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Starting A Llc In Missouri
Missouri, located at the crossroads between east and west (it’s home to the literal “Gateway to the West,” after all). Missouri has the advantage of being in the center of the country: the 2020 U.S. population center is in Hartville, while the geographic center of the Lower 48 is just across the border, in Lebanon, Kansas. Aside from its convenient geographic location, the state offers a range of tax relief and exemption programs, as well as state-funded investment programs. Small businesses make up the vast majority of businesses in Missouri. So if you live in the state and want to start a business, you are not alone. Here are resources to help you get started.
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First of all, for any entrepreneur, in Missouri or elsewhere, choose a viable business idea. Are you going to sell a product or service? Perhaps an offer of both? Either way, there are two important questions to ask yourself before proceeding:
Once you have an idea for your business in Missouri, you need to name your business. Choose a name that is simple, memorable and indicative of what you sell. You must also follow specific state-level rules. Here are guidelines when choosing a business name in Missouri:
To get your business off the ground in Missouri, you need a business plan. A successful business plan includes your business function, thorough market research, the company’s organizational structure, products or services, target customer profiles, and detailed strategies for marketing, logistics, and finance.
You can use a customizable template to build your business plan. It should reflect your overall business goals and give an idea of how you want the business to operate in general.
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There are several types of business structures that you can choose from when forming your corporation in Missouri. Each has its own set of pros and cons.
Sole proprietorships are the standard designation for anyone doing business in Missouri or anywhere else in the United States. Sole proprietorships are owned and operated by one person and all income is then taxed on the owner’s personal tax return. In this way, sole proprietorships avoid so-called “double taxation” (taxes on the income at the company level, and again at the personal income level of the entrepreneur). One disadvantage of running a sole proprietorship is that owners are personally liable for any debts or legal damages incurred by the business.
The Limited Liability Company, or LLC, differs from a sole proprietorship in that it can have multiple owners, known as “members.” Like sole proprietorships, members are generally taxed at the level of their personal income. However, the advantage of LLCs over sole proprietorships is that members enjoy liability protection for their personal assets in the event that the company incurs debt or legal damages. Only the company’s assets are accessible. Missouri does not levy a franchise tax on LLCs, nor are LLCs required to file annual reports.
One of the main benefits of forming your Missouri corporation as a C corporation is the fundraising opportunities inherent in the format. Companies can issue shares to shareholders, which means that individuals, or even other companies, can invest directly in the growth of your company. The flip side of the corporate structure is that companies are taxed twice, once on corporate income and once income is distributed to owners and/or shareholders. Missouri imposes a 4% tax on corporate income, but for mature companies earning steady, high profits, the ability to raise money through stock issuance may justify the added complexity. Corporations, like LLCs, enjoy personal asset protection for owners and shareholders.
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Once you have decided on a formal legal structure for your business in Missouri, you must then apply for a federal employer identification number, or EIN. Although EINs are issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), both federal and state tax authorities use them to identify business entities and assess their liabilities. You can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website, for free.
The process for registering your business with the Missouri government agencies depends on your choice of business structure. Sole proprietorships, the standard designation for anyone doing business in the United States, do not require any special registration steps.
No statewide general business license is required in Missouri; however, all businesses selling tangible goods or taxable services in the state must apply for and receive a free sales tax permit. In addition, certain provinces and municipalities may require you to obtain licenses for your business location, as well as for some professions and business activities. Contact the local clerk’s office where you plan to do business to determine licensing requirements. Also, research industry-wide licensing in Missouri to see if your business is subject to any special permits.
Purchasing insurance for your Missouri small business is essential to managing risk. It can also give you peace of mind for Missouri entrepreneurs, helping them focus on growing the business. Types of business insurance available to Missouri businesses include:
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Aside from purchasing insurance, you may need to make other investments to get your Missouri business off the ground, such as hiring professionals or contractors, such as lawyers, accountants, or web designers. You may also want to pay for digital services such as social media management or professionally designed business websites. If you decide to run a physical store or ship items through a warehouse, you’ll need money to rent space. If these start-up costs seem overwhelming, there are business resources. Also consider visiting a bank to set up a business bank account for handling business expenses and managing cash flow.
Once your Missouri business is up and running, your job is far from over: you still need to create a marketing strategy for your products or services. When it comes to marketing, word of mouth is a great place to start, but to grow your business, you need a solid marketing plan that outlines how you’re going to tackle this big task. A thorough marketing plan covers the strategies you use to attract customers, such as:
There is no annual renewal requirement for LLCs in Missouri, which means your LLC can exist indefinitely until it is dissolved.
No general business license is required in Missouri, but all businesses in Missouri that sell tangible goods or taxable services must obtain a retail tax license. There are no costs associated with applying for this license.
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How To Start A Business In Missouri (2023)
In Missouri, forming a Limited Liability Company or an LLC is the best option for legally structuring your business. An LLC protects you from ever having to pay for business losses from your personal assets.
Best of all, you can have an LLC up and running in less than 10 business days (sometimes much sooner). It only costs $50-$105 and is a fairly simple process; just follow our step-by-step instructions:
You can apply for your LLC yourself or through a professional service. While filing it yourself is not complicated and doesn’t take too much time, you still want to make sure you complete each step as outlined below so that your LLC is set up correctly the first time around.
If you prefer not to handle the legal side of your business, we recommend that you hire experts to file all your business paperwork for you (a more hassle-free approach).
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To form a Missouri LLC, you must meet specific name requirements set out in state law. Your company name must be unique, meaning no other company has a similar name.
Before verifying that the desired company name is available to comply with Missouri LLC law, please ensure that your company name contains one of the following elements:
Your LLC name can be your business name, such as Plumbing King LLC, or the name of one of your LLC members, such as Joe Smith LLC.
Once you’ve determined your name, make sure it’s available and that no other business in Missouri is using it. The quick and easy way to do this is to do a quick Google search with the name you want.
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If you don’t find competing companies, you can move on to the next step: checking your company’s potential name through the Missouri Secretary of State’s company name search.
You also have the option to reserve a name for up to 60 days (as well as two additional 60-day periods) by submitting a Name Reservation Request online or in person. Costs
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