Step 1) Choose a Name for Your Minnesota Corporation

Choose a Business NameOne of the initial steps to starting a business in Minnesota is to come up with a viable name for the Minnesota Corporation. A viable name must include any one of these words: ‘Corporation’, ‘Company’, ‘Incorporated’, or ‘Limited’.

Alternatively, the abbreviation of any of the words mentioned can also be used. When using ‘Company’, ensure that ‘and’ or any of its corresponding abbreviations should not precede the word.

Another thing to observe when it comes to naming conventions for the Corporation is that the name should be unique. It must be recognizably different from any business entity registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State.

To verify if the name chosen is valid, check it using the Minnesota business name search tool. If it is valid, you can file for a 12-month reservation by filing the Name Reservation form to the Secretary of State online or via mail. Be sure to include the $45 filing fee.


Step 2) File the Articles of Incorporation

Register an LLCLegally incorporating in Minnesota requires that you file an Articles of Incorporation. When filing a Corporation in Minnesota, information regarding the incorporators, the Registered Agent, and the actual Corporation will have to be provided on the form.

Instructions as to how to fill out each entry are also outlined on the form. Filing can be processed online or via mail.

Filing fee: $135


Step 3) Find a Minnesota Registered Agent

Choose a Registered AgentA Registered Agent in Minnesota is required when you are filing a Corporation. A Registered Agent’s role in the Corporation is to accept service of process and other legal notifications on behalf of your business.

A Minnesota Registered Agent can be an individual who resides in the state, a business entity in Minnesota, or a foreign business entity legally registered to operate in Minnesota.

The chosen Registered Agent will have to agree to be the Corporation’s representative to accept service of process before the position’s designation. A physical street address must be provided by the appointed agent as well. For a Registered Agent that qualifies for all these requirements, you can employ Rocket Lawyer’s Registered Agent Services.


Step 4) Keep a Corporate Records Book

File Annual Reports & Publication RequirementsIt is crucial that all Corporation documents are stored in a single file for safekeeping and easy access. With this in mind, a Corporate Records Book would come in handy.

Your Minnesota Corporation registration documents, business licenses and permits, tax reports, corporate bylaws, minutes of meetings, and more should be kept in this book. You can get a Corporate Records Book through your local office supply shop. Alternatively, you can order via Amazon.


Step 5) Elect the Initial Directors for Your Minnesota Corporation

Choose the Initial DirectorsAs part of the incorporator’s responsibility when forming a Corporation in Minnesota, you must appoint the initial directors of your Minnesota Corporation. The initial directors are to serve the board right until the first shareholder’s meeting can be scheduled.

When you have appointed the directors, create an Incorporator’s Statement containing the name and address of each director. This should then be signed by the incorporator and placed in the Corporate Records Book.


Step 6) Schedule the First Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of DirectorsAs soon as the initial directors are elected, the first meeting of your Corporation should be immediately scheduled when starting a Minnesota Corporation. At this time, the following agenda should be discussed and decided:

Prepare the minutes of the meeting and have it signed by everyone who attended the said meeting.


Step 7) Take Care of Your Minnesota Business Tax and Corporation Requirements

Business LicensesWhen it comes to Minnesota Corporation maintenance requirements, you must comply with business taxes and licenses. To take care of the requirements of Minnesota business taxes, follow the steps below:

  1. Obtain a free Employer Identification Number (EIN) via the IRS online application.
  2. Have a good grasp of what you need to do when it comes to the requirements for completing business tax obligations (visit our Minnesota Business Tax guide for more information).
  3. For Corporations that want to elect an S Corp status, Form 2553 Election complete with each shareholder’s signature should be filed (optional).

Next to your tax obligations, your Minnesota business licenses and permits should also be completed. Different businesses require various kinds of licenses, depending on a number of factors. A thorough understanding to take care of your license obligations is required. The Minnesota Business Licenses and Regulations guide should shed some light on what to comply with.


Step 8) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountWhen starting a Minnesota Corporation, you need to keep your business and personal finances separate by opening a separate bank account. This keeps all assets separate in the eyes of the state of Minnesota.

Another important thing to note is that opening a business account can help you keep finances on track. You should monitor the ins and outs, put the profits and assets where they belong.

There are many options available from Bank of America to Chase. For a quick outline of the best place to open a business checking account, check out this roundup.


To-Do After Starting a Minnesota Corporation

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a Minnesota Corporation. Other than those 8 steps that are based on state guidelines, here are a few additional steps based on best practices for starting a successful Corporation. Not required, but highly recommended.

1) Create a Funding-ready Business Plan

Write a Business PlanTo better give your Corporation a sense of purpose and direction, make sure that you have a solid business plan to follow. This business plan is an essential document to your business’ success.

Although not mandatorily required by the state, having one will equip you with the right tool to push your business forward. A few resources to help you write an effective business plan are provided below.

Quick Links to Writing a Business Plan


2) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteIf you want your Corporation to be taken seriously, build a professional website so your potential customers can learn more. In my opinion, WordPress is the platform for the non-tech savvy entrepreneurs and is the best option.

Helpful Resource: To learn more about WordPress and see how to build a WordPress website, check out this step-by-step guide.


3) Prepare Corporate Bylaws

Prepare Corporate BylawsMinnesota Corporation bylaws are not required by the state upon incorporation, but it is an essential document that helps in the smooth flow of business operations. Bylaws define the purpose of the Corporation, its operations, and each incorporator’s responsibilities and duties as it relates to the Corporation.

It provides order and organization in the day-to-day business operations, and proves a Corporation’s legitimacy in the process.

Please be guided accordingly that this is just an informational article. No claims have been made that this is a legal document or advice. For questions on the specifics of how to form a Corporation in Minnesota or starting a business in Minnesota, always consult a business lawyer’s expert advice.

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