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 in North Dakota, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a free 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 like ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed, file a Reserve Name Application with the Sec. of State for via mail, fax, or card.

Filing Fee: $10

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

Your North Dakota Registered Agent can be a resident of the state or a local/foreign company registered in North Dakota, however a physical address is required. It’s their responsibility to receive and help process all important documentation like state filings, court notices, tax forms, etc.

You can either choose from this List of Registered Agents provided by the Secretary of State, use a private service which can cost up to $160/year. or get a Registered Agent free of charge when you register an LLC through services like IncFile or BizFilings.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCHead back to the LLC Forms page and download the Articles of Organization (SFN 58701) which needs to be filed through mail or fax with the Sec. of State when you’re ready to set up shop. It’s an official declarative document for the public record that among other things discloses:

  • Complete name of North Dakota registered agent and address.
  • Name and address of your LLC.
  • Complete name and address of signatories in the articles.
  • Hours of operation and the nature of your business.

LLC Filing Fee: $135

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCYour EIN, or FEIN is a unique 9-digit federal Employer Identification Number that relevant agencies use to track your business activity. It’s very similar to how social security numbers work for individuals. Your EIN allows you to process taxes, legally hire employees and also set up a business bank account.

To get your free EIN number, you can print out and mail in This IRS Form or apply online using the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

Okay, so where do you plan on establishing the financial groundwork of your LLC? The first thing to ensure is that no other financial data-stream or account of any kind will get into the mix and muddy the waters. Keep it separate. Then, shop around at different local, state and national banks as well as credit unions to get a good idea of your options.

To get research going, check out this short free quasi-guide to Business Checking Accounts from the more big bank perspective. It should help give you a basic idea of the numbers involved.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementBecause of the flexibility of an LLC, you need to create an operating agreement that will protect your LLC status. An Operating Agreement isn’t a mandatory requirement but it’s HIGHLY recommended.

This document outlines your ownership status, financial and operational relationships and corporate rules so everything’s clear with your co-owners, managers and partners. Even if you’re solo you should have one drafted. It can be updated later. To get started, consider checking out this savvy Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING

Small Business TaxesIf your North Dakota LLC has employees or you intend to sell products with sales taxes, you must register at the ND Office of the State Tax Commissioner otherwise known as the Tax Dept. Your other option is to register manually through paper (Form SFN 59507) or Register Online.

Also, consider bookmarking both the Fargo district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Small Biz Development Center because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need help with this step, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all needed documents for you and provide filing instructions.

OPTIONAL) START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanIf you’re interested in starting to create your business plan from Day 1, consider yourself smart.

Business planning is about improving the odds of reaching goals. It’s about improving follow-through and management effectiveness. Plus, these days it’s all about streamlined presentation-ready plans that focus on core fundamentals rather than the plans of old which were too long-winded and overly complex. Learn more through our free resources below.

  • This Business Plan Software Guide is our savvy breakdown of all the best software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

Whether you opt for a simple responsive one-page agency site, or a comprehensive ecommerce platform, no brand today will be taken seriously without a digital presence. Plus, there’s just too much sales/marketing potential to ignore the internet. How else will people investigate your brand?

Although building a website was extremely difficult to do in the early 2000’s, nowadays you can use a fantastic tool like Wix or Weebly to build a customizable website. No need to spend thousands on a custom designer anymore! They’re both easy to use and very reasonably priced.

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