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.
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 an Application for Reservation of Name through postal mail.
Filing Fee: $25
Remember, this isn’t optional in Missouri-- 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 Missouri Registered Agent can be an individual resident of the state or a legally registered domestic/foreign business entity with a physical street address and regular business hours.
On behalf of your brand they receive and help process important business documents like state filings, tax forms, legal notices and so on. They're essential and required by law.
That said, you can hire 3rd party professional and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free when you start an LLC with IncFile or BizFilings. They handle this along with much more depending on your startup package.
Step 3) File Articles Of Organization
To legally register an LLC in Missouri, download, complete and file Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State's office when you're ready to set up shop.
You can submit through postal mail for $105, or File Online for a little over $50, but keep in mind you need to set up an account with the state to do so.
This is an official declarative document that submits the basics of your company to the public record: name, address, purpose, ownership, hours of operation, registered agent info, etc.
Step 4) Get An EIN
Like a social security number for individuals, an EIN, or Employer Identification Number is used by the state and federal government to track your business activity. It's used for tax purposes, to allow you to set up business bank accounts, legally hire employees and more. So yes, it's mandatory.
The good news it's very easy to get these days and get synced with the system. To get your free EIN, you can apply online using the IRS Website.
Step 5) Open A Business Bank Account
First of all, make absolutely sure that no other accounts of any kind or any other income/expense steams of data get mixed in! This is a costly and completely avoidable mistake for too many entrepreneurs stumble into.Secondly, do some homework and research different options between local, state, and federal banks along with credit unions.
Secondly, do some homework and research different options between local, state, and federal banks along with credit unions.
Don’t be too quick to decide here! The amount of costs/savings per year from one bank to the next, relative to their other services, is a critical consideration. Here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.
Step 6) Draft An Operating Agreement
What is this? Well, the first thing to know is that it's not required by law or mandatory. We think it should be though because it puts down on paper the official duties and responsibilities of owners/managers.
Furthermore it outlines financial matters like ownership percentages, any profit sharing information and so forth. Starting to see why we recommend this even for solopreneurs?
To get started, consider using an online Operating Agreement template which you can customize yourself.
Step 7) Handle Business Taxes & Licensing
Depending on a number of variables there’s some forms to fill out and fees to be paid. The good news is that Missouri is a business-friendly state with a number of incentives, kickbacks, and streamlined regulatory paths. Just be sure to do your homework.
To get started bookmark the St. Louis district office of the Small Business Administration, and the Sec. of State’s Business Services page because they’re likely going to be go-to sources. If you need help with this step, consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork for you.
Need Help Forming an LLC?
If you'd like help forming an LLC in Missouri, feel free to read our reviews of the two most popular services.