Starting Your Business in North Dakota | A Step-by-Step Guide

Steve Bennett
Business Formation Expert  |   Fact Checked by Editorial Team
Last updated: 
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Start a Business in North Dakota

If you want to start an LLC in North Dakota, there are numerous factors to consider. Starting your own business is one of the most exciting and profitable things you can do in North Dakota. But where do you start? Follow our comprehensive guide on How to Start a Business in North Dakota. We will assist you in removing doubt from the process and investigate your success chances. It will begin with defining your business idea and progress to establishing, launching, and expanding your business. Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you every step of the way!

What Business to Start in North Dakota?

If you’re looking to start a business in North Dakota, consider starting a limited liability company (LLC). LLCs offer personal liability protection for their owners while also providing the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Beyond that, here is the list of businesses to consider in North Dakota.

  1. Clothing Boutique
  2. Farming
  3. Leather Business
  4. Yoga Studio
  5. Distillery

Whatever business you choose to start, it’s important to conduct thorough market research and create a solid business plan before diving in. We reviewed some of the Best LLC Services and provided features as an add-on with their packages for you to check out.

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Starting a business can be a challenging but highly rewarding endeavor. By taking the time to research and plan, you can increase your chances of success. Whether you choose to form a corporation or start an LLC in North Dakota, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong team that will guide you. Don’t let fear hold you back, take that first step towards turning your business dreams into a reality.


How to Start a Business in North Dakota?

To form a business in North Dakota, you must follow a few steps that include creating a business plan, choosing a business entity type, determining your business costs, naming your business, registering a business, and lastly, marketing your business.

Please continue reading to learn more about the overall procedure and what new small business owners should keep in mind as they complete each step.

Step 1: Creating a Business Plan

When developing a business plan, many factors should be considered during the decision-making process. Your business plan in North Dakota serves as a road map for your company’s success.

A business plan should take into account the specific goals of your company. You should know the product or service you will provide in North Dakota. A well-thought-out business plan is essential for determining how your company will make a profit. If the purpose of the business plan is ambiguous and unrelated to the service you provide, it will impact the business you are forming. Make sure your business goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound). Also, researching your competitors’ services will help you determine your strategy for your state business. Finally, you should consider your company’s funding.

With this article’s assistance, you can better comprehend your business’s essential components and success strategy. You can apply for North Dakota Small Business Loans from banks and investor funding to help support your company in North Dakota.

Once you have the entire plan in your hands, you can work on the legal framework of your company. Legally, you can form an LLC for your ideal business.

Step 2: Choose a Business Entity in North Dakota

Selecting a business entity for your North Dakota company. When starting your own business, you must choose a business structure. How well your personal assets are secured, how much tax you pay, and how much paperwork you have to deal with will all be significantly impacted by the type of corporate entity you choose. Consider setting up a corporation, LLC, LLP, or sole proprietorship as your business entity in North Dakota.

Sole Proprietorships

Consider a sole proprietorship if you want to start a business in North Dakota by yourself. A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure in which a single individual owns and operates the entire business. The owner and the business are considered the same legal entity in a sole proprietorship. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business, meaning that the owner has complete control over the business operations, profits, and losses.

Sole proprietorships are best suited for North Dakota small businesses with low risks and for individuals who want to maintain complete control over their business without the complexities of establishing a separate legal entity.

Limited Liability Company

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a business structure that combines features of both partnerships and corporations, offering limited liability protection to its owners (called members) while allowing flexibility in management and taxation. An LLC is a separate legal entity from its owners, meaning the members are not personally liable for the business’s debts, obligations, or liabilities.

It is a popular choice for small to medium-sized businesses that want the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining management flexibility and simpler tax treatment. It’s essential to consult with a legal or financial professional to determine if an LLC is the best choice for your specific business situation.

Limited Liability Partnership

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is comparable to an LLC. However, it is usually used by licensed business professionals like attorneys or accountants. A partnership agreement is necessary for this kind of business entity. You can form an LLP in North Dakota if you are planning to.


Forming a Corporation in North Dakota reduces your personal liability for business debts as an LLC does. A corporation is a legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, known as shareholders. It is created under the laws of the state it is incorporated in and is considered a separate “person” under the law. The corporation can enter into contracts, own property, sue and be sued, and pay taxes separately from its owners.

A corporation can be taxed as an S-corporation (S-Corp) or a C-corporation (C-Corp). If a small corporation satisfies certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards, then S-corporation status is available, providing pass-through taxation. However, most larger businesses and startups seeking venture financing are taxed as C-corps.

