How Do I Successfully Register My Business In South Dakota?

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
July 9, 2024
Table of Contents

South Dakota Business Registration

Starting a business from scratch is quite a difficult task. But you can make it easier with the proper guidelines. The most crucial aspect of running a successful business is to get it registered successfully. This article will help you in registering your business in the state of South Dakota.

Registering South Dakota Businesses

The state of South Dakota is currently going through a period of financial prosperity. As such, many people are planning to get their business registered in this state. However, a handful of those looking to start a business in South Dakota are worried about not knowing how to obtain a business license or permit.

Worry not! Registering your business in Sioux Falls or any city in South Dakota is an excellent opportunity for any businessman. You can quickly obtain an operating license or permit for every type of business, including startups and already running businesses.

But, before we highlight the process of registering a business in the state, you need to know the steps to follow when setting up a business in South Dakota. South Dakotans are deeply engaged in agriculture and tourism, but industries and other types of businesses also contribute a lot to the state's economy.

Below is information on setting up shop and the steps to follow to register your business in South Dakota.

Starting A Business In South Dakota

Setting up a new business in South Dakota can be intimidating, especially if it is not your domicile state. The journey to entrepreneurial success requires that you seek support. You will need funding, time, and proper personal and professional help to get your venture up and running.

Below are the steps to start your own business in South Dakota.

Step One: Choose the right business idea

First, research and talk to seasoned business people to help you decide what type of business would do well in the state. It would be beneficial if you went with the idea that matches your interests and goals.

Also, think about your drive and whether that would be adequate to help you get going. Some people base their business decisions on the success they observe in other people’s ventures. It is the most inappropriate way to decide what business to set up. Following your own goals is the best way to ensure you remain motivated when things get tough for your startup.

Do not entirely depend on your choices and interests while starting a business. Also, find out what people need or their interests. Get to know what people who come to or stay in South Dakota value.

Step Two: Do the basics

A critical step bound to make your business a success is to build it through proper and careful planning. Before investing resources in a company, carefully think through your plan and be sure to consider and analyze all your options.

If you do not want to go into important details, at least do the following:

Name your business

Naming your business gives it an identity and distinguishes it from all others. Anything with a unique name gets all the attention from its potential customers. The initial step to start a business, even before you decide to register it, is to name it. The name should be attractive and meaningful. When people choose to run a business in South Dakota, they forget to plan the name of their business. Planning a name is equally as important as planning the registration.

While planning the name of your business, following the significant rules that apply in South Dakota can turn out to be really helpful. The title should resonate with your customers’ interests. Make sure that you keep all of your focus on the name when you are deciding it. However, you might be unable to think of a unique name at some point. You can, alternatively, use a business name generator to assist you in coming up with a catchy name for your business.

Choose a location

Before investing a significant sum of money in registering your business, you should first decide where you will start your business. If you are starting a small business from your home or a brick-and-mortar establishment, you should determine the location beforehand.

The location of your business will influence other vital aspects of your business. For instance, the type of licensing and permits you need to run your business and the growth potential of your business. You should probably research popular areas in South Dakota where there is good traffic and customer interest in the type of service or product you plan to offer.

Do market research

Perform proper market research before writing down your business plan. Conduct service and search engine optimization analysis. Probably also consult focus groups to know about the value of your business in the market.

The primary goal of market research is to understand the target market so that you can decide whether your business plan is compelling enough for you to set up your enterprise.

Step Three: Write a business plan

Writing a business plan helps you itemize your business's needs so that you know what areas require funding. With this information, you seek a loan or use your own savings to help the company take off and reach important milestones. Moreover, writing the entire plan will be very helpful as it will eradicate the chance of you forgetting anything important.

A well-written business plan should assist you in getting organized when you start your business in South Dakota.

Essential components of a well-written business plan include:

  • Product development 
  • Sales and marketing
  • People and partnerships 
  • Financial planning

Step Four: Plan for funding

When setting up a new business in South Dakota or any other new state, some people need funding to realize their goals. However, before you approach a lender or venture capitalist, cover up as much of the startup costs as possible.

