Arkansas Business Facts
Arkansas is one of the fastest growing states in America. Since 2013, the unemployment rate in Arkansas has declined to 6%. Small businesses dominate the state’s economy. These businesses employ nearly half of the private workforce in Arkansas.
The economy of Arkansas produced US$119 billion of gross domestic product in 2015.
According to CNBC, Arkansas currently ranks as the 35th best state for business, with the 10th-lowest cost of doing business, 8th-lowest cost of living, 41st best workforce, 29th-best economic climate, 41st-best educated workforce, 41st-best infrastructure and the 32nd-friendliest regulatory environment. Arkansas gained twelve spots in the best state for business rankings since 2011.
Major Companies Headquartered in Arkansas
In 2019, Fortune named Walmart, Tyson Foods, Murphy USA, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Dillard’s and Windstream Holdings to the top 500 companies. In addition, two companies – ArcBest and Murphy Oil – round out the top 1,000 companies.
Arkansas is an ideal state for startups. Arkansas startup organizations are actively involved in fostering a supportive network, forming an environment where people are encouraged to pursue their ventures.
There are 3 basic options: a DBA, a Corporation or an LLC. Click here to learn more about business entities.
Choosing a business name is easier said than done – many legal and business problems can arise from picking the wrong name (you can always change it later but the less times you have to do that the better). In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Arkansas, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Arkansas state databases:
NOTE: Familiarize yourself with the Arkansas naming guidelines. LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Arkansas Business Name & Business Purpose
Each state has its own requirements for registering a business. Now that you’ve chosen a business structure and selected your business name, here are the requirements to register your business in Arkansas.
How to form an LLC in Arkansas
How to Incorporate in Arkansas
NOTE: When registering a new company the Secretary of State can take several weeks to file the paperwork. You can expedite the process by hand delivering the documents directly to them or one of their field offices and paying an additional fee.
TIP: Check our order form to see how long Arkansas is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Arkansas
Considerations when registering a Arkansas business
Ready to register a business in Arkansas?
Sure, you could do all the steps above or you could spend 5-10 minutes on our order form and let us take care of it while you work on more important things.
Your EIN is like your Social Security Number for your company. It’s required for Corporations and LLC’s and optional for DBA’s (if you don’t have any employees, then it’s required). However, if you are a DBA and don’t obtain an EIN you will be forced to use your Social Security Number on many documents so it’s typically recommended you obtain the EIN to prevent identity theft.
TIP: We will obtain your EIN for you if you we form your company.
To keep business and personal expenses separate, you should open a separate account for your business. In addition, getting business credit cards is how you begin to build a company credit profile (corporation or LLC required) and can later qualify for larger loans and lines of credit. To open the account simply call your chosen bank and ask how to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork, b) your EIN, and c) a company resolution authorizing your company to open the account (signed by the owners, members, officers or directors, etc.).
Top 5 Major Banks in Arkansas
Click here to view a list of our recommended banks in our Vendor Network.
TIP: Our business formation service includes a free banking resolution for your use.
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments, or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years. View our “Accounting & Financial Management” section for help with setting up an accounting system and purchasing accounting software.
Now that you’ve registered your business name you need to obtain a business license for your company – this authorizes your company to do business in your city or county. Typically this also involves registering for state taxes and permits (the city may require them as part of the business licensing process).
TIP: We work with a company that can obtain and prepare business licenses and permits for you. Click here to learn more.
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both). View our “Employees & Payroll” section for help with hiring employees and processing payroll.
Review our list of recommended Payroll Providers in our Vendor Network.
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
Click here to view our list of insurance providers in our Vendor Network.
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business. View our “Manage Your Company” section for help with systemizing and automating your business.
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer. View our “Marketing & Sales” section for help for more information.
DBA: Your Fictitious Business Name should be valid for 5 years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN) at which point you’ll need to renew it with the county.
LLC: Arkansas corporations are required to file a PeriodicReport with the Arkansas Secretary of State each year on or before May 1, in addition to general taxation. Information on your business’ taxes can be found here.
Corporation: Business in Arkansas should file a report annually with the Secretary of State of Arkansas on or before May 1. LLCs and Corporations will pay a filing cost of $155.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most of your ongoing compliance tasks.
Business and Commercial Services (for Corporation and LLC filings)
1401 W. Capitol Avenue,
Suite 250, Little Rock, AR 72201
Arkansas Taxation Departments
Arkansas Labor and Employment Departments
Arkansas Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Arkansas District Offices
2. SCORE Arkansas
3. Arkansas Legal Statutes
5. Operation JumpStart
6. Arkansas Angel Investors
7. Arkansas Business News
8. Arkansas Economic Development Commission
9. Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC)
10. Arkansas Green Energy Network (AGEN)
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