LLC Checklist

An LLC checklist is a list of essential tasks and requirements to ensure the proper formation and ongoing compliance of a limited liability company, helping business owners stay organized and meet legal obligations.

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What do you need to start a limited liability company (LLC)? Use our LLC checklist as a guide for you to form an LLC and get limited liability protection.

Business Name

☐Decide on a name

When coming up with business name ideas, you must choose something unique that also identifies the type of business you run. All states have naming requirements for business entities that must be followed.

☐Verify availability

In addition to following your state’s other requirements for naming an LLC, you must also verify the availability of the name you want before you can claim it for your business. You can’t have a name that’s too similar to another business in your state.

☐Reserve name

Once you’ve settled on a name, most states give you the option to reserve it until you can officially form your LLC.

☐Get a DBA name

A DBA (“doing business as”) name, often called a trade name or fictitious business name, is necessary if you plan to operate your business under a different name than the one it’s registered under. We have a step-by-step guide to register your DBA name for your business.

☐Get social media handles and a domain name

Online businesses will need to register a domain name and get social media handles to start branding online. Having an online business with a matching web domain helps your customers find your business when they search for you online.  

LLC Formation, Documents, and Filing

☐Registered Agent

LLCs are required by law to have a registered agent to receive official notices and legal documents (such as notification of a lawsuit) in person during normal business hours. Using our registered agent services will give you peace of mind by ensuring that sensitive legal notices, such as notifications of a lawsuit, will be received discreetly and away from your place of business.

☐Articles of Organization

Articles of Organization should be filed alongside other formation documents with the Secretary of State office to officially register your limited liability company (LLC). Depending on the state you live in, Articles of Organization may also be referred to as a Certificate of Formation or a Certificate of Organization.

☐Operating Agreement

Operating agreements outline the rules and procedures for the management of the LLC as well as establish ownership percentages, how profits are divided among members, and much more. If you’re not sure how to go about creating an operating agreement for your LLC, we have a customizable template to help get you started.

☐Business Licenses and Permits

In some states, you must obtain a general business license from the state before conducting any business at all. Even in states that don’t require a statewide general business license, some local governments may require one.

However, your LLC may need more than just a general business license. Licenses and permits fall into many categories, including things like zoning, professional licenses, building permits, food and alcohol permits, and countless others.

There’s no one central place to check to see if you have every license and permit you need. You’ll have to do some research. If you don’t have the time to do all this research, our business license report service can do the work for you.

☐Trademarks

Trademarks can be purchased for your business name, logo, slogan, and product names to ensure that your ideas aren’t copied and provide legal protection for your business ideas. It’s also important to check that your business name, logo, etc. aren’t already trademarked in your state or at the national level.

☐EIN

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) acts like a Social Security number for your business, allowing your business to hire employees, apply for a business bank account, and pay taxes. Most LLCs are required to have an EIN, including those with multiple members or employees. 

☐Business Insurance

Business insurance can provide protection for you and your business against potential lawsuits, acts of nature, property damage, and more. General liability insurance can protect you from many lawsuits arising from accidents on your property. Depending on your industry and circumstances, you may benefit from other specific insurance coverage options

Finance and Accounting

☐Funding

In addition to funding your business by raising capital from family and friends, getting investors, and securing loans, grants are another possibility for funding your business operations. In 2023, we plan to award small businesses up to $240,000 in grants, so be sure to apply for our grant program to fund your business journey today.

☐Business Banking

Keeping your personal and business bank account separate not only simplifies your taxes, but it bolsters your personal liability protection if someone ever questions the validity of your LLC. Learn more about ZenBusiness Banking

☐Business Credit Card

Part of keeping your business and personal finances separate from one another is having credit cards to solely use for your business. Having a separate credit card for your business also allows your company to build its own credit history. Learn more about your business credit card options.

☐Invoicing and Payments

You’ll need to secure a system for getting paid by clients and tracking your expenses. Our ZenBusiness Money app allows you to access all your financial information on a single dashboard. You can try it for one month free to send all your invoices, maximize tax deductions, and receive payments fast all in one place. 

☐Get a bookkeeper

Getting a bookkeeper will free up time for you to run your business and guarantee that your business stays up to date with payments and tax filings. If that’s out of your price range, a reliable bookkeeping software package can help.

☐Educate yourself about taxes

Understanding different tax options for a limited liability company (LLC) will allow you to maximize tax deductions and benefits for your business type and needs. We offer small business tax tips through our tax resource center so that you can fully understand what you need to run your business effectively.

Marketing

☐Get a logo

After creating a logo, you can create other marketing materials like business cards, flyers, and other materials to promote your business. Coming soon, our logo generator will be able to help you get started on your marketing materials today so you can start promoting your business. 

☐Set up a website and email

In the digital age, it’s essential to create an online presence by setting up a website and having an email for customers to contact you through. Our domain registration and business email address registration tools will allow you to create an online presence for your business to reach more customers.

☐Set up a Google Business Profile and other relevant business listings

Listing your company online will allow customers to find your physical business address in addition to raising awareness about the existence of your business to potential new customers who aren’t already aware.

☐Create a marketing plan

Your business plan should include a structured marketing plan including social media posting, paid ads, blogging, videos, and so on in order to promote your brand and maintain a digital presence for your customers to interact with your brand.

☐Sales

Reaching out to specific demographics will help ensure that you’re getting the right clientele for your business. Kickstart getting specific clients by calling or emailing your potential client base, networking through events or gatherings, and promoting your business with marketing materials and raising awareness.

Operations and Misc.

☐Get office space

If you’re hosting a team of employees or running a large business, you’ll need an office space to have a place for all your employees to work and be able to host meetings and share information about operations with one another.

☐Get equipment

Getting the proper equipment to run your company helps ensure that there are no holdups when it comes to getting your products to the customer.

☐Hire employees or contractors

In the growth stage of your business, you’ll likely need all the help you can get to get the ball rolling. Hiring employees or independent contractors can allow you to put people to work in your operations while you handle the overhead.

☐Get a business coach

Getting an experienced business adviser or coach can help you put your best foot forward with your business and get guidance on how to best grow your company.

We can help!

Starting your LLC doesn’t have to be difficult. We’re here to help you out step by step. Our many services and our team of experts can help you get the tools necessary to run your business effectively.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

LLC Checklist FAQs

  • Determining how to structure your LLC will depend on your business operations and goals. LLCs offer business owners flexibility to choose their tax status and management structure, all of which can be detailed in your LLC operating agreement.

  • In order to run a legally compliant LLC, you must keep up with state filing fees, annual reports, and tax returns. Hiring a bookkeeper or accountant helps make sure that you don’t miss important payment or registration dates for specific business filings for your LLC. Our worry-free compliance service can help your business keep up with its state obligations.

  • Although LLCs generally have less paperwork than corporations, it’s still necessary to keep books in order to file taxes correctly, keep track of operation expenses, and maximize benefits and deductions at the end of the year.

  • LLCs can take advantage of a variety of tax benefits that come with running a small business. In addition to basic expenses such as office space, vehicle cost and maintenance, and travel expenses, other items such as equipment, meals, insurance, and more may be able to be deducted from your LLC’s taxes.

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