How to Start a Business in Montana

The process begins with writing a business plan then choosing your entity, registering your business name, filing all the documentation, and finding customers.3 min read

Wondering how to start a business in Montana? The process begins with writing a business plan then choosing your business structure, registering your business name, filing all the proper documentation, and finding customers.

Steps to Start a Business in Montana

  1. Write Your Business Plan.

    The first (and most important) step in starting any business is to write a business plan. A good reason for writing a plan is to enable your business to borrow money from the bank, but it's not the only reason. Putting a plan onto paper helps your ideas become concrete and creates a tangible plan that pinpoints the direction you want to go. Planning is crucial in creating a prosperous business.

  2. Choose Your Business Structure.

    Sometimes referred to as a business entity, a business structure is how your business is legally formed. The four structures are the sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, and corporation.

  3. Register Your Business Name.

    The next step is to register your business name with the state. LLCs and corporations have to choose a unique name at the time of filing. To look up whether a name is available, visit the Montana Secretary of State.

  4. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

    An EIN, sometimes called a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a nine-digit identification number used for tax purposes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This number is used to identify companies operating in the US, track tax returns, and open bank accounts. The EIN is to a business what a social security number is to an individual. Not every business will be required to obtain an EIN. Partnerships, LLCs, corporations, or sole proprietorships that hire employees will need to file for an EIN. LLCs and sole proprietorships without employees will not need to file for an EIN; in these cases, the owner's social security number will be used instead. Filing online for an EIN online takes a few minutes, and the number becomes available immediately. Alternatively, you can mail an SS-4 form or call the IRS.

  5. Apply for Business Licenses and Required Permits.

    Although there is no general business license required by the State of Montana, your business might need to register with specific agencies before conducting business. For example, professional and occupational businesses are state-regulated and therefore require state registration. These state-regulated occupations include massage therapists, landscape architects, cosmetologists, and barbers, among others. Other industries may also require licensing, such as daycare centers, salvage yards, and food establishments. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry has more information regarding the requirements and fees associated with these professions and industries.