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How to start a new business in Michigan

Updated on January 31, 2012

Starting a new business in Michigan

When you first decide to start a new business in the state of Michigan there are a number of decisions you wil need to make in order to ensure that your new business is successful. The specific start-up activities that this article will cover are the legal forms necessary to get your business running. We will cover naming your business in this article and obtaining the appropriate state licenses and permits. I will also follow up and provide links with information as to obtaining an employee identification number (which is necessary to pay taxes), single business tax, and individual federal and state income tax.


Naming your new business

Once you have decided on your new Michigan business, it is important that you come up with business name. The most important step is finding a name that is not already taken. to do this you must go to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth website and check to make sure that the name you want is not already taken. I have included a link at the bottom of the article where you can check the name you want for your new business (called a business entity search) to see if it is available in Michigan. Another important consideration that needs to be taken into account when deciding on a new business name is the type of business you intend on running. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth states the following (the link will take you directly to the page where I got the information...):

Choosing a Business Name

Agency: Energy, Labor & Economic Growth


The legal structure for a business determines where the business is to file its name. Sole proprietorships and copartnerships file their names with the county clerk in the county in which their business is located, and also in any other county in which they transact business or have an office. The name standard applied to the names of sole proprietorships or copartnerships by the county clerk is that the name cannot be the same as or so similar to a name already on file with the county as to cause confusion or deception.

Limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations are created by filing the appropriate documents with this Bureau. These entities must select a name that is distinguishable on the records of the administrator from other active names. The phrase distinguishable on the records of the administrator has been defined by guidelines. A name is distinguishable if it has a different sequence of letters or numbers from other names. Filing with the agency creates no substantive rights to the use of a name. The entity may wish to exercise care in selecting a name to avoid infringing on the names filed with the county clerk or filed with the Bureau by another limited partnership, limited liability company, or corporation, or being used by another entity as a trademark, service mark or trade name. To protect any rights a business claims to its name, the business entity must police its name and respond to anyone who infringes on its rights.


Many people underestimate exactly how important the name is to the business. You will want to choose a name that is easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. It should also be specific to your business and easily let the average person know what kinds of services of goods that your business offers. Vague names like "Mary's House" will confuse potential customers, but a more specific name like "Mary's House of Pancakes" or "Mary's House of Window Blinds" will easily tell your customers what to expect from your business...

A new business can also operate under an assumed business name. So, once you find and register your official business name as "Mary's House of Window Blinds, LLC", you can file a form (called a DBA Form, or "doing business as" form) with your with your county clerk and operate under the assumed name of your choice. Now you have the freedom to operate as "Mary's House of Blinds", "House of Window Blinds", or even "Mary's House" (if you really wanted to, but again, it is best to be specific). To register your DBA you can go down to your county office and file it in person, or, since most counties have web registration nowaday, you can find your county website and do a search for "Form BCS/CD-541, Certificate of Assumed Name, and you should easily be able to file it online. The cost of registering your new business name is generally minimal. I registered my business in Washtenaw County and I believe it only cost $10.

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      GustinWebGroup 

      3 years ago

      The interesting thing is if you wanted to start an online business in Michigan you would still have to start a business the same way says http://gustinwebgroup.com

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