Our business startup packages are a great fit for clients that want to start an LLC. However, we meet some potential clients that want to do things on their own. We do not recommend you do, but we know some of you are going to ‘go it alone’ regardless. For those of you doing so, keep these 5 things in mind and when you are ready to add a lawyer to your team, give us a call.
Pick a Name
Seems like an easy step when you start an LLC, until you consider the marketplace, availability, and potential trademark issues. We recommend that you come up with a couple of names just in case. Once you have your name(s), do a quick internet search to see whether others are using it. If not, check the Secretary of State’s (“SOS”) business portal for availability of that name in Missouri. Assuming your name is not “confusingly similar” or the same as another business, then check for domain name availability. (For example: https://welchlawllc.com) Finally, check the federal and state trademark databases. Do not guess on these items!
File Your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State
You can register online at the SOS website and then make a business filing to start an LLC. There are multiple options for the type of business entity, how it will be managed, and other factors. You should consult an attorney if you do not understand these issues because it is a lot more costly to fix them than to set them up right the first time.
Create an Operating Agreement
Chapter 347 RSMo contains the law regarding limited liability companies. There are several provisions in this chapter that are non-negotiable, but otherwise members of an LLC have broad discretion in how they operate their LLC. The Operating Agreement is the contract between the members and is the principal document that dictates how the members will operate. Failing to have one of these documents may spell disaster if the LLC is sued or the members have a falling out. If your startup LLC has more than one member (owner) you might want a buy-sell agreement as well.
File For an EIN with the IRS
A fairly straightforward process after you start an LLC. You can request an EIN from the IRS once you have selected the tax-partner member. If you are not the tax-partner member, you will need to pay special attention to the “Third Party Designee” language and follow the law. Remember, the IRS took down Al Capone.
Get Licenses and Permits
Every municipality, county, and jurisdiction will have different rules on licensing and permits. Know your industry specific, local, and state specific requirements before conducting business. Failure to get the proper permits and licenses could result in fines and penalties, as well as potential criminal prosecution.
Following these five steps does not guarantee you will properly form your LLC, but we hope it serves as a good informational guide on how to get started. If you still have questions, or you are tired of researching it on your own, check out our business law services or contact us.