STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC NAME

Choose a Business NameFirst, check to see if the name you would like is already taken/registered with the state, too similar to another, or contains restricted words. Start by conducting a business entity search using the Colorado Business Database, as well as the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind the name must contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Liability Company’ or abbreviations like ‘LLC’ or ‘L.L.C.’ can also be used. If needed, you can also file a Statement of Reservation of Name form online to reserve for 120 days for $25.

STEP 2) CHOOSE A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Registered Agent is someone who officially receives and helps to handle all legal business documentation on your company’s behalf like state filings, legal forms, tax forms, various kinds of notices, etc.

  • The Registered Agent should be a resident of Colorado
  • If it’s a business entity, the business should have Colorado as its principal place of conducting business.
  • If it’s a foreign business entity, it should be authorized to conduct business in the state.
  • An LLC, or owner thereof, cannot be its own Registered Agent in CO.

So if you don’t have a legal team you can hire an outside professional and pay up to $160/year or obtain a Colorado Registered Agent free of charge when by Incorporating with IncFile.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCThis is a legal document that must be filed with the state to legally do business within its borders. Download an Article of Organization form, carefully fill it out, then it will need to be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.

It’s an official declaration for the public record that lists your business name and address, hours of operation, ownership information, founding date, and other basics. That said, make sure you read the instructions carefully and only file with the state when you’re ready to go into business.

LLC Filing Fee: $50

STEP 4) ACQUIRE AN EIN FOR YOUR LLC

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a unique identifier for your business (like a social security number) that among other things allows you to set up business bank accounts in the next step, legally hire employees, and properly file/handle state and federal taxes.

Don’t fret, you can easily obtain an EIN free of charge online by applying at the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountShould you use your current bank where your personal accounts are to open up a business bank account? Perhaps, but have you shopped around to see if there are better deals to be had? The perks lending institutions and banks are offering business clients today are impressive. Whats important is that your brand’s finances are completely separate from any other accounts and then synced with your accounting software.

Resource: Look into this Short Guide to Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where you choose to bank is extremely important!

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementWhile not a legal requirement, having one of these documents in place adds a huge layer of protection for all owners of the company along with the brand’s LLC status itself. It essentially lays out the financial and managerial duties responsibilities. So even solopreneurs should technically have one in their records.

To get started, consider checking out this nifty Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.

STEP 7) TACKLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING

Business Licenses

Taxes are taxes and for the most part it’s pretty simple for new entrepreneurs and startups to get going. It’s really a matter of forms and fees, and meeting licensing requirements as well. How complex will it be? Well, do you work with the public? Which county are you in? How many employees do you have? In this an online brand or will you have a brick & mortar establishment as well?

To dig in, bookmark the Denver district office of the Small Business Administration, and Colorado Business Express because they’re going to be go-to sources along the way.  Also, consider leveraging professional Business License Research packages that quickly source all needed documents for you.

OPTIONAL) CREATE A PROFESSIONAL BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

There are “wingin’it” plans and then there are serious professional business plans that you show to lending institutions, banks, capital investors, crowdfunding platforms, venture capitalists, and potential partners. Big difference. But don’t let that intimidate you, the days of 40-page formal business plans are long gone.

Thanks to modern software, the process is doable for complete beginners. It walks the user through each section and curates data into a presentation/funding-ready plan. To learn more, use the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  •  Check out our guide to Business Planning Tools which breaks down of all the best software solutions to help you plan better.
  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is specially designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteTo be taken seriously and open your brand to the digital world it needs a website, whether that be a responsive agency site, an eCommerce platform, or something between. While there are tons of options, to keep this guide simple we’ll just say that WordPress is a free manageable tool and in terms of hosting it’s hard to go wrong with Bluehost. Both are reliable, offer easy 1-click installation, and amazing customer support.

If you’re tackling this yourself, a great place to dive in is WebsiteSetup.org. Here’s to a prosperous year ahead and don’t forget we’re here to help in as many ways as we can. Cheers!

Need Help Forming Your LLC?

Have a reliable LLC filing service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Colorado 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 Colorado or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.