STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

To secure and register your brand name it must be unique, not too similar to another registered name in Ohio, and shouldn’t contain any restricted wording. To check, conduct a Business Entity Search through the Sec. of State and if there are potential trademark issues conduct another quick search using the TESS System through the U.S. Patent Office.

Keep in mind your name must contain words like “Corporation”, “Incorporated”, “Company”, or “Limited”. Abbreviations like “Corp.”, “Inc.”, “Co.” or “Ltd.” are also acceptable. If needed, you can submit a Name Reservation form with the state.

Filing Fee: 39 (expedited options available)

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

An Ohio registered agent is an intermediary who is responsible for officially receiving and helping to handle/process important paperwork like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so forth. They can either be an individual residing in Ohio or any business entity, domestic or foreign, legally registered with the Secretary of State.

They’ll also need a physical street address; however, an individual agent may provide a certified P.O. Box after proving Ohio citizenship. So you can either appoint an agent or hire an outside professional and pay up to $160/year, or get one free of charge when incorporating through IncFile or Incorporate.com.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCWith a registered agent, once you’re ready to make your brand official, set up an account with the state to file Articles of Incorporation. It asks for basic information to disclose for the public record including:

  • Name and address of the corporation;
  • Name, address as well as signature of the Ohio registered agent;
  • Number of shares authorized for issuance by the corporation;
  • The initial stated capital amount;

Filing Fee: $125

STEP 4) GET A CORPORATE RECORDS BOOK

File Annual Reports & Publication Requirements

Think 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) ELECT DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 initial Director who among other things will oversee the Ohio corporation 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 AccountKeeping tabs on the cash flow, finances, and expenses of your business can be a tedious process. Maintaining a unique and branded business bank account can help lessen the burdens of sorting/tracking, so make sure to open a separate bank account for your Ohio Corporation as discussed in your initial meeting.

If you haven’t appointed a CFO yet, be sure you understand your options in terms of local, state, and national banks as well as credit unions. Here’s a quick breakdown article of Business Checking Accounts from some of the biggest banks to begin your research.

STEP 7) HANDLE TAXATION & LICENSING/PERMITS

Business Licenses

As a legally starting an Ohio 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 resources to get started:

  1. Get an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, free and easy through the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Ohio Business Gateway and for taxes, the Ohio Dept. of Taxation website.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Consider professional Business License Research packages that handle the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

We understand that there are plenty of misconceptions when it comes to modern business planning. It’s not like it used to be. These days no one wants to be handed a large collegiate-level tome covering every minute detail of your grand plans. Instead it’s about streamlined presentation-ready plans that focus on the core fundamentals.

We’re talking your basic executive summary and pitch, financials and forecasts, marketing and outreach, budgeting, team structure, and so forth. To learn more check out our free resources below.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Discover which Business Plan Tool helps you create a presentation-ready breakdown of your brand in half the time.

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteThere’s so many options with this step a fair amount of new corporations try to shove the task aside for a while. Either you’re designers or you’re not.

In these cases we often suggest checking out platforms like Wix, SquareSpace, Shopify, and WordPress because they have the most to offer including savvy dashboards, tons of easy apps you can integrate, simple upgrade options as you expand and so forth. Check out this free WordPress Tutorial to begin seeing the potential.

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 an Ohio 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 an Ohio Corporation or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.