How to Incorporate a Business: The Simple Guide

How to Incorporate a Business Online

If you want to incorporate a business, you should understand requirements and regulations. This guide will help you navigate the steps to incorporate based on state guidelines and best practices.

However, if you are nervous about the filing process and would rather professionals handle it to make sure everything is filed properly, look into a service like IncFile (for $49) or LegalZoom (for $149).

Both incorporation services use online questionnaires that take you less than 15 minutes to fill out and they take care of the rest. Although both have started over 50,000 businesses, IncFile is our readers top pick and $100 less than LegalZoom.

If you’d like to handle the incorporation process yourself, keep reading for our step-by-step guide. Otherwise look into one of the incorporation services mentioned above. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

 

Step 1) Choose a Business Structure to Incorporate

Why Incorporate a BusinessWhen you decide to incorporate, you first have to choose a business structure. Are you looking to form a Corporation, an LLC, or a Non-Profit organization?

Regardless of the business structure you choose, always keep in mind to research how each business structure will benefit your new business. The business structure you choose will have a lot of bearing on how your business operates in the long run so make sure to choose carefully.

To help you decide which business structure is best for you, see this guide that talks about the pros and cons of each business structure.

 

Step 2) Register Your Business with the State

Business WebsiteThere are a number of requirements that need to be completed when you incorporate a business. The easiest way to handle these requirements is to have an online incorporation service like IncFile (for $49) or LegalZoom (for $149) handle the process for you for you.

However, if you would like to incorporate a business yourself, follow the appropriate guide below for your business structure. Each guide will walk you step-by-step through all business entity specific requirements:

After Starting an LLC

To-Do After Incorporating Your Business

Now that you have followed the steps above, you are officially a business owner. Here are 5 additional steps to help you start a successful business.

1) Write a Solid Business Plan

Write a Business PlanNow that you have officially incorporated your business, the next crucial step is to write a solid business plan. The importance of a business plan can’t be emphasized enough when it comes to the development and success of your business in the short and long term.

Contrary to beliefs, learning how to write a business plan isn’t as boring or tedious as it sounds. Here are two resources to help you get started.

Quick Links to Write a Business Plan:

 

2) Open a Business Bank Account

Best Business Bank AccountAs you start a business, it is very important to keep your personal and business assets separate. The best way to get started with this is to open a business bank account. By doing this, you will have all finances separate and keep a close eye on the most important parts of your business.

Recommended Resource: Look into this roundup of the best business banking accounts to decide which is right for you.

 

3) Keep Track of Your Business Taxes & Finances

Small Business TaxesWhen starting a business, it’s critical to take care of your business tax and overall finances to ensure your business is operating legally on all levels. You can register online or learn more about your requirements by visiting your Secretary of State website.

Recommended Resource: An accounting software like Xero can help manage your finances painlessly. No need to keep track of every receipt and penny spent for tax time. Try Xero free for 30 days.

 

4) Handle Your Business Licenses & Regulations

Business LicensesAside from business taxes, another important task you need to follow through when incorporating a business is to handle your business licenses and regulations. These obligations are a requirement for your business to legally operate.

Recommended Resource: Look into this resource roundup offered by the SBA as a starting point. If you would like for professionals to find all business licenses and regulations on your behalf, here is a great package.

 

5) Build a Business Website

Build a Business WebsiteEvery business should have a professional website. However having a professional website does not require you to have technical knowledge or a massive budget. With WordPress, you’re able to build and customize your website in minutes.

Resource for Getting Started: See how to start your business website through this step-by-step guide.

Need Help Incorporating Your Business

Have a professional filing service take care of the paperwork for you. All services use online questionnaires that take you less than 15 minutes to fill out.

Meet the Author

Liesha PetrovichLiesha Petrovich is a passionate entrepreneur on a mission to simplify entrepreneurship through your journey as a business owner.

She is also a small business owner of 20 years, owner of a karate dojo, and host of Startup Savant. During free time she’s with her family and working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship.

As always we’d like to remind you that any specific questions about starting a new business in should be directed to your lawyer at all times. This is only an informational guide and not legal advice.