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Start a Business Association

Description

Creating a Business Association can be a beneficial way to collaborate with other businesses in your commercial district to work toward a shared vision for the area. Business Associations generally have dues, so the group will be able to implement projects. Creating a Business Association is also a good way to show the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Planning Office that you are committed to your commercial district and you may be a good candidate for a Business Improvement District (BID), Destination District, or other programs in the future. 

Steps 

  1. Organize a group of property owners and businesses with interest in working together on common issues and opportunities, such as making the area clean, safe, beautified and occupied. This group is generally called a Steering Committee.

  2. Draft tentative district boundaries. These initial boundaries may shift a bit based on feedback from all of the district’s stakeholders.

  3. Contact stakeholders to gather feedback on boundaries and issues through a combination of surveys, small group meetings, 1:1 meetings, and community meetings. Make sure all tenants and property owners are invited.

  4. The Steering Committee and stakeholders will define immediate priorities and action items, create a meeting schedule, and identify dues and a budget.

  5. Incorporate as a business association through the State of Oklahoma Secretary of State.

  6. After incorporation with the State, the business association can form a board of directors, adopt bylaws and terms of membership. Once the bylaws are adopted, apply for tax-exempt status and a 501(c)6 or (c)4 designation with the IRS. This will likely take 6+ months based on IRS timelines. Contact Destination Districts staff for example bylaws and assistance with this step.

  7. Create a strategic plan for the organization and the area. The plan should address issues and opportunities identified by stakeholders, such as branding, cleanup, parking, capital projects, and events. Destination Districts staff can provide resources and templates for this step.

  8. Register your Business Association with the City of Tulsa Working in Neighborhoods Department.

Resources 

Tulsa Planning Office Contact

Luisa Krug
lkrug@cityoftulsa.org
918.579.9454

Oklahoma Secretary of State
sos.ok.gov/business/forms.aspx

Internal Revenue Service
irs.gov/charities-and-nonprofits

Business Association Registration
cityoftulsa.org/government/departments/working-in-neighborhoods/neighborhoods/registration