STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC'S 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 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.

STEP 2) CHOOSE A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA 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.

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 or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF ORGANIZATION

Register an LLCTo 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

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn 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 in “the system.”

To get your free EIN, 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 AccountOkay, 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!

Once you make your choice a) sync your business accounting software right away and b) keep all other accounts and financial-streams separate so you don’t muddy the waters. If you want to start getting an idea, check into this quick breakdown of Small Business Checking Accounts.

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementAn 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

Small Business Taxes

The last chunk of official “red tape” has to do with acquiring proper licensing/permits which will 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.

OPTIONAL) START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanWe get it, the old fashioned 40-page formal business plans really aren’t appealing to most startups. A good portion of the entrepreneurs we interview steer clear of this approach, but, that said, they do have a handle on their core fundamentals – marketing, financials, management, pitch, etc.

Then when it comes time to create a presentation-ready plan for potential investors, partners, VCs, or even CrowdFunding/Social Selling platforms they typically kick things up a notch using modern software tools. It’s never too late or too early to begin.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • This Planning Software Guide is our savvy breakdown of all the best user-friendly and inexpensive business planning software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: LivePlan is by far the easiest to use and gives our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) START BUILDING YOUR WEBSITE

Build a Business Website

The last thing we want to touch on in this guide is building a constructive and useful website for your brand. It’s essential if you want to be taken seriously. 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.

If you’re interested, check out both of our reviews to see which is right for you. If you’re still unsure, feel free to browse our business website builder overview for the top options.

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