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Before creating a limited liability company, you should create a business plan. You should also ensure that the LLC is the best business entity for your business. A South Carolina attorney can help you create a business plan, choose the proper entity, form the business and draft an operating agreement.

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Check for Name Availability

The first step is to find out if the name you choose is available. You cannot take the next step until you have a unique business name. Visit the South Carolina Secretary of State office’s search tool to determine whether your business name is available. Enter the name in the search tool. If the name is available, you can continue to the registration steps.

If the name is the same or similar to another entity’s name, you must choose a different name. What does similar mean?

  • Bob’s Dog Grooming, LLC à Bob’s Dog Grooming, Inc. – similar name. It’s not available.

  • The Bob’s Dog Grooming, LLC à Bob’s Dog Grooming, LLC – similar name. It’s not available.

  • Bob’s Dog Grooming, LLC à Bob’s Benton Street Dog Grooming, LLC – not similar. Bob’s Dog Grooming, LLC would be available in this example.

Register the Limited Liability Company

During the registration process, you must name a registered agent. Every limited liability company must choose an agent. The agent can be yourself or a registered agent service. However, if you choose to be your own registered agent, you must make yourself available during normal business hours.  A registered agent accepts documents from the Secretary of State’s office and legal documents, including lawsuits.

Create an Operating Agreement

Once you register your business, you should have an operating agreement drawn up. This document dictates how you will run your business, especially if more than one person owns the business. It outlines how the business is managed, voting rights, meetings and duties of members.

Federal Employment Identification Number

Any business with employees must have a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN). You can apply for the FEIN yourself, or you can retain an attorney to help you. Some businesses that offer registered agent services will also apply for the FEIN on your behalf.

Banks, vendors, and creditors may require a business to obtain a FEIN even if the business does not have employees.

You should also speak with your accountant to determine how your taxes will be filed since certain entities may want to change the default tax classification.

Set Up the Business Finances

Once you register the business and obtain the FEIN, you are ready to set up the business finances. Open a bank account in the business name. Most banks will require you to provide a copy of your incorporation documents. You can also apply for credit cards in the business name.

Finally, you will need a good accounting program or an accountant. Some business owners with an accounting background might prefer to do their own accounting; however, it is better to hire an accountant in the event that the Internal Revenue Service decides to audit the business. Additionally, some creditors will require verified financial documents from an accountant.

Obtain Business Permits, Licenses 

Once you create a business entity, you must obtain any state and federal licenses and permits applicable to your business type. Business owners should check with the South Carolina Secretary of State and local jurisdictions for permits and licenses they might need.




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