Your business can never flourish without being incorporated, as there are certain limitations holding it back on every step, but once the incorporation is done you can surely get the most out of it. Being recognized as incorporation (Inc.) means a lot to a small business. It means being recognized by the government and getting tax liability protections and advantages. It also helps in earning business reputation and in winning trust of your customers, vendors, lenders, investors and business partners.
So whether you’re just starting a new business or are looking to incorporate your existing business, the process of incorporation is not hard at all. The good thing is that, you just need to make a one-time investment of $100 to $500 for incorporating your business and the complete process takes no more than 4 to 6 weeks time. So here is our easy to follow, step by step guide for incorporating your business and giving it the honor, advantages and benefits associated with its new trusted business name and identity.
Step 1: Obtaining Required Licenses and Permits for your Business
Before incorporating a business, the first step is to make sure that your business complies with all the state laws, rules and regulations for running a business in the area. Most of the time, you’re required to obtain a license or permit for running a business. So if you don’t have a required business license or permit, you’ll never be able to get the status of Incorporation (Inc.) and once you’re done with this step, you can easily and confidently proceed with the next step for incorporating your business.
Step 2: Select a Business Name with Inc. Corp. or Co. as a Unique Business Identity
So now when you’ve made up your mind and are ready for establishing a unique business identity, it’s time for you to think of a unique name for your Inc. Corp. or Co. Having a unique business identity means that you’re now recognized for your specialties and expertise in the field. You can be as imaginative and creative in thinking of a name for your corporation as you like, but just be sure to keep it relevant to your business objectives.
Step 3: Get Your Corporation’s Name Reserved in the Office of Secretary of State
When you come up with a few good ideas for your corporations’ name, you can’t confirm it on your own. Just visit the office of your Secretary of the State and ask them to confirm the availability of your choice business name. Obviously there can never be two corporations with the similar name. If luckily your dream corporation name is still available, you should get it reserved immediately so that no one else can take that name anymore. This reservation can be done simply by filling a form in the Secretary of State office and is valid for up to 8 to 12 weeks. So now you can complete the incorporation process with full peace of mind being sure that your choice business name is reserved for your corporation.
Step 4: Select a Registered Agent for your Corporation
To be registered officially, every corporation needs to select a registered agent. This agent receives all the official documents related to your corporation and can be either an individual or a company. The registered agent must be residing in the state of corporation and if he/she decides to move to some other state then you’ll have to nominate any other agent for your corporation. Ideally your business attorney should be the registered agent for your corporation. In this way you’ll be sure that your business attorney receives all the official emails and documents and can guide you on every step according to the state law.
Step 5: Fill in the Articles of Incorporation Document
This step in the business incorporation process is the most critical of all and it’s vital to fill in all the information regarding your corporation in the Articles of Corporation correctly. Any carless filling of information in the Articles of Incorporation also known as Corporate Charter can lead to many complications in the future. So it’s always better to take help form your business attorney in filling the articles of incorporation correctly. This form can be obtained from the website of Secretary of State and is also available on the websites of a few online legal companies. You can easily fill it online and then take a printout for submitting the hard copy in the Secretary of state office if required. The Articles of Corporation must include the following information regarding your business:
- The name of corporation
- Detail of the corporation’s vision, aims, objectives and purpose
- The name of registered agent
- Complete address of corporation
- Name and address of the CEO
- Names and addresses of the secretary or other office staff
- Names and addresses of all the members of Board of Directors
- Names and addresses of the share holders, investors or business partners
Step 6: Submit your Articles of Incorporation to the Secretary of State
After filling the Articles of Incorporation for your business you must review and countercheck all the information provided in it thoroughly. Once done with this step, you can now submit your Articles of Incorporation with your complete business details to the Secretary of State for getting registered as a Corporation. The fee of getting your business incorporated is also charged at this step of the process and it can be $100 to $500 according to the state law.
Step 7: Get your Corporate Bylaws Ready
Although all the states don’t require you to submit the Corporate Bylaws along with the Articles of Incorporation, but most of them do. So even if you don’t need to file this document at the time of filing the Articles of Incorporation, you should get it ready anyway.
Corporate Bylaws is an essential document for running your business or corporation smoothly. As this document is much more detailed as compared to the Articles of Incorporation, it’s mostly quite useful in company audits. Additionally if you need to apply for a business loan, this document is greatly helpful in that as well. So completing this document must be considered an essential step of incorporation, as your business can never succeed as a corporation without a detailed Corporate Bylaws.
The Corporate Bylaws must include following details:
- Details of the corporation shares and share holders
- Detail of all the important meetings to be held in the corporation. It includes meetings with the share holders, meetings of the Board of Directors and any other meetings planned to be held during a year.
- Details of corporation audits and annual record checking
Step 8: Maintain Corporate Record of your Corporation
Every corporation must maintain its Corporate Record and you must start marinating it the moment you start with the process of getting your business incorporated. The Corporate Record Book can be either in the form of papers, documents, files etc. or it can be saved on your computer hard disk or even on any kind of online storage in the cloud. The purpose is just to maintain a complete record of your corporation, showing your complete compliance with the state laws and the IRS.
Step 9: Start your Corporation Officially with a Meeting with the Board of Directors
When all the essential documents including the Articles of Incorporation and the Corporate Bylaws have been documented and filed with the Secretary of State, now it’s time for you to start your corporation officially with a meeting with your Board of Directors. In this first meeting you should share and discuss all the important matters including company shares, share holders, investors and all other financial matters. Moreover you must elect, decide or announce the Corporation CEO officially in this meeting. Now don’t forget to maintain a record of corporation meetings including this most important first meeting of your corporation of course.
Step 10: Just Make Sure that your Corporation Complies with the Law and fulfills all the Requirements
Now when your business has earned the title of being a corporation and you can proudly add Inc. Co. or Corp. at the end of its name, it brings responsibility along with the privileges of course. There are many federal and state laws for running a corporation and you must follow all the laws. Additionally, there are a few requirements for running a corporation which you must fulfill. These are a few of the federal and state requirements for running a corporation:
- Get your EIN or Employer Identification Number form the IRS website for free.
- Open your business bank account for your incorporation.
- Pay your corporation taxes and keep a record.
Once incorporated, your business is now on the right track for making sky rocketing profits. With this new business name as incorporation Inc. Corp. or Co. now vendors and customers are more likely to trust your business more. Your business partners and investors are also going to be more interested in making investments and working with you for enjoying your business reputation and sharing the profits with you.