How To Start & Grow Your Business

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How to Start a Business in Louisiana

Want to start a new business in the state of Louisiana? You’ve come to the right spot!

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Louisiana has a host of benefits for the new business owner – a competitive payroll incentive program, an impressive workforce training program, and industrial tax exemption. Louisiana’s Angel Investor Tax Credit provides a 25.2 percent tax credit on investments by accredited investors on early stage Louisiana businesses. Louisiana is also home to the historic port city New Orleans – famous for its cuisine, jazz, and Mardi Gras festival.

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How to Start a Business

Starting a business can be both exhilarating and challenging. It requires your full attention and energy. It all begins with an idea, an observation that there is a problem and the belief that you have a new solution – or a better one. Allow us to walk you through the steps in this free guide: How to Start A Business.

General resources for starting a business in Louisiana

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Fun facts about starting a business in Louisiana

Famous business founded in Louisiana Zapp’s

Zapp’s is a brand of potato chip cooked founded in Gramercy, Louisiana. The chips are also cooked and packaged there. The chips are kettle-cooked in peanut oil (instead of the more common vegetable oil). Zapp’s market themselves with their Cajun heritage, using names such as “Spicy Cajun Crawtator,” “Sour Cream and Creole Onion,” and “Cajun Dill Gator-tators.” They have also marketed numerous chips such as a limited edition Mardi Gras chip.

Famous entrepreneur born in Louisiana Desirée Rogers

Desirée Rogers was born in 1959 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company. In November 2008, she was selected as the White House Social Secretary for the incoming Obama administration, the first person of African-American descent to serve in this function.

I’m from New Orleans, and I know that people do like to sit and talk and drink and, you know, have conversation; you have dialogue. – Desirée Rogers

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Which type of legal structure is best for my business in Louisiana?

We strongly recommend you incorporate, but you must consider the tax, legal, and liability implications carefully before deciding on the best legal structure for your business.

Here are five steps to help you determine the best legal structure:

Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the different types of business legal structures and how to start them in the state of Louisiana.
LLC (Limited Liability Company)
A limited liability company (LLC) is a unique business entity that combines the taxation benefits of a partnership or sole proprietorship with the limited liability status of corporations. The owners of an LLC are referred to as “members,” and can range from one to several.

Steps to starting an LLC in Louisiana:

  • Step 1 — Name your LLC
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Organization.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a Registered Agent.
  • Step 4 — Prepare an Operating Agreement.
  • Step 5 — Comply with any publication requirements.
  • Step 6 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 7 — File Annual Reports.
  • Step 8 — Register foreign LLCs doing business in Louisiana.

For help forming your LLC in Louisiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively, you can visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Other Louisiana resources for LLCs:

Secretary of State’s Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your LLC name here.
File your “Name Reservation” Form here.
File your “Articles of Organization” here.
File your “Annual Reports” here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your LLC here. If your LLC has more than one member, you must get an EIN, even if you have no employees.

Secretary of State GeauxBiz Online Checklist: Register for an account here to find out what business licenses may be required.

Louisiana Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Sole Proprietorship
Popular among individual self contractors or business owners, a sole proprietorship is a business entity that is owned and run by one person, and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. The owner is in direct control of all elements and is legally accountable for all profits, debts, losses, and liabilities.

Steps to starting Sole Proprietorship in Louisiana:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File an application to register your trade name with the Parish Clerk of Court.
  • Step 3 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 4 — Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your sole proprietorship in Louisiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Alternatively visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Other Louisiana resources for Sole Proprietorship:

Secretary of State’s Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A sole proprietor may use his or her given name, or an assumed business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Application to Registration of Trade Name: If your business name is different from your legal name, you’ll have to file an application to register your trade name (mandatory).

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your sole proprietorship here. If you hire employees, you will need an EIN.

Secretary of State GeauxBiz Online Checklist: Register for an account here to find out what business licenses may be required.

Louisiana Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

Partnership
In a partnership, two or more people share ownership. Each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor, or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. There doesn’t have to be a written agreement to form the partnership.

Steps to starting Partnership in Louisiana:

  • Step 1 — Choose a business name.
  • Step 2 — File a trade name.
  • Step 3 — Create a partnership agreement.
  • Step 4 — Obtain licenses, permits, and zoning clearance.
  • Step 5 — Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

For help forming your partnership in Louisiana we recommend CorpNet (they have fees for their service).
Or, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Other Louisiana resources for Partnership:

Secretary of State’s Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your business name here. A partnership can use the surnames of the individual partners, or a fictitious business name.

