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.

Keep in mind your brand name should contain the words ‘Corporation,’ ‘Company,’ ‘Incorporated,’ or ‘Limited.” Abbreviations for these words are also acceptable. If needed, file an Application for Exclusive Use of Corporate Name form to reserve the name for 120 days.

Filing fee: $20

STEP 2) APPOINT A REGISTERED AGENT

Choose a Registered Agent

An Indiana Registered Agent. is an individual or recognized/registered business entity in the state with a physical street address (typically non-P.O. Box) responsible for receiving and helping to handle/process all official documents like state filings, legal notices, important tax forms, etc.

That said, you can hire a third party service and pay up to $160 a year or get an Indiana Registered Agent free of charge when you incorporate with IncFile or CorpNet.

STEP 3) FILE ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION

Register an LLCNow that you’ve got your registered agent, to make your corporation an official by filing Articles of Incorporation with the Sec. of State. This discloses:

  • Corporate name, address, and statement of purpose,
  • Corporate Registered Agent name, signature and address,
  • Number of shares Corporation is allowed to issue,
  • Corporate officers and directors name and address
  • Incorporator’s name and address and so forth.

Filing fee: $90

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 INITIAL DIRECTOR, MEET, DISCUSS BYLAWS

Hold a Meeting with Your Board of Directors

Appoint at least 1 director who among other things will oversee the 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 AccountWhere you choose to bank is no small matter when we’re talking about a corporation. Often startups and solopreneurs just use personal accounts, but that’s not going to fly with a corporation. Instead you and your CFO, if you have appointed one, need to find the best bank or credit union to handle the business banking services you’ll need to grow.

Look at different fee-structures, perks, incentives, and overall costs and savings and think ahead! You could start with a smaller bank for better deals, then switch to a much larger bank when your volume demands it. To get started, check out this quick breakdown of Business Checking Accounts.

STEP 7) COMPLETE BUSINESS TAX & LICENSING REQUIREMENTS

Business LicensesTo ensure that you don’t face penalties, fines, and fees when operating a business, you need to completely fulfill your regulatory requirements. To get started:

  1. Quickly register for an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, for free at the IRS website.
  2. Bookmark the Indianapolis Small Business Administration and Business Services Guide.
  3. To form an S-Corp, submit Form 2553 with the IRS and be sure all board of directors have signed it.
  4. Also, consider professional Business License Research packages that take care of the legwork for you.

OPTIONAL) CREATE A FUNDING-READY BUSINESS PLAN

Write a Business Plan

To be taken seriously by the average professional, not to mention VC-types, lending institutions, business funds and organizations, incubator groups, even crowdfunding and social selling platforms – your corporation must have presentation-ready business plans that focus on core fundamentals.

The good news is that thanks to, well in large part Californian-made software, the process of putting together these plans is far easier and more intuitive for those that don’t have MBAs or a long history of founding companies. To learn more check out our free resources below.

  • Our guide to Business Planning Software breaks down the best user-friendly solutions to help you strategize better. (Spoiler: We’re huge fans of LivePlan, plus they offer our readers a special discount.)

OPTIONAL) BUILD A COMPANY WEBSITE

Build a Business WebsiteFrom Wix to Weebly, the options you have as a corporation to establish a digital presence are incredible compared to where we were only a handful of years ago. Why? Because we all want and need the same thing, a responsive, good-looking, and unique website where we can do business and expand our brands.

Regardless, it’s important to get out there, take advantage of the marketing potential, grow the brand name in the digital economy, and give people a way to investigate what you’re about!

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