STEP 1) VERIFY & SECURE YOUR BRAND NAME

Choose a Business Name

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

These words/abbreviations are required: “Corporation,” “Company,” “Incorporated” “Corp.,” “Inc.,” or “Co.,” or the designation “Corp,” “Inc,” or “Co,” because they clearly designate a corporation vs. a person, partnership, or other business entity. Also, because there’s no name reservation only register when ready.

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

A Florida Registered Agent is an intermediary, responsible for receiving and helping you to handle/process all official documentation like state filings, tax forms, legal notices, and so on. This agent can be an individual or a corporate entity, but they need to be a Florida resident (with FL address, non-P.O. Box) and be able to legally conduct business in the state.

You can hire an outside professional service and pay up to $160/year, or get a Registered Agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or Incorporate.com. They handle this along with so much more depending on your startup package.

STEP 3) FILE CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCA Corporation is legally formed upon filing a Certificate of Incorporation with the Florida Division of Corporations so don’t take this step until ready. It’s an official declarative statement about your corporation for the public record disclosing basics including:

  • Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose,
  • Corporate Registered Agent name, signature and address,
  • Number of shares Corporation is allowed to issue,
  • Corporate officers, directors, and incorporators name and address

Filing Fee: $70

STEP 4) START 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 AN INITIAL DIRECTORS, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who will oversee the Florida corporation until the first shareholder meeting where new directors will be voted in. Prepare an “Incorporator Statement” with names/addresses of directors and keep it in your records book.

  • 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 Account

When 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 foundation of your brand? Who is offering the best overall business services to corporate clients, relative to location and other conveniences?

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 Licenses

As 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 resources to get started:

OPTIONAL) WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business PlanWhat’s the first thing VC-types, investors, banks, incubation programs and business organizations want to see when you approach them for a serious partnership or funding? That’s right, your business plan. They want to know you’re a serious operation. They want to see your marketing approach, executive summary, pitch, etc. They want to see your numbers!

Will you need it on day 1? Perhaps, some corporations have deals waiting for when they go public. Most will need their plan polished and funding/presentation-ready within the first 6 months or so.

QUICK LINKS TO BUSINESS PLANNING

  • Our free email-based Business Plan Course is designed to take you smoothly through the process step-by-step.
  • This Business Plan Software Guide is our savvy breakdown of all the best software solutions to help you plan better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteWhat kind of website will your company need and why is it important? Well, to answer the first question, your business website needs to be mobile-friendly, functional and easy to use. And the website primarily is to give the world a way to investigate your company, see what it’s about, check out your offerings and/or get in touch.

Whether you need to outsource, have an in-house designer ready, or are looking to turn to website-builder platforms like Wix or Weebly. You can’t afford to be in business without one.

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 corporation in Florida 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 corporation in Florida or business in general, please consult with a lawyer or other accredited professional.