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, you can file a Reservation for Business Name form for $25 and reserve the name for 60 days.

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Louisiana Registered Agent must be a resident of the state, an individual attorney, a partnership from Louisiana or a foreign/domestic organization legally registered to act as one. They’re responsible for receiving and helping you to handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on.

You can hire a third party service and pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you form an LLC through IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCDownload, properly fill out, and then file Articles of Organization with the Louisiana Secretary of State once you’ve secured your brand name/registered agent and are ready to start conducting business. An Initial Report should also be attached to the Articles of Organization form.

It’s an official declaration of the basics of your business including name/address, hours of operation, ownership details, registered agent details, etc. Once you have it notarized it can be filed either through the mail or online.

LLC Filing Fee: $100

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is like a social security number for businesses that allows them to legally hire employees, establish bank accounts, and file taxes. Just about every transaction your business makes is tracked with this number so it’s essential.

While there are a variety of ways to get one these days, it can be taken care of quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountThis account should be used to monitor the ins and outs of your finances, and put profits and assets where they belong – in a completely separate bank account that’s synced with your business accounting software. Don’t make the mistake of using your personal account, or mixed personal accounts.

For a quick look at some of our favorite places to bank check out this quick breakdown article of Small Business Checking Accounts. But don’t take this choice lightly, be sure you understand the basics of business banking and look at a variety of local, state, and national banks.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementWhile it’s true that this internal document isn’t mandatory or required by law, we honestly believe it should be, even for solopreneurs. It’s about protecting yourself, your team, and your brand’s LLC status. Internally it outlines managerial responsibilities, financial duties, essentially the rules of operation and more.

To get started, consider checking out this list of nifty Operating Agreement Tools which you can customize for your LLC.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & BUSINESS LICENSING

Business LicensesGetting situated with state and federal taxes isn’t optional. Today it can be much simpler in Louisiana though with a little help and research time. How many licenses you’ll need and how many fees and things will be determined by a number of variables including your type of business, your products & services, whether you work with the public, location, etc.

Bookmark the New Orleans district office of the Small Business Administration and Sec. of State’s Business Services page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources along the way. If you need additional help, there’s a Business License Service we recommend. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.

OPTIONAL) START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanIn the beginning startup phase no one blames you for not having a finely tuned/optimized executive summary and pitch. It’s okay not to know right off the bat what your primary marketing methods, demographics, and budget will be. No one expects you to have your forecasts and financials completely figured out.

But, that said, once you begin reaching out for serious potential partners, investors, VCs, angel funds, or even CrowdFunding Platforms you’re going to need a professional business plan. Don’t worry, these days it’s about presenting the streamlined and focused core fundamentals, not a huge 40-page tome. The earlier you start planning, the better.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our guide to Business Planning Software breaks down the best user-friendly solutions to help you strategize 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

If you don’t already have a functional and responsive business website yet, now’s the time to begin taking necessary steps. Without an in-house designer you trust, there are a variety of options like modern outsourcing or one-stop-shop web builder platforms. It’s just not as complex as it used to be thanks to tools like Wix, SquareSpace and Weebly.

Regardless, it’s important to get out there, take advantage of the marketing potential, grow the brand name in the digital economy, and give people a way to investigate what you’re about!

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