MO Business Facts
Missouri, also known as the Show-Me State, is home to the bustling cities of Kansas City and St. Louis as well as several professional sports teams, more than 28 million acres of farmland and some of the best BBQ in the USA. Entrepreneurs seeking a high quality of life for a low cost of living will find it in Missouri along with an abundance of art, culture, family attractions, wineries, breweries and outdoor recreation.
Major Companies Headquartered in Missouri
Missouri is the headquarters of many major companies including Ascension Health, Emerson Electric Co., O’Reilly Automotive, Enterprise Holdings, Edward D Jones & Co. LP, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Anheuser-Busch.
With its low tax basis and labor costs, Missouri is an excellent place to start a business. The state also offers numerous programs to stimulate startups and local businesses such as the Missouri Works Program, Missouri IDEA Funds, the Small Business Incubator Network and Missouri Innovation Centers.
Steps on How to Start a Business in Missouri
Before starting a business in Missouri, there are some essential steps you need to complete.
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 it’s better to have the right name from the start).In Step 3 we’ll show you how to search for the name in Missouri, but we highly recommend you do the following before searching Missouri state databases:
TIP: search misspellings, plurals, variations of spelling, sound-alikes and other versions of your chosen name to be sure it’s not already registered.
Note: Familiarize yourself with the Missouri naming guidelines. Corporations must contain the word “corporation”, “company”, “incorporated” or “limited” or end with an abbreviation of one of the above words. Missouri LLC entity names need to contain the words Limited Liability Company or the abbreviation LLC, and certain words are restricted or prohibited.
Restrictions on Missouri Business Name & Business Purpose
Any individual or entity that conducts business under a name other than its actual name should register that fictitious name.
Restricted designations: The use of certain words and phrases in corporate names is considered “restricted” in Missouri. These include:
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 Missouri.
How to form an LLC in Missouri
How to Incorporate in Missouri
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 Missouri is currently taking to process regular and expedited orders.
How to File a DBA in Missouri
Optional Considerations when registering a Missouri business
Ready to register a business in Missouri?
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 inquire on the steps to open a business bank account. Typically you’ll need a) your filed paperwork b) your EIN 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 Missouri
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).
Not every Missouri business needs a business license. However, some types of Missouri businesses require professional licenses, agricultural permits or environmental certifications. Different licenses and permits are issued by state agencies. You can learn more about Missouri business licenses by visiting the Missouri Business Portal.
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 Missouri Fictitious Business Name is valid for five years (unless you change company name or other information listed on the FBN). Renewals must be made in the six months before the date that the registration expires.
LLC: Missouri does not require LLCs to file an annual report.
Corporation: Missouri corporations are required to file an annual report. The annual report is due each year by the end of the month, 3 months after the corporation was registered/incorporated. The filing fee is $20 if you file online.
Click here to view our MyCompanyWorks Premium™ service which can automate most or your ongoing compliance tasks.
Missouri Secretary of State
600 West Main Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Main Office: 573-751-4936
Missouri Taxation Departments
Missouri Labor and Employment Departments
Missouri Startup Resources
1. Small Business Administration (SBA) Missouri District Offices
3. Missouri Legal Statutes
4. Missouri Chambers of Commerce
5. Missouri Business Portal
6. Missouri Angel Investors
7. Missouri Business News
10. Missouri Green Business Program
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