How to Start a Business in Missouri: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step

Oftentimes, “how to start a business” in states like Missouri remains the limitation most people have in exploring profitable ideas. Once the ‘how’ can be answered, the rest is doable. But first, “how?”.

Just like its counterpart states in the US, starting up a business in Missouri demands that you meet both legal and ‘hustle’ requirements if you’ll succeed.

It’s even more interesting because Missouri ranks 22nd among the best location for business in the US, as noted by Forbes.

Important Facts About Missouri?

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States with more than six million residents. It is the 18th most populous state in the US and the 21st-most extensive in the area; with its capital in Jefferson City. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and Columbia.

Map of Missouri, USA
How to Start a Business in Missouri

The state is bordered by eight states (tied for the most with Tennessee): Iowa to the north, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee (via the Mississippi River) to the east, Arkansas to the south and Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the west.

In the south are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri’s eastern border.

Missouri also has a growing science, agricultural technology, and biotechnology field. Monsanto, formerly one of the largest biotech companies in America, was based in St. Louis until it was acquired by Bayer AG in 2018. It is now part of the Crop Science Division of Bayer Corporation, Bayer’s U.S. subsidiary.

What are the Major Industries in Missouri?

According to Wikipedia, Missouri’s major industries include aerospace, food processing, chemicals, printing/publishing, electrical equipment and beer.

Led by Monsanto- one of the largest gene companies in America that is based in St. Louis- the state has a growing science and biotechnology field.

More so, the state ranks 3rd overall for its cost of living and incomes are expected to grow. The state has an AAA rating on its general obligation debt from Moody’s.

•   Total employment in 2016: 2,494,720

•   Total Number of employer establishments in 2016: 160,912[86]

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated Missouri’s 2016 gross state product at $299.1 billion, ranking 22nd among U.S. states. Per capita, personal income in 2006 was $32,705, ranking 26th in the nation.

Major industries include aerospace, transportation equipment, food processing, chemicals, printing/publishing, electrical equipment, light manufacturing, financial services and beer.

Agriculture in Missouri

Notably, south Carolina is ranked in the top five states in the US for the production of soybeans, and it is ranked 4th in the nation for the production of rice.

The agricultural products of the state are beef, soybeans, pork, dairy products, hay, corn, poultry, sorghum, cotton, rice, and eggs. South Carolina is ranked 6th in the nation for the production of hogs and 7th for cattle.

Further still, in 2001, there were 108,000 farms, the second-largest number in any state after Texas.

Missouri actively promotes its rapidly growing wine industry. According to the Missouri Partnership, the state’s agriculture industry contributes $33 billion in GDP to Missouri’s economy and generates $88 billion in sales and more than 378,000 jobs.

Natural Resources in Missouri

Missouri has vast quantities of limestone. Other resources mined are lead, coal, and crushed stone.

The sate produces the most lead of all the states. Most of the lead mines are in the central-eastern portion of the state. Also, it ranks 1st or near first in the production of lime, a key ingredient in Portland cement.

The Landing, located on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri. Branson is a popular tourist destination for live music, entertainment theatres, natural recreation, and shopping.

Tourism in the State

Tourism, services, and wholesale/retail trade follow manufacturing in importance—tourism benefits from the many rivers, lakes, caves, parks, etc., throughout the state.

In addition to a network of state parks, Missouri is home to Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. A much-visited show cave is Meramec Caverns in Stanton.

What Is A Small Business in Missouri ?

In Missouri, a small business is any firm employing fewer than 500 employees. It doesn’t necessarily mean a business run from the home but with a number of employees.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Business in Missouri?

The cost to start a limited liability company LLC in Missouri is $155 online and in-person or $135 by mail.

This fee is paid to the Missouri Secretary of State when filing the LLC’s Articles of Organization.

In addition, there are basically two ways to apply for the formation of an LLC in Missouri.

Firstly, you can hire a professional LLC formation service to set up your business. They charge an additional service fee.

Secondly, you can use the free LLC form to guide you.

Do I Need A Business License to Start A Business in Missouri ?

Not every Missouri business needs a license. However, many types of businesses either can or must get a license.

In general, businesses that fall under the business types we will list below will require a license to start up.

Do I need a Missouri tax ID number to Start a Business?

Most businesses need a tax identification number. However, a sole proprietorship or single-member limited liability company that does not have any of these tax obligations does not need a Missouri tax identification number.

What Entities Do I need to Start Business in Missouri?

According to the office of the Missouri Secretary of State (SS), there are various types of entities that could enable you to form your business in the state.

The SS further provides a guide to creating such entities. However, the guide does not substitute for the advice of a lawyer, tax advisor or other professional.

