First, the name of your brand needs to be a) available, b) unique to other names, and c) without any restricted words or wording. Start by conducting a Business Entity Search through the state. Then, conduct another search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office if trademark issues are a possibility.
Also, your business name should contain ‘Limited Liability Company’ or alternatively, any of these acronyms: ‘L.L.C’, ‘LLC’, ‘L.C.’ or ‘LC’. If needed, you can file an Application for Reservation of Corporate Name form for $22.50 by mail or $25 online.
A Registered Agent is really an intermediary between you and state/government agencies, responsible for accepting and helping to handle/process all legal documents – state filings, official tax forms, notices, etc. Basic requirements are that the agent must be a recognized Arkansas resident or registered company with a street address.
Feel free to check out our Arkansas Registered Agent Guide where you’ll learn about your options: hire a service and pay up to $160/year, elect someone within your company, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you Incorporate with IncFile.
Now that you have an official registered agent on your team, the next step to legally being able to conduct business you’ll also need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Arkansas Secretary of State. It’s a declarative document that discloses some of the basics of your new LLC for the public record so don’t take this step until you’re ready.
Filing Fee: $45 online / $50 mail.
Your EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a regulatory requirement that among other things makes it possible to get a business bank account set up in the next step, make tax season much smoother, hire employees, etc. Think of it like a social security number for your LLC.
You can easily get your Arkansas EIN through the Internal Revenue Service free of charge.
Along with all the many perks that come with a dedicated business bank account, the ability to keep your company finances completely separate from all others is a powerful safety move. Everything should be centralized outside personal income or assets for a large variety of reasons – effective budgeting and tax season or two good ones.
Do some research before opening a business bank account. The best bank may or may not be the bank that houses your personal account. Once you get this step up sync it with your accounting software and you’re golden.
When starting a business, an LLC Operating Agreement is highly advised. It’s not mandatory or required by law, but this agreement protects you, your team and the company by outlining ownership, management, and management responsibilities in contractual form.
To get started, consider checking out this Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.
This step is the real meat and bones of the red tape. Once these are dealt with you’re safe to conduct business under the protections of law.
To get started bookmark the Little Rock district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Sec. of State’s Corporations section because they’re likely going to be go-to sources for a variety of things along the way. Also, consider investing in professional Business License Research packages that source all the right forms quickly and without mishap.
How detailed is your current business plan? Do you have a game plan? Listen, at the end of the day no legitimate business can survive without a professional business plan that outlines goals/objectives, financials/budgeting, marketing, management, and so forth. Furthermore, no serious investor, potential partner, bank, or crowdfunding platform will take you seriously without one.
The good news is that you don’t need experience with this anymore, or a business degree, or to even be a good writer. There are modern solutions that can take your core data and create presentation-ready plans, with intuitive instructions that lead you through each section. To learn more check out our free resources below.
QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING
One of the last steps, ironically, is establishing a digital presence for your brand whether that be a simple single page agency-style site or a comprehensive ecommerce store. Regardless, the 21st century has made a website a requirement.
There are tons of platforms and options in this respect, but for now we’ll keep it simple and let you know you can learn more about the ever-popular WordPress in this WordPress Beginners Guide that walks you through the basics. Enjoy!
Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Arkansas isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form an LLC in Arkansas or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.