Determine all the costs of your business that you can afford before seeking outside funding. It will help you select the right source of financing to help you set up your business in South Dakota.

After that, you need to be smart with your expenditures. Make sure that you do not spend too much money on unnecessary items. Get yourself organized and create a detailed financial plan to help you plan resource allocation.

Step Five: Get the funding

Now you have to get the funding for your business. It would be best if you did proper research before actually getting the funds. There are various business funding options available for startups. Your options might include the following:


Bootstrapping means that you handle business funding yourself. You will provide capital for your business from your savings or even through your current income. Once your business is in operation, its profit can be invested back into your account so that it continues to grow and flow back into the business.

This option is the most suitable one. We think so because, in this state, you are the complete owner of your business. You are not indebted to any other person.

Friends and family

The next option to consider is your friends and family. Whenever you move outside for help, you should first check your own network. Ask your friends and family members to support you in this new venture. Financing your business through loans from your friends and family is a great way to get the capital needed to get off your feet.

However, be sure to establish a written agreement and repayment plan with your friends and family to keep things easier and smoother between you.

Small business grants

Small business grants are funds given to people planning to start small businesses with potential for growth. Many companies offer these grants to people who plan to create their own businesses. Business grants are unique in the sense that you do not need to repay them. Nothing can be better than having small business grants in South Dakota for your business.

Small business loans

You can qualify for small business loans for your small business in South Dakota through a bank or some other lending institution. This funding requires repayment, but it will provide you with the capital to cover startup costs. Such grants can help you start a bigger and better business plan setup.

Selecting A Business Structure

Registering your business in South Dakota as a legal entity, such as LLC (Limited Liability Company), corporation, or nonprofit organization, has the following advantages:

  • Increased credibility
  • It protects against personal liability

Before registering a business, make sure that you know what business structure is suitable for you and your business in South Dakota.

Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is an unofficial business structure. Under this business model, the business owner is in charge and enjoys all the profits. There are no partners or shareholders in it.

While it can be profitable when business is good, but it has some disadvantages as well. Financial liability, accrued debt, and loss in the business all fall on the owner.


A partnership type of business is also an informal and unincorporated business, but it has multiple owners. Partnerships would not offer protection from liability unless the business was registered as a limited liability partnership, in which case only the usual partner can be held liable for debts and lawsuits.


A Limited Liability Company is fundamentally a hybrid. As is the case in informal corporations, it enjoys the protection of personal assets and has the pliability of a partnership or sole proprietorship. The LLC business structure is easier to maintain and has a favorable tax obligation.


Corporations are autonomous legal entities from their owners; however, a corporation might have multiple owners. The owners are its shareholders. Corporations are usually more attractive to investors. They have much more formal regulations than LLCs. Larger companies like Apple are examples of corporations.


A nonprofit organization relies on donations to operate. The structure and function are opposite of all other business types.

There is no funding in this business structure. The primary purpose of nonprofit organizations is to serve the needs of communities. Nonprofits are exempted from paying taxes. The Red Cross is a fantastic example of a nonprofit.

Register Your Business In South Dakota

All the pre-planning of a business is done by now. It is the right time to get the business registered, actually. It is helpful for the business owner to register the business through official channels. Not registering your business through the official channels can cost you significantly.

You will not only be prosecuted but will also be responsible for any debts or liabilities of your business. Once you complete all the steps discussed above, the next step is forming your company. The steps below apply regardless of the type of business structure you choose.

Naming your business

As discussed earlier, it is essential to name your business based on the needs of customers you plan to meet. The name should be catchy and straightforward to remember.

Choosing a registered agent

A registered agent is a person or a business entity that handles taxes and legal documents on behalf of your business. A registered agent makes sure that you do not face any problems later on.

Getting an employer identification number

All the businesses in South Dakota, whether small or formal, are given an identification number by the Internal Revenue Service. This number is known as your employer identification number, and it is used to identify a business for tax purposes.

