Step 1) Verify & Secure Your LLC 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 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, you can file a Request for Reservation of Name form to reserve for 1 year
Filing Fee: $55 expedited/in-person & $35 mail.
Remember, this isn’t optional in Minnesota-- it’s mandatory.
Quick Note: Before you commit 100% to a name, you may also want to check that there’s a decent URL available for your business. Use Weebly to search your options. If there’s a quality domain name for purchase, we advise buying it right away. Even if launching a business website isn’t on your radar right now, it’s going to be soon, and you might as well nail down a domain name that’ll make it easy for customers to find you!
Step 2) Choose A Registered Agent
A registered agent performs "service of process", or in other words, they're responsible for receiving and helping process important documents like state filings, legal notices, tax forms, etc. on behalf of your LLC. The agent can be an individual resident or a domestic/foreign business entity registered with the state. A physical street address is also required.
The agent can be an individual resident or a domestic/foreign business entity registered with the state. A physical street address is also required.
You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a registered agent free of charge when starting an LLC with IncFile. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Organization
To register an LLC in Minnesota, download, print, fill out and then file articles of organization with the Secretary of State. Don't do this hastily.
Are you ready to file this form and make your brand official? Be sure you read the form carefully and understand what's required.
Filing Fee: $155 Online, $135 for mail/in-person.
Step 4) Get An EIN
An EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is a federal identifier similar to a social security number for individuals. You'll need it to handle a good portion of your taxes, to set up your business bank accounts, legally hire employees, etc. Thankfully it's very easy to get one and set up.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
This is an incredibly important step because you're choosing where to begin building your brand's financial foundation. Don't assume where you bank personally is the best option for no other reason than convenience. Yes it takes time to research local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions to see who has the most to offer. But it's worth it!
Don't assume that where you bank personally is the best option for no other reason than convenience. Yes, it takes time to research local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions to see who has the most to offer. But it's worth it!
Once you make your choice, sync your business accounting software right away and keep all other accounts and financial-streams separate so you don't muddy the waters. If you want to start getting an idea, look into this quick breakdown of Small Business Checking Accounts.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
An LLC operating agreement is a document that outlines the managerial and financial responsibilities of each of the members of the LLC. It also sets down on paper the percentages of ownership, each member’s share of profits or losses, and how the business will be handled should a member leave. So while this isn't mandatory or required by the state, we highly advise you to draft one even if you're a solopreneur.
To get started, consider checking out this savvy list of LLC Operating Agreement templates which you can customize yourself online.
Step 7) Handle Taxes & Licensing
The last chunk of official “red tape” has to do with acquiring proper licensing/permits, which will vary depend on where you’re operating and what kind of business you’re starting. After that, you'll need to make sure your business adheres to Minnesota taxes.
To get started bookmark the Minneapolis district office of the Small Business Administration and the Sec. of State’s Start a Business page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need help, consider professional Business License Research packages that get the legwork done for you.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Minnesota, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services available.