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 Sec. of 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 words like ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed/available, you can file an Application for Reservation of Name to reserve for 60 days.
Filing Fee: $30.
A Massachusetts Registered Agent is the person or organization that receives and helps process important documents (state filings, tax forms, legal notices, etc.) on behalf of your business. They must be a Mass. resident or registered business entity with the state and be available during all regular M-F office hours.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a MA Registered Agent free of charge when you Incorporate with IncFile. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.
To officially register an LLC, download, fill out and submit the MA LLC Certificate of Organization with the Secretary of the Commonwealth Corporations Division. Read it carefully and don’t take this step until you’re ready to set up shop, ideally.
The filing is a declarative document that announces to the state the nature of your business, your operating hours, ownership information, brand name and address, your registered agent, and other basic details for the public record.
LLC Filing Fee: Online – $520, Mail – $500
Your Massachusetts EIN/FEIN, or Federal Employer Identification Number is used to identify your LLC and to track your business activity. Think of it like a social security number for your business.
You’ll need an EIN number for tax purposes, hiring employees, and opening a bank account for the LLC. To get yours you can print out and mail in This IRS Form or apply online using the IRS Website.
The next step to is to a) set up a completely separate and branded business account with a great bank/credit union, then b) sync it with your business accounting software. And be sure to shop around at different banking institutions, don’t just assume where you bank personally is the best fit!
These days there are a ton of perks for business accounts, both savings and checkings. Banks have expanded their services by a pretty large margin so take some time. Where you build your brand’s financial persona is an important decision. If you’re interested check out this brief breakdown article on Small Business Checking Accounts to see the basics of what major banks offer.
This is a highly recommended internal document to draft for your protection as well as the brand’s new LLC status. It should outline the basic operational as well as financial rules and responsibilities. This way any relationships or partnerships related to your business will be clearly outlined so no toes are stepped on (among other reasons).
To get started, consider checking out this nifty Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.
How complex this step is and how much paperwork is involved, along with fees, depends on the nature of your business. Other things to consider are whether you’re going to work with the public and your specific location. This step above all else is where you should really turn to a lawyer. If you can’t afford one, consider working with less expensive incorporation providers or filing services.
Otherwise, bookmark the Boston district office of the Small Business Administration and Mass.gov’s Business Services portal because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all needed documents for you.
Unbelievable work, what a trooper! At this point your LLC is pretty much official, declared, and can now legally conduct business in the great state of Massachusetts. To be prudent, here are two other steps to take seriously to get the very most out of your business ideas as you continue growing and expanding.
These days the very formal 40-page business plans have gone out of style for the most part, especially within the realm of startups and venture capital. What investors, VCs, and potential partners want to see is that you’ve got your core fundamentals pretty much nailed down.
This includes marketing/expansion methods, financials/forecasts, demographics/customer personas, and then of course your executive summary and pitch which is where everything begins. You get the idea. Don’t wing this stuff. Get serious and have a game plan in place to improve efficiency and follow-through.
When it comes to getting your brand’s website up and running, or maintaining and updating it over time, no one’s saying it should be easy. Where do modern businesses begin and their digital brands end? For consumers of all kinds your business website is as much a part of your brand as your product or service.
If you’ve got it taken care of, great, if not and you have no idea where to begin, check out platforms like Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress which have amazing options for newbies. If you’re interested, check out this free online WordPress Tutorial to begin seeing the potential. Enjoy!
Note that this article on how to form an LLC in Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.