It’s important to note that taxation issues, startup capital, liability concerns, a delegation of management responsibilities, allocation and distribution of company income and profits, succession plans, limits on the transfer of ownership, contract matters, and customer relations all enter into the determination of which entity is optimal for a business.

Thus, the office of the SS strongly advises you to enlist the services of an attorney and/or professional in reaching your own conclusion.

Please ensure you read up all the guidelines here.

How To Start A Business in south carolina?

Let’s keep it realistic and simply enough to understand. Thus, to start a business in Missouri, you simply should follow this step by step guide;

1. Self Determination

Be determined enough to take yourself and your business idea very seriously. Your success will largely depend on your ability to self motivate and internal discipline.

Sure, you’ll feel like quitting at almost any stage, but hey, don’t you dare! Be determined enough to give yourself all the push you need to start.

When you’ve secured your stamina, move seamlessly to action 2.

2. Choose a Business Idea

The first step toward business ownership is deciding what kind of business to start. Look for an idea that suits your interests, your personal goals, your natural abilities, skills, and the reason why you want to form the business.

You should also evaluate the likelihood of success based on the interests and needs of your community. This will help you stay motivated when the going gets tough and will greatly improve your odds of success.

3. Write a Business Plan

In Missouri, to start a business or a non-profit organization, you need to write a business plan. This is one of the initial steps while planning to start your business.

A written plan for launching and operating your business is essential to your success. A well-prepared business plan starts you off on solid footing, makes you more attractive to potential lenders, helps you make sound managerial decisions, and better positions your company for growth.

Every business plan must contain an executive summary, financial plan, operational and managerial plan and marketing strategy.

In south carolina, everyone who starts a business should have a basic understanding of accounting and income forecasting.

You know what they said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Successful businesses are built through careful planning.

To gain proper guidance through each stage of starting and managing your business, you need a business plan. It is a written description of your business’s future. it contains the goal of your business and tells what to plan to do and how you plan to do it.

When planning your business, take into consideration the following:
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  • Product Development: Carefully write out the problem your business will solve, and also what will set your product or service apart from the competition.
  • Sales & Marketing: Research who are your potential customers are and how you will get their attention and convert them into buyers.
  • People and Partnerships: What roles you will need to hire and what professional relationships you will need to form in order to succeed.
  • Financial Planning: The number of clientele or sales you will need in order to break even. How much money it will take to get there, and where how you will get the funding?

When you create a plan, you will have a better idea of the startup costs, your competition, and strategies for making money. Investors and lenders will ask to review your business plan before providing financial assistance.

4. Choose a Business Type

Before choosing a business type, you should know about the main business structures in Missouri. Although we will list them below, you may still consult an attorney if you do not know which business type to form.

The business types are:

a. Assumed Names/DBA

This business type is for sole proprietors or general partners who do not conduct business with the full names of each individual doing business with them. They have to file a Certificate of Assumed Name.

Similarly, any corporation, limited partnership, or LLC that conducts business under a name other than the exact legal name of the entity, must file a Certificate of Assumed Name.

b. Missouri Business Corporations

This business type is formed when two or more persons come together to form a corporation. The corporation has a general business purpose and has legal power of its own.

c. Missouri Nonprofit Corporations

Any individual who wishes to form a nonprofit corporation in Missourimust file Articles of Incorporation to include that there will be no monetary gain and no paying of dividends to the members. You may also apply for tax exemption if you are starting a nonprofit organization.

Foreign Corporations (Business, Nonprofit, Cooperative)

d. Missouri & Foreign Limited Liability Companies

LLC can be formed by two or more people. It is a business organization that combines flow-through taxation with limited liability.

This means that it is a business that enjoys a liability-shield (the owners are legally responsible for the business debts only to the amount of capital they invested) of a corporation and the flexibility and tax pass-through advantages of a partnership.

e. Foreign and Missouri Limited Liability Partnerships

For you to start this type of business in Missouri , an existing partnership will register to take part in the advantages which a limited liability company enjoys.

f. Missouri Public Benefit Corporations

A public benefit corporation is a new type of profit-making business to start in Missouriin which the business promises to provide a general or specific benefit to the society.

This benefit may not necessarily be related to the business the corporation operates. The business will submit an annual report that details how they met their public benefit.

There is no tax advantage to being a public benefit corporation, or to investing in one. There are no tax deductions to investors, and the company pays corporate tax on all profits.

Lastly, you must file for a public benefit corporation in person. It cannot be done online.

5. Register/file your Business

You have registered your startup in Missourieither by mail or in person. Before we go on to mention how to register your business, business registration does not give you a tax ID number. You have to file for this separately through the MissouriDepartment of Revenue( for a state tax ID).