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office: Federal database for existing trademark registrations. Click on the “TESS” link to conduct a search.

Application to Registration of Trade Name: If your business name is different from the surnames of the partners, you’ll have to file an application to register the trade name (mandatory).

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your partnership here. Partnerships must have an EIN, regardless of whether or not they have employees.

Secretary of State GeauxBiz Online Checklist: Register for an account here to find out what business licenses may be required.

Louisiana Department of Revenue: If you will be selling goods or will have employees, you’ll need to register here.

S Corporation
An S corporation (sometimes referred to as an S Corp), is a special type of corporation created through an IRS tax election. A business electing to incorporate with S corporation status has its business income taxed only once, similar to how sole proprietorships and partnerships are taxed. By electing to become an S corporation, a small business can gain the legal advantages available to businesses with a corporate structure, as well as the tax advantages available to partnership firms.

Steps to starting S Corporation in Louisiana:

  • Step 1 — Choose a corporate name.
  • Step 2 — Prepare and file Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Appoint a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Louisiana annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Louisiana.

For help forming your S corporation in Louisiana we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).
Alternatively, you can visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Other Louisiana resources for S Corporation:

Secretary of State’s Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Name Reservation” Form here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your “Annual Reports” here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

IRS S corporations: Specific instructions for your tax requirements as an S corp.

Secretary of State GeauxBiz Online Checklist: Register for an account here to find out what business licenses may be required.

Louisiana Department of Revenue: Register here to fulfill corporate business tax requirements.

C Corporation
A C corporation (or C corp for short), under United States federal income tax law, refers to any corporation that is taxed separately from its owners. A C corporation is distinguished from an S corporation, which generally is not taxed separately. However, C corporations have greater tax planning flexibility and can shield shareholders from direct tax liability.

Steps to starting C Corporation in Louisiana:

  • Step 1 — Give your corporation a name.
  • Step 2 — File Articles of Incorporation.
  • Step 3 — Find a registered agent.
  • Step 4 — Set up a corporate records book.
  • Step 5 — Prepare corporate bylaws.
  • Step 6 — Appoint initial corporate directors.
  • Step 7 — Hold your first Board of Directors meeting.
  • Step 8 — Issue stock.
  • Step 9 — Comply with Louisiana annual report requirements.
  • Step 10 — Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • Step 11 — Register foreign corporations doing business in Louisiana.

For help forming your C corporation in Louisiana we recommend CorpNet (there are fees for their service).
Alternatively, visit the Louisiana Secretary of State website.

Other Louisiana resources for C Corporation:

Secretary of State’s Business Name Database: Search for the availability of your corporate name here.
File your “Name Reservation” Form here.
File your “Articles of Incorporation” here.
File your “Annual Reports” here.

IRS EIN Online: Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for your corporation here.

Secretary of State GeauxBiz Online Checklist: Register for an account here to find out what business licenses may be required of your corporation.

Louisiana Department of Revenue: Register here to fulfill business tax requirements.

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Why choose Louisiana for my business?

  • 1

    Louisiana Small Business Development Center
    “Louisiana Small Business Development Centers (LSBDC) provide one-on-one business consulting to entrepreneurs through a network of centers throughout the state to support the growth and success of small businesses. LSBDCs also offer affordable workshops and training seminars designed to help you broaden your business knowledge.”

  • 2

    Louisiana Economic Development - FastStart
    “Probably the most notable statewide workforce-development initiative comes from Louisiana. Its FastStart programme, launched in 2008, helps companies recruit and train workers.”

  • 3

    Louisiana Economic Development - Angel Investor Tax Credit
    “Louisiana's Angel Investor Tax Credit (AITC) encourages accredited investors to invest in early stage, small wealth-creating Louisiana businesses that seek startup and expansion capital.”

  • 4

    Louisiana Economic Development - Incentives
    Breakdown of tax and business incentives available in the state.

  • 5

    SCORE
    “SCORE assists pre-venture and early stage businesses in achieving their goals for business startup and growth through education and mentorship. SCORE also offers local workshops and online training seminars.”

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