To choose the right business structure in North Dakota, consider personal liability protection, taxation, management flexibility, administrative requirements, and setup costs. Consult a legal or financial professional to help you make the best decision.

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Step 3: Determine your North Dakota Business Cost

In North Dakota, you should determine the cost of your business. You should consider paying the Articles of Organization fee, business licenses fee, office supplies and equipment, payroll, rent, utilities, transportation, and taxes.

Usually, filing an initial North Dakota Articles of Organization fee costs $135, while the LLC annual fee costs $50 in North Dakota. In terms of filing North Dakota Articles of Incorporation, the costs usually range up to $100 for online and by mail filing.

If forming an LLC is your ideal business, consider knowing the LLC Cost in North Dakota.

Step 4: Name your Business in North Dakota

Naming your business doesn’t take a lot of time. With the help of North Dakota Business Name Search, you can acquire a name for your business. If you form an LLC in North Dakota, you must follow the below rules while naming your business-

  • The name should not be confused with a government entity.
  • The name should be unique.
  • The name should be available to use.
  • Any other business does not use the name.
  • The new name must include “LLC” if it is a limited liability company.

In North Dakota, if you do not wish to file your business right away but want to hold the name that you have decided on, then you can reserve your business name. You must file a name reservation application in the North Dakota Secretary of State to keep the name.

If the business name is available, you may choose to reserve it for a specific period of 1 year. The online name reservation fee is $10 and the mail name reservation fee is $10. If your business plans to operate under a name other than its legal name, you may also need to register a fictitious or “doing business as” (DBA) name.

The DBA filing can be done in two methods, by mail and in person, which you can file in North Dakota Secretary of State. You can check out how to file a DBA in North Dakota for clearer understanding.

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Step 5: Register North Dakota Business

To register a business in North Dakota, you need to file it with the North Dakota Secretary of State. Before that, you must have a North Dakota Registered Agent for your business. The Registered Agent is a person who is responsible for receiving important legal documents on your behalf.

You can serve as your own Registered Agent, or you can appoint a friend or family member, or you can check the Best Registered Agent Services in North Dakota.

Apply For Articles of Organization

After you have a Registered Agent, you need to file the North Dakota Articles of Organization, if you want to have an LLC structure, or you need to file the North Dakota Articles of Incorporation if you want to have a Corporation.

Request For an EIN

In addition to the paperwork, your Registered Agent should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in North Dakota. An EIN will serve as the tax ID for your professional corporation. EIN can be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is a 9-digit number similar to Social Security Number. EIN, however, is distinct from SSN. It is only used for business-related activities, particularly for submitting general taxes. The form must be completed and uploaded to the IRS website. You can obtain the EIN for free from the IRS.

The application of an EIN in North Dakota can be through the following:

  • Apply Online- The online EIN application is the preferred method for customers to apply for and obtain an EIN.
  • Apply by Fax- Taxpayers can fax the completed Form SS-4 application to the appropriate fax number), after ensuring that Form SS-4 contains all of the required information.
  • Apply by Mail- The EIN application Form SS-4 can be filed via mail. The processing time frame to receive the mail is four weeks.
  • Apply by Telephone (for International Applicants)– International applicants may call 267-941-1099 (not a toll-free number) from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday to obtain their EIN.

After you have your EIN number, you can benefit in several ways. It will give your LLC the absolute advantage necessary to operate at full capacity without encountering legal or judicial issues.

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LegalZoom($0 + State Fee for LLC formation)

Step 6: Apply for Business License and Permit

Business licenses and operating permits are necessary to run any business in North Dakota. Before launching your new business, request any required business license or permission. Most North Dakota businesses need licenses or permits to operate. Federal, state, and local governments may all require businesses to have licenses and permits. The business license fee depends on the type of license you are applying for. It can start from $25 till going up to $100+. However, in North Dakota, the business license fee ranges from $50 – $300.

Step 7: Obtain a Bank Account

Your business dealings in North Dakota might be simpler with a US business bank account because it boosts your company’s legitimacy and liquidity. Opening a separate bank account for your North Dakota business is essential for maintaining a clear separation between your personal and business finances.

You can check out the Best Banks in North Dakota, which offers the best fees, services, and convenience for your business needs.

Step 8: Market your Business in North Dakota

Now that your North Dakota business is registered, you can market it with an ideal marketing plan. An ideal marketing plan can help a start-up business to become known. Making a comprehensive social media network like META, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube falls within this category. While creating an SEO campaign for your company website, you may also look at specialized communities on Facebook and LinkedIn.


