Preparing for incorporation is a big step that can really move your business forward, but with such a major change, there are a lot of things that need to be accounted for as you move into it. The best thing to do is consult with a company lawyer to ensure that you don’t miss anything. One of the most important steps is to become intimately familiar with what it means to incorporate and the general process you need to go through. Here are a few more important steps to take, preferably with a business attorney guiding you along the way.
Business Plan and Name for Incorporation
To begin with, you should have a solid business plan together, and it ought to make it clear that incorporation is the best choice for your particular business. It’s a good idea to work out the details of a business plan with your business lawyer before you move on to choosing a corporation name. When it comes to the name, you need to have a unique name, and it would be wise to choose one that won’t violate another company’s trademark. With this in mind, the next big decisions relate to bylaws and directors.
Crafting Bylaws and Choosing Directors
Before you officially set up your corporation, you’ll need to prepare your bylaws and choose the directors for the corporation. Too often, this critical step is overlooked, but it’s absolutely crucial to establish bylaws with a competent corporate lawyer to spell out how the corporation will run and how the voting rights will be apportioned. Bylaws also address the frequency and timing of shareholder and board meetings. To that end, you should also appoint directors and take great care in doing so, because they are the ones who will enact financial and policy decisions for your corporation, such as issuing stock and appointing corporate officers. Owners aren’t automatically directors, so give this some thought before you file your articles of incorporation.
Filing Articles of Incorporation with the State
While there are plenty of other little steps along the way, you should have each of these outlined by your business lawyer. The last major step to tackle before creating a new corporation is to file your articles of incorporation with the state’s corporate filing office. This can be as simple as a few pages that lay out fundamental information about your corporation, but it can get complex if you have several owners and directors. Assuming you’ve done your due diligence up to this point, you should be in good shape to proceed to meeting with the board of directors, issuing stock, and running your new corporation.