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How to Set Up a New Business in Missouri

Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at May 15th, 2019

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.

Holding Steady

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.

Corporationsnew business in Missouri Credit Suite2 - How to Set Up a New Business in Missouri

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.

Learn more here and get started toward opening a new business in Missouri.

Business Permits and Licenses

Your best bet is to go to the Missouri Division of Professional Registration.

Local Permits and Licenses

County information is on the Missouri official website. So can a list of cities. But they do not all provide links to local websites.

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.

Tax Registration

Register online with the Missouri Department of Revenue.

Start a New Business in Missouri – Virtual Offices

Alliance offers Missouri virtual business office space in Clayton and St. Louis.

Choose Regus for Columbia or Kansas City.

Go to DaVinci for Chesterfield 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.

The Advantages

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.

new business in Missouri Credit Suite3 - How to Set Up a New Business in Missouri

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

The Process

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. For instance, you can’t start with retail or cash credit from your bank. If you do, you’ll get a rejection 100% of the time.

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.

Additionally, business telephone and fax numbers must have a listing on

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.

new business in Missouri Credit Suite3 - How to Set Up a New Business in Missouri

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

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 will probably want to 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.

Sole Proprietors Take Note

If you run a company as a sole proprietor, then at least be sure to file for a DBA. This is ‘doing business as’ status.

If you do not, then your personal name is the same as the business name. As a result, you can find yourself being personally accountable for all business debts.

In addition, per the IRS, using this structure there is a 1 in 7 possibility of an IRS audit. There is a 1 in 50 probability for corporations! Prevent confusion and considerably reduce the chances of an IRS audit at the same time.

Setting off the Business Credit Reporting Process

Begin at the D&B web site and obtain 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 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.

Vendor Credit

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 retail and cash 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.


Net 30 accounts must be paid in full within 30 days. 60 accounts have to be paid completely within 60 days. In comparison with revolving accounts, you have a set time when you must pay back what you borrowed or the credit you made use of.

To begin your business credit profile properly, you ought to get approval for vendor accounts that report to the business credit reporting agencies. As soon as that’s done, you can then make use of the credit.

Then repay what you used, and the account is on report to Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, or Equifax.

Vendor Credit – It Makes Sense

Not every vendor can help like true starter credit can. These are merchants that will grant an approval with a minimum of effort. You also need them to be reporting to one or more of the big three CRAs: Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian.

You want 3 of these to move onto the next step, which is retail credit.

Retail Credit

Once there are 3 or more vendor trade accounts reporting to at least one of the CRAs, then move to retail credit. These are companies which include Office Depot and Staples.

Only use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use the company’s EIN on these credit applications.

Fleet Credit

Are there more accounts reporting? Then progress to fleet credit. These are service providers such as BP and Conoco. Use this credit to buy fuel, and to fix and take care of vehicles. Only use your SSN and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, make sure to apply using the small business’s EIN.

new business in Missouri Credit Suite3 - How to Set Up a New Business in Missouri

Learn more here and get started toward building business credit attached to your company’s EIN and not your SSN.

Cash Credit

Have you been responsibly managing the credit you’ve up to this point? Then progress to more universal cash credit. These are service providers like Visa and MasterCard. Only use your Social Security Number and date of birth on these applications for verification purposes. For credit checks and guarantees, use your EIN instead.

These are usually MasterCard credit cards. If you have more trade accounts reporting, then these are feasible.

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.

We can help you monitor business credit at Experian and D&B for 90% less.

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.


Disputing credit report mistakes typically means you mail a paper letter with duplicates of any evidence of payment with it. These are documents like receipts and cancelled checks. Never send the original copies. Always send copies and keep the originals.

Fixing credit report errors also means you precisely itemize any charges you challenge. Make your dispute letter as understandable as possible. Be specific about the concerns with your report. Use certified mail so that you will have proof that you mailed in your dispute.

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. They know the small business is authentic.

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.

Learn more here and get started toward opening a new business in Missouri.

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 will receive $21.2 million from the CARES Act.

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