STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the state and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your LLC name should contain the words ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable.  If needed, file an Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name form to reserve the name for 120 days.

Filing fee: $20

STEP 2) CHOOSE A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentAn Indiana Registered Agent. is an individual or recognized/registered business entity in the state with a physical street address (typically non-P.O. Box) responsible for receiving and helping to handle/process all official documents like state filings, legal notices, important tax forms, etc.

That said, you can hire a third party service and pay up to $160 a year or get an Indiana Registered Agent free of charge when you Incorporate with IncFile.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCArticles of Organization must be filed through the Indiana Business Services Division under the Secretary of State’s office to legally register an LLC in Indiana. When you’re ready download the form, read it carefully and understand it, fill it out appropriately and then submit with the filing fee.

Note: If an “Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name” form was filed to reserve the name, then it should also be attached to the Articles of Organization. You can submit through either mail or the state’s online application system.

Filing Fee: $90

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCIn the same exact way American individuals must have a social security number, all legal Indiana businesses must have an EIN, or Employer Identification Number. It’s used by state/federal agencies to track your business activity and make it possible for you to hire employees, set up official bank accounts, pay taxes and so forth.

While there are others ways to apply, you can get your EIN free or charge, quick and easy directly through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountThis is one of the more fun steps to take because you get to see what sorts of perks, bonuses, and advantages banks/credit unions are offering for your business account. Make sure to do your homework. Don’t just set up shop where you already conduct personal banking because they may not have the best deals by a long shot.

Furthermore, it’s absolutely critical that your brand’s finances are separated from any and all other accounts. It should be a single stream funneling into your accounting software. To start brushing up, check out this neat Checking Accounts article that breaks down some of the basics.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementThis is a document that our readers, plenty of experts, and ourselves advise you think about creating. It’s not mandatory or a legal requirement, but what it does is add a layer of safety for everyone involved (including the company) and lays out duties/responsibilities. It also, “defines each member or manager’s rights, powers, and entitlements. This includes capital accounts, membership interest, distributions of profit and allocated tax responsibility, etc.” It’s about being professional and building structure.

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

STEP 7) HANDLE INDIANA BUSINESS TAXES & LICENSING

Business Licenses

Indiana is a very business-friendly state and their regulatory environment can be a cake walk for most small brands setting up shop within her borders. How complex or simple it will be, and how much red tape is involved ultimately depends on the nature of your business, how many employees you have, whether you work with the public, specific location, and so on.

Bookmark the Indianapolis district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Business Services Division’s guide because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all documents for you.

OPTIONAL) CREATE A SOLID BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanThese days you don’t need to be a gifted writer, have an MBA, or tons of experience building businesses to create a gorgeous presentation-ready business plan. There’s really no reason not to empower your business ideas with a real game plan, and hundreds of reasons to get serious about it. Furthermore, behind every single legitimate success in the business world is a detailed plan that got it from milestone to milestone.

See for yourself!

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our guide to Business Planning Tools which breaks down all the best software solutions to help you strategize better.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A FUNCTIONAL BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteThere’s no question, every serious brand must maintain a digital presence whether that be a blog, a responsive agency-based site, or a comprehensive eCommerce platform. Thankfully over the last four or five years the process has evolved far beyond the conventional “Hire a Designer” method which can be great, or a complete disaster.

Thanks to platforms like Wix and SquareSpace it’s become a ton easier, cheaper, and less time consuming. If you want to do everything yourself or through a designer, WordPress is still one of the go-to’s. To see what we mean, check out this brief WordPress Tutorial to explore the possibilities.

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 Indiana 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 Indiana or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.