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 SD, 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 ‘Limited Liability Company’ or ‘Limited Company’. Abbreviations for these words like ‘L.C.’ or ‘L.L.C.’ are also acceptable. If needed, you can file a Reservation of LLC Name form that’s good for 120 days.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

Your South Dakota Registered Agent is a sort of legal representative of your brand, but not in a lawyer or attorney-sense. It’s their job to officially receive/process important business documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, and so forth. This is why they have to be either a SD resident individual or a registered business entity and be reliable during all regular business days/hours.

That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when you start an LLC through services like IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCTo be a legal business entity you must file Articles of Organization through postal mail with the Sec. of State. It’s a declarative document that discloses the basics of your brand for the public record including:

  • South Dakota LLC name/address,
  • Complete name/address of South Dakota registered agent,
  • Method by which the LLC is to be managed,
  • Term of existence of your South Dakota LLC.

Filing Fee: $150

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

What’s an EIN, or Employer Identification Number? It’s almost exactly like a social security number but for businesses instead of flesh and blood individuals. You’ll need it to process taxes, set up business bank accounts, to legally hire employees and more. But don’t worry, it’s as easy as pie to get one these days.

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) SETUP A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank Account

First and foremost, make sure that your LLC’s bank accounts aren’t mingled with any others of any kind. It’s a huge mistake you can avoid with ease, okay? Secondly, don’t just assume where you bank personally is the best choice. Is it convenient? Sure, but there are tons of places to build your brand’s financial foundation and many of them are likely offering much better deals and incentives – local, state, and national banks.

To learn about some of these perks from the mainstream perspective browse this free Checking Account Guide. It’ll even walk you through the bank we use, Capital One.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating Agreement

An LLC Operating Agreement is an integral part of smooth operations. More than defining the financial and managerial relationships between owners of the LLC, it also helps to protect your company’s limited liability status and overrides state-default rules, which may not be applicable to your LLC at all.

You can create your LLC’s own document now with the help of this savvy Operating Agreement Tool which can be easily customized to fit your specific needs.

STEP 7) HANDLE BUSINESS TAXES & LICENSING/PERMITS

Small Business Taxes

Real talk: this is where a professional really comes in handy, especially if the nature of your business means a bit more in the red tape department. There may be a nice stack of paperwork, or just be a couple with corresponding fees. You get the idea, just be sure to do your homework.

If you’re doing this solo, bookmark the Sioux Falls district office of the Small Business Administration and the state’s Business Tax Division site because they’re likely going to be go-to sources.  Also if you need additional help, consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork.

OPTIONAL) WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanApart from being an excellent guide to start your small business off on the right footing, a business plan also enables you to bag the right funding if the time comes. In the startup phase planning informally is 100% reasonable, to a degree, but once you become a serious operation in need of capital to facilitate growth, a presentation-ready plan is a necessity.

The process is an astounding teacher all by itself. See for yourself:

  • 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 WebsiteThese days, it is a must to have a branded and responsive website. With one you’re able to reach increasingly specific market populations regardless of where they are in the world and be able to freely develop strategies to relay your company branding and message across the digital airwaves 24/7.

Thankfully, building a business website is easier these days because there are tools like Weebly and Wix. We highly recommend looking into both. Enjoy the ride and here’s to a prosperous 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 South 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 South Dakota or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.