Before the leaves fall

A gorgeous fall day in the Garden City. The beauty of Missoula doesn't fade with the color of the leaves.

Photo by Nelson Kenter,

Tips for Starting a Business

If you’re thinking about staring a new business in Missoula, congratulations! You’re in good company – entrepreneurship is contagious in western Montana.

Here are some important elements to keep in mind when establishing a business in Missoula:

Research Resources

There are numerous national and local resources for the Missoula entrepreneur.

Local Help for Your Business Plan

Developing a well thought-out, cohesive business plan is not only a good point of reference for all of your start-up milestones, but also vital in seeking and securing financing. Most banks will not consider a business loan without a solid plan in place.

  • The Montana Community Development Corporation provides innovative financing and business development products to create income opportunities for local entrepreneurs
  • The Missoula Economic Partnership assists local businesses and startups in securing capital through public funding sources, business planning, real estate/ relocation, facility siting, local and county processes, connecting with the University of Montana and tapping the local workforce.
  • Local accounting firms and business consultants can provide valuable feedback and help rounding out the nuts and bolts of your plan

Name and Incorporation Info

  • As soon as you’ve decided on a business name, you can register it online with the Montana Secretary of State Office. Existing businesses can also renew their names. Once registered, you can move forward in purchasing a domain name and using your business name on all promotional material and signage.
  • If you haven’t already, determine the right corporate structure for your business in consultation with a corporate law attorney. Once you have decided on the structure, register it with the office of the Montana Secretary of State.

Licensing and Permits

  • Register for a business license from the City of Missoula
  • Check with the city to ensure that your office or commercial space is zoned for business use
  • Depending on your type of business, you may need any number of permits from the city. Visit the Missoula Business Licenses and Permits website to learn which permits you may need as well as the requirements to obtain them.

Tax Information

  • Check and register with the Montana Department of Revenue and the US Internal Revenue Service to find the necessary tax information for registering your business in Missoula
  • Whether it’s now or in the future, you may want to evaluate hiring a local accountant and/or payroll service to manage your company’s books

Get Start-up Financing

Getting the financing to transform your business idea into a reality is among the most difficult steps in the start-up process.

  • Most lenders will require personal equity in a new business endeavor, so you’ll need to determine whether you can personally fund a portion of your business
  • Seek a loan from a local bank or credit union once your business plan is just as polished as your presentation
  • SBA loans, Montana small business grants, venture capital, angel investors, and bootstrapping are just a few of the routes you can take instead of a traditional loan


  • If you want to post applications online or in print, look no further than Make it Missoula’s Job Listings provided by the Missoula Job Service, the Missoulian Newspaper, the Missoula Independent, and Craigslist
  • Another resource to consider when seeking talented employees is University of Montana Career Services, which regularly hosts career fairs attended by hundreds of UM students in hopes of landing a quality job
  • For temporary and part-time employees and interns, consider students at The University of Montana and College of Technology

Unique and diverse talent is abundant in Missoula, if you know where to look. The close-knit business community will help you make quality connections with other business owners and entrepreneurs.