To register your business in Missouri, follow these 4 basic steps;

Steps to Register with the Missouri Secretary of State
  • Sole proprietors using own name DO NOT need to register
  • Check on the availability of your business name by searching the Secretary of State’s online database.
  • Sole proprietors using a name other than your own, Register the name of your business with the Secretary of State, (573) 751-4153, by filing a Fictitious Name Registration.
  • Corporations file articles of incorporation or articles of organization (LLC). Also, be sure to read about federal requirements for LLCs
  • LLCs can file online
  • S-corporation status requires that you form your Missouri corporation or LLC and file IRS Form 2553

Missouri business taxes

If hiring employees
  • Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online
  • Obtain a Missouri Withholding Number (form 2643) and an Unemployment Tax number (form 2699). Complete the application for these numbers online with the Department of Revenue and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.
It’s really important to; check city/county licenses and permits, industry and professional registrations

Contact your Missouri local city or county clerk office to see if you need any specific licenses and permits. 

In Missouri, the imposition of tax and license fees on certain professions is prohibited. Visit the Department of Revenue’s page on exempt occupations, or check with your local city/county clerk office for license-exempt occupation lists.

6. Define Brand

Every brand needs a name. Thus, it’s important to choose a selling business name. That’s the first step to branding; identity! Then, integrity.

Creating a brand builds customer loyalty. It eliminates competition in the business world.

For limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations, you will need to check that your name is distinguishable from the names of other business entities already on file with the South Carolina Secretary of State (SOS).

You can check for available names by doing a business name search on the SOS website. You can reserve an available name for 120 days by filing a name reservation application with the SOS. There are certain name requirements for LLCs and corporations (like including a word such as “LLC” for LLCs or “Company” for corporations).

If you plan on doing business online, you may want to register your business name as a domain name. Ensure you check online to see if your business name is available as a web domain. Even if you don’t plan to create a business website today, you may want to buy the URL in order to prevent others from acquiring it.

7. Pick a Business Location and Check Zoning

Choose a location for your business and check local zoning regulations. Before you commit to a location, review the costs of running your business in the desired spot, including rent and utilities. Refer back to your business plan to evaluate whether you can afford your desired location during your company’s early months.

Also, verify that the spot is zoned for your type of business. You might find zoning regulations for your town or city by reviewing your local ordinances and contacting your town’s zoning or planning department.

8. Establish a Web Presence

Social media is your brand-visibility plug. It enables you to reach your target audience faster and cost-effectively.

In addition, a professional website is instrumental to the long-term success of your business, regardless of what industry you. It enables your target audience to find your products and services.

Consider setting up social media handles, registering for a google profile and creating accounts on review sites like Google Reviews.

Use social media to your advantage!

9. Create business banking and credit accounts

Using dedicated commercial bank and credit accounts is essential to protecting personal assets.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is known as piercing your company veil.

Additionally, when you learn how to build business credit, you can get credit cards and other finance on behalf of your business (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and much more.

There are two steps you can take to protect your business:

1. Opening a commercial bank account:
  • Separates your personal assets from the assets of your company that are necessary for the protection of personal assets.
  • Facilitates bookkeeping and tax returns.
2. Get a business credit card:
  • Helps you separate personal and business expenses.
  • Creates your company’s credit history, which can be useful for later raising capital (such as small business loans).

10. Join Professional-Associations

Joining professional organizations will give you a chance to network- you never know where a business lead will come from. So you have to be open to exchanging services with other professionals.

You also may be able to receive discounted insurance rates for being part of one of these organizations.

What Type of Business Can I Start In Missouri?

Startups in Missouri create new business models, develop new industries, and also come up with ideas that positively transform the economy.

Moreover, any business idea can be great and successful if it’s solving a specific audience’s core problem and creating value.

Here is a list of small and mid-sized business ideas to start in Missouri:

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  • Food Delivery
  • Luxury Travel Planner & Discount Deals
  • Property Management
  • Specialized Recruitment Agency
  • Daycare
  • House Keeping
  • Bakery
  • Flowers Delivery Service
  • eCommerce
  • Being Webpreneur
  • Business Broker
  • Insurance Broker
  • Dry Cleaning Service
  • Beauty/Hair Salon
  • Mobile Auto Workshop

Related post: How to Start an Online Boutique: The Ultimate Guide, Step-by-Step


Your concerns about how to start a business in Missouri has been addressed. understandably, we have ensured you know all the legal and necessary information you require to take into account to successfully run a business and make lots and lots and lots of profit in the state.

That’s no exaggeration, you can make money to live the cool life you’ve always fantasized about from a multibillion-dollar idea or not!

So dear, take these steps and rule your world with that business idea!


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