How to Start an LLC in 7 Steps (in any state)

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Read our review guidelines.

Whether you are an ambitious entrepreneur, a proud business owner, the founder of a startup, or a professional in the business sphere, chances are you’re going to need to know how to start a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) at some point.

So if that sounds like you (or something you are aspiring to be), you’ve come to exactly the right place. 

This article explains the essentials when starting up an LLC, regardless of where in America you reside.

I’ll go over the 7 steps you will have to abide by when first forming an LLC, as well as the pros and cons of the LLC business structure. 

By the end of the article, you’ll have a solid grasp of the process and be one step closer to your business goals.

Let’s get right into it!


ZenBusiness has all the tools you need in one place to start, run, and grow your own business.

Start an LLC
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The 7 Steps in forming an LLC in any State

  1. Choose a state to incorporate in
  2. Pick and register a business name
  3. Select a registered agent
  4. Draft an LLC operating agreement
  5. File articles of organization
  6. Obtain EIN and open a business bank account
  7. Obtain state business licenses and permits

1. Choose a state to incorporate in

The very first step may sound like a given, but it requires a more considered approach than you may first think.

Each state possesses its own laws, fees, and regulations regarding LLC formation; everything from taxes, filing, and relative ease of conducting business will be affected by these. 

While many entrepreneurs choose to start their business venture in the state they reside in, a large number also opt to start up in states with a more business-friendly environment like Indiana and Colorado.

Related article: LLC filing fees by state

2. Pick and register your business name

Once you’ve picked out your home base, the next step is picking and registering a catchy name. 

This name must be unique and must abide by any naming rules your chosen State has in place. 

Most states will have a database of business current names on their Secretary of State’s website that you can refer to to ensure originality.

3. Select a registered agent

The majority of states require LLCs to name a registered agent; a person or entity responsible for managing legal documents for the company. 

It is important that your registered agent has a physical address in the state where your LLC is registered, although there are ways around this.

For example, having an online company may allow you to conduct business anywhere in the US without a physically present registered agent.

4. Draft an LLC operating agreement

A LLC operating agreement is a document that outlines aspects such as the business’s ownership and management structure, as well as goals and projections.

A well-considered operating agreement will help prevent disputes and encourage smooth operations and could provide potential investors the last bit of assurance they need before deciding to work with you. 

Although an operating agreement isn’t necessarily a requirement in every state, it is strongly recommended.

5. File articles of organization

To formalize the establishment of your LLC, articles of organization must be filed with the secretary of the state in which you are operating. 

In filing an article of organization, you will need to disclose information such as the name of the LLC, names and addresses of members, managers, organizers and directors, and a statement of purpose. 

To help in this process, states sometimes provide a ‘fill in the blanks’ document that you can download from their official websites. 

Filing an article of organization often comes with a fee – make sure you budget for this.

6. Obtain an EIN and open a business bank account

An EIN is an Employer Identification Number. As this is necessary for tax identification purposes, the IRS is able to provide you with one. 

Having an EIN will allow you to open a business bank account and handle taxes, as well as separate personal and business finances.

7. Obtain state business licenses and permits

Depending on the state you are operating in, you may need various licenses and permits to ensure you are in compliance with local regulations. 

It is best to research this specific State to identify specifics surrounding these requirements as they apply to your LLC.

Bonus: Seek tax advice from your CPA

To the untrained eye, tax-related matters can appear to be an impossibly complex web of rules and regulations. 

However, you don’t have to go it alone. A CPA is a trained and registered professional specializing in all things tax.

They can provide assistance for things such as minimizing tax liability, ensuring full compliance with the law, and offering valuable counsel on financial strategies. 

If you are ever unsure about anything to do with tax when it comes to your LLC, we recommend you seek advice from a CPA.

Is it a good idea to start an LLC?

Now you have an idea of how to officially start an LLC, you may be wondering if it is the most beneficial business structure for you in the long run. 

While this is a question only you can answer (you know your business better than anyone), we can offer a couple of benefits and downsides related to forming an LLC:


  • Limited-liability protection: An LLC provides a ‘corporate veil’ that separates your personal assets from your business assets.
  • Pass-through taxation: The company doesn’t have to file its own taxes. Instead, members claim profits and losses as an element of their own personal taxes.
  • Increased credibility: In the eyes of potential customers, investors, competition – you name it.


  • Administrative requirements: There are a number of ongoing requirements such as completing annual reports, paying fees and state-specific taxes, and company records (minutes from meetings, updated bylaws, etc.).
  • Potential costs: These could range from $50 to $1500. It is vital that you make sure you know how much everything costs and that you budget accordingly.

As we mentioned, you have the best gauge of your company’s specific needs. 

The structure you decide on for it is your decision and yours alone, although it is a good idea to seek counsel from registered legal and financial advisors to aid you in making your decision.

Next Steps

Congratulations on making it to the end of this guide on how to start an LLC in any state in the U.S.

After reading the steps outlined in this guide, you should have a basic understanding of what is required in registering an LLC. 

If this is your first time following your entrepreneurial instincts, know that running your own business can be a supremely fulfilling opportunity.

However, you also need to be aware of the work that is required in doing so. If you have any further queries, please don’t hesitate to seek advice from a registered legal or financial advisor.


How much does it cost to start an LLC?

Costs vary depending on the avenue you go down (DIY, online service, or attorney), so there is no definite answer.

The lowest cost would be in the region of $50, and the highest would be in the region of $1,500.

What state should I form my LLC?

You can form an LLC in any State. However, some are more business-friendly; for example, Indiana and Colorado.

How is an LLC taxed?

LLCs with a sole member are considered disregarded entities and therefore part of the owner’s tax return.

An LLC with two or more members is considered a partnership.

What are the 4 types of LLCs?

The four types of LLCs are single-member LLCs, multi-member LLC, Series LLCs, and Anonymous LLCs.


ZenBusiness has all the tools you need in one place to start, run, and grow your own business.

Start an LLC
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Donny is the founder of SMB Guide. He is a seasoned small business owner and entrepreneur, with over 17+ years of experience growing and building companies. He is a well traveled and multi-faceted individual with several successful six figure business exits.