STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR LLC BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it should 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, a Business Name Reservation application can be submitted to the Montana Secretary of State for as well.

Filing Fee: $10 with Expedition Options

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Montana Registered Agent or an “Agent for Service of Process” acts as an intermediary who receives and helps to process all official documents on your brand’s behalf like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on. The agent can either be an individual living in Montana, a Montana company, or a foreign company registered in Montana with a physical location/street address.

You can hire an outside professional service and expect to pay up to $160/year, or get a qualified agent free of charge when you start an LLC through 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 legally register a Domestic LLC, download a copy of the Articles of Organization which must be filed with the Montana Secretary of State.

The document declares to the state for the public record the nature of your business, hours of operations, name and address, ownership information, and other basic details that should be ironed out before taking this step. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Filing Fee: $70

STEP 4) GET AN EIN

Get an EIN for Your LLCAn EIN, or Employer Identification Number, is like a Social Security Number for businesses so the state/federal government can keep track of your business activity. You’ll need one to set up a business bank account, legally hire employees and handle other tax-based steps over time.

There are several ways to obtain an EIN, but the most convenient (and FREE) way is to submit an online application through the IRS Website.

STEP 5) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountSince you’re reading this guide, chances are it’s your first time establishing a new company so you may not be aware of everything involved in business banking. Where you choose to bank is important – fees, withdrawal/deposit limits, accessibility, location, credit/debit incentives, online banking options, etc. Don’t take this step lightly.

If you’re interested, this article takes a good look at Business Checking Accounts and what makes them appealing for small businesses. Shop around!

STEP 6) DRAFT AN OPERATING AGREEMENT

Create an Operating AgreementWhat is an operating agreement? Well, firstly, it’s not mandatory or a legal requirement but rather an internal document for you and your team. However, it could be used in court because of signatures and even if you’re a solopreneur it helps to protect your LLC status. What it lays out are the rules of operation, managerial duties and financial obligations, etc. It’s foolish to run a business without at least a basic draft.

To get started, check out this savvy Operating Agreement Tool which you can customize yourself.

STEP 7) HANDLE LLC TAXES & LICENSING

Small Business TaxesThe regulatory environment in Montana is nice and startup-friendly, but the complexity of this step is going to depend on a number of obvious variables like whether or not you’ll have office space or be opening up a restaurant, how many employees you have, whether state or local government agencies are involved in the nature of your work, and so forth.

To get started bookmark the Helena 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 along the way. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that can quickly source all documents for you.

OPTIONAL) WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanThere are basically two kinds of planning we see around here at Startup Savant – the “fast & furious” kind which is usually in the beginning stages when there’s little budget and everything is about optimization/Iteration/Ideation. Then there’s the kind of planning that comes into play once a company reaches the point it needs to approach lenders, VCs, potential stakeholders, and investors.

Why not start on that level of plan now? To get started you can use our free resources below.

  • 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 YOUR BUSINESS WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteWhether you’re interested in working with a private/in-house designer or leveraging platforms like Wix or Weebly, what’s important is that humans and search engine algorithms are able to investigate your brand!

Aside from being responsive, websites are really meant to be portals into your business. Who are you? What are you about? Who do you associate and align with? What kind of content do you represent or offer? Don’t nickel and dime your digital presence. The potential is mind-blowing.

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