Several years ago, I started a journey to create my own Limited Liability Company (LLC) which led me down a path of trying to piece together everything needed to create a foundation for my company. Of course, this took time, in fact it took almost a year! So, to save you time and money I have pulled everything I learned together for you in a simple way to provide you with the foundation you will need to get started with your own business. While each business needs are different, this tips sheet should get you thinking about the questions you may need to ask yourself and others as you begin. If you are starting your own LLC or thinking about it then this is the article for you! Today I am going to share with you my top tips for starting an LLC for your new business, and more specifically these tips apply to businesses established in the United States (US).
Tip 1: Choosing a Name
Before you can have a company, you will need to choose a name that is not in use. Take the time to make a list of your top name choices, and then verify two things. One confirms that the domain name is available for you to buy, and confirm that there isn’t another business with a similar name (which will become important in Tip 6). Regardless of your business type you will want to make sure you obtain the domain name for your organization in order to create online awareness for your entity. After all, regardless of your business time the name can be very important to your success. There is something true about the statement “It’s all in the name!”.
Tip 2: Register your company as an official LLC
This can be done on your own or through an attorney. If you do this on your own, it can definitely be more affordable; however, there may be good reason to hire a local attorney to help as well. Let’s dive in! The largest reason I found to use an attorney for this would be that they can help you with the operating agreement you should have created to go along with the LLC registration. Beyond that they will also be able to guide you on the correct type of LLC to register for. For example, if you expect to take a payroll even just for yourself then you may want to do a different type of LLC than if you are establishing your LLC without a payroll. Additionally, your accountant can help answer some of these questions. If you do not have an accountant yet, then see Tip 7 and 8 below.
No matter which way you choose the filing will need to start at the state level, and when all is said and done you should have Articles of Organization (state-level), federal business Tax ID (EIN), and Operating agreement. Here is a link to the IRS website that answers many of your questions and has the link for applying for an LLC. Your articles of organization will need to be filed through your local state entity.
Note: Make sure any websites you use for setting this up on your own end in .gov!
Tip 3: Creating a Logo
For many of you creating a logo may be something you can do on your own, but if you are not creative like myself then hire someone to get the job done. A great logo that is unique will ensure you stand out amongst your competition.
Tip 4: Contracts
Hiring a contract attorney is your next important tip for getting started. Having someone that can help you create contracts for both the contractors you may hire, but also for the work you offer is beneficial for ensuring that the work being done is clear, has start and end dates, and should something require legal attention everything was in writing. In the end your contracts protect everyone you work with. I also recommend working with someone you trust locally in your community for this.
Tip 5: Contract Signing Platform
Starting out my business without an electronic system to improve the ease of signing contracts was something that I thoughts would come with high price. But with the COVID era we are in, I knew that it would be important to go contactless. I started researching and found that Docusign was affordable and worthwhile. I would strongly recommend giving it a look here. It simplified my contract signing significantly.
Tip 6: Trademarking
Protect your brand by taking the time to work with a local trademarking attorney to trademark your company name and any logos that you have created. This can be done for your local country and even globally. Trademarking does take time, in fact it can take the better part of a year. Another thing to consider if that your Trademarking can be rejected if a company with a similar name or logo disputes the request, so when you are choosing a company name/logo make sure it is very unique.
Tip 7: Hire an Accountant
Hiring an accountant was also discussed in Tip 2, but I felt it needed it’s own separate point. When you venture into the world of your own LLC there are going to be new accounting forms that need to be filed each year. Depending on how your run your business you may also be paying taxes throughout the year, if you have payroll then you will also have filings throughout the year for both state and federal taxes as well. Also, don’t forget your monthly expenses. A great accountant can do all of your bookkeeping and make sure nothing is missed overall right down to how you file your annual return. Hiring a great accountant is highly recommended when following through on these top tips for starting an LLC for your new business.
Tip 8: A great bookkeeping system
Your accountant can do this work for you. I did this for years, but it’s become so expensive I needed to find another way. After a recommendation from a peer of mine and having used it now for almost a year I cannot believe I did it any other way. I strongly recommend using Quickbooks. I didn’t have this tool in the beginning and now I don’t know what I would do without it. I use it for bookkeeping which will save you money with your accountant and for invoicing clients. The invoicing can send automatic reminders when clients need to pay, offers the ability to accept bank ACHs and credit cards as well. It’s so much easier to keep track of things. I am so excited about Quickbooks and I am part of there referral program which gives me the ability to provide you with a discount offer code that you can use here to today! You will save up to 55% on Quickbooks for the next 3 months while you try it out.
Tip 9: Business Insurance
We all ensure our vehicles and homes, and when renting pursue renter’s insurance for the items we have in our apartments. Your business workspace and your work shouldn’t be any different. Every business is different, so I would recommend starting with the same agent you use to protect your other valuables and they can guide you accordingly.
Congratulations on your new business adventure! Starting a new business can feel complicated and “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Business Side of Starting an LLC” is essential for getting started today!