You’ve made the decision to start your own small business. You may be an expert if your field but you know very little about how to handle record keeping, payroll reporting, income tax returns, tax filing, or sales taxes. These can be further complicated if you plan on operating in more than one state. Even starting the small business can seem a daunting task if you’ve no experience. This is part one of my two part series on starting your own small business. While the information here is specific to single member LLCs formed in Michigan, many of the concepts are applicable in all states and the process is quite similar state to state.

1. Seek Legal Counsel

While not strictly required, I recommend all new business owners consult with an attorney. Why?

2. Go with an LLC

There are other options available but, in most cases, LLC is preferred. why?


LARA, The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, is the department responsible for business entities. The forms needed to organize or incorporate a new business can be found here: LARA Forms

4. No, not that kind of ELF

To form an LLC in Michigan start by creating a Michigan ELF account. With a Michigan ELF account you can file forms electronically and have the needed Articles and other forms faxed to you within one business day. To create a Michigan ELF account complete the MICH-ELF APPLICATION which can be found here: ELF Form . This is a one-time application and once received your Michigan ELF account can be used to file any documents with LARA and can be updated if addresses and other information should change. You have to wait for your Michigan ELF number.  Once you have received your number visit the LLC forms page and prepare the Limited Liability Articles of Organization.  Fax the Articles of Organization along with a Michigan ELF cover sheet to the number provided.

What does ELF stand for? Add a link for the LLC form


Part two of this form will follow soon and will cover the specifics of filling out your ELF form, your articles of organization, and your EIN.


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