Starting a Business in Missouri
A new business in Missouri is not out of reach. So have you been wondering: just how do I start a business in Missouri? And more importantly, can I do so no matter what the economic conditions are? Can I start a new business in Missouri during a recession?
A New Business in Missouri: Pros and Cons
Business Insider puts the Show Me State at number eight of the best states to start a business in (according to a 2016 article). And this is for the whole nation. Business survival is a strong area for Missouri. The state has the fifth highest rate of business creations to deaths in America.
Startup activity in Missouri is good. The state has the fifth highest density of startup companies. There is also an affordable cost of living.
In 2019 – even using differing methodology – Dollar Sprout also put Missouri at number eight! The Show Me State holds steady with strong economic growth and low filing fees. It has a modest median wage and a decent unemployment rate. Hence an entrepreneur should be able to hire, and at a decent rate. And as before, the low cost of living is a factor in its favor.
A New Business in Missouri: Initiatives
Manufacturing, agriculture, and information technology are all strong in Missouri. The state is actively focusing on these and a few other industries and sectors which have been traditionally competitive there.
The state is also developing and investing in programs to provide support and incentives for new businesses in general. Plus it is specifically working to encourage the development and growth of small businesses with its Show Me JOBS initiative.
Start a New Business in Missouri – Missouri Top Industries
Per the Department of Economic Development, the biggest industries in Missouri are biosciences, automotive suppliers, and advanced manufacturing. Top Missouri industries also include energy solutions, financial and professional services. More Missouri top industries are health sciences and services, information technology, and transportation and logistics.
Smart business owners can find new opportunities and take advantage of the bigger industries in the area. They can do so by offering goods or services such as data and other computer work. Or they can offer trucking for any industry. More areas for growth are food service, and developing safety equipment.
Here is exactly how to start a new business in Missouri.
Missouri New Business Secretary of State Requirements
Register a Business Name
Register a fictitious name on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.
Corporations must choose a name not already in use. Before a business owner can file to incorporate a small business, they must thoroughly search online and other records. To search a database of corporations registered in Missouri, go to the Missouri Secretary of State website.
A business owner does not have to reserve a name before they file Articles of Incorporation. But they can apply to reserve a particular name before they file if they so desire. Download a name reservation application online at Reserve a Missouri Corporation Name on the Missouri Secretary of State website. The fee is $25.00 and the name will be reserved for 60 days.
The unique name for a corporation must include the word “corporation,” “incorporated,” “limited,” or “company”. Or it can contain an abbreviation of one of these words.
Business Permits and Licenses
Your best bet is to go to the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.
Local Permits and Licenses
Start a New Business in Missouri – Business Registration
The “Corporations” page on the Missouri Secretary of State website has forms, guides and more. These will help you with setting up your business right.
Register online with the Missouri Department of Revenue.
Start a New Business in Missouri – Virtual Offices
Alliance Virtual Offices offers Missouri virtual business office space in Chesterfield, Clayton and St. Louis.
Choose Regus for Clayton, St. Louis, or Kansas City.
Go to DaVinci for Chesterfield, Clayton, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Washington.
Business owners in Springfield and other parts of the state should contact local business owners. Or they might try computer user groups for leads in this area.
Other options may be to look for virtual business office space in nearby states. These are Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee.
Start a New Business in Missouri – Establish Business Credit
Company credit is credit in a small business’s name. It doesn’t tie to an entrepreneur’s individual credit, not even if the owner is a sole proprietor and the solitary employee of the business.
As such, an entrepreneur’s business and consumer credit scores can be very different.
Since business credit is distinct from individual, it helps to safeguard a small business owner’s personal assets, in case of court action or business bankruptcy.
Also, with two distinct credit scores, a business owner can get two separate cards from the same vendor. This effectively doubles buying power.
Another advantage is that even startup ventures can do this. Heading to a bank for a business loan can be a recipe for disappointment. But building business credit, when done properly, is a plan for success.
