002. For him and countless other entrepreneurs, having a business in Madison is full of perks, which include the following:

Madison has all the amenities of a big city.

As the capital of Wisconsin, Madison has all the benefits of a big city, with a buzzing university vibe, wonderful arts and culture scene, hospitals, business establishments and all. It is a very active community with bike lanes and trails. The best part – Madison has lower cost of living, good for residents and business owners.

The people of Madison patronize local products.

It is great to note that the Madison community all support locally made products, especially food products. Madison has a bustling Dane Country Farmers’ Market where residents and visitors buy produce from local farmers, such as meat, cheese and baked goods.

Madison is considered a foodie haven.

The people of Madison all love their locally-sourced and produced food. It has a wonderful food scene that offers local products as well as global cuisines that are locally made. It also has a food truck scene that is usually a way to test out a business idea.

Unfortunately, there can also be challenges to owning a business in Madison. This includes finding funding. However, this can perhaps be solved through crowd-funding and taking out loans. The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation also offers microloans for local businesses. The cold winter can also be brutal for business as it prevents people from going out and supporting local businesses. At the same time, there are usually traffic disruptions during the spring and summer which can affect local businesses.

However, in order to be able to cope with all of these challenges, here are some nice tips:

Choose a great location for your business.

Try to find a business location near State Street or Capitol to ensure good foot traffic. You may also want to consider Monroe Street on Madison’s west side, the Willy Street Neighborhood and downtown Middleton.

Register your business, if required.

If you gave a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, you are not required to register your business. However, all corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies or limited liability partnerships must be registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

Get relevant licenses and permits.

Use the SBA Business Licenses and Permits tool to check the kind of federal and state licenses that your business requires. The City of Madison Clerk’s Office also provides information about local licenses, such as food and alcohol licenses and sellers’ permits. It always pays to double check on all of these requirements.


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