What are the steps to register a business in North Dakota?
The first step is to choose a business name and then register it with the Secretary of State’s office. Then, you would need to get an IRS tax ID number and a state tax ID number. Finally, you would need to obtain any necessary licenses or permits.
How do I find the business laws in North Dakota?
You can access them through the North Dakota Legislative Branch website or seek the assistance of a business attorney.
Are there any unique requirements for starting a business in North Dakota?
North Dakota does not have any unique requirements in starting a business, but individual counties and cities may have their own distinct regulations.
Where can I find state assistance for starting my own business in North Dakota?
Look for support and resources at the North Dakota Small Business Development Centers, SCORE, or the North Dakota Economic Development Association.
What types of businesses are prevalent in North Dakota?
Agriculture-based businesses such as farms and oil and gas exploration-related industries have a significant influence in the North Dakota economy.
Can I get help with starting a restaurant business in North Dakota?
Restaurant owners welcome assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) center located in Fargo or from private entities such as ND Food Services, and membership-based Restaurant Association of North Dakota.
Do I have to register my trade name in North Dakota?
Yes, you must record your tradename with the Secretary of State.
Are new businesses required to pay property taxes?
Yes, all businesses in North Dakota have to pay property taxes, it is assessed and collected by county entities.
What percentage of North Dakota’s businesses are agriculture-related?
Over 50% of all North Dakota companies are agriculture-related.
Can North Dakota’s “Opportunity Zone” help me attract investors to my startup?
North Dakota’s Opportunity Zones program provides lucrative tax credits for incumbents operating within a specific territory to the right type of investors. Check out the program and the Investment Portals website for more information.
Are small-business loans available from the state in North Dakota?
Yes, loan programs administered by the North Dakota Development Fund, Dept. of Commerce and Bank of North Dakota support qualified small businesses in differentiating themselves off the ground and thrive in North Dakota.
Does North Dakota offer incentives to companies that open a new shop?
Yes, North Dakota’ incentives include tax breaks in their Empowerment zone scheme, and as a Job-creation program in Entrenched Credit Enhancement Non- (ECND) area.
Do LLCs in North Dakota require two people?
No, an LLC in North Dakota may be held “single-layer only,” having only one member to qualify.
Does North Dakota have any specific requirements for individuals forming a Corporation?
North Dakota requires there to be a minimum of one shareholder and directors with residency on the corporation’s board.
Can I start a primary residence business in North Dakota?
Yes, beginning a business from billing from your main house is OK in North Dakota.
Does North Dakota have state-sanctioned contracting opportunities for small businesses?
Yes, find North Dakota’s financing opportunities across several channels, including the VendorLink platform.
What are the local/state personal tax variations for self-employed small businesses in North Dakota?
North Dakota taxes derived from self-employment may change from national financial responsibilities.
Where can I find information on how to acquire a Federal Employer and Contractor ID Number?
Complete and apply forms SS-4 from the IRS’s online website available for download.
Can the state of ND help me define my startup cost budget?
Yes, the North Dakota Small Business Development Center funded with state support is loaded with experts in startup financing. They can help you formalize your transition, setup demands, and monetary schedules.
Are there tax-deferral initiatives in place in North Dakota to ease the strain of starting my own business?
Contact Business and family Revenue by property ownership projects. Zoning schemes consider advantages such as reasonable pricing plan programs for eager entrepreneurs.
What is sound-lending awareness related to starting a business in North Dakota; should I pursue any standard caution?
Good business pliability issues may have vigorous practices featuring public collective interest software support affording support with out accreditation.
What are primary regulations for qualifying for unemployment in North Dakota for business owners?
North Dakota unemployment insurance-related application policies require minimal active-working power, with more on qualification increasing taxes in having full employees with no withheld dividend payouts.
Are funds accessible for women wishing to pursue small-business practices in North Dakota?
Several types of support-targeted projects promote diversity include U.S. small-business association website and help North Dakota bid presents extra funding options for citywide or nationalized or permits launching by female cohorts.
Are investors permitted to North Dakota qualifying for a tax credit?
Yes, venture capitalists, angel investors seeking a qualified initiative in ND may explore different specified opportunity schemes, such as investing in the empowerment zone or the known Heritage Fund program.
Can I find personalized business startup assistance in North Dakota?
Absolutely! North Dakota Technology Fund and the Small Business Innovation and Research Development Centers even support companies with comprehensive legal representation, intellectual property preservation, partnering agreements and more. Give them a call to seek support.
What Funds support Workforce Enhancement in North Dakota?
Funds are available through the Workforce Opportunities Provider’s Alliance made available through Governor’s Workforce Development strategies.
What is Governor Burgum’s Main Street Project, and how do I get connected in my city?
Bison professionals help ND cities revive downtown malls for modern, workforce-driven redevelopment potential. Get into connected with local Main Street managers to explore how your community may be involved.
Are funds available for property damage reclaim for businesses in ND?
North Dakota supports rejuvenation efforts to be obtainable featuring incentive dollars granted through various involving portfolios by commerce released monetary support settings. Direct Small Business Development Centers regarding reimbursement possibilities.
Are there legal resilience programs geared toward entrepreneurs’ successful initiative in ND?
Multiple legal checklisting awaits within ND for bustling small-business enforcement. This partnership enforcement, controlled possible law circumstances where the business may improve through the Agribusiness investment proposal and elsewhere by various building enterprise targeted expansions.
Are resources wealth for farming ventures in North Dakota?
Absolutely! Beginning an agricultural niche in ND, visit your local FSA office or ask help at renowned institutions-funded like USDA. Seek ample recommendations priorizing choices and grants exploring state/federal surplus-while benefiting from boosting possibilities for seeing economic boons.