Individual credit scores depend on payments but also additional components like credit use percentages.
But for business credit, the scores actually merely depend on whether a business pays its bills on a timely basis.
Establishing company credit is a process, and it does not occur without effort. A company must proactively work to develop small business credit.
Nevertheless, it can be done easily and quickly, and it is much more efficient than establishing individual credit scores.
Vendors are a big part of this process.
Doing the steps out of order will cause repetitive denials. Nobody can start at the top with business credit.
Start a New Business in Missouri – Business Fundability™
A business needs to be Fundable to loan providers and merchants.
Hence, a business will need a professional-looking web site and email address. And it needs to have website hosting from a merchant like GoDaddy.
Likewise, the company phone number should be toll-free (800 exchange or the equivalent).
A business will also need a bank account dedicated strictly to it, and it has to have all of the licenses necessary for operation.
Dealing with the IRS
Visit the Internal Revenue Service web site and get an EIN for the company. They’re free of charge. Pick a business entity such as corporation, LLC, etc.
A company can begin as a sole proprietor. But they should switch to a type of corporation or an LLC.
This is in order to lessen risk. And it will optimize tax benefits.
A business entity will matter when it pertains to tax obligations and liability in the event of a lawsuit. A sole proprietorship means the business owner is it when it comes to liability and tax obligations. No one else is responsible.
Setting off the Business Credit Reporting Process
Begin at the D&B web site and get a free D-U-N-S number. A D-U-N-S number is how D&B gets a business into their system, to generate a PAYDEX score. If there is no D-U-N-S number, then there is no record and no PAYDEX score.
Once in D&B’s system, search Equifax and Experian’s sites for the small business. You can do this at www.creditsuite.com/reports. If there is a record with them, check it for correctness and completeness. If there are no records with them, go to the next step in the process.
In this way, Experian and Equifax will have something to report on.
First you need to establish trade lines that report. This is also called vendor credit. Then you’ll have an established credit profile, and you’ll get a business credit score.
And with an established business credit profile and score you can begin to get more credit.
These sorts of accounts often tend to be for the things bought all the time. Like marketing materials, shipping boxes, outdoor work wear, ink and toner, and office furniture.
But to start with, what is trade credit? These trade lines are credit issuers who will give you initial credit when you have none now. Terms are usually Net 30, instead of revolving.
Therefore, if you get an approval for $1,000 in vendor credit and use all of it, you must pay that money back in a set term. Like within 30 days on a Net 30 account.
You want 3 of these accounts to move onto the next step.
Start a New Business in Missouri – Monitor Your Business Credit
Know what is happening with your credit. Make certain it is being reported and attend to any errors as soon as possible. Get in the habit of checking credit reports. Dig into the specifics, not just the scores.
Update Your Data
Update the details if there are mistakes or the relevant information is incomplete.
Fix Your Business Credit
So, what’s all this monitoring for? It’s to dispute any problems in your records. Errors in your credit report(s) can be corrected. But the CRAs often want you to dispute in a particular way. Fixing credit report errors means you precisely itemize any charges you challenge.
A Word about Business Credit Building
Always use credit smartly! Never borrow beyond what you can pay back. Monitor balances and deadlines for repayments. Paying punctually and in full will do more to increase business credit scores than pretty much anything else.
Establishing small business credit pays off. Good business credit scores help a business get loans. Your lending institution knows the business can pay its financial obligations.
The small business’s EIN attaches to high scores and lenders won’t feel the need to demand a personal guarantee.
Business credit is an asset which can help your small business for many years to come.
Want to start a new business someplace else in America? Then check out our handy guide to starting a business in any state in the country.
Missouri’s Response to COVID-19
Along the same lines, here’s how Missouri is handling COVID-19. On March 13, Governor Michael Parson declared a state of emergency. The Governor also directed the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and the Missouri Department of Economic Development to seek assistance for Missouri businesses through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
On April 28, it was announced that Boone County would receive $21.2 million from the CARES Act.