STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, 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 submit an Application for Reservation of Name to reserve it for 6 months.

Filing Fee: $25

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Michigan Registered Agent is required by the state to act as an intermediary of sorts. It’s their job to receive and help handle/process all official paperwork like state filings, court documents, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. This is why it’s important that they’re always available during regular M-F work hours and timely.

The agent can be an individual resident of Michigan or a registered business entity, but they must have a physical street address. That said, you can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get one free when registering an LLC through IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCTo officially register an LLC, download, fill out and submit Articles of Organization with the Bureau of Commercial Services of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

This 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.

Filing Fee: $50

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLC

Your EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a unique identifier like a personal social security number. But it’s not just for tax season, it also makes it possible to legally hire employees and set up a business bank account in the next step.

Almost every transaction your business engages in will require an EIN. That said, you can get one quickly, easily and free of charge by applying online through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountSince you’re reading this guide right now, chances are you haven’t done this before. That being the case you may not be aware of everything involved in business banking. Where you choose to bank is critical – fees mount up, withdrawal/deposit limits are important to note, accessibility & location, credit/debit incentives, online banking options, etc. Don’t take this step lightly by any means. Shop around!

Check out this quick article on Business Checking Accounts and familiarize yourself. Also, be sure to separate your brand’s account from any other accounts.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementThis is another important step. But, because it’s not mandatory or required by law far too many entrepreneurs skip it during the initial founding stages where it really starts to matter. An operating agreement is an internal document that outlines financial responsibilities, managerial duties, and the rules of operation. They also provide a layer of protection for owning parties and the LLC status of the brand.

To get started, use a savvy online template to create and customize an Operating Agreement for your LLC.

STEP 7) HANDLE BUSINESS TAXES & LICENSING

Small Business Taxes

Michigan is a very business-friendly state and their regulatory environment can be a breeze for most small brands setting up shop within her borders. How complex or simple it will be, and how much red tape is involved ultimately depends on the nature of your business, how many employees you have, whether you work with the public, specific location, and so on.

Bookmark the Detroit district office of the Small Business Administration, and the state’s LARA LLC Business Services page 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.

OPTIONAL) WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

Because we’ve worked with legions of entrepreneurs and startups of all shapes and sizes we understand there are a large variety of different approaches to business planning. During the initial stages where budgets tend to be small it’s about ultra-fast evolution, testing, and establishing a platform. Later on down the road though, once it comes time to take it to the next level professional-grade business planning becomes a necessity across the board…no more winging it.

Things like your marketing approach, executive summary/pitch, financials/forecasts, management/operations, etc., need to be presentation-ready for investors, lending institutions, VCs, or Angel Funds.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • This Comparison Guide is our quick breakdown of all the software solutions to help you plan better. We’re huge fans of LivePlan, so if your looking for the best business plan software, be sure to read our review and grab the discount they offer our readers.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

Whether you want to talk brand expansion or marketing potential, gathering inbound leads or offering people/search engines a way to investigate your brand, a business website is no longer optional. Thankfully these days there are tons of different one-stop-shop solutions that give you your own domain and dashboard and legions of different biz-friendly apps you can integrate at the click of a button.

A couple of the biggest platforms you can get started on right away are Wix and Weebly. We’ve tried out both and highly recommend checking them out.

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