Setting up a business is not easy. If you are looking to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams, chances are you are no stranger to hard work. The amount of planning required to launch a new enterprise can be overwhelming, as there is so much to consider. From a basic outline of your business plan, to potentially drafting corporate bylaws, you may find that you truly have your work cut out for you. If your business aspirations are lofty, however, you may be wondering how to form a corporation.
Establishing your business as a corporation adds layers of legality and reporting requirements to your operation. If you are looking to form a corporation, or even if you are just kicking around the idea in the early stages, it can be helpful to have a primer on what to expect.
Deciding On a Name for Your Business
Your first order of business when forming a corporation is to select a name for your business. You are going to want to choose something that will separate you from your competition, as well as giving you a fresh marketing angle. Depending on your state’s requirements, your name may need to include a designation such as “corporation”, “limited”, or “incorporated.”
You will also want to check with your local Secretary of State’s office to ensure that your desired name is available. Typically, states will require that all corporations have unique names. It is also prudent, as a business owner, to choose a name that does not infringe upon any existing trademarks. This can save you from any significant legal headaches down the road.
Generally, when you file your articles of incorporation, that process will register your corporation’s name. In many states, you do have the option to reserve a name in advance of submitting your registration.
Filing Your Articles of Incorporation
Perhaps the most critical step in forming a corporation is filing your articles of incorporation. In some states, these may be called charters or certificates of incorporation. This completed document must be submitted to your local Secretary of State’s office. While each state can vary slightly, generally speaking, you will need to provide some basic information about your business.
Your articles of incorporation should include: Your name and address, the name of your business as well as its physical locations, the names of your directors, and information about your corporation’s registered agent. Once you have completed this form, you can send it via mail to the appropriate state office. You may be tasked with renewing this every year, and you will want to gain a knowledge of the reporting requirements for corporations in your state.
Appointing Directors and Registered Agents
In forming your corporation, you will want to appoint a board of directors. Not only is this a smart way to manage the day-to-day operations of your business, in some states, a certain number of directors are required. Your business should also have a designated registered agent. The role of the registered agent is to receive any legal process documents. Again, while this is typically required, it is also wise to have someone specifically assigned to that task.
Drafting Corporate Bylaws
How do you plan to govern your business? Do you have a vision of how certain aspects will be managed? By writing corporate bylaws, you can institute foundational best practices and rules for your business. While these may not be required by your state, it is a sound maneuver to establish them early on. Bylaws typically cover matters pertaining to record-keeping, meetings, director designations, and stock issuance.
Ensure That Your Taxes are in Good Order
As the owner of a corporation, it is crucial that you stay on top of tax matters. This means registering your business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as well as your state and local agencies. The IRS will also grant you an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you will need provided you have more than one employee.
FIle Your Articles of Incorporation Online Today
If you have done all of the necessary background work and research, it may be time to assemble your articles of incorporation. Instead of navigating a stack of paperwork and making your way down to the post office, work with us at the Corporation Center.
We are a private service that specializes in helping business owners file their state documentation online in a quick and comprehensive manner. We offer easy-to-complete web forms for filing articles of incorporation–as well as much more–in all 50 states. We also rely on an SSL-encrypted web portal, ensuring that your personal data is transmitted safely and securely. To learn more about our services, contact us today by phone or email. We are ready to help you grow your business to new heights.