STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business NameFirst, check to see if the name you would like is already taken/registered with the state, too similar to another, or contains restricted words. Start by conducting a business entity search using the Colorado Business Database, as well as the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, you can also file a Statement of Reservation of Name form online to reserve an available name for 120 days for $25.

STEP 2) SELECT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered AgentA Colorado Registered Agent or an “Agent for Service of Process,” is an essential part of operating a business. This certified CO resident or registered business entity acts as the representative for your brand and receives legal paperwork like state filings, court notices, tax forms, etc.

Unlike other states, Colorado doesn’t allow a business to be its own Registered Agent, so if you don’t have a legal team you can hire an outside professional and pay up to $160/yr or get a certified agent free of charge by Incorporating with IncFile.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCOnce you have a registered agent, you can then file the correct Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State. However, don’t do this until your corporation is ready and you have all the required information for the public record including:

  • Corporate name, address, and purpose,
  • Full name and complete address of Registered Agent,
  • Full name and complete address of the incorporators,
  • Number of shares Corporation is authorized to issue, and so on.

Filing fee: $50

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsThink of this as the hard copy record book where all critical corporate documents are kept like the Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, meeting minutes, stock certificate ledger, stock certificates, stock certificate stubs, stock transfer documents, etc. It’s the ultimate company binder! They’re very common and while not necessary having one is highly recommended for all serious business entities.

You can find them at nearby office supply stores or on Amazon, but we’re huge fans of Corporate Kits which include gorgeous records books/binders you can brand for as little as $99.

STEP 5) CHOOSE INITIAL DIRECTORS, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the corp until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with complete names and addresses of each director and keep it in your records book. Once elected, an initial meeting should:

  • Appoint officers & discuss/create Corporate Bylaws.
  • Choose a bank & approve the issuance of stock certificates.
  • Agree on corporate seal and adopt official stock certificate form.
  • Approve s-corp (opt.). Record Minutes of Meeting, have directors sign, then add to records book.

STEP 6) OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

Best Business Bank AccountWhen you start a Corporation, it’s very important to keep all personal and business assets/accounts completely separate. So don’t take this lightly. Where should you start building the financial persona of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?

If you think it’ll be helpful, look into this short breakdown of Business Checking Accounts to start brushing up if all this is unfamiliar territory. Where your corporation banks is a critical move, which is why it should be discussed at length in your initial shareholder meeting.

STEP 7) COVER TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business LicensesAs a legally operating corporation, you’re required to be 100% compliant with all relevant local/state/federal agencies. Ideally you should have an attorney or at least be working with a professional filing service. Otherwise, here are four steps to get started:

OPTIONAL) START BUILDING YOUR PLANS

Write a Business PlanWhat are funding-ready plans? What does that mean? It means that the plans are professional, look good/curated, and focused on the core fundamentals of your corporation that VC-types, banks, business organizations, and other sources of funding will want to see to consider how valuable your company is. Whether you’re worth funding.

The good news is that the days of the long, drawn out 40-page business plan have been replaced with savvy and user-friendly options that simplify the process for those of us who don’t have MBAs or tons of experience planning the future of a corporation. To learn more dig into the links below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  •  Check out our guide to Business Planning Tools which breaks down of all the best software solutions to help you plan better.
  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is specially designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteWhen a potential stakeholder, customer/client, or investor searches the internet for your brand, or searches for your brand name, what will or do they find? The very worst thing that can happen these days is that they don’t find anything at all. What would you think of a corporation if they didn’t have at bare minimum a responsive one-pager explaining who they are, what they’re about, what they’re offering, and a simple way to contact them?

Those are the basics of what a company website is for, along with direct sales if you’re into eCommerce, but you get the idea. With options like Shopify, Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress it’s never been easier or less expensive to begin building a digital presence. Enjoy the journey!

Need Help Forming Your Corporation?

Have a reliable incorporation service like IncFile or LegalZoom do the work for you. Just answer a few questions about your business and they’ll take care of the paperwork.

Although both offer virtually the same service, IncFile is $100 less and our top pick. Enjoy!

Visit IncFile Or Visit LegalZoom

Note that this article on how to form a Colorado corporation isn’t a legal document or legal advice. It’s for informational purposes and the information above is subject to change. For specific legal questions regarding how to form a Colorado corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.