STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business NameTo secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in WV, 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 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 Name Reservation with the Sec. of State that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $15

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A WV Registered Agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular M-F business hours. On behalf of your brand they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They’re essential and required by law.

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a West Virginia agent free of charge when you Incorporate with IncFile. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCTo incorporate your businesses legally, download a copy of the Articles of Organization (Form LLD-1) which will need to be filed with the Sec. of State or Business4WV. It’s a declarative document for the public record that discloses the basics of your brand including:

  • West Virginia LLC name and address,
  • Name and address of registered agent,
  • Name and address of organizers,
  • Date of formation and Method of management,

Filing Fee: $100

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

Like a social security number for individuals, an EIN, or Employer Identification Number is used by the state and federal government to track your business activity. It’s used for tax purposes, to allow you to set up business bank accounts, hire employees and more. The good news it’s very easy to get these days and get synced with “the system.”

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

Firstly, no other accounts of any kind or any other income/expense steams of data should be mixed in with your brand’s account! This is a costly and completely avoidable mistake far too many entrepreneurs make. Secondly, do some homework and research different options between local, state, and federal banks along with credit unions.

Don’t be quick to decide! The amount of annual costs/savings from one bank to the next, relative to their other services, can be substantial. To see for yourself, here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN LLC OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating Agreement

What’s this about? Well, the first thing to know is that it’s not required by law or mandatory. But, it puts down on paper the official duties and responsibilities of owners/managers. Furthermore it outlines financial matters like ownership percentages, any profit sharing information and so forth. So it shouldn’t surprise you that we and countless biz-consultants advise even solopreneurs have one on the books.

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

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING/PERMITS

Small Business Taxes

This step is where an attorney or partnering with an incorporation provider ensures there aren’t any costly hiccups. Depending on a number of variables there’s forms to fill out and fees to pay to be compliant. The good news is that West Virginia is a startup-friendly state with a number of incentives, kickbacks, and streamlined regulatory paths.

To get started bookmark the Clarksburg district office of the Small Business Administration, and set up an account with Business4WV because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that can take care of the legwork.

OPTIONAL) BUILD YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanThere are many different kinds of informal business planning, everything from basement white-boarding and chat sessions with partners two times a week, to pure brain-work. It’s different for every startup. However, once a team or platform becomes serious there’s a pretty straightforward approach to planning.

These are the type of plans lending institutions, VCs, startup incubators, CrowdFunding communities, and so on are accustomed to seeing – streamlined presentations of the core fundamentals. They start with an executive summary and quickly tell the viewer what the brand is about, where it’s going, and how it plans to get there. See what we mean in the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteUnless you’re a web designer or have one on your shoulder, this is typically a challenge. The entire digital marketing era is moving so fast, and evolving with such force that it can be tough. Where to begin? Who to turn to? How much to spend? What works?

There’s no easy answer. But, we can tell you that there’s tons of potential on platforms like Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, and WordPress. Then, when outsourcing becomes a necessity UpWork can be an excellent resource. Dig in, get your brand out there and enjoy. Here’s to a profitable and exciting year ahead!

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