Filling formation documents

The last step is formation documents filling so that you have all the paperwork done before you start your business. In addition to these steps, every business structure has its terms and conditions that make a business unique from others.

Essential Steps In The Registration Of A Business

Each business that registers in South Dakota has to follow a set of unique steps as detailed below.

Registering an LLC

The simplest formal business structure is LLC. LLCs require less paperwork than any other business structure, so you can register it in five easy steps, as follows:

  • Name your LLC 
  • Choose a registered agent
  • File your LLC with the state 
  • Create an LLC operating agreement 
  • Get an EIN (Employment Identification Number)

Registering a corporation

Starting a corporation requires that you follow five simple steps. These steps are almost the same as those of an LLC, with a slight difference. Adopting a corporation business structure also requires you to decide the nature of the corporation you would like to operate. Your choice is limited to a C corporation or an S corporation.

The steps are as follows:

  • Name the corporation
  • Choose a registered agent
  • Hold an organizational meeting
  • File formation documents
  • Get an EIN

Registering a nonprofit organization

The steps needed to register this type of business structure are as follows:

  • Name your nonprofit
  • Choose a registered agent
  • Select board members and officers 
  • Adopt bye-laws and conflict of interest policies
  • File your articles of incorporation
  • Get an ENI
  • Apply for a 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status

Registration Of A Small Business In South Dakota

You can also get small businesses registered in the state, as detailed below.

Licensing a small business

You can find information quickly about a small business. Most entrepreneurs hire an assistant to help them establish their new or existing business in the state. Setting up a new business in South Dakota also requires you to think about starting, financing, growing, operating, and closing a business.

Check the Office of Economic Development to get all the documents and necessary licensing for your business. Also, check the websites of the South Dakota Department of Revenue and US Small Business Administration. The advocate office of SBA is located in Sioux Falls.

Get all the required information before you set up a business in South Dakota because not every business requires a license. Some of the licenses and permits those businesses apply for are regulatory, covering taxes, environmental health, and safety.

Different agencies issue various types of business licenses, including regulatory licenses and permits. Multiple websites have downloadable documents that enlist all the licenses issued by the agencies.

You can apply for the necessary business licenses, especially those related to taxes pertaining to alcoholic beverages. You can find their details by checking the city's website where you plan to operate your business.

Besides licensing, a certificate of good standing also comes in handy as it shows that your business is authorized to operate in your state. The certificate also helps when it comes to insuring your business and even competing for government contracts.

File records for your business

Along with the required licenses or permits, there are some legal forms of business, like the corporation and limited liability companies; both are required to file their records. Specifically, corporations, LLCs, and other types of businesses file their organizational documents with the South Dakota Secretary Of State.

Obtain professional licensing

The South Dakotan Department of Labor and Regulation coordinates various licenses for many professions and occupations. If you are a licensed member of any of these professions, you may need to get a permit from the state of South Dakota.

The agencies that issue occupational licenses list state agencies and boards that regulate professions and occupations.

Register an assumed business name

Certain businesses do not operate under the original names of their owners. They have a separate business name. So, you can get it registered under an assumed business name, especially if the business is a corporation or LLC. You can initially register it with the state under one name. That gives you room to operate the business under another name later.

Register a trademark or service mark

Trademark and service mark have separate legal definitions. Let's take on a general description of a trademark. It means that a service or a market trade name is used to identify an exceptional product, service, or business confined to a particular organization or corporation.

It is used to distinguish a product or service belonging to a company from that of other businesses. Trademarks and service marks are registered with the state.

South Dakota Is A Great Place For A New Venture

The state of South Dakota is not only beautiful, but it also has an excellent environment for new businesses. Setting up a business in this state is easy, and you can be sure your business will grow and take root. Moreover, should you need any assistance, you can reach out to a trusted and licensed registered agent to guide you through the process.

Additionally, when it comes to handling important documents, you can reach out to a reliable mail forwarding service to ensure that those crucial documents make it to their destination.

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