Also Read

Why You Should Start Business in North Dakota

Why You Should Start Business in North Dakota

When it comes to starting a business, entrepreneurs are faced with countless decisions. From choosing the industry to securing funding, there are many factors to consider before taking the leap. One crucial question that often arises is where to establish the business. With so many options available, it can be easy to overlook a small but mighty state in the heart of the United States – North Dakota.

North Dakota may not be the first state that comes to mind when thinking about business ventures, but it is certainly a hidden gem worth exploring. With its welcoming business environment and a host of unique advantages, this prairie state is an excellent destination for aspiring entrepreneurs.

First and foremost, North Dakota boasts a business-friendly environment. The state government has been actively committed to fostering economic growth by providing various incentives and support programs to businesses. One notable initiative is the North Dakota New Jobs Training Program, which partners with businesses to develop a skilled workforce, thereby reducing training costs. This collaboration between the state and businesses creates a synergy that fosters growth while ensuring prosperity for all stakeholders involved.

Additionally, North Dakota offers a favorable tax climate that can greatly benefit new businesses. Substantially low personal and corporate income taxes create an enabling environment for entrepreneurs. With North Dakota’s low-tax policies, entrepreneurs can maximize their returns on investment and reinvest in their businesses. This favorable climate not only encourages the growth of existing businesses but also attracts entrepreneurs from neighboring states seeking a more robust economic environment.

Another compelling advantage of starting a business in North Dakota lies in its diverse and robust economy. Rather than being confined to a particular industry, the state has a well-rounded economy that spans various sectors. While agriculture continues to be a strong pillar of North Dakota’s economy, the state has diversified over the years, with growing industries such as energy, technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. This broad economic base ensures stability amid changing trends and creates ample business opportunities for innovators looking to tap into multiple sectors.

Furthermore, North Dakota’s strong sense of community is an invaluable asset for entrepreneurs. Whether in major urban centers like Fargo or close-knit rural communities, residents truly support their local businesses. This palpable community spirit creates a unique market niche for small businesses, enhancing loyalty and creating lasting connections with customers. The widespread pride and affection towards local entrepreneurship contribute to the overall business ecosystem, making North Dakota a true “business incubator” like no other state.

Lastly, one cannot underestimate the tremendous quality of life that North Dakota has to offer. With a low crime rate, stunning natural landscapes, and a close-knit community, the state provides a safe and nurturing environment for both budding businesses and their employees. North Dakotans take pride in their state and all it has to offer, and this sense of pride resonates through their day-to-day lives. Living and working in this remarkable state, filled with hardworking individuals who share your values and support your aspirations, undoubtedly creates a setting for a fulfilling life and successful business.

In conclusion, North Dakota should not be underestimated when considering where to start a new business venture. Its business-friendly environment, favorable tax climate, diverse economy, strong sense of community, and exceptional quality of life make it a desirable destination for entrepreneurs. By setting up shop in North Dakota, aspiring business owners can plant the seeds for growth and success in a state that values and nourishes the entrepreneurial spirit.


Starting a business in North Dakota has unique advantages and challenges since it offers a large and diverse market, access to skilled talent, and numerous networking opportunities, making it an attractive location for entrepreneurs. However, business owners must also contend with a high cost of living, intense competition, and potentially complex regulations.

Ultimately, whether starting a business in North Dakota is the right decision depends on the entrepreneur’s specific needs, goals, and industry. It is crucial to conduct thorough research and consider factors such as taxes, regulations, workforce availability, and target market when choosing a location for a new business. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, entrepreneurs can make informed decisions and set themselves up for success in the competitive North Dakota